I asked on the facebook page, what others would like to see more of. Gardening was mentioned, so I thought I’d share things that I learn, as I go along.
I’m not totally new to gardening, but I do still feel pretty much like a beginner. There is SO much to be learned. Gardening itself is pretty basic, but to garden really well, it becomes more complex.
Over the years of our marriage, I’ve had several gardens, in several parts of Canada.
I had a decent sized garden in Ontario when our eldest two children, Alesia and Joshua, were just young and up to the time Elsa was a baby. At that time however, I had a neighbour who was a wonderfully patient friend, and a seasoned gardener. She practically held my hand, step by step, through the whole gardening process that very first time. I still remember how she laughed when I told her how many pickling cucumber plants I had planted. She said I’d have enough pickles for the entire neighbourhood!
Sure enough, I did have TONS of pickling cucumbers that first year. What a blessing it was, because then she taught me how to make all sorts of pickles! Those pickles moved all the way to British Columbia with us!
When we moved to BC, I was pregnant with twins and we moved a few times in a few years. Until we finally bought another home of our own, we went without a garden. Our new home was in a small oceanside city. We had a decent sized back yard, so we built a couple of raised garden beds. In this garden I was able to add seaweed, and it was fabulous! The garden was my smallest ever, but I was able to grow quite a bit of veggies for the amount of space I had. I also grew a lot of flowers in those few years. I would go to yard sales and buy other gardeners spare flower bulbs. This is also how I bought lots of starter pots and gardening tools.
Once we moved to our first small hobby farm, the five acre farm in Nanoose Bay, BC, I dreamed of having my very first large garden. However, it never came to be. We had a lot of deer and rabbits, and there was so much work to be done at that property, in the home and the cabin, that the funds were always tied up in reno’s and yard work. We put off building and fencing in a garden each year because of this. Once we began planning a move to buy a larger ‘farm’, we put the garden dream on hold indefinitely, until we would be moved into our ‘final’ home.
Last spring, it finally happened. We bought this home and immediately started on a garden. A very large garden! We had to work fast as we moved here the last weekend of April. I purchased all my peppers and tomatoes as plants, rather than seeds, since we had a late start. We also planted 50 pounds of seed potatoes in 4 varieties. Lots of salad greens in seed and starter plants. All grew fairly well. We planted loads of carrot sees, but they did not growe well at all. I know now that we started them too late, when the earth was already too dry and hot. They had been the last seeds we planted, when they should have been among the first. Last year was rushed. This year, I’m aiming to do things in a much more methodical, relaxed, and NOT RUSHED way!
Those of you who are planning your first garden, here’s what I did the other day to save myself a lot of stress this year.
Once my seed order arrived, I sat down and went through each one to find out which seeds would need to be started indoors, early, and how early. Which would need to be planted before last frost and which would need to be planted after the fear of last frost.
I did not do this last year because… well, we were busy at the end of April, moving for the third time in one year since arriving on the prairies. Our garden still did ‘fine’ but we’re aiming for our garden to do GREAT!
*(I am SO grateful we moved in early enough to even HAVE a garden last year though, and we’ve been eating our potatoes, veggies, and even fruits and fruit juices all winter!)
Once I figured out which seeds would need to be started inside, early, and late, I grabbed my wall calendar and marked exact dates of when they need to be started.
For example, even though we do not start planting the more sensitive seeds until May long weekend in our area, the types of Peppers I bought actually need to be started indoors many weeks ahead, as early as this weekend even!
Next will be tomatoes and seed onion closer to April, and it just steam rolls from there right up until the May long weekend when we will plant all the rest. (With my NEW seeder!!)
Now I don’t have to feel stressed about it! I just glance at the calendar on the wall each week to see what’s coming up!
*What are some early season gardening tips you’ve learned over the years?
We’d love it if you’d share your experience with us!