Picked and Planted (and poking up!) -June 2nd to June 8th

This week we picked:

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Pak Choi and Market Express Turnips and greens -planted 26 April

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Easter Egg radish (aren’t they pretty?) The Cherry Belles are getting really big…

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Mesclun, Buttercrunch lettuce, Red Oak lettuce, Arugula and Spinach

Peppermint Swiss chard – We ate it before we took a picture…ooops…

Ragged Jack and Dinosaur Kale

Rhubarb, Rhubarb and more Rhubarb!

Cilantro, Chives, Green Onion and Sweet Basil

Approx savings compared to local market: $50.12

Total weight picked this week: 12.64 pounds

This week we planted :

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These are the “Salsa bed” and the “Italian bed” – I love the flowering Kale that overwintered under the tunnels.

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Big Beef, Lemon Boy, Black Plum, Menonnite and Sungold Indeterminant tomatoes

Alaska, Subarctic Plenty, Gold Dust and Scotia determinant tomatoes

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The tomatoes were getting “leggy” from the cold weather while they patiently waited on he deck to harden off – we plucked the lower leaves off and buried them deeply in the raised beds and sideways in the rows.  We are trying planters, black film, red film and straw mulch this year, it will be interesting to see which way works best…

Elsewhere in the raised beds and rows…

Jalapeno, King Arthur, Big Bell and a few mystery peppers (my wee one ate a pepper from the market, saved seeds, planted them and stuffed them in the garden!)

Sweet and Opal Basil

Cilantro

Utah celery

Packman and Munchkin broccoli seedlings

Flowers: Galdiolis, Nasturtuim, Calendulas and Sunflowers

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Boyne Raspberries and Galdiolis together in a newly redone bed

Poking up:

My wee girl’s garden is popping up all over the place! The squash have also poked out from the black plastic but no signs of the cucumbers yet….

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“If you are what you eat don’t be fast, cheap and easy” ~ No idea who said this, but it made me bust out laughing when I saw it on a mug! 

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In my “Happy Place” all long weekend long

I was too busy playing outside in my “Happy Place” to post all long weekend long, I came inside only for supper and church. In my Happy Place the birds were singing, the sun shining, the blossoms popping, the girls giggling, even when it was raining. In a word, perfect. image

We decided to finally make a permanent blueberry bed beside the shed. This is the “before” shot.

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Weeded and cleaned up.

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We mixed in extra peat moss to raise the pH and compost for nutrient content. Because I hate weeding (I think I have mentioned that before!), we secured black landscape fabric to 14 foot deck boards, laid it over the garden, cut out planting marks and popped in the blueberries.  We planted 2 “Pink Lemonade”, a “North Blue”, a “Blue Gold” and an “Elliot” to ensure pollination and different harvest times if any berries make it past the wee girl and the birds…

We will mulch after a good watering for looks and moisture retention.

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The patio perennial bed (highlighted by a completely bezerk Goji berry plant) and the Haskap berry hedge around the deck got tidied up and edged. We got a few Haskap berries last year, but are very hopeful as this year the 3 year old plants have gotten significantly bigger and are all blooming.  We have 3 varieties of Haskaps; they need pollinators. I also planted my “Veteran” peach that I picked out for Mother’s Day. I am really hoping and praying that it does well in this spot, the thought fresh peaches is already making me drool!

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A close up of the pretty little yellow flowers.  Haskap berries are the first to ripen in Nova Scotia, hopefully by the end of June.

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Gorgeous Peach blossoms! This variety, Veteran, is supposed to be very hardy and produce in Nova Scotia…time will tell.  For now, the blossoms smell divine and the colour is so pretty.

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In front of the shed we are attempting to grow Magic Hardy kiwi. They are “magic” because male and female vines were planted together to make baby kiwis…explain that one to my wee girl…The vines on the right were planted last year and survived the winter very well so we planted a second one on the other side to match.  We haven’t gotten any of the bite sized fur-less kiwis yet, but there are a few blossoms this year.

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Boyne and Nova Raspberries and Cabot Strawberries – something is nibbling the leaves of the Strawberries and book toy this year, but I not sure what.  It wouldn’t really matter if I did though, I won’t spray my children’s food for the sake of a few holes.  We just call them “hole-y” leaves when we say Grace!

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In the front yard, we have many crabapples and what I think was a cherry.  I forgot to note it my book and the tag blew off.  The pictures are a bit fuzzy because of the wind, but can anyone tell me if this is in fact a cherry?  It could also be a plum…Oooops.

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All the veggie beds are now turned (except for the rogue overwintered Kale. I didn’t have the heart!). I covered and secured all of the rows with weed barrier and laid straw and cardboard between the rows. 3 beds of “Cheiftain” potatoes got planted. I dug holes and covered the seed potato with about 2 inches of dirt.  The extra dirt and mulch straw is all read in bins beside the garden for when the green shoots need to be hilled.  This method worked really well for me last year! Planting will begin in earnest over the next 2 weekends,  We still have to worry about frost until the first full moon in June (according to my Grandma).

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And of course, the hoop tunnels are growing great!  I have yet to see any broccoli poke up though, luckily we have seedings we can transplant if necessary. And then some…Ooops!

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So that was my looking weekend in my Happy Place – how was yours?!

“In my “Happy Place”…will be back never.” – Not sure where I heard this one, but I think it is what my hubby thought about me all weekend!

Fed up. Hoops Up!

It snowed again today.  No accumulation, but big, wet, yucky flakes came down.  Again.  Mother Nature and I are having a time out.  A pause.  I am trying to be the bigger person and not throw a full on hissy fit – it is pretty tough, but so far I am in for the win.  This past weekend was glorious!  A large amount of snow had melted and by Sunday evening I had 4 raised beds thawed and moist and the main veggie bed almost visible.  There was hope!  I even started hardening off the early veggie babies and the perennial seedlings on the porch.  Apparently Mother Nature put her big old arctic mukluk wearing foot down.  But I am no schmuck – I got prepared. That does’t mean I am happy about it.

I am now a full 3 weeks behind where I was 2 years ago, not a single pea has gone in the ground.  Not cool, Mother Nature. This guy won’t be deterred and neither will I!

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What do maritimers who really like to garden in the early spring do when they get fed up?  We pull out the construction supplies, our rubber boots, the frost blankets and the pitch forks and get the hoops up!  Mini hoop tunnels provide additional protection from frost, sleet, snow, deer, rabbits and wind.  They can allow early cold hardy varieties to be started as soon as the snow has melted enough to find the dirt (usually end of March or early April).  They also allow for tender annuals to go out a bit earlier without worrying about the random late frosts wiping them out ( 2 weeks or so).  Different types of covers can be used depending on the season or level of protection needed.  This time of year, I cover my tunnels with 6mm vapour barrier to create a greenhouse effect and warm the soil up quicker with as much light transmission as possible.  In the summer, I will cover with thin shade cloth to keep cooler veggies happy in the heat and in the late fall or winter I will use heavy frost blankets as insulation to eek out a few extra weeks of growing.

Here is how we set up our hoop tunnels:

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Using the circular saw, I cut 6 foot lengths of 3/4 inch PVC pipe (50 feet of the black stuff was $17.99 at Canadian Tire.  The white stuff was more expensive – I was excited to find it cheaper!)  My beds are 4 feet wide, 6 feet hoops give me roughly 2 feet of clearance once they are placed in the raised beds.

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I then hammered 18 inch and 24 inch rebar stakes into the freshly turned soil so that they are deep enough to be sturdy (look in the top right corner).  I picked the green coated ones up at Home Depot.  I also picked up some cheap 2 foot uncoated pieces at Kent for $1.69 each.

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I always use at least 4 hoops for my tunnels to keep them from collapsing, whether they are 8 feet long or 14 feet long. I slide the ends of the PVC over the rebar (at least 4 inches).

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For the Poly tunnel covering, I picked up a roll of 6mm vapour barrier (I don’t remember where I got it, I have been using the same roll for 3 years…).  I cut left over decking boards to 7 feet (my raised beds are 8 feet). I am not worried about the treatment on the wood because it will be wrapped in the vapour barrier anyways.

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I centre the boards lengthwise (the poly is folded in half here to fit in the picture – it is actually 8 feet wide, which works perfectly to cover the 6 foot hoops…)  I then recruit cute little helpers to staple the plastic to the first board.  To make sure it is secure, I staple, then roll the board once in the plastic and staple it again.  The second board is secured to the other side of the plastic in the same manner making sure the rolled edges are the same side up.

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Little hands help me carry the boards and poly cover to the garden where we unroll it over the hoops.  You can just roll or unroll the boards to tighten up the cover.  We tuck the boards down in between the hoops and the edge of the bed.  The ends are tucked in like a birthday present and held down with a rock.  On warm days, we can simply open the ends and tuck the plastic back to ventilate or unroll one side to open the tunnels completely.

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Finally, we use clips we found at the dollar store to give a little extra support, et voila!  Mini greenhouse is complete!

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For less finicky greens, and because I was completely out of patience, I hauled out a frost blanket and planted Tyee spinach, Spicy mesclun, Cos Romaine and arugula between rows of Munchkin and Packman broccoli.  I will not be defeated!!

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I have since shovelled in some compost, the soil is warming up wonderfully!  I hope to plant some of these little beauties this weekend – in my rubber boots or in my snow pants.  Either way – I win!!!

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“Even if you are on the right track, you will still get run over if you just sit there!” ~Will Rogers