Monday, May 13, 2013

Vegetable Gardening in the Okanagan

Swiss Chard
My mom has a small garden running along the North side of the house. It isn't huge, but it's manageable and the soil is soft and black and holds moisture beautifully. 

This garden is bliss compared to our old garden at our old house. That pathetic plot was rock-hard clay. Digging a hole took all day and it seemed the only thing we grew were more rocks. In fact, "rock picking" was a dreaded punishment in my childhood. Sassing mom? One hour of rock picking! Home late? Two hours of rock picking! 

Rock picking involved going out to the back yard, picking up rocks and flinging them towards the creek. Tedious. Boring. Never-ending work. Alternately, in winter, we were punished with "wood stacking". 

Anyway, as I said, this garden is bliss! If you plant it, it will (usually) grow!

The herb garden - parsley (flat leaf and curly), dill, oregano, rocket, chives, rosemary, cilantro and mint!
(Basil, tarragon and thyme to come!)
So this month has been a month of planing and anticipation! What should we grow? Did the parsley and rosemary survive the winter? (Parsley - yes, rosemary - no.) Which tomatoes did we like last year? What were those ones the neighbour grew so well? Are the strawberries worth it? 

If you have never tended a garden, let me tell you - it's a hugely rewarding and satisfying thing to do. (As long as you have the soil that supports growing plants and not just rocks and sagebrush.)

Oh yes, I've turned into a garden geek! I've even drawn and redrawn plot maps, moving the zucchini and tomatoes to new locations, debated over planting lettuce, (how much lettuce can 3 people consume before it bolts?) spread compost, had the garden roto-tilled, and watched youtube videos on how to properly prune tomatoes. And yes - I have even picked rocks and surprisingly, rusty nails. (I find dozens of them daily!)

Now our eyes turn to the long-term forecasts. Will we have anymore frosty nights? Probably not. We're pretty sure we won't. But we might. But probably not. 

Normally, folks in this area will wait till after the May long weekend to plant tomatoes and peppers. But with gorgeous summer-like days in the high 20's and low 30's this year, ours are in, we just couldn't wait. We'll cover them if there's a frost danger. Which there won't be. Hopefully.

These little babies came up in a matter of days!

So everything is in except our peppers, and by everything I mean most of the herb garden, nine tomato plants, onions, carrots, scallions, swiss chard, mixed greens, romaine, (our neighbour gave us some), zucchini, squash and sunflowers along the back fence. 

We took our strawberries out this year because they were quite a disappointment last year, (small and watery), the blackberry bush is off to a good start, we planted our squash in a half-barrel to free up some space and the rhubarb is ready to go! 

We have a few small rows left, so space is at a premium, and no doubt we have a few more debates in store before we decide! (Cucumbers? Baby potatoes? Kale?)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, It's looking really great. My ever-bearing strawberries didn't do well last year, but it was their first year. I thought of taking them out, but they seem to have lots of blossoms, so I may have a crop in June. They had a lot of runners which I tried to clip back. I've had ever-bearing before and they did quite well--don't know what to do with this batch. I've got tomatoes out and a few other things, but I'm keeping it simple. You and your mom seem to be doing a really nice job--very neat planting. (Nice to see you blogging again.)