Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

Posts tagged “gardening in the kootenays

Accidentally deleted my 200 best photos of 2012, Garden Bliss

This was supposed to be a series of photo galleries.  But, thanks to my own tech-stupidity I managed to erase all files during a failed transfer to a too full hard drive.  Cry.  My sensible mother’s response- take 200 more pictures.  

It’s been a rainy spring but warm enough that my garden is loving it. Left it behind with reservations despite the King promising to water it, and 2 different friends offered bounty in exchange for some tlc.  I just don’t trust anybody else!  Not that it really surprises me I guess, my plants are my babies and I’ll have been gone for almost 3 weeks.  This is a matter of life and death people.  I need to make a laminated illustrated guide to the main weeds in my garden for garden sitters.

In the front yard of our yurt I have built my stepped Kitchen Garden.  It currently hosts about 10? 100sq foot raised garden beds made of stone found on property.  I don’t work out, I work outside.  I was blown away by what I found after the snow melted, what was a few short years ago wild forest thick with prickly brush and trees is now an orderly(ish) assembly of growing space.  I have filled my beds with a combo of on site dirt which is clay and decayed organic matter- lots of old cedar, a ton of lime, compost, vermiculite, manure, etc.  I just add another couple inches every year.  I’ve been making my compost pile where I intend to make a new bed, and it has been working really well. On the 15th the 1st round of peas were heady in bloom, the 2nd planting still shy with it’s flowers.  The 3rd round went in, along with my corn and cucumbers.  June 15th seems late to put corn it, but it has been so cold and wet.  If  none come up I might try my luck with a short season variety planted early July.  I am hoping for some warmer weather, but no luck yet. I’ve been using companion planting combined with square foot spacing and having fantastic results.  I have 18 broccoli with lovely little heads forming in neat little rows that some how are making me feel more like a real gardener, red cabbage, kale, brussells sprouts, rainbow chard, carrots, several salad beds of mixed greens, radishes and flowers, pumpkins, squashes, beets, onions, strawberries a plenty, raspberries, blueberries, young fruit trees, herb and flower beds and I am sure I have forgotten about some others.  It really is a magical place; I wish I had not lost all the photos!  We are a zone 6a, I believe.  In our area (even just our property) there are crazy diverse micro-climates.  I’m homesteading about 50K from Nelson, BC.  The difference in a couple of gardening seasons to a property is amazing!  I feel like I have a yard now.

We have a cast iron tub and our spring is running really swiftly now, the gravity fed gushing into the yard by the yurt and a genuine waterfall tumbling into the pond! (not a puddle anymore) in the Water Garden.  I’m eager for when I have time to get digging again.  It seems that ever since we got going in the Kitchen Garden I’ve been neglecting the other one.  

The trio of terror are all thriving, and have wonderfully cute suits to wear to my cousin’s wedding this weekend.  I’ll take lots of pictures of them, dressed as our mountain man neighbor would say “uptown”.

Off to go weed in my Mum’s garden.  Once I thought of this as a chore, now it feels like a guilty pleasure.  I never really did fully get my mother’s love of plants until I started feeding my family the fruits of my efforts.  

I’ve been really happy with http://www.westcoastseeds.com/ for seed quality!

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Garden clean up time

It looks like I’m going to be bringing all my green tomatoes with me to process into green tomato ketchup (by the boys request).  I’m a tad disappointed that only a few ripened, but glad they are still useable.  I was planning on putting in 10lbs of garlic this fall, but good intentions….I put in .5 lbs of Red Russian garlic, but I did prep two new big raised beds that will be all ready for spring planting which I am pretty stoked about.  I”ve been building some stone retaining walls all around the kitchen garden and they really define the space in such a satisfying way.  All and all it was a pretty successful gardening season for me. I had enough veggies to share and we didn’t have to buy much in the way of greens for most of the summer.  We have one piddly pumpkin and a cantaloupe the size of a golf ball.  I was amazed by the perfect waxy purple eggplants that we grew.  Looking forward to spending some time pouring through seed catalogs this winter and getting connected with local gardeners next spring.

I’ve just joined http://inthekoots.com/ in the gardening group, hope to see some of you there!