• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

My west coast garden

 
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 26
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love building gardens. Having a garden is a glorious thing, but when you also get to build the garden the way you want it, well, that’s just icing on that cake. And I do love icing. And cake.

Not having a garden for the past couple of summers has been a real drag. But I got to build a garden this fall on a friend’s place on the Sunshine Coast, BC (my new neighborhood), and it’s been heaps of fun. Can’t wait to start eating some veggie goodness soon.

I did this garden similar to how I built the garden on Cortes Island (read about it here, but with a few differences.

1. It’s smaller (about 400-ish square feet of growing space).
2. I got to build it the way I wanted to build it, using the materials I wanted to use.
3. I had an enthusiastic and helpful person to work with.

So! How did I build my garden? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. I mean, I was gonna tell you anyway, but I thought it sounded polite to pretend you asked.

The garden beds are small scale hugelkultur. The trenches are only about a foot deep. And there is only one layer of wood. But the wood chunks are quite large, and should make for a pretty moist garden, once they have finished soaking up water and getting all pruney. : )

Being able to build it in the fall was great, because it has had a few months (the rainy season) to soak up water, break down some of the organic matter, and settle a bit before spring planting.

The soil is a silty sand. And rocks, of course. And roots. The area where we built the garden was created when my friend developed the place (many many moons ago) and pulled soil from around the property (which was pretty heavily treed, where it wasn’t solid rock, when he bought it), and created a terrace. So it is a mix of the soils on the property. It’s fairly decent for sandy soil. Lots of earthworms, too. I was pretty stoked about THAT.

The area was a lawn. And when I say a ‘lawn’, I mean a West Coast rainforest lawn. So . . . yeah, it’s moss. There’s some grass here and there, and sparse ‘weeds’. But mostly moss. He has never had a vegetable garden here - although he has a small greenhouse on the deck where he grows a few things - so it was fun being able to explain how I was going to build it, and why I was building it the way I was. He had never heard of permaculture until he met me. Poor thing. This will be his first garden, so I feel pretty good about spreading the permaculture word, and helping someone grow good healthy food. :)



The main limiting factor for this garden will be sunlight. The property is surrounded by cedar and fir, so it’s kinda dark. But he did a bunch of tree topping to let in more light for the garden. And there will be sufficient light to grow most things. They will probably just grow a little slower. But they’ll grow.

He pretty much gave me the freedom to build the garden the way I wanted. Then he built a lovely fence around it to keep the deer and the dog out. His dog really loved all the comfy beds I built. He laid on them every chance he got.



Here is a list of materials we gathered (free) to build the garden:

Logs - mostly alder; large logs, as well as smaller chunks to fill in the spaces; nicely aged

Leaves - we went out and gathered 4 truck loads of maple leaves, along with some of the leaf mould that was developing under the trees. We mowed the leaves to mulch them, and used them inside the beds, as well as on top for the final mulch.

Manure - he has a friend with horses! So he got a couple truck loads of manure. Real nice stuff.

Grasses, weeds, etc. - a truck load of green stuff

He also had an old ‘compost’ pile made of sawdust, grass clippings, and general bits and pieces. Nicely aged, and it went on some of the beds.

And we’ve been collecting seaweed.

AND! One day, when we were out looking for secluded places to gather green stuff for the compost this summer, we came across a gold mine. Well, not an actual gold mine, a compost gold mine. Big piles of old wood chips that had been breaking down for at least a year or two. Really getting that ‘soil’ smell. Yum. We checked the area out, decided that it was unlikely that there was any toxic gick in it, and we started loading up the truck. We’ve gotten 5 truck loads so far, and there’s lots more.

The only thing we bought was a garbage can full of local organic compost for the seed starter mix. And while we were there getting it, she offered us some old straw bales. FREE! We took 7. :)

So, there we were, with piles of manure, wood chips, seaweed leaves, logs, grass, etc. and I was rubbing my hands together with glee. Yippee!

First we dug a trench about 10-12 inches deep, and about 3.5 feet wide. Then I laid in the logs. I layered the soil, manure, leaves, and grasses until the bed was about 3 feet high. Then I did 2 more beds just like that. I was careful to tuck the organic matter and soil into the bigger spaces between the logs as much as I could, so that the beds won’t settle too much.

















But they will settle a bit, and the beds will have about 4 to 5 feet of growing space across.

The beds are about 22 feet long.

There is also another bed that I added at the end, about 2 feet by 18 feet. He decided that having more garden space was more important than the lawn. What a smart lad he is. And there are a couple of smaller beds in two corners, as well as the space around the edge of the garden, which will be planted with perennials, flowers, herbs, and things that attract beneficial insects.

It’s gonna be a beauty!

I’ve already created a layout for the garden (which I change and rearrange every time I look at it, of course), and have set up a planting schedule, so I know what to plant when. He has a small shed that we have set up as the grow shed - lights and heat for the plant starts. It’s perfect.



We redid the beds in the greenhouse, too. The boxes are quite deep, and we used the same materials as in the garden - wood and leaves and manure, plus the soil that was already in the beds. Should be an absolute jungle in there this summer.

We’re also doing tomatoes and peppers in pots on the deck, where there is enough sun to keep them happy. The pots have also been filled with the same materials as the greenhouse and garden.



I was pretty excited about the prospect of planting peas in February, until . . . winter came callin’. And it didn’t knock politely at the door and wait to be invited in. Nope, it came crashing in like a rampaging bull, and hung around far longer than I would have prefered. It’s February 27, and we still have snow in the shady areas, and it dips down below 0˚c every night. Very rude. I left the north to get away from this weather!

But I have seeds started, and will be planting some stuff in the greenhouse soon. The snow is melting in the garden, and I’m hoping to be able to sow some seeds out there soon. Well, soon-ish.

In the meantime, I am dreaming garden dreams, and rearranging the layout of the garden plan once again. Just because I can.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress and successes (and failures) of this new garden. I want to document how much food can be grown in this small garden. I plan to utilize space and time as intensively as possible; and will to do quite a bit of food preservation. So it will be interesting to see how much of our food this garden will provide over the next year.

I hope spring finds you out in the garden, growing your own scrumpdillyicious food.

Cheers
Tracy

 
gardener
Posts: 1445
Location: Los Angeles, CA
328
hugelkultur forest garden books urban chicken food preservation
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fantastic!  Just beautiful.  Thank you for sharing that.
 
pioneer
Posts: 112
34
hugelkultur medical herbs homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
TRACY!!!

WHAT A WONDERFUL SHARE!!! i am gonna set to studying your garden layout!!! I LOVE IT!!! this is so very helpful in so many ways and you are appreciated for taking the time to document so thoroughly and making it so fun and exciting to read...it is 3 am here and i am really just ready to jump up and get out there! ;)
 
garden master
Posts: 952
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
271
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks great Tracy!
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you! I'm glad you like my little slice of paradise.

Teri: I'm so glad it inspires you. That's what I think Permies is all about. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I got my seeds from West Coast Seeds. I like them because they’re somewhat local, and they have a lot of good growing information on their website, such as planting schedules; and they offer quite a few Organic seeds. They also mention the varieties that grow well here on the west coast of Canada, which is helpful. Plus, they sell them at the local nursery, and they will make special orders if it’s not something they normally order.

There are quite a few heritage and organic seed companies that I would like to buy from, and hope I can do that next year.

I’m going to grow quite a few things this first year, to see which ones do best in these garden conditions. Plus, I’m a seed addict, and I can’t help myself.

Here’s a list of the things I’m growing this year.

Black Turtle Beans
Broccoli
* Calabrese
* Sorrento Rapini
* Zamboni Rapini
Leeks
* Varna
* Tadorna
Kincho Scallions
Arugula
Oregano
Thyme
Peas - Snow peas
Maché
Calendula
Beets
* Cylindra
* Winterkeeper Lutz
Summer Celery
Lettuce - Mesclun
Sweet Peppers - California Wonder
Tomatoes
* Golden Nugget
* Early Cascade (probably)
New Zealand Spinach
Lemon Balm
Lovage
Savory
Parsley
Napoli Carrots
Turnips
* Hakaurei (spring-summer)
* Golden Globe (summer-fall)
Kale
* Green Curled
* Winter Red
Radish - French Breakfast
Spinach
Mustards - Mix
Cilantro
Sweet Alyssum
Cosmos
Romanesco Zucchini
Basil
Yarrow
Borage
Dill
Chives
Garlic chives
Sorrel
Chard - Silverado
Potatoes - won’t have room for many, but enough for a few tasty meals
And garlic in the fall

Plus, I want to plant a few berry bushes along the edge - probably raspberries. Yum.

I do want to plant lots of perennials, so I’ll be on the look out for things that will grow well here.

I’ve worked out a pretty intense planting schedule, so I can take advantage of every minute of the growing season. Lots of succession planting will be happening. Whenever something gets harvested, something else will be popped in. I’ll be doing plenty of starts (already have some going), but will also be direct seeding whenever I can.

Also, going to try some overwintering things - leeks, carrots, and hopefully some kale.

Because light is a limiting factor in this garden, I have tried to get the varieties with the shortest growing season, to try to make up for the fact that things will generally grow a little slower because of fewer sun hours. It will be interesting to see which varieties do best.

As for pest control - well, I’m a big advocate of companion planting and polyculture. Planting things in groups, but doing lots of interplanting to help confuse or repel the little beasties. I’ll also be planting lots of flowers to attract pollinators and predatory beasties. First year gardens are generally pretty good as far as pests go, if there aren’t lots of other gardens around. And that’s the case here. So getting the pest control plants in place this year will hopefully make next year better.

One thing I might have to contend with is slugs. I’m used to gardening up north where slugs aren’t a big issue. My garden on Cortes Island didn’t have a slug problem, but I’m not sure how it will be here. But I’ll be putting a few different things in place to get ready for the starving hoards, should they decide to put in an appearance. Roll out the salty welcome mat for the little buggers.

There are also some small beds that I put in near the front door, which are mostly shady. So it will be interesting to see what plants I can get growing in there. It will be mostly ornamentals, of course. Bleeding Hearts, Lily of the Valley, and Hosta will figure prominently.

We plan on doing quite a bit of food preservation, as I expect this garden will produce more than enough fresh veggies for two people. Fermenting and dehydrating will be my preferred method of preservation, but I might do a bit of canning, too.

And that’s my grand garden plan! Very much looking forward to getting seeds in the ground, and watching the garden come to life.

Cheers
Tracy
 
master steward
Posts: 10008
Location: Pacific Northwest
3922
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tracy Wandling wrote:

One thing I might have to contend with is slugs. I’m used to gardening up north where slugs aren’t a big issue. My garden on Cortes Island didn’t have a slug problem, but I’m not sure how it will be here. But I’ll be putting a few different things in place to get ready for the starving hoards, should they decide to put in an appearance. Roll out the salty welcome mat for the little buggers.



You just need to somehow convince the person that you need ducks. They eat slugs, lay tasty eggs, are cute, and don't crow like a chicken. Even 2 or 3 ducks would take care of your slug problem. They only need to be slightly near the garden to destroy the slug population. I only spot a slug every few months on my property...and 1/3rd of my property is a wetland. Before I got ducks, there were slugs EVERYWHERE. We still see them when we leave our property, but it's a rare day that we see them on our property.

Coffee ground also seem to deter the slugs too. They aren't perfect, but they help. Sluggo is also effective, and is organic, and it does stop the slugs better than coffee grounds. You could use sluggo where the itty bitty plants that slugs LOVE are growing, and use coffee grounds for the stuff they don't like as much, or are more mature. Or just get ducks!
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ducks won't be happening here; but when I get my own place I will definitely not have a shortage of ducks. :)

Unfortunately neither of us drink coffee. But I have been saving egg shells, baking them, and grinding them into small pieces, and am hoping they will help protect certain plants. Also, he has lots of old copper pipes and wire, so I'll be trying to place those in strategic places. I've read that they don't like copper.

I'm also going to be planting hosta in areas away from the garden - I've read that slugs really like hosta.

All kinds of bits of pieces of info I've gleaned will be tried, and we'll see what works best.

 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
Posts: 10008
Location: Pacific Northwest
3922
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We don't drink that much coffee (I don't drink any, and for two years my husband didn't drink any). But, my husband swings by grocery stores that have coffee stands and other coffee stand, and gets big bags of coffee for me. I don't know if there's any coffee stands near you, but they might be a good source of coffee grounds if they're not too far out of your normal route of travel.
 
gardener
Posts: 1320
Location: mountains of Tennessee
402
cattle chicken bee homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
New gardens are so much fun. This one looks great. I think it's awesome that you are helping someone else learn to grow their own food. The plant list is interesting. Quite similar to mine with some differences due to climate. Less lawn, more food is a worthy goal. I got carried away with garden maps during some rainy days last week too. Might post it with pix once the maps are consolidated & "the hill" is a little further along. The Seminole pumpkin tree will be posted for sure.

I want some ducks soooo bad. Decided this is not the year unless a rescue duck or five happens to come my way. Need to get the new gardens & old pastures up to par first. Need to work on predator proofing & a pond too. Guess I better go slop around in the mud while it's not raining. Spring is almost here!!!



 
Posts: 21
Location: Coastal BC
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow!! I'm so happy to read this and see your pics. The garden looks WONDERFUL. Your friend clearly has woodworking skills, that fence and gate are lovely! I'm jealous of all the great inputs you're finding. I should really try harder.
I'm building a new garden this year (I have two small beds from last year), and it will be a similar size to yours. I have a few flats of seeds started (got my west coast seeds order last week :D ) so I hope my guy and I can get the new beds built in time. We will be bringing in soil mix from Quality farms, although my preference is to minimize the amount of bought soil, and use rotted alder and other organic matter under the beds.
Do you know about Seedy Saturday next week?
We are out past Langdale, on the side of mount Elphinstone. Lovely view, but our soil is basically rocks. We still have some snow here :/ so today I scraped it off the two small beds I have, hoping the soil will thaw and I can plant peas.
Brace yourself for slugs. Ugh. I'd be interested to hear how the copper works.

I have so much to learn, and I really love how you share your process! It's so helpful and interesting :)

Nicole, how do ducks do with predators? Would they be able to free range and be locked in at night?
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Mike: Thanks. Yes, there's nothing more fun that getting a new garden up and running! I hope the rain stops long enough for you to get yours happening. We've got some nice weather for the next few days, so lots of outside work getting done. Happy spring!

Hi Karla;

I'm glad it's inspiring to you. Yes, he builds beautiful things. I love the gate he made for our garden.

We did a bit of driving around to find our garden inputs - especially the wood - but it was totally worth it. I don't know the area, but he's lived here for a long time, so he knows the good spots! It was fun. Like a treasure hunt. :)

Where is the Seedy Saturday? I live up past Sechelt and have no wheels, so if it's in Gibsons I probably won't make it. But I'll try.

Yes, still waiting for snow to melt. Ugh. It's a pretty shady property, so hopefully these next few sunny days will get rid of the last remnants.

I hope you get your garden happening!

Cheers
Tracy
 
Karla Jaeger
Posts: 21
Location: Coastal BC
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's at the Roberts Creek Hall http://www.onestraw.ca/events/annual-events/ so it's a ways, but at least it's on the bus route :)
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ooooo, cool! I just might have to get there. Thanks!
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, I think spring is officially here. The snow has melted off the garden and the soil has thawed out. We've been having some really beautiful days; and had our first cookout in the yard last night. Food always tastes so good when it's cooked outside over a fire.



I've got lots of seeds started, and have put some transplants in the greenhouse. And yesterday I just couldn't resist planting some seeds out in the garden. Just a few small patches of cool season greens - mustard, radish, cilantro, spinach, and maché. And I planted a snowpea patch. If winter decides it's not done with us yet, I've still got lots of seeds, and can replant later. But I'm thinking we're safe now.











I've also been helping my friend build a rock retaining wall. We started out just working on a short wall, then thought we'd extend it a little further and build a little potting/sitting area, and then maybe just around the corner, and then . . . well, it's quite a complex we're building. Not quite finished yet, but the end is in sight. He had all of these rocks that he had gathered many moons ago and piled up along the bank, thinking that one day he'd get around to building the wall. I think that was over 20 years ago. Apparently I'm a good influence. Who knew?! The main thing is - I'm getting a potting area, and an outdoor sink! And it's a really cool old cast iron sink, too.







We used some of the rocks in the garden area, to build up some low spots, and make the herb corner a bit taller. It's going to be nice there - thyme, oregano, rosemary and sage. Yum.

He also cut me some metal plant markers from some old steel something or other he had laying around, so I can reuse them each year. Much better than the ones we cut from milk cartons to mark the transplants. They get floppy pretty fast. These ones will last forever!

So, I'm all set for seeds, mostly. Just a few more to get. And now I'm on the hunt for raspberry canes. We're going to plant some wild berries on the bank above the rock wall - blackberry, salmon berry, and probably huckleberry - then have the raspberries in the garden where the deer can't get them.

Now, if I could just convince him to get rid of the ornamental trees by the garden and let me plant fruit trees . . . : )

Happy gardening, everyone. I hope spring has sprung, and you're out there getting your hands dirty.

Cheers
Tracy
 
Posts: 2
Location: Indonesia
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow that's a beautiful garden you have out there.. My garden is out in the forest takes time and serious effort just to get there.

This is my snake fruit garden.



What do you think?
 
pollinator
Posts: 77
Location: Coastal British Columbia
52
homeschooling duck trees urban food preservation homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm soooo jealous of that rock retaining wall! How beautiful! Lovely garden, Tracy!
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love spring. Green things are growing, things are blooming, and spending time outside in the garden is far more pleasant than slaving away over a hot computer. But I have to support my seed habit somehow. :)

So far in the garden these are green and growing:

kale, broccoli, broccoli raab, snowpeas, green onions, mustard, pac choi, radishes, cilantro, thyme, cilantro























And these have been seeded:

turnips, kohlrabi, arugula, parsley, spinach, nasturtiums, calendula, borage, carrots, sweetpeas, mixed greens, cosmos

I've also planted a couple of flower beds, and will be doing a couple more around the yard. Right now I'm just planting a wildflower mix for shade areas. But eventually I'll have some flowering perennials in there. Pretty.







Still more to be planted next month - black beans and zucchini. Yum. I've also got starts for tomatoes (Juliet and Gold Nugget), sweet peppers, marigolds, garlic chives, bergamot, leeks (summer and winter), basil, oregano, lovage, and celery.

The greens in the greenhouse are now ready for munching on.

The magnolia tree is blooming beautifully, and shedding its flowers on the garden.




It has been exciting sharing permaculture with my friend. He has really embraced it, and has become quite good at sourcing stuff for the compost. And he is learning about rocket stoves, too! Today he built one out of fire bricks, and we heated up some stew on it. It worked pretty dang good for his first try. He's going to keep working on the design, and learn more so we can build an outdoor kitchen. I think I've even convinced him to try building a rocket oven! Pretty excited about that.

I'm so happy that he is enthusiastic about permaculture. Just today we were talking about how we can use the greywater to water the flower beds, and he thinks he's figured out a good system. Awesomeness. And it didn't take much to convince him to pee on the compost. : ) He's quite a guy.

Stay tuned for further instalments!

Cheers
Tracy

 
Karla Jaeger
Posts: 21
Location: Coastal BC
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You’ve really been busy! It’s all so nice :) Those stone walls are really lovely too, well done!

Mice are eating almost everything I try to plant. I’m thinking of getting a cat.
 
Nicole Alderman
master steward
Posts: 10008
Location: Pacific Northwest
3922
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cats are essential to me having a garden. Without them, I have a mice explosion as well as an insane amount of bunnies and I literially cannot grow anything.

My gardening is made possible by animals. The ducks eat the slugs that would eat all my plants, and their bedding gets used at mulch and composts. My cats eat the mice that try to live off of the duck poop, as well as the copious amount of bunnies. I couldn't grow food without my feathers and furred friends!  
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The only problem I've had so far is birds eating my pea seeds. But enough came up to make it worthwhile. For my fall pea planting I'll put a little cage over them until they sprout, or start them under cover.

The birds spend quite a bit of time in the garden eating worms. But they haven't bothered any of my transplants. So all is well. : )

Next week I'll be on the hunt for berry plants - I want to have raspberries, and perhaps some haskaps, along the edge of the garden. There are already plenty of blackberries on the property, so adding in a few other berries will be nice.

I picked a couple handfuls of greens for my first harvest! So fresh and delicious.

Happy gardening everyone!

Cheers
Tracy
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Things are really growin'! The weather has been gloriously sunny, but night time temps are still cool.

But everything in the garden seems to be happy. And I'm happy. And what else matters, really? HA!

So, what's been planted in the garden . . .

thyme
cilantro
mustard
pac choi
spinach
radishes
rapini
broccoli
turnips
beets
kohlrabi
snowpeas
carrots
chard
carrots
arugula
parsley
green onions
marigold
sweet alyssum
calendula
cosmos
sweetpeas
borage
bee balm
lemon balm
















In the grow shed, under lights (but taking a little holiday in the sun today):

tomatoes
sweet peppers
marigold
basil
leeks
oregano
zucchini
summer celery





In the greenhouse:

radish
mesclun
spinach
kale
parsley









So my garden diet consists of greens right now - lettuce, spinach, kale, radish greens - and will soon be joined by mustard and pac choi. Perfect for stir fry!

The last seeds that need to be direct seeded in the garden are the beans. Then I'll transplant the zucchini at the end of May, and then it'll be all filled up!

Lots of succession planting going on. I've planted short rows of carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, beets, spinach, cilantro, and greens; and will just keep replanting every 2 or 3 weeks.

I'm also starting plans for the winter garden. I'll work toward having carrots, kale, kohlrabi, turnips, beets, brussels sprouts, rapini, and leeks going into winter. And there are plenty of greens that will grow well into fall and early winter here on the coast - spinach, mustard, cilantro, pac choi - and I'll have fall planted garlic as well.

Seed saving:

I think that seed saving is a very important part of gardening. Knowing how to grow food is an important skill. But knowing how to save seeds is going to be another important skill as we move into an increasingly uncertain future. I'm starting my seed bank now!

Because I have a lot of Brassicas growing in this garden, seed saving will be interesting. I think the best way might be to save seeds from only one variety each year, by only letting one go to seed. Although, if I time it right, I might be able to save from two, depending on when they flower. We'll see how it goes.

And that about wraps it up for April in the garden! I think things will be taking off really quickly with the warm May weather.

Happy gardening!

Tracy





 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, how I love when it starts to feel like summer in the garden.

I've been eating heaps of greens, and am starting to get some sprouts from the rapini. Delicious.












The pea plants are huge, the zucchini are happily growing, the beans have leapt out of the ground and are growing gangbusters, and I've been tucking transplants and seeds in every available space.






















We built another little garden that I'm going to fill with herbs. Had to use up all of those extra rocks left over after finishing the wall. : )









Speaking of the wall - it's gorgeous! And it's going to look even better when we get it planted with stuff. I'm pretty proud of it.









I'm really happy with the progress of the garden. Everything seems to be happy in its home, and the lack of light doesn't seem to be affecting it adversely. There will be some nice shady areas where I can still grow greens during the heat of summer, and when the fall veggies need more light, the leaves will have fallen from the magnolia and the sumac to bring more light to the garden again.

The only veggies that have been munched on by something besides us humans are the turnip leaves. Seems odd, but nothing else has had much damage at all. It's a pretty healthy garden with few pests. So far. : )

I hope everyone is enjoying the gardening season as much as I am.

Cheers
Tracy






















 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
June in the garden.




It's been a crazy late spring/early summer so far. Very little rain, and heaps of sun. It's a little overcast today, which is nice for being outside. I'm not really a hot weather kinda girl. : )

The garden is gorgeous. And delicious. Right now we are eating:

mustard greens and flowers (I let it go to seed, 'cause the flowers are yummy)
pac choi flowers (yummy flowers)
rapini
lettuce
snowpeas
arugula
parsley
beet greens
chard
kale
green onions
chives
rosemary
mint (he likes it for tea)

Soon we'll be adding carrots and turnips to the menu. And the oregano and thyme are just about ready for snipping from. And the zucchini is getting ready to bloom. Can't wait for zucchini!

The beans are growing well. A few got munched by mysterious garden devils, but nothing catastrophic. The beans, turnip leaves, mustard greens, and pac choi are about the only things that show a little damage. Otherwise, it's been pretty good.

Rich is doing some chop and drop in the garden today. The magnolia is done blooming, and shot up like a rocket. So he's cutting it back, along with the purple tree (I don't know what it is), and I'm using the cuttings to mulch the paths. So that will let a little more of the afternoon sun into the garden.

Things are growing a little slower, because of our light situation, but it's not really hampering anything. The garden doesn't get light until about 10:30 am, and parts of it are starting to get shaded by 3:00. But I'm using that area to plant greens that tend to bolt in the heat. I've got mustard greens and pac choi planted, and will put in some spinach and lettuce shortly. It can grow by the leeks. It will be long gone by the time the leeks need the space.

All in all I'm totally thrilled with this first year. The produce is delicious, and I know it's better than anything we could get at the store. He likes going grazing in the garden. : ) He eats the flowers from the pac choi and mustard, and he loves mustard greens. Cool.

There are other things blooming, or getting ready to bloom, too - not just veggies going to seed. : )
Flowers I've planted: sweet allysum - such a yummy scent - nasturtiums, marigolds, calendula, borage, and a Pacific Northwest wildflower mix for shade areas, from West Coast Seeds. And of course there are the bloomin' weeds. But I don't mind them - they add color and diversity, and they feed the bees. It's all good. : )

And here are far too many photos of my garden growing! I like to keep a record of how things grow, but I'm not very good at writing it down - but a digital camera is awesome for keeping track of how my garden grows.




































AND! I moved. I moved to the property where my garden is. Happy girl here. It's a cozy little shack with a high bed, so there is space for a desk underneath. And I got THE BEST chair for it. $85 at Habitat for Humanity. The comfiest chair I've ever had. It takes up a lot of floor space, but there's not much I'll be doing in there that requires floor space. I'm a curl-up-in-a-comfy-chair girl. : )



And we've been putting together an outdoor kitchen. I've always wanted an outdoor kitchen. We've got a little rocket stove made of firebricks that we've been experimenting with. Totally fun. We've cook rice, oatmeal, stir fry, Mexican food (black beans and spicy pork), and stew. Awesomeness. I've also got a little propane cooker, and a toaster oven. Someday I hope we can make a rocket oven!





The big black box thingy used to be in his old canopy. The part that is covered with (recycled) foam is a cooler (I'm going to cover it with something). Keeps my stuff nice and cool. And it's right outside my door.

Here's the view from my front steps!



All in all, it's been a lovely spring/beginning summer. Hope your gardening season is going as well as mine is!

Cheers
Tracy

 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There’s a moment in the gardening season when it seems like everything just kicks in over night. All of a sudden plants are huge, flowers are blooming, and the bees have discovered the patch of mustards that have gone to seed. The zucchini are pumping out their massive blooms daily and starting to grow little zukes, the broccoli is heading out, and it’s time to harvest the spring stuff and make room for new plantings. The borage flowers are heavy with bees, and the calendula are brightening up all the corners of the garden.




I love that moment. But it’s also time to get out my snippers and cut back some of this jungle, harvest some turnips, and do another planting of carrots, cilantro, green onions, winter leeks, mustard, chard, and possibly some other things tucked in here and there.

 




We are eating salad (mmmm arugula) and stir fry fresh from the garden regularly, as well as the occasional green smoothie. Yum. (We did a video of that which I’ll post soon, once I get my youtube channel up and running.) We have our sun tea brewing, and there is regular grazing going on in the garden. Had a nibble of fresh dill the other day. So tasty. It’s fun showing my friend Rich what’s growing and what to pick. He likes to go into the garden and pick mint and lemon balm for his tea. And graze in the mustard patch. : )





 




My sun tea has mint, lemon balm, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, stevia, and borage flowers, all fresh from the garden. Oh, and some organic green tea. Should be a nice refreshing healthy drink. I have a sweet tooth, so I’ll probably add some powdered Monk fruit, or some honey to it. Powdered Monk fruit is my sweetener of choice these days, as I’m trying kick the sugar habit. It smells funny, but it sure tastes good in baking, and on my oatmeal. (I did try the powdered Monk fruit in my tea. Very tasty.)

It’s been cloudy and rainy the past few days, and the garden has been drinking it in. It’s been pretty dry up till now, but we seem to be getting our April showers in July. I don’t mind though - we really needed the rain.

There are lots of other flowers planted throughout the garden: marigold, calendula, sweet alyssum and sweetpeas (mmm so sweet), borage (really BIG borage plants) a wild flower mix, and of course the cilantro, mustard, pac choi, radish, and rapini that has gone to seed. Lots of things to bring in the beneficial insects and pollinators. And it just looks purdy. Can’t imagine a garden without flowers.









The turnips are mighty impressive, and the carrots are at a good size for eating now. Lots of the mustard, rapini and pac choi that I planted in the spring are going to seed; but we like to eat the flowers, so I don’t mind. I’ll leave a small patch to go to seed, and cut back the rest for a little chop and drop.

The tomatoes are flowering now. That’s something I’m really looking forward to. That and the zucchini. I do love zucchini. I do a lot of baking with it. And this year I hope to dry a bunch so I can have zucchini in my winter stews. I grow the Romanesco variety - I find it so much tastier, and you can let it get quite large without losing flavor. More bang for your buck! And it’s great for drying too.





And the broccoli is almost ready! I don’t know why, but growing your own broccoli is very satisfying. I’ll let you know how it tastes. : )



We’ve also been having fun with the rocket stove. Great fun to cook different things on it. We’re even using it for baking by putting a cast iron Dutch oven on top. We’ve done bread (Rich puts some coals on the lid to brown up the top), pizza, cookies, and biscuits on it so far; along with rice, stir fry, and stew. We’re going to do a bunch of videos about how to cook different things on a rocket stove. Fun!







After we got the design sorted out on the lawn with the fire bricks, Rich did a really cool thing - he built it into the stone wall we built. This area is going to have a shelter built over it, so it will end up being the outdoor kitchen area. It’s going to be lovely.

He also set up an outdoor water heating system: black ABS hose running along the top of the garden fence where the sun shines most, and then down over the side. It heats the water enough for washing dishes, or having a quick shower - right beside the hydrangea. Nice.





Rich cut back the trees some more by the rock garden area, so it’s getting much more sun, and will be the new herb garden. There are sage, thyme and oregano in there right now, along with lovage, bee balm, and some flowers from a flower mix. And nasturtiums. Still pretty sparse right now, but next year it will kick in.





There’s a small bed nearby with cucumbers planted in it. They are starting to kick in, and although it isn’t exactly full sun, it is very warm; and the plants are starting to bloom, so I’m hopeful that I’ll get some cukes from them.




There has been surprisingly little predation in the garden. The turnips were the hardest hit when they were small, but they’ve done fine despite their holey leaves. The scarlet runner beans that I planted to grow over the garden gate got hit hard too, but they are bouncing back, and climbing up the bamboo pole I set up. The black turtle beans also had some visitors who like to chew holes in the leaves, but they are doing fine as well. I had kind of expected to have more loses there, so my bean patch is pretty thick. But they all look healthy, so I’m not too worried. They are blooming now, with little purple blossoms.







I’ve only come across one big ol’ fat slug in the garden so far. He was relocated. : )

Of course, there are weeds growing in the garden - all the more for chop and drop! I let them get big, if they’re not shading anything out, and then cut them back. That way I am adding more organic matter to the garden. I don’t mind weeds in the garden. If I decide I don’t want them there, I just hack them back. No problemo. They’re just part of the diversity of the garden.

I have used some of our homemade compost to build up one of the beds. I need more growing space! Carrots, mustards, and some other stuff (don’t know what yet) will be going in shortly. The compost was a mix of some finished compost, and some almost finished compost, over top of some chop and drop.

Here's the list of everything that is growing in the gardens at the moment:

thyme
sage
rosemary
parsley
stevia
summer savory
basil
dill
mints
cilantro
chives
lemon balm
bee balm
borage
sweetpeas
marigold
calendula
cosmos
wildflower mix
green onions
snow peas
black beans
scarlet runner beans
lettuce mix
mustard
pac choi
rapini
turnips
carrots
beets
broccoli
arugula
kale
leeks
kohlrabi
chard
zucchini
tomatoes
peppers
cucumbers

All in all, I’m very satisfied with the first year of this garden so far. The low light situation hasn’t really affected it too much. Even though it doesn’t get sun until about 11:00, it’s still growing beautifully. The areas that get early afternoon shade are planted with things that like it cooler, such as mustard. We do like our mustard. : )

I have been working fast and furious on Paul and Shawn’s new book Building a Better World in Your Backyard, and have missed spending more time in the garden. So I’m looking forward to getting my hands dirty again.

My next adventure will be fermenting! I’ve never done it, but I’ve read up on it a lot, and found some recipes for the stuff that’s growing in my garden - turnips, leafy greens (Yay, a way to preserve the arugula, beet, and turnip tops!), carrots, and zucchini. I’ll hopefully have cucumbers as well, for fermented pickles, and most of what I’ll need for fermented salsa. Yum.

I hope everyone’s gardening season is as joyful as mine has been!

Cheers
Tracy

P.S.  More random garden pics. I just can't stop taking photos of this beautiful garden!



















 
pioneer
Posts: 76
Location: Sydney, Australia. Subtropics
31
forest garden urban medical herbs
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Incredible garden design! I have broccoli raab (rapini) growing up from seed. Do they taste any good?
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Ben.

Yes, rapini is very good. It has a stronger taste than broccoli, but very enjoyable. And awesome in stir fry. : )
 
pollinator
Posts: 782
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
48
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, I love this, Tracy! and the fact that you're in a location with some similarities to mine : )  You'll be a wonderful 'template' for me when I can get back to my garden.  So happy for you in your new 'situation'.... (the future holds so many 'treasures'... must remind myself of that... always : )
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Nancy. I'm really enjoying this garden. Just about to do an update!

Always happy to be an inspiration!
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
August update

Planting a fall garden is like spring all over again! Preparing the soil, adding compost, planting seeds, and watching daily for signs of life. I love it.





The peas that were planted in March finished, and I’ve cleared them out and planted broccoli, green onions and parsley. I planted the fall peas along the fence, along with green onions, dill and cilantro.





Fall carrots have been planted, as well as a new crop of mustard, to take over when the current crop goes to seed. I’ll sow some pac choi, when the weather cools down a bit more. Radishes too.

The volunteer tomato plant that sprung up in the garden has fruits forming. Curious to see how much we get from it, and what kind of tomato it is. We had some more volunteer tomatoes spring up in a pot, which we transplanted to the garden, and some other pots, just to see what happens.

We had our first cucumber the other day - so juicy and tasty. I planted Green Dragon cucumbers, from West Coast Seeds. One of the plants has the usual Green Dragon fruits. But the other two have different fruits - smoother, shorter, and fatter. Not sure what happened there, but they’re all tasty. That’s all that really matters. Green Dragon is an F1 hybrid.





The kohlrabi is also doing okay. Very tasty, too.





I took out the last two zucchini plants. I think the blossom end rot is a calcium deficiency. Definitely not a lack of pollination - the garden is always buzzing with bees and other insects. So next year I’ll have to make sure I get some calcium into the place where I’ll be planting zucchini. I really miss having it. It’s one of my faves, and I LOVE zucchini bread. : (

I have some leeks growing, and am curious to see how they do once the weather gets cold and the garden isn’t getting much sun.

The Black Turtle Beans are LOADED with pods. I’m pretty stoked about that. Really looking forward to trying homegrown black beans. I love black beans, but have never grown them. They are in the process of drying down now. If I get a good harvest, I’ll plant more next year.





I have a couple of scarlet runner beans growing by the gate. They got majorly set back by slug damage when they were small, but they have bounced back, and are growing really well. They have reached the top of the fence, and are blooming, and even making some pods. They’re quite lovely.

The sweetpeas are gracing the garden fence with their sweet blossoms. My favorite scented garden flowers. The sweet alyssum (my second favorite scented garden flower) bloomed sweetly, and I cut it back to get a second bloom. The nasturtiums are running rampant, and bringing hummingbirds to the garden. Nice. I had to take out a couple of massive ones, to make room for more food. Marigolds and calendula are still pumping out the blossoms; but the borage is winding down - although I see that they have dropped their seeds all over, and I am ‘weeding’ them out. The bees will miss them. But there are still plenty of bloomin’ things in the garden.




This whole garden has been an experiment to see what grows well in a garden with less than optimal light. So far so good on most things. Now to see how it does in winter. Most of the garden really won’t be getting much sun at all in the winter, so hopefully things grow fast over the next couple of months, and I’ll have veg to harvest in the winter. I’m trying to be strategic in where I plant things, so they get as much sun as possible.









The parsley and arugula are still going gang busters. II’ve been making pesto with the greens in the garden. I’ll be making a bunch more to put in the freezer. Great way to preserve greens for winter tasties. So far I’ve made arugula, arugula and parsley, and turnip greens and kale pestos. Pretty dang tasty.

Pestos I’m going to try:

Parsley and dill - this would be awesome on fish, or as a salad dressing
Brassica greens and herbs - will be nice added to winter stews
Mustard - winter stews, stir fries, or as a marinade. yum
Cilantro - I’ll use this to make fresh salsa
I’m also going to try adding lemon balm to a batch and see what that’s like. Might be nice with the cilantro.

Rosemary and oregano will be dried, along with parsley, summer savory, sage, and hopefully a bit of thyme. I started the thyme from seed, so it’s still pretty small. But it will kick in next year and I’ll have lots.

Other things that I will be drying are kale, tomatoes (we had our first ripe ones the other day!), and peppers. And we’re going to pick a bunch of blackberries too, and dry them. Maybe make fruit leather out of them. That would be yummy.







The cucumbers are doing surprisingly well, considering they don’t get as much sun as they probably prefer. I’m going to try some fermented pickles with them, although they’re not the pickling type. I’ve heard that they might not be crisp once fermented. But I’ll try a jar and see how it goes.

I’d also love to try some fermented salsa. I think that would be a great way to preserve summer freshness. I read that I can ferment greens, so I tried a jar, but it went bad. But I think I like the idea of making pesto with the greens instead, and freezing them - or just blanching and freezing. I think I’ll really enjoy that ‘fresh greens’ flavor this winter. I’ve got a jar of grated turnip that should be fermenting, but it’s not bubbly at all. Smells great, and definitely has a ‘fermenty’ smell. This is my first time doing ferments, so I don’t expect to get it all right the first time. : )




Fall and Winter crops

Broccoli
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Turnips
Beets
Mustard
Kale
Parsley
Carrots
Arugula
Cilantro
Green onions

Oh, and I’ll be planting garlic too. Better figure out where those are going to go, so I save space for them.





Herbal remedies projects

I’ve been picking and drying calendula flowers all summer, to make an infused oil to use as a base for salves and skin cream. My tiny house was festoon with hanging bunches for weeks. Very festive. I’ve got two quarts of calendula infused grapeseed oil brewing now. And I have two small jars, one of cayenne infused oil, and one of comfrey infused oil.









I’m also going to make a rosemary infused oil, and some herbal vinegars. Great to use for cooking, as well as skin and hair care! Hmmm maybe I should do Apple Cider Vinegar infused with rosemary for a hair rinse. That would be a good one. I also have 3 jars of Fire Cider brewing. All of these will sit for a month, and then I’ll strain and rebottle them.





I also have plantain (harvested from the property), and (other leaves that I don’t think I can mention the name of here) drying, to make into infused oils. And today I’ll lay out some lemon balm to dry, for the same purpose. I’m really having fun stocking up my apothecary. Can’t wait to start experimenting to see what works for our various aches, pains, and maladies. Menopause has left me a little ragged around the edges, so I’m excited about putting my new found remedies to the test. My skin and hair need some TLC. : )




The outdoor kitchen project

The outdoor kitchen is pretty much done. The structure is up and roofed. We decided to go with a clear roof, so the space will be a little brighter. The floor is cement and wood. Doesn’t it look great? There will be a table/counter in there at some point.





The rocket stove gets lots of use. We cook our dinners on it almost every night, as well as using it to make stove top granola and honied ginger on a regular basis. So tasty.

We do love playing with the rocket stove. So far we’ve cooked the normal fare - stew, stir fry, fried eggs, pasta, potatoes, etc. But we’ve also used it to make rice, oatmeal, and popcorn. And! We’ve use the cast iron Dutch oven on it to cook pizza, bread, cookies and biscuits. Works great - just have to put a few coals on top, and it’s just like a little oven. We went blackberry picking the other day, and made a blackberry crumble on the rocket stove. So delicious.





This week I’ll be digging a hole beside the rocket stove for the haybox cooker. I’m really looking forward to cooking up some big pots of beans and chickpeas to put in the freezer. I do love my black beans. : )

The in-ground cooler is working pretty well. I think we’ll add a little more insulation around the inner cooler to see if we can make that ice last a little longer. But eventually Rich is going to build a box to go inside the hole - which is lined with bricks - and make it good and insulated. I’ll keep you posted on its progress.

~

Things that are doing/did really well in the garden:

broccoli - still getting side shoots galore
parsley
arugula (perennial)
snowpeas
mustard
cucumber
black beans
radish
green onion
kale
oregano
thyme
chives
cilantro
lemon balm
nasturtium
marigold
borage
calendula
sweetpeas
sweet alyssum

Things that did/are doing okay

carrots
turnips
lettuce
summer savory
kohlrabi
rapini
bee balm

Things that didn’t do well

zucchini - blossom end rot - lack of calcium?
summer celery - pretty puny. I don’t think I’ll plant it again next year. I have lovage growing now, so that will be my celery replacement.


And that’s where we’re at with all of our projects.  I’m very pleased, and look soooo forward each day to picking my food fresh from the garden, and cooking it in the outdoor kitchen. And I’m loving building up my store of herbal remedies from the garden and property. This is the life. : )

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful gardening season.

Cheers
Tracy
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 2149
Location: Sunshine Coast, BC
617
hugelkultur forest garden fungi trees books chicken bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As much as I love the abundance of summer in the garden, autumn has its own abundance. I love the colors of autumn. I love the crisp cool air, and the smell after the rain. And I’m excited to compile all of the information from this first year garden, and decide what I will grow where next year. I love the planning.

I have herbs drying for teas and cooking - parsley, lemon balm, bee balm, stevia, rosemary, oregano, sage, and soon some chives - and concoctions brewing for herbal remedies and skin care.









And I made my first ferments! Wow. So tasty. I sorta kinda followed a recipe I found on line that is a bit like kimchi, but uses kale. I have a lot of kale. And I loved it!

So I’ve done another 6 quarts, using some purchased veg - garlic, bok choi, jalapeños, ginger, carrots - and as much as I can from the garden:

kale
chard
beet tops
parsley
summer celery
leeks
green onions
chives

The next one will include the above, plus some carrots, kohlrabi, and beets that are about ready, and as many herbs as we have left hanging around: rosemary, sage, and oregano mainly. Oh, and I’m going to throw in some lemon balm into a jar as well. Hopefully it will add a nice citrus flavour. I wonder if the medicinal qualities will remain after fermenting? Should be an interesting experiment. AND! Cilantro. I’ll put that in a couple of jars and see how it tastes.

I’ll also have some green tomatoes, and will try those in some ferments to see how it tastes. Maybe do it with cilantro, garlic, and hot peppers, to make a fermented green salsa! mmmmmm

Anyway, I think fermenting is my new favorite way to preserve! Next year I hope to have a good dehydrator, but this year fermenting is the way I’m going.




But the garden season isn’t really over. There are still things growing in the garden; still things to harvest, and hopefully some to eat throughout the winter - unless we get gobs of snow like we did last winter. But the kale is tall enough to poke up through the snow. : )




Still growing in the garden:

Parsley
Chives
Summer Celery (which didn’t grow worth a damn in the summer, but kicked in when the cooler weather came)
Chard
Kale
Arugula
Kohlrabi
Carrots
Beets
Beet tops
Mustard











And the flowers:

Calendula
Marigold
Sweet Allysum
Cosmos (which are HUGE, and didn’t start blooming until the end of September)






I planted some veggies at the beginning of September, but then we got weeks of rain, and very little sun, so they didn’t all really kick in. But I’ll be getting some beet tops, chard, kale, baby greens, and cilantro, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

And of course, the cool, damp weather has brought out the slugs and snails. But that’s to be expected here on the Wet Coast. We have to share. : )

Most of the garden doesn’t get any sun now, so I’m harvesting all I can, and will put it to bed soon.





Compost

We do love gathering things for the compost. Of course, there are the leftovers from harvesting, cleaning out the garden, and chopping veggies for the ferments, which all go in the compost.

We also pee in jars and put that on the compost piles. : )

In the name of diversity, we also gather leaf mold from the forest floor of deciduous forests; and we’ll be gathering maple leaves soon from the same spot we gathered from last year, to use to mulch the garden.

AND! When we go for walks with the dog . . . we gather elk poop. : ) Yes indeed. We take our bags and our gloves and scoop it up and take it home. We’ve done lots of looking around, and found the best places where they congregate and eat in the evenings. We don’t have room for animals here, so this is how we’re incorporating animal manure into our compost piles.

It’s great exercise, and I’ve gotten to see a lot of the country side around my new home. It’s quite beautiful, and quite abundant. We also spent quite a bit of time this summer gathering deadfall to use in the rocket stove; and of course, last fall when we were building the garden, we gathered deadfall to use in the hugelkultur garden beds. There is an abundance of material in nature that we can use for building healthy gardens. We don’t have to buy it.

And seaweed! We’ll be gathering that as well. Such diversity in our compost piles will surely make the second year in the this garden even better.

The one resource that some of you might find controversial is . . . recycling peat and perlite that we find dumped in the woods, that was once used for growing marijuana. We get that a lot around here. : )

Having read up on how grow ops generally grow their weed, and knowing that it’s generally grown safely around here, I have few qualms about using it. We put it through the compost process, layered in with the greens, manure, straw, and urine, and feel quite safe using it after that. Most of the stuff we gathered had been sitting out for quite a while, so it has been rained on and leached.

The fact is, I just couldn’t let such as valuable resource go to waste. All that organic matter! And the waste of such a precious and finite resource as peat moss! I just couldn’t do it. It’s perfect for beefing up the sandy soil here. So, while some may think this a bit crazy, I am pretty confident that it is a good thing.




~

And that’s the fall garden! It really was an amazing first year garden. Most things worked well, a few weren’t great but still contributed to our summer diet, and a couple were total fails. But that’s gardening - it’s always an experiment in timing, climate, pest control, and soil health. I always learn a lot, and will apply what I’ve learned this year to next year’s garden.

You really do have to observe a site for a year before you know all there is to know about it. Light being the limiting factor here, I’ve learned where I’ll be planting things next year to get the most out of the garden in space and time. If it were MY place, there are a couple trees that I’d cut down. But it’s not, so I won’t. : ) So it will be a matter of utilizing the light there is, and optimizing the space to get the best harvest.

I’ve scoped out a better spot to grow tomatoes for next year - they just didn’t get enough light on the deck - and hopefully we’ll have a better harvest next year.

I hope you all had a fabulous garden season, and were able to put aside a little for the winter.

And now, to wait until the new seed catalogs come out!

Cheers
Tracy

PS

As you probably know, Paul and Shawn’s book is printed and ready for purchase - you can grab a copy HERE.. As you may not know, I illustrated and did the layout for the book. I just got my copies in the mail, and I think it’s GORGEOUS! But I might be a little biased . . . : )



 
Why am I so drawn to cherry pie? I can't seem to stop. Save me tiny ad!
3 Plant Types You Need to Know: Perennial, Biennial, and Annual
https://permies.com/t/96847/Pros-cons-perennial-biennial-annual
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!