Category: urban gardening

Ah my small green babies, how you have grown! Tomato cages are…

Ah my small green babies, how you have grown!

Tomato cages are great for tomatoes and all, but I find them really helpful for squashes too! I don’t have the horizontal room for sprawling stems, so the cage helps funnel that growth upwards instead.

Tomato & zucchini update!

Tomato & zucchini update!

Deck garden jumble! Deck jungle?

Deck garden jumble! Deck jungle?

The poppies in my Bee Blend wildflower planters have come up in…

The poppies in my Bee Blend wildflower planters have come up in a range of beautiful shades, from the stunning red I posted the other day to these blushing white, watercolour coral, and vibrant rose pink specimens.

The Bee Blend wildflower mix I planted is from West Coast Seeds.

Bucket trio! Red Robin cherry tomato, selected because I…

Bucket trio!

Red Robin cherry tomato, selected because I thought a compact determinate variety would be a nice change of pace from the ~5’ tall Sungolds of the last two years.

Purple Beauty sweet pepper, which I picked because honestly, how do you pass up a purple pepper? It’s like something out of a nursery rhyme.

Ronde de Nice zucchini, an heirloom variety whose fruits are the approximate size and shape of pool balls. Again, I picked this one because it seemed weird.

All three of these plants need lots of water, so I put them in self-watering planters made of nested 5 gal. buckets. I’ve had lots of success with this style of container!

Nasturtiums are: – super easy to grow – drought tolerant -…

Nasturtiums are:
– super easy to grow
– drought tolerant
– attractive to bees and hummingbirds
– ?gorgeous?

May 26, 2017 Top-down, left to right: 1. Peas! They’re…

May 26, 2017

Top-down, left to right:

1. Peas! They’re about eye-level now (cheating because the soil’s about knee height)((also I’m 5’2″)) and should be developing flowers soon!

2. I planted these a couple weeks ago, golden beets along the edges (husbo loves beets, apparently) and rainbow carrots down the centre. The germination rate is good, helped by a burst of warm weather. Beets come up thickly because the seeds are actually clusters, and carrot seeds are too tiny to space out evenly. I’ll have to thin these out in a week or so.

3. Herbs! I still haven’t planted a basil like I intended, and now I think I may just abstain and let the thyme and sage have the extra space.

4. Nasturtiums (left) and poppies (right) are starting to show tiny buds tucked among the masses of leaves

5 & 6. Strawberry and blackberry flowers, respectively. I can’t wait for delicious berries!

May 4, 2017 We had quite a hot day today, smack in the middle…

May 4, 2017

We had quite a hot day today, smack in the middle of two weeks of normal early May low-mid teens temperatures. The forecast said this evening was going to bring a cold front in off the ocean, and the resulting mix of cold and hot air masses were expected to cause a major thunderstorm – to the point that Environment Canada issued a severe weather warning.

In anticipation of heavy rain and hail I covered the heavy planters with acrylic and moved the light ones closer to the house to bring them under the protection of the little overhang above the deck. The peas I could not move to shelter because there was no space left, so I kludged together this little tent out of garbage bags and clothes pins.

I was hoping to at least deflect the worst of the hail, but we’ll never know if it would have worked because it’s a quarter to midnight and it stopped even raining hours ago. I think there were two lightning. That’s it, just two.

May 1, 2017 Behold my deck garden in all its panoramic…

May 1, 2017

Behold my deck garden in all its panoramic glory!

I shuffled everything around yesterday into the configuration it will more or less keep all summer. Things with higher water needs (peas, greens, eventual tomato/zucchini buckets) are along the railing where rain falls unimpeded. Things with lower water needs (herbs) or which can tolerate a bit of drought (wildflowers) or which like the extra warmth provided by the wall OR which just fit nicely there are along the house wall.

The side-by-side compares of the herb planter and the dwarf blackberry are April 11/April 30. These guys all seem to be steaming along happily!

The little plant stand keeps the wildflower boxes out from underfoot, and gives them all equal sun exposure.

I’m so glad it’s May! Soon it’ll be time for tomatoes, zucchini, and carrots!

April 26, 2017 The weather remains wet. Wet wet wet. The temps…

April 26, 2017

The weather remains wet. Wet wet wet. The temps have risen, at least – Easter Sunday it was a lovely 20C in the afternoon. This return to seasonal temperature norms has kickstarted growth on several things.

First, the peas – at about 8″ high these sprouts have just about doubled in height over the course of a week!

The wildflower and poppy planters are thickening up and setting out true leaves. The wildflower boxes (rectangles) are never evenly sown, because I just sprinkle the seed mix over the top of the soil willy-nilly. I like the rambling look. Constraining wildflowers to tidy rows would dampen much of their charm, to my mind.

The centre photo is one of the marigolds we planted at Sparks at the beginning of March. Some of the girls missed the meeting, so I was left with a few to take home myself. This one is the closest to blooming, but the interesting thing here is the dark purplish colour of the lower leaves. Normally green leaves turning purple are a sign of a phosphorus deficiency. This can be caused by a simple lack of phosphorus in the soil, or some environmental factor interfering with the plant’s ability to take up or use the nutrient. In this case it’s probably both – low temperatures can cause this problem for marigolds, and they were just planted in a basic sterile potting soil. I’ve amended the soil with a bit of slow-release fertilizer and the temperature is improving so with a bit of luck they’ll rebound. I just used some bog-standard Miracle Grow, because I’m not babying these guys.

Last but not least, my reseeded mesclun and chard are slowly establishing themselves. I leave this planter uncovered most of the time now, but I do keep my sheets of acrylic close to hand in case of violent downpours. If you look closely at the chard (left) you can see the various stem colours characteristic of the rainbow variety. Unlike with the sad marigolds, the purplish colouration on the tiny lettuce (right) is not a sign of a problem. This type just grows like that!