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

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Gardens 2017, 2018, and 2019. three years almost lost but not quite!

I started writing this in spring 2018, had to hunt for pictures, got busy, see below. It is now Febraury 2019. The leeks are up, the seeds have been ordered, a new beginning is upon us.

I will skip the A to Z, just some basic notes.

The garden of 2017 starts in a spirit of great optimism with: "Let there be lights!" I went ape on grow lights and am glad I did. 

On February 12 my husband, who had become increasingly incapacitated, moved into extended care. That story is not for this blog. I mention it only because it left me free to move things around. The grow lights from the room where I practice reflexology were moved to the living room.
Carpentry was committed. Mistakes were made and corrected. When the dust cleared I had two more feet underneath the original shelf and four feet extra in the reflexology room. For good measure I succumbed to the temptation of a second indoor grow garden, so now there is one in each side of the bay window.

So, with that promising beginning, was this the perfect garden? Sadly not. On the contrary, it was the worst garden I have had in years. The reasons are many, some of my own doing, some not.

To start with, the weather. Spring was late, cold and wet, everything a full month behind 2016. Around May 20 there was a sudden shift to full blown summer. Not just regular summer. Epic drought with no rain at all and extreme temperatures. By early July we were in Forest Fire Fear mode. Our valley got off easy, but for much the summer it was too smoky to enjoy and too hot to move. Even so there were moments of beauty. And good bedding plants.

Bedding plants in the greenhouse. May 14 2016

The greenhouse roof did not go up till April 19th. It took a while before I could even get into the main garden. Then in May when I finally got going there I had no water in the big garden, which is uphill.

Precious planting time was wasted diagnosing and fixing the system, and by this time the window of opportunity for peas had closed. They did not get watered during a crucial stage and barely germinated. I had some meals from the early ones I had put up in the greenhouse but that was it. Just when they started yielding it got too hot.

I planted three lillies a few years ago. They usually get deered. This one escaped to bloom, but did not come back in 2018. 

Then there were the VOLES. The dreaded varmints ate potatoes and carrots but worst of all they chewed through the basis of pole beans, just when thosed started to yield. 

So much for Nature's input. The next bad is mine.

Even on the hottest days early mornings are pleasant, but did I get it together to hit the gardens first thing? Not. Without a spouse at home to give structure to my days it was very easy to fall into slouch mode. There has to be coffee before we start, but that should not take too long. Blame the iPad. I grab it for a leisurely read of news and a visit with virtual friends and there goes the morning. I swear the internet speeds up Time. Facebook is a black hole for someone who suffers from CCD. Coming soon to a DSM near you, it stands for Compulsive Comment Disorder.

Before one knows 10 or 11 o'clock rolls around and by that time it was TOO HOT. In 2016 I had my garden day more or less in 2 shifts: a morning time, followed by lunch and rest in the hot afternoon, and then a second stint roughly between 4 and 6. In 2017 and early 2018 that was the time I would go to visit Chris in Minto House, the lovely small facility attached to our local hospital.

Even with a bad garden there was still food in the freezer, just not the perfect abundance one hopes for and not much to share. The flower beds were mostly abandoned and left to quack grass and deer.

 Fast forward to 2018.

The weather was a repeat of last year. Spring was slow and late, after an old fashioned Kootenay winter with record snow. I kept telling people we might be grateful for that snowpack come summer and was I ever right. The shift to summer came earlier than last year. May was warm and dry and could have been wonderful. Unfortunately that was the time my poor husband finally decided to leave his tortured body behind. It took two weeks after he stopped eating and drinking, even with palliative care only. He died June 1st. As a person he had been gone for a long time, so his final departure was a liberation for us both. Even so a death watch takes it out of you. Once it was over I needed a lot of extra sleep. 

I did grow tons of splendid bedding plants which made many people happy. I might turn this into a tiny side job, growing to specification for a few people. Or I might just give them away to the planned community garden, some friends in need, and the table grow box at Minto house. 

Or a bit of both, we will see. I have become obessed with Charles Dowding's youtube channel. He has wonderful tips on prestarting almost everything except maybe carrots.

July was quite nice weatherwise but I was still in recovery mode. The long weekend in August brought a weather system with many violent thunderstorms but not much rain. B.C. basically burst into flame. 

Once again most of our valley was spared, but it was disgustingly smoky for  most of August, interfering with the ripening of many crops. September can be a warm summer month but this year it was cool and rainy. We got some beautiful weather in October, but that often translates into valley cloud.

Because the household consists of me, myself and I these days  I ate mostly homegrown veg year 'round anyway.

It is now late July 2019  and the worst garden ever, my bad. To make a long story short, I have spent hours on my deck, looking at the view, unable to get into gear, trying to make decisions. It is time to move to the village. Not right now but soon. I have bought a lot in the village, and will eventually put a modular home on it. I vacillate between excitement at the thought of being right in town, starting a brandnew garden from scratch, and premature nostalgia for this beautiful place. 

See next post.


  1. Well, there has been a LOT going on in your world, to be sure!
    Seems we're both going thru changes. I have moved from Michigan to Illinois--we've been in this new place 3 months and I like it---but it is still out of town.
    I'm not sure how you will like town living, after being OUT of town, but I'm sure it will be exciting, nonetheless.
    Wishing you the best, no matter where you end up

    1. Oh, please share your new garden!

    2. My new "garden" is a whopping strip 1 foot wide by 20 foot long consisting of 4 tomato plants, a 1/2 dozen Kale, and that is it. The ground is like concrete---not nearly as forgiving as my past garden which was all sand. So, NEXT YEAR I will be working on the garden.............and will post photos. But for now--what an embarrasment!!
      Once again, it was certainly nice to see a post from you. Take care---keep in touch!


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