Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We planted a lot this year, after having never done it before, aside from growing basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Both of us grew up with parents who were avid gardeners, and so it was never a question of "what are we going to do back here", more of a "so how do we whittle down our list of things we want to plant?".

Since it was our first year, we decided to opt with generally easy crops. Everything was started from seed (except 3 cucumber plants, which we bought at the market after our seeded cucumbers failed miserably). We planted three different kinds of cherry tomatoes, broccoli, chinese cabbage (wa wa sei), leeks, fennel, two different kinds of beets, snap peas, snow peas, "rhubarb" chard, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce and peppers. Talia, as our engagement present, gave us 2 pumpkin plants she had started from seed (she knows us well), Dana gave us some artichoke plants she stared from seed, and Maren's friends gave us rhubarb plant (and some lovely lavender, which we still haven't decided on a spot!). A couple things popped up, including a gourd plant and an acorn squash!

Since this year was an overwhelming success (with the glaring exception of the leeks and broccoli), we plan to expand next year and donate some to the neighbourhood houses, who give out fresh veggies to families who can't afford it.

The winter crop has yet to be planted, which includes turnips, winter squash and more cabbage.

Last night we picked the last of the fennel and a bunch of carrots, and Janine made leek and potato soup with veggies from the market, and I made the absurdly easy veggie bake, which is to cut up a bunch of veggies (we had carrots, fennel, huge elephant garlic courtesy of Dana's garden, chipolini onions from the market, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper) chuck em into a large casserole dish, cover and bake at 375 C for 30-45 minutes. Insanely healthy, insanely good.

The three of us also wandered down towards the park and picked a large bucket-full of blackberries, which have now been washed, spread on a tray and are freezing. Dunno what we'll do with them yet.

Bought some pears at the market this past weekend, Janine plans to can them! Yummy!

Our landlord is coming by today to put up the much-anticipated lattice that will block off the ugly view of the under-the-deck area, which is full of weeds. If we owned the house, I would put down black landscape fabric and put a load of river rock. My parents did it, it's stunning. We might do the landscape fabric anyways, but we'll see.

I want to put in a pond. Can renters do that????

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Today was my first time trying to manipulate the darn trimmer, very awkward. I had to pull it apart and not coat myself in grass, fiddle with it, then screw it up a dozen times before I finally got it to work properly.

Oh, and I tried to edge the walks. I did OK. Will post a picture, you can decide.

Stuff in the garden

I should perhaps, offer a description of our garden. We live in Zone 8b (jealous?), half a block from a large forest. Our house is south facing, but the entire front yard is in shade, thanks to lovely huge fake-maple trees inhabiting the front boulevard. In the back is a large, ugly, useless, decrepid garage, which is coming down in October!!!!

This is both Janine and I's first year growing a garden. Our house is a rental house, so everything that goes in will probably stay (except for the plants). We dug up SO much, I spent most of March digging weeds out of the ground just so we had somewhere to plant! It was very very satisfying. We also found some pre-existing plants, which we were excited about. Most specifically a BEAUTIFUL peony and two stunning orange poppies. They were absolutely buried under all the crap, all invasive, all very very annoying.

It's hard to imagine that those above pictures are now filled with green leafy things, 10ft tall sunflowers, roses, zinnias, borage, and gladioluses, and an assortment of other green things.

More updates later, Janine managed to figure out how to make chocolate ganache without using dairy!!! YUMMY!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First Post!!!

It's the middle of August and I've only now decided to blog about the experience of turning a desolate waste of shit into a garden! Yay!

Stuff is starting to die off a little now, although my much delayed sweet peas are still doing fantastic, despite having flopped over during the last rain shower.

We have harvested an entire bowl full of cherry tomatoes (we started from seed sungold, sweetie and something else, a yellow pear shaped one, but we accidentally gave those all away when they were just seedlings). They have since been poked, sprinkled with salt, pepper and garden aquired basil, and have been popped into the oven at 250 degrees celcius for the past 3 hours. They'll go into a bag and into the freezer to enjoy when it's 3 degrees and pouring rain outside. We're waiting on the everbearing raspberries to have their second go-around right now. Just waiting patiently. And we're about to be innundated with plums. Anyone want some prune plums???

We've already started planning our garden for next year! It's mostly to do with moving stuff around. Because we moved in with a bunch of random crap already in the garden, we didn't really know what to do with it all. Now we know, and will commence moving stuff around once things start to go dormant for the winter.

Chores to be accomplished:
-put the half dead zucchini plant out of it's misery... into the compost bin.
-stir said compost bin.
-mow the grass
-actually use the damn trimmer