Well it seems like overnight our part of the world has come to life. It’s still chilly with a constant threat of rain, snow and frost, but it’s slowly turning to summer. And I’m so relieved. So, so relieved! And it also means that it’s time to get the vegetable garden growing!
I waited to get my garden in the ground until after I completed an Organic Gardening course at our local university. After I took this class I felt so inspired by all the amazing tips for growing all different kinds of vegetables for our region. It’s a bit tricky here with our very short gardening season, but with the right care and attention, it is possible to grow a lot! So I’m being brave this year, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and I’m trying a lot of new things. So exciting!
Come for a little tour of my garden in it’s beginning stages, and see some of the things I learned in my class! Let’s start here, my raised bed:
This raised bed is where most of my vegetables are going. I have had some trouble with this garden, and I really think it’s the soil. This bed was filled with a bagged soil from Costco, and while my flower pots loved it, my veggie garden did not.
Here are some tips I was given that I have implemented:
I had to amend my soil by adding some organic matter: compost or some other organic matter. My teacher suggested I try a sea soil which apparently vegetables thrive in! I used a 40 L bag of sea soil called Ocean Plus Earth. I was told to just sprinkle it on top of my existing soil (top dress), not to mix it in, then plant my seeds.
For backyard gardening, raised beds planted full of vegetables is the way to go. My instructor recommended that the gardens should be filled, with the idea that little to no soil be showing once the plants have all grown. Fill ‘er up I did!
In my raised garden this year I am growing a lot of veggies! And I’m really focusing on companion planting. The idea being to plant vegetables that like each other close together. Just makes sense if you ask me!
Here’s what I am companion planting:
- Garlic and onions – I planted these close together, and next to the radishes, carrots and parsnips.
- Radishes and carrots. I combined the radish and carrot seeds together and sprinkled them into a row. The idea here is that the radish seeds grow quickly, breaking the soil surface for the delicate carrot plants to come through. Then I’ll thin the seedlings as I need to as the season progresses. (see the picture below)
- Radishes and parsnips. Same idea here as the carrots.
- Green Beans
And just to show you how the radish/carrot/parsnip seed arrangement works, here is what has come up in the garden 1 week later! The radish seeds are paving the way for the carrots & parsnips!
In the back part of my yard I have arranged 4 big planters for another series of gardens. Back here I am growing quite a few things: I’ve got 3 veggie planters, and one planter full of geraniums just because they’re pretty!
Here is what’s growing:
I have put together another companion planter: Tomatoes, peppers and basil all love to grow together!
For those of us who have short growing seasons, it is recommended to plant these as seedlings, and not to try to grow them from seed. I found these lovelies at our local greenhouse all ready to go!
One other idea that fascinated me was to grow squashes or pumpkins in a container. I have never ever entertained the idea of growing any type of squash in my garden because I just didn’t think I had the room for them! But my instructor has a friend who grows perfect pumpkins in containers on her apartment balcony! Amazing! And so worth trying out! So this year I am growing zucchini! (and same idea here to plant them as seedlings, not from seed) (I have too many plants in this pot, so I’m going to move a couple into another pot later)
This container is full of a mesclun mix. If harvested properly, we should have salad all summer long!
Look how much has grown in 1 week!
Well, that’s what is happening now! I’m very excited to see how everything grows this season…I’m very determined to have a fabulous harvest! I’ll keep you posted throughout the season!