Tag Archives: 16 Oaks Community Garden

August 2010 Garden Update

It has come to my attention that I haven’t posted a picture of my full garden since July 9th, and it’s not from lack of taking the pictures. While I was excited about the burst of garden glory back then, it pales in comparison of the garden at the height of its glory.

By mid-July the “tee pee” was completely covered in greenery in a combination of peas, snow peas and giant pole beans.

The garden in mid-July 2010

The tee pee is covered in delicious greenery

By early August most of the brightly coloured snapdragons were finished blooming, the rhubarb was in full spread, and the broccoli was well on it’s way to growing a lovely head. The beet greens continued unabated and the carrots were still a bit too small for harvest. In the photo below you can see that the snow peas are on their last legs, turning brown and suffering from a powdery mildew.

Garden greenery on August 11, 2010

By last August, the peas were long gone, the snow peas had died and been removed, and only the pole beans continued to produce a few beans here and there. The broccoli has all been harvested and one row of carrots has been partially harvested which allows more room for the rainbow chard to flourish. The dwarf tomato plant in the foreground is heavily laden with fruit but none has ripened yet. Brussels sprouts are on the rise, and most of the pole beans (behind the chard) have been removed.

Garden August 23, 2010

Garden Update June 2010

I’ve been out to the garden a fair bit but consistently forget to bring my camera with me. I did however, snap these  pictures, the first on June 2nd, the most recent on June 20th. Here’s what’s new since the last update:

  • The snow peas have begun their happy ascent up the “teepee” (back right).
  • Two different kinds of beets have sprouted and are flourishing thus far, largely because slugs do not appear to like them — they are in good company (bottom left).
  • The carrots have sprouted (spot them front middle-ish).
  • The poor, sad garlic has been denuded of it’s leaves and rust has taken over the remaining stalks. Scapes are in evidence (see if you can find them, mid-plot left side; use top photo showing healthy garlic as guide).
  • The kohlrabi, two rows next to the beets, has not made an appearance. Not a single little sprout. Okay, no great loss.
  • The dwarf tomato (front centre of plot where the kohlrabi was planted) appears none the worse for wear despite having been transplanted twice, however, it’s not thriving either. It may be hesitating to set down roots for fear of being roused once more, poor thing. I made an unfortunate choice — or two — of locations, both of which ended up being too shady. Note to self!
  • Only a couple of the bush beans I seeded popped out and all of them are looking pretty sickly. Near as I can figure, it’s a mix of slugs and aphids, but I’ve caught only a few of each in the act.
  • The two red cabbages I swapped with my neighbours D&D for 3 cauliflower are taking nicely to being transplanted.
  • The spinach is just beginning to show itself (next to the rusty garlic).
  • One kind of kale I seeded is happily growing away, while another kind is less enthusiastic about it’s emergence into daylight (here and there).  We’ll have to keep an eye on that.

And last but not least:

  • The sprouted brassicas I bought and added are taking hold nicely: 3 Brussels sprouts, 3 broccoli and 2 cauliflower (mixed throughout).

Now if we could just get some sunshine instead of continuous clouds, cold and rain, we might see some real action!

Delicious Home Grown Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts at LocalDelicious.comYou either love or you hate brussel sprouts. I don’t think there is an in-between way to feel about them.

I happen to love them, though until about 2 years ago I didn’t know how they grew. I never really thought about it, to be honest.

This year I planted a couple of them in my community garden plot but only one took off. Low and behold if it didn’t become a huge, thriving plant. Hurrah! (Everyone thinks I know what I’m doing, but I got the plant started from the nursery and stuck it in the ground. Aside from a little mushroom manure and keeping it watered, it did not get any assistance from me.)

I’d heard that you can wait until the first frost to harvest the sprouts, and that this makes them sweeter, but after I experienced some garden theft, I decided I better get them out while I could.

Brussel Sprout Harvest at LocalDelicious.comI trimmed off the big leaves first and, after mucking about with a knife and accidentally slicing into a couple of them, I figured out that you can snap them off horizontally.

I got quite a haul — a least a few meals worth — and tried them for the first time last night. I may be a little biased, but they were the sweetest, most tender Brussel sprouts I’ve ever eaten. And that’s many years’ worth.

Local and delicious!

Garden Transition

When I planted what has turned out to be my transitional garden earlier this year, in addition to the many vegetables, I also planted a variety of flowers to attract bees and other pollinator types.

Transplants 2Now that I have a more local plot, I decided to move some of them into the city to brighten up my new garden. In addition to half a dozen, bug-repellent marigolds interspersed among the brassicas, I transferred a few snap dragons, and a couple of fuschias.

I also brought along 3 sweet pepper plants that have not done well in the big garden’s climate, a clump of rhubarb, a lemon thyme perennial, and a giant pot containing 2 tomato plants.

We’re in the midst of a heatwave, and the rhubarb is decidedly unhappy, having made it’s displeasure known immediately. I’ll give it a few more days to see if it rallies, but it’s not looking good. The clump of pink snap dragons were looking a bit wilty, but haven’t given up just yet. As for the rest of them, they all look pretty happy to be in their new home.

Planting at the Community Garden

Planting at 16 Oaks CroppedIt’s a bit late in the season to be starting a garden, but since we just got our soil, such is life. I figure it’s one giant experiment for this bumbling gardener anyway, so it’s all good.

While waiting a few weeks for the soil to arrive, I went to a few nurseries, found the last dregs of potted veggies, and bought a little of everything I could find: broccoli, sad looking cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, some fruit-laden tomatoes, a few cabbages, a cucumber, zucchinis, and a couple of sweet peppers. While at the Kits Farmers Market I also found some kale (hurrah!) and sprouted lettuce to complete the mix.

TeepeeDuring the wait I also had the good fortune to find 3 very tall, perfect, bamboo poles someone left near the garbage bins outside my apartment. With the addition of some inexpensive netting, they proved to be the perfect solution for my sprouting peas. I also scavenged some granite counter/tile leftovers from a friend’s backyard. She had scavenged them from someone else for some kind of garden feature that was never quite realized.

With my treasures and a warm summer evening to play in the dirt, my garden has finally come together! The snow pea “teepee” is a big hit, as are the granite stepping stones which will help ensure I can water and harvest plants in the middle of the garden, as well as from the edges.

Let the watering begin!

Soil for Garden Box

Soil PileWhen the soil/compost arrived to fill the new boxes at my community garden, there was much rejoicing, and not just by me (okay, I might have been the loudest).

Ever the enthusiast and keener, I cut out of work early “for a meeting” and was out there in the early afternoon heat lugging wheelbarrows of the dark stuff to my plot. A few people beat me to the punch, but not many…

<b>Before Soil</b>

Before Soil

<b>After Soil</b>

After Soil

It was hot, sweaty hard work, but very exciting to finally be so close to putting plants and seeds in the soil. A huge thank you to the folks who organized and made it happen!

Guerilla Gardening

<b><i>Courtesy of www.HeavyPetal.ca</i></b>

Courtesy of www.HeavyPetal.ca

I think the coolest part of being part of a community garden is meeting other gardeners, learning from them (all tips welcome!), and developing a sense of community around a shared passion.

One of the people I met at 16 Oaks is Alex, who told me about Heavy Petal, a local gardening tips blog. I checked it out and so far my favourite post is A Brief History of the Seed Ball, in which the author says,

“Seed balls are particularly useful in dry and arid areas where rainfall is highly unpredictable. I like ‘em because they’re easy to chuck over fences into empty lots.”

I love the idea of surreptitiously planting things in neglected and abandoned lots that aren’t being used for anything, even if it’s just flowers to brighten up the walk to work.

Heavy Petal also has a virtual garden tour where you can upload pictures of your garden and take people on a “tour” of how yours is coming along.