Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Around the Garden




















Oh my, these are good days around the garden. The harvests are rolling in, food is being eaten, and put by for winter, and herbs are being harvested and turned into medicine. There is a fullness in the beds, I might even say it is kind of wild, but the wild is growing some good food.

These days in the garden are the ones I dream about in February, when I sit back with a seed catalog in front of the fire with a cup of tea, the snow gently falling outside, and pick out the seeds for the planting season to come. During the dark, cold days of winter it is this dream that keeps me going, as well as the anticipation of being in the garden day in and day out, tending, nurturing, and growing our food.

This week we have been eating kale, Swiss chard, snow peas, green and yellow beans, zucchinis, and the first tomatoes. Parsley, basil, dill, chives, oregano, and sage have all been included in our meals here and there, and we are still enjoying strawberries and raspberries. Peppermint is being used in our drinks and to make sun tea, and calendula, yarrow, St. John's wort, lemon balm, and motherwort have all been harvested to make plant medicine.

The biggest news this week, I harvested the garlic, 74 beautiful, organic heads of garlic. I am not sure what it is about garlic, but I do love growing and harvesting it. It might be the whole process, planting it in the fall, tucking it in tightly under warm straw, watching the snow pile high on top all winter long, then seeing the little shoots of green peeking out in early spring, harvesting the scapes, and then finally, digging up the garlic. The whole process is amazing, and one that never gets old. The garlic bed is now empty, waiting to be topped up with some compost, and planted again. With what I am not too sure, I will figure all of that out this week.

The salad greens are done, getting a little too bitter for my tastes. I pulled out what was remaining and tossed it in the chicken run...I am the chickens new favourite person now. I also bring them leaves of kale full of cabbage worms. I have cleaned up the part of the bed where the salad greens were, and again will decide what to plant there this week.

Something else happens in the garden at this time of the year, I start planning again. Up until last year, we planted our summer garden, enjoyed it, and didn't really think much about planting for fall or winter. We harvested as much as we could before the first frost, and continued to eat kale until it was covered in snow. Last year, we decided to plant a fall garden, and really enjoyed it. So this year, we have decided to take it a step further and try out some winter gardening. I have been digging this week, creating a deep hole to put our cold frame in. It was hard work, but I finally moved the last bit of soil yesterday. The next step is to put a nice layer of straw on the bottom, place the cold frame in, fill it up with soil, and then plant it. I am pretty excited about this, and am really looking forward to see just how well we can grow food in the winter this way.

We also have plans of creating low tunnels on one or two of the raised beds. I need to firm up my plans this week on how many beds, and which ones, as those are the ones I will plant for the fall and winter garden.

And last but not least, did you see that new raised bed. Justin didn't think I could find a place for yet another raised bed, but I did! This one though, isn't for food. This will be my cut flower bed. I have a lot of perennial flower beds, and I do cut flowers regularly from them, but I thought it might be fun to have a specific bed just for flowers. They will grow in rows just like my vegetable beds, it won't necessarily be pretty, but it isn't meant to be. These flowers are meant for cutting, and a cutting I will be doing. I can't wait!

Wow, a lot of things have happened around the garden this week. Exciting times for sure.

How are things around your garden?

38 comments:

  1. Your garden looks like such an oasis of peace! I love it. And I love the idea of a cut flower garden. We plant plants that I love. I would like to bring some inside too. That's an idea for next year!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jen. I am excited about the cut flower garden, and can't wait to bring all those flowers in next summer :)

      Delete
  2. That's such a treasure by there! 74 garlic... whow! What a harvest... And lots of new projects, very interesting... I rellay love to follow your garden, thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, I am treasuring every last bulb :) Thank you.

      Delete
  3. I love garlic too! It's so easy to grow. I've missed planting time for a few years now, so I'm eager to get some in this fall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, hope you manage to get some in the ground this fall :)

      Delete
  4. Your gardens are glorious!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love your garden! My dad grew massive amounts of garlic for years and I was lucky enough to be gifted some :) Best garlic ever. A winter garden sounds like a great idea, with the cold frame you could possibly have lettuce year round?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! How lovely to be gifted garlic...that is one awesome gift :) That is exactly what I am hoping for Karen, along with kale, spinach, beets, and chard. Fingers crossed.

      Delete
  6. We always have lots of garlic here too, can't get enough of it.
    Good for you in finding another spot for a raised bed, you are one smart woman :)
    I really do love seeing your garden at this time of year, ours is done and I am getting ready
    for the fall planting, can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are the same Tracey. I have been trying to figure it out for a while, and then it just came to me. Thank you Tracey. I am excited for the fall planting this year, like you, I can't wait!

      Delete
  7. You sound so busy out there, and it's all looking wonderful. A cut flower bed sounds beautiful and look forward to seeing how your Winter bed goes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not that busy, we take our time. I took three afternoons to dig out that hole, a hour here, and hour there, and before you know it, it is done!

      Delete
  8. Wonderful. I'm so jealous. Our tomatoes aren't even changing colors yet! Still as green as green can be. Maybe after a few days of sun, that will change.

    Yay for cold frames and winter beds! We are doing the same. We'll have to exchange notes. :-)

    Have a wonderful day! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Yanic. Ours have just started to change this week. Exciting!

      Winter gardening here we come!

      Delete
  9. Great garden! Looks like you will be busy for some time. I am excited to see how your fall and winter garden will turn out. We have contemplated this as well, but are so tired at the end of the summer gardening season that we tend to wimp out. Lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Not busy, just doing the work we love. I will keep you posted on how it goes, it will be interesting and will come with lots of learning I am sure.

      Delete
  10. Your garden is so lovely!!! The snails ate up a lot of our veggies and salad, so we've been having some radishes and chives. We're waiting for the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes and beans, but are having a great time harvesting blackberries in the meantime. Happy gardening days to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Those darn snails. We have something eating holes in our chard, can't figure out what it is. At least they aren't eating it all, just a few holes here and there. Weird. Enjoy those blackberries.

      Delete
  11. I am speechless.
    Thank you for all the fantastic inspiration.
    One day, one day...me too.
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe, you are too sweet. Thank you. xoxoxoxoxo

      Delete
  12. I could sit in your backyard forever. And that heap of garlic is a delicious sight to see! Our garden is more modest for obvious reasons, but we too are reaping the fruit of our winter/spring labours. Our tomatoes need a little more time to ripen red before we pick them. Probably next week. Peppers are almost there too. The spinach is very robust... I should pick it tomorrow. The onion gets chopped every time we need it. Same with the mint. Next year I'm hoping to turn my attention towards herbs on a bigger scale. I especially love camomile and calendula.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome anytime, you are just a short drive away. Everything sounds good in your garden too, enjoy your harvests.

      Calendula has to be my favourite herb hands down, although I do love lavender and chamomile too. So much goodness in medicinal herbs.

      Delete
  13. Your garden is GORGEOUS!!! I am so jealous. What a bounty! I don't have a garden this year. I am hoping to get some garlic planted and start with berries and herbs next year. Luckily, I trade off and write the blog for one of our local organic CSA's and get a full share from them, it's a fantastic barter. Yesterday, when I stopped by we did our first attempts at braiding onions, they were gorgeous! Do you braid all that fantastic garlic at all?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jennifer! What a wonderful trade that is. I am planning to braid the garlic, first attempt. Fingers crossed it all works out.

      Delete
  14. What an amazing garden. I am totally in awe! I love the raised beds. Wish I could get a garden going here, but when I have tried, the heat does it in. I may try a fall/winter garden. You have inspired me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe, thank you! Happy to inspire :)

      Delete
  15. Just gorgeous, Kim! This sure has been one amazing gardening year! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shel. It certainly has :) And we are loving it!

      Delete
  16. simply spectacular... i know how much hard work that goes behind all this... but your garden is really inspiring me to get my hands dirty and do some growing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Erica. And happy to inspire, I think we should all be getting our hands dirty on a regular basis :) Happy growing.

      Delete
  17. Hi Kim
    I just love these posts with pictures of your garden. Some friends of ours just took down their old chalet and offered us all the wood, so my husband has suggested making raised beds out of it next year. My f.i.l (with whom I garden) is reluctant to change from his very traditional garden (which works too) but I'm going to show him yours - he can't fail to be impressed!! We've never used straw on our garden but I want to try this too (although it's impossible to buy straw here in bulk so I'm thinking of using hay?) can you direct me to any books on getting started with this method or give me any tips?
    I'm planning on a cutting garden next year too. I put in a bee mat this year of mixed flowers to attract bee's and it certainly works - it's so beautiful to see them at work collecting pollen.
    I'll be very interested in seeing how your winter cold frame works - we have such a short growing period here with very long snowy winters, I'd never considered growing things after the summer.
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
    kindest regards from the alps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Emma, glad you are enjoying the garden posts. Can't wait to hear what your father in law thinks :)

      Be careful with hay, it usually has a lot of seed heads, which means lots of weeds, not always fun. With straw you are less likely to get any seed heads, usually just a few here and there, and they are easy to pick out. There are people that use hay successfully, they have their chickens eat the seeds first and then use it as mulch, or they leave it open to sprout, and then let the winter cold kill the sprouts and therefor the seeds. So it is possible to use the hay, just a bit more work.

      I use straw for mulch, and for growing potatoes. That is it.

      I love my bee garden, I was watching the bees this morning in the bee balm. So lovely. I will definitely share the successes and/or failures with the cold frame. It will be a learn as you go thing, and we will see what happens.

      Thank you, you too!

      Delete
  18. The thought of a winter garden is wonderful! I have thought about one for a long time but we have a lot of rock and not much dirt so I have never gotten in the mood to dig up a hole like that. All of my gardens I have had to buy dirt and hull all of it in wheelbarrows where it is needed. Your dirt looks really nice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, the thought is wonderful, we shall see how wonderful it works out :) Yeah, digging out rock is not much fun. We do have pretty good dirt here, but I will still order in some even better stuff, with compost mixed in.

      Delete