buds, spuds and green tomatoes

An update from our garden…

Radishes and chards

Our efforts in the garden have started to show as the first vegetables have sprung from the ground and we’re seeing changes almost daily in the backyard.  The first vegetables to come up were the purple-top turnips, with thick and healthy leaves. The chards and radishes were soon to follow with lettuces, spinaches and kales growing slowly in the shadier sections of our largest garden space.

Potato plants

The potatoes have sprouted with an unanticipated vigour and are more than six inches high already. We just piled them up with dirt mounds to encourage more potatoes and keep any tubers from being exposed to the light – we’re definitely going to need more dirt! Having never before seen potatoes growing in the ground, these plants are capturing our interest with their deep green colour, the beautiful leaf structure and the subtle differences in colour and growing speed between the different varieties we’ve planted. We’ve planted 7 different varieties, with different harvesting times and colours – hopefully we’ll have enough for storage this year.

Slow off the mark have been our corn patch, the beans (both bush and Scarlet Runner), as well as the carrots and beets. Most are just poking out of the ground now, so hopefully we’ll have enough days in the growing season to have a good harvest from them.  We’ve planted Bull’s Blood, Touchstone Gold and Formanova beets; as well as Nantes, Dragon, Finger and Yellow Amarillo carrots.

Our sunflower and pea patch is doing quite well, though our plans of having the peas growing up the sunflower stalks may not come to fruition as the peas are eclipsing the sunflowers.  We’ll have to find something for them to climb up soon as the peas are almost 8 inches long.

We have one large tomato plant in the raised-log bed that we bought from Sunnyside Natural Food Market and have a few tomatoes on the vine already. We’ve started a number of tomato plants from seed as well (Brandywine and Sweetie) but they are pretty small and leggy from our feeble attempts at indoor seedlings and who knows if they’ll have enough time to produce any fruit.  We’ve got one butternut squash plant that was purchase from Sunnyside in the raised-log bed as well as 4 buttercup squash plants that we started from seed.  Unfortunately we put those out a couple days too early and they were torn to shreds by heavy rains, but surprisingly they have started to come back!

Yay! A tomato!

All in all it’s been a slow start in the vegetables gardens, but given the large amount of rain and cool days that we’ve been having so far, it’s not unexpected. The warm weather in Calgary tends to come late and last well into September, so we’ve just got to be patient and hope for the best. We definitely want to plan another seeding day near the end of June so that we’ll have a second crop of some of the veg growing right into autumn.

Beets and carrots

How do you think we’re doing? Leave a comment…


4 comments on “buds, spuds and green tomatoes

  1. Very impressive start guys! Must keep you quite busy, especially when the pests discover all your luscious seedlings… Wonderful to follow your progress and I’m also so impressed with the design and layout of your Blog!

    • Thanks Mike, so far so good with the pests (knock on wood!). Last year we had very little for bugs, but the squirrels and magpies like to do their own harvesting in the garden for sure!

  2. I am jealous of how your garden grows! While the Okanagan may normally heat up earlier than elsewhere, it has been a rainy June and we’ve had bad garden luck. Our inside seedlings, planted early in late winter/early spring, did well for awhile and then sadly died. So we tried to seed outside in early May but the hungry birds ate most of the seeds we tried to plant – from flowers to veggies! I just planted new inside seeds last night in an attempt to save the gardening season. We’ll be re-turning the beds to try and make growing conditions a bit more ideal. We do have some green beans and chard coming in, so that’s a plus! Hoping for similar tomato options as you along with lots of herbs, zucchini, corn, more beans, chard and peppers. Cheers to our gardening experiments!

    • Thanks Krissy, I’m sorry to hear about your seeds… we were pretty worried about that here as well and I suspect that some of our corn and beans have disappeared, but everything else was able to germinate quickly enough to get a good start. One thing that was suggested in an organic gardening course I took this year is to try and avoid turning the beds fully once you’ve done it once. We did rototill this year to convert lawn to garden, but from now on, we won’t be doing anything except by hand. The thinking is that you get a whole ecosystem of bacteria and fungi and other creepy crawlies that provide the healthy environment for veggies to grow and massive upheaval of the earth will destroy it. To help get a good start on building our soil ecosystem back up, we added about 6 inches of compost over the entire bed – not something we want to do every year!

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