View from the deck on a glorious morning in early June.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Asparagus to Zucchini aborted, and Wrapping it up, working ahead.


Asparagus: 30% win. 
Yup, that's all. They had been neglected in 2012. This spring there were some stalks of edible size but never enough for a meal. They were enjoyed raw on the spot, the gardener's reward. This fall they got a thorough weeding followed by manure and mulch, so let's hope for more in spring.

Arugula:80% win
Gaia bless the pungent trusty stuff. The only reason it did not get 100% is that I don't always remember to replant every few weeks.

Beans: 80% win.
Earlier I complained about the lack of snap beans. Once the Blue Lake pole beans kicked in they made up for it. We enjoyed them daily for weeks and I froze quite a few. They don't really freeze well, I should investigate pickling or canning.

Beets: 100% fail.
I only planted a a few golden ones and they never amounted to anything. 

Broccoli: 90% fail
The early transplants were demolished by slugs, overnight. I was left with two plants that yielded many side shoots. I do like this variety a lot. Pakman. The second batch was meant to mature in fall, but the timing was off. Close but no cigar. Will try again and start the late batch in late June instead of late July.

Brussels Sprouts: 60% win
The plants were splendid and well looked after. I did exactly the same things as last year, except better. But when it came to harvesting time the sprouts were still small. I heard the same thing from other people and have no idea why. Yes, I did top them off to encourage sprout growth.

Cabbage: 100%WIN!
Alcosa hybrid savoy yielded the nicest cabbages ever. I even got a second batch in November, smaller but  worthwhile. They were eaten fresh, frozen, and honoured as a main ingredient in giant batches of borscht. Our first home in B.C. was in Christina Lake, in Doukhobor country. We have the fondest memories of delicious Russian food in the Yale Hotel in Grand Forks, now burnt down. A search for Grand Forks style borscht turned up this beautiful blog with traditional Doukhobor recipes and memories.
I follow the recipe almost to the letter, except I do include some cubed beets, and I poke the stick mixer in at the end. It tastes like the best restaurant borscht. The blog says you can halve the recipe. No way! It freezes beautifully and I double it. Note to self: must grow and freeze dill next year.

Carrots: 30%win.
I seeded early and carefully in one of the fortresses. The lined raised boxes may be a deterrent to voles, but slugs get right in there anyway. The first sowing was about 90% eaten. The carrots that survived were excellent, but too few. The second seeding in July was still a bit small, and to add insult to injury, we got a hard frost before the snow and I couldn't get them out of the ground. Next year: sow in the main garden again, the voles seem to have died down to a manageable number. And never mind the square foot method, it doesn't leave enough for the predators. Back to rows and laborious thinning.

Cucumbers: 50% win/fail
They are always an iffy proposition and I won't waste too much garden space on them. One tripod in the greenhouse yielded enough for fresh eating, but not the abundance I was expecting and they fizzled out early. My bad for planting a bush variety? 

Egg plant: 10% win
I only put in one plant, in a tub in the greenhouse, as much for beauty as for fruit. That tub also contained marigolds and nasturtiums, just for the joy of walking into a blaze of colour. I don't know if it was the company or something else, but I got exactly one aubergine. Two years ago I got 5 from a single plant that was in a smaller container, go figure. 
__________________________________________That's all she wrote. I must have been planning to continue this back in the fall and never did. It is now the end of February 2014 and time to plan ahead instead of looking back.

I also had a half finished post on wrapping it up, working ahead. 
This was the first October in years that I had the chance to just carry on gardening and working ahead. It was quite wonderful. I am, of course, nowhere near ready, but there is no such a thing as ready, is there? 

The small flower garden by the stairs was totally prepared. When the snow drops and eranthis appear I won't have to remove slimy stalks from the previous season.
The big flower border got tidied up. Some daffodils were planted where they are meant to go, others are waiting in containers in the ground in the greenhouse and some in the veg garden.

I made enough good rich COF for 400 square feet of garden.
Before I can make more I need a trip to Nelson.
Last year's compost heap yielded at least a hundred gallons of garden gold, sifted and ready to go. This year's heap was turned and enriched. There is still some manure left from the gifts of my friend Els, whose sheep and horse produce more than she can use. It is covered with a tarp and happily curing.

Last but not least: I got my hands on 25 bales of hay for mulching. Supposedly spoilt and only $2 per bale, but it had no discernible mold and smelled delicious. I did not put it on the garden because the voles would enjoy it too much as a winter home. Slugs likewise. It is also kept under a tarp and  will be nice to have handy in spring.


  1. Hooray! I get to make the first comment! Thanks for your summary - the success rate is the right way to see it, since even the wildest great result wouldn't exceed 100%, but it WOULD erase any total or near-total fails. I am happy for your success with asparagus, since it seems simple enough, but only for those who can supply enough top-feeding to make the weeds go hog-wild; as a result, asparagus refuses to through up decent spears. I remember how hard I worked in Southern Cal at meticulously weeding only during well-dampened soil conditions, almost spoon-feeding the nicest compost I made to my row of Martha Washingtons. I got ZERO in-the-kitchen yields, with only two three Dixon Ticonderoga-sized spears, instantly enjoyed as I weeded, with the others allowed to fern our - until those infernal gophers tunneled through, destroying a two-year effort. Thjey also killed the apricot trees, which had one terrific crop, but died after those inglorious ba*terds penetrated the wire mesh basket I put in before I planted those trees!
    My learning curve is so long - but it is fun, especially after loading up on knowledge about small-container tropical and sub-tropical growing strategies, only to have circumstances plunk us down in a zone 8 climate area with 10 acres to sprawl out!
    Tot ziens!

  2. So sorry to hear about the gophers, Rodents are the worst. We had one year when they really destroyed about half the garden. That was the one year we had no cat. I look forward to following your garden!


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