Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010


All blog posts about my garden can now be found at: Sadie. Come follow me there!

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 2, 2010 - Garden Update

The garden is still coming along very slowly. Plants are plagued with problems that my rudimentary knowledge just can't get me through. Squash have blossom end rot (a problem now familiar to me), artichokes may or may not be alive still, cucumbers aren't doing much, seeds have been slow to germinate...a tough start, but things aren't looking terrible AND it's still pretty early in the season.

These are the broad beans covered in black bean aphids. Luckily, in multiple places on the same plants I spotted ladybugs doing this. Weird. This must be how they hug or something.

And, finally, I have no idea what kind of bug this is, but it was hanging out on the fence around the community garden and looks pretty cool. I feel like he's innocent, but perhaps someone else would tell me otherwise.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Planter Inspiration

Now that I have a community garden plot I feel free to use my mostly-shady patio to grow beautiful things. Inspired by my friend Camilla, who recently started a rooftop garden in Montreal, I hit up the garden centre on the way home from Fort Langley and bought some beautiful geraniums and dahlias for a box that had swiss chard in it last year. The flowers have really brightened up the patio during an otherwise pretty bleary spring here in Vancouver.

I also planted this big, lush hosta. I'm not a fan of variegated varieties (when the leaves are speckled or streaked with other colours or tones), especially in such a small space. I simply wanted some greenery to further brighten things up. The sunflowers and nasturtiums will also bring some much-needed colour to the space. Of course, I still have some herbs, tomatoes, and squash growing out here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First Harvest

Here it is, the first thing I've pulled out of the garden. These French radishes are growing amongst my carrot seedlings. I use the radishes to break up the ground for the carrots that will come up much later. Radishes have got to be one of the most satisfying things to grow as they mature so quickly. The only question is, what do you really do with them? I like to eat them raw, but this orange and radish salad sounds pretty good, too.

Edible natives in British Columbia

Here's a quick look at some of the native edibles I learned about in a recent field course I took. Don't eat any of them on account of reading this blog. There are lots of poisonous things out there that you might mistakenly think are the plants below.

First we have the aptly-named Rubus spectabilis (or salmonberry) from the Rosaceae family (the same as blackberries and saskatoons, among others). At this time of year in B.C. the berries are just starting to ripen in forested areas and a few of the bright pink flowers will definitely still be hanging around. These photos were taken near Beecher Creek in Burnaby. This is a great plant (hardy to zone 5) to use to attract wildlife, especially birds, to your garden.

Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus, family Rosaceae) is one of the most beautiful woodland berry plants in B.C., in my opinion. The fuzzy leaves and white blossoms look lovely this time of year. This photo was also taken near Beecher Creek in Burnaby. Berries will be quite tiny and full of seeds when they appear, though assures me that they make a fine jelly.

Finally I offer up this basically amazing plant: sea asparagus or Salicornia spp. (in the, get this, Chenopodiaceae or "goosefoot" family). This photo was taken at Boundary Bay where the entire lower salt marsh is colonized by Salicornia (though it is of dubious quality due to exposure to pollutants from the Fraser River). I also encountered this plant at Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver where I sampled it for the first time. It has quite a pleasing texture and is very very very salty. Apparently it's really catching on in restaurants. Order it next time you see it on the menu. Here's what EAT magazine is saying... And here are some recipes for sea asparagus, should you be so lucky as to find a supplier in your area.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Strawberry Patch

As of the middle of April the garden is coming along really well. Seeds I put in a few weeks ago are up and starting to develop secondary leaves. Try to ignore the few pieces of crab grass. That promises to be a lifelong battle. Radishes, Asian stirfry greens, and gai lan are all making appearances.

These strawberries are the variety "Seascape". They came as bare root plants and ended up taking up more space than I had planned. Still, it's worth it to have a productive strawberry patch. I miss the huge ones we had at our last place.

New French tarragon plants are also in!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Garden Gets Started! April 3, 2010

This year Jeff and I each have a community garden plot at the Cypress Community Garden in Vancouver. With the help of our next door neighbour and friend Sara we've gotten things off to as early a start as possible. My life has been garden deficient since moving from Calgary. I'm aspiring to have these plots overflowing with produce for the next five months or so. Watch it all unfold here.
Our garden plots April 3, 2010. Chives, oregano, and a few flowers are up. Mushroom manure has been added. Weeds have been (mostly) removed...for now.

The worms in Vancouver are gigantic.

Asian stir-fry greens are already coming up!