The Start Of Gardening Season

We’ve been traveling between the Gulf Islands and Alberta enough years now that we have finally started to understand the different times of year and when we need to get things done. For instance, digging into the ground in the summer isn’t an option, the ground is rock hard. Spring, however is the perfect time to tackle projects.

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Sophie, Baxter and Mark hard at work.

We are continuing to attempt to grow food on the coast. We are absentee gardeners at times, and do not have any watering system in place, yet we continue with the challenge. Each year we add more growing space, and this year we added a very large raised bed as the other beds were already spoken for by vegetables that have proven themselves to be reliable.

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We have had very good luck with the chard. It grew throughout the winter and made a lovely addition to the crockpot soups we love to have after a day of hiking, kayaking or yard work. I’m a big fan of make-ahead meals on days when we are busy, plus there are lots of left overs for our boys who love to eat. This year chard gets a raised bed to itself so I can alternate seeding rows to always have a supply of the fresh green leafs.

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(fuzzy late in the day iPhone pic!)

Another proven success has been garlic. This batch was planted in the fall and is almost a foot tall. Beside it are multiplying onions, another vegetable we used heavy in the kitchen.

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This is the seed layout for the new bed. Kale at the back getting a large long row. This is another vegetable that grows year round in the Gulf Islands.  The rest of the bed is home to lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes (I try every year but usually have failures!), cucumbers (an experiment) , and zucchini (first attempt at the coast).

We also have a deep raised bed planted with potatoes.

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Baxter planting potatoes.

As the potatoes produced wonderfully last year with almost no attention paid to them, we decided to add a second potato garden. Last year in this spot I had literally dug a hole, threw in a few potatoes, and left it to nature; we ended up with a lot of tasty spuds. This year we leveled the hill in front of where we planted last year and planted a good amount of potatoes. The hill had been an eyesore, so it was great to have a reason to dig it down.

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Baxter watering lilies. Can you tell who my biggest garden helper is?

At the front end of the flattened hill we put in a lily bed, transplanting the lilies from throughout the yard to one spot. We will add more perennials as time goes on. This meant we could remove the protective mesh from the rest of the yard as the rest of our plants are deer resistant, and just mesh in the lily bed and the vegetable beds.

What is next for the yard? Transplanting any new spurge seedlings I find to the front flowerbeds as spurge seems to be the answer to the problem areas. I am still taming the backyard , plus there is the fence. The fence is a huge project, but will be worth the work once done.

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The fence. Old on the left, reworked on the right.

iPhone pics by Debra Hunter

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About Deb

Photographer, artist and artisan splitting time between Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. Check out my new project at www.handmade-canada.com , a site for Canadian handmades and art.
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