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

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Paradise for sale

An early morning in June, right in front of the deck.

If you came here from Property Guys or MLS in search of a real farm, my apologies.
I had to choose between the categories "mini/ mobile home", "vacant land" or "ranch/farm".
There is no category like "Mobile home on acreage" or even better: "Wannabe seventies' back to the land  homestead." 

Some people call their real estate “The acreage” or “The property”. 
We always called our 10 acre chunk of mountain paradise The Land. 
It has been wonderful to live here, but the time is coming to leave it. 
The husband died, the children are thriving in Metro Vancouver, and I am getting old and lazy. I have bought a lot in the village and am looking forward to car free life with a small intensive garden.
The land deserves younger energetic stewards, ideally handy and able to wield a chainsaw. 

So here goes, an attempt to save everyone time by answering every FAQ I can think of. We are aiming for brutal honesty here, no sales nonsense.

First things first.

Location: a rural neighborhood just South of Nakusp, an easy ten minute drive from town.
The neighborhood of Upper Crescent Bay is peaceful and feels far away from the world, yet if you have to you can walk to the job in town. 

Legally the Land consists of two lots of 5 acres each, rather 4.90  after a strip was expropriated for a road allowance.  

The legal description of the place is as follows:
Western lot, mostly empty:
lot 77  Plan NEP 959 District Lot 398, Kootenay Land District.
PID: 015-921-255
Assessed value $133,600.

Eastern lot, the one with buildings:

Lot 78 Plan NEP 959 District lot 398, Kootenay Land District.
PID: 015-921-263
Assessed value $217,800.

Asking $349,000  AS IS. 

We bought the place as a whole. It should remain so for now for reasons to do with water.

All buildings and gardens are on lot 78. It just happened that way. However, the well sits right on the border between the two lots. This year, for the first time, the assessment mentioned a building on lot 77 that has to be the pump house.


Water can be an issue on this ridge. We bought the land in November 1970, after a hot dry summer. My husband, Chris, was a geologist. He had taken a course in hydrogeology. Chris  borrowed an auger and drilled into a spot in the field below. If water  was there within a certain depth it should be good  enough for a household at our level. Later a local dowser picked the same spot for the eventual well.
The image below, taken from the fence line of the field below us, clearly shows the depression that is caused by a mostly underground watercourse that starts at our place. The land slopes down to this field. The well sits where this depression emerges from our place, just above the road.

The water course originates at the top of Lot 77. There is a depression where a pond forms in early spring. Mallard ducks used to come nest there in the early days, before we were surrounded by neighbours with dogs.
From the vernal pond the water goes underground. The land gently folds in on itself, like a small watershed. You can tell where the watercourse is by looking at the fold in the land and at the vegetation. In the course of the years a lush grove of cottonwood has grown up. It can be seen here in the background. May is so beautiful here it hurts.
In the very earliest days Chris just dug a hole in the ground halfway the slope, and we filled buckets. For your entertainment, a photo of the earliest water system,  prior to well drilling and culverts and pipes and power and so on. We were living in a tipi at the time. Those were the days!
We did not have a lot of money and just had a shallow well dug. No drilling, just a culvert sunk into the ground. The water is a bit hard but clean and delicious. We have been drinking it for forty five years without ill effects.

After a dry summer we have to be careful, but the only time we actually ran out had to do with a pump malfunction. By this time Chris was incapacitated in extended care. Replacing the tired old pump was all up to me. The genius (sarcasm) who installed the new pump had omitted a cutoff valve that automatically turns off the pump when the level runs low. It ran dry. This was after the freakishly hot dry summer of 2017. Many neighbours ran dry as well. We will never know if it would have happened while my husband managed it. The summer of  2018 was dry as well. B.C. basically burst into flame, remember? I had water then.

It would be easy to supplement the well with a cistern filled from eavestroughs on the barn. So much water comes off a metal roof even in a single rainstorm in a dry year. Supplying two households would require more complicated measures.

Gardens and Trees.

I promised total honesty, so first this: This is not farm land.
The Waterfield family  gave this as their reason for sellling it. The soil is sandy and stony, the slope just a bit too much to work easily with a tractor. 

Gardening is different. Sandy soil is hungry soil, but it drains well and is easy to work. 

Good gardens happen when bracken roots and rocks are removed and compost is applied. Several neighbours have animals that produce more manure than they can use. 

Raspberries are prolific. 

 I never got an orchard
 together, but wild apple trees flourish. The large fenced garden is on the top plateau by the old cabin. What cabin? Wait a moment...

The fence is about 50 x 40, the established garden beds 20 x 50. Below, seen from the other side.
A smaller area at the level of the mobile home never got fully fenced, but I have a greenhouse there. Just this year an extra frame has been put to use as deer fence. 
The greenhouse is actually a Clearview car shelter by Shelter Logic. I take the cover off in November, a cover will last about 5 years that way. I had to buy a new cover and ended up with a second frame, which will serve as a deer fence frame this year.  The plan is to put the top garden mainly in clover and focus on digging up perennials to take with to the new place, plus some greens and beans close to home.

Browse this blog to have some fun at my expense and to see what you have to start with. Much more is possible. 

These photos were taken in September 1975.  It shows the South facing view in all its sunny glory.  One area on lot 77 had been left in trees.  That spot was too steep and rocky to even try cultivating. You can see the tall trees in the top right hand corner. Note how the land dips down a bit and then rises again. 

We call this small section of older trees the Magic Spot. It is like a small sacred grove.

There is a clump of lady slippers at the edge of it, and I have harvested wild sarsaparilla roots.
This photo, taken some years ago, shows the layout of the parts that are in active use. Note the roof of the old house just visible on the top level in between the greenhouse and the trailer.

What the land wants to do is grow trees. It does that so well! First the surrounding forest seeded itself and a privacy barrier developed. I planted what I thought would be a hedge along the exposed Southern edge. This was easy. Dig up any volunteer fir or pine seedling, take it where you want it in early spring, stick it in a shallow hole and it will say: "Oh, you want me here? No problem!"

Unfortunately  trees don’t know when to quit growing. The splendid view disappeared. This photo dates from October 2018, just before some logging was done. 

I have never wanted to live right inside a forest. I like views and sunshine, which we had in spades the first years. My husband preferred the added privacy and shade. 

Once he was gone (he died in June 2018) I finally had my way. Yeah, sunshine! View! 

The sale of the logs paid for the work and then some.
Unfortunately the logging was done late in the season, and it got wet. This interfered with the proper piling of the slash. I had hoped to have it all cleaned up in spring, but it was just too wet. The area near the dwelling was mostly tidied up but there are some piles left. 
I did get the driveway some much needed gravel. The ugly piles on both sides of it are gone.
I hope anyone who comes to look at the place can use their imagination and visualise the remaining piles GONE. If I had the energy and skill to take care of that myself I would not be moving.

Even after all the work there are still wooded trails left. The land could easily supply firewood for a household.


Buildings and infrastructure and how it all got to be that way.

Let's be honest: for sale is a beautiful piece of land  in a great location with all sort of potential, a place to live while you build your dream house, and outbuildings that can be used with work. 
The mobile I live in now dates from 1976. It is 14 foot wide, two bedrooms, with an addition of the same width consisting of one bedroom and a covered deck. 
Over the years we replaced the forced air heat with baseboard heaters, replaced  carpet with laminate and put new bay windows in the living room. Kitchen, hallway and bathroom could all do with a lick of paint and new lino. The deck, ditto.
It is a pleasant space. Books not included. The snow roof has performed like a champ even during the extreme snowfalls of the last years. It sheds without any need for going up to shovel the roof. Too bad we did not have it installed until 2008. Damage was done by leaks before then. In 2013 we had extensive structural work done by local trailer expert Hilary Bitten and her crew. It is a nice enough place to get started in while you decide what to do next.

In the beginning there was a large empty field surrounded by forest on three sides, and then the tipi.
Read all about it here.

After the tipi, the owner built log cabin. It is still there, uphill from the mobile home.

Read about it here. It was home till September 1987.
It did have electricity and cold running water, but it never had plumbing, just a rockpit for grey water. I had been about to just let it fall apart, but there was a complication: the electrical line goes up there first, and so does the water. 
When we got the mobile home we did not want to look at a landscape full of poles, and we had the electricity and the water go underground from the cabin to the mobile. It has all worked just fine but one needs to know. 

By 2017 the old roof cover had disintegrated. Believing the place doomed I called BC hydro about the possibility of having a connection go directly to the trailer. They told me to find a local electrician. The well established electricians were all  too busy or not available, but a  man new to the valley answered the call. He came over, measured distance from the existing pole to the trailer, and told me it would require another pole and cost $5000, but for $8000 he could put a metal roof  on the cabin and save it. The cabin has deep sentimental value. I jumped at the chance to preserve it.

At the time I was still planning to stay here. Below, cabin life.

Another builder, too busy to do the work, had also expressed  the opinion that the place deserved to be saved. 
Well........The so called expert turned out to not be, and never mind the details, but that job could/should have been done better. However, the place has been dry. A handy person could have fun turning it into a workshop of some kind. Somehow it has amazing acoustics. 

 Then there is the barn. It started its life as a roof over my mother's travel trailer. When she sold it we inherited the roof and had walls made of plywood. It is divided into three sections, one open, for storing stuff, two where I used to have separate flocks of chickens.
Below, the path from the greenhouse to the barn and the top garden.

One more thing: Potential

I have so many ideas for what could be done to the place! If only I were twenty or even better, fifty years younger and  handier and better at Getting Things Done.

Well, I had my chances. Here are some ideas, just for the fun of it.

An easy way to earn some cash with  little investment would be to create a few level spaces and offer a camp site to self contained motor homes in summer. 

Provincial parks are being over crowded, there is a demand for this. Imagine being on vacation and finding this peaceful paradise to park in instead of a crowded site.

Trees grow like crazy here. Why not start a small Christmas tree farm?
Raspberries love the place. How about a U pick?
This root cellar was built elsewhere by a friend who took the whole homesteading thing a lot further than we did. I put it here because the land would be perfect for it.

The South facing slope would also be good for an Earth Ship style house and for solar power in general.  

The cheapest way to get a better house might be to dismantle the snow roof and the addition, haul out the exisiting mobile and replace it with a newer. not necessarily brand new, version. Reattach addition and somehow rebuild snow roof. 
I considered having that done myself, but then a bad hip day reminds me that I will be 80 in a few years. There is a time for everything. The village is calling.

Speaking of calling...
I prefer e mail for communication.
If the place interests you, contact me at 

Since I first wrote this I have enlisted the service of Property Guys.
They do awesome work creating videos and using a wide angle lens for indoor pictures.
Here is the link:

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.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Asparagus to Zucchini 2016

By the time I finally finish this it is April 2017. Spring is late, as if to compensate for the late onset of winter.  The killing frost stayed away till early December. Even so, I decided the dark season from Samhain to Imbolc is resting time. The mind wants a turn. I took the greenhouse roof off in the last days of October, by myself. I will need help to get it back on, any day now. The snow is receding fast.
At the time I wrote this: Some bulbs were planted. About half the raspberries were pruned and the garlic is in. If we get some nice days I may putter, weed flower beds and spread wood chips in pathways. If cold and snow arrive tomorrow the remaining  work can wait till spring. After decades of this we know that work that is a chore in fall is joy in spring.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for, the annual round up!

It came up just fine. We had a few good generous meals and expected many more.
I did notice a few red spotted beetles on one plant but that's organic gardening for you, right? I briefly wondered why lady bugs would prefer asparagus. The next picking yielded a huge cluster of  bugs, to the point where I threw out some spears in disgust. I noticed they were kind of elongated for a lady bug. A little bell went off in my head and I googled asparagus beetles. Bingo. Photo by Google.
At first there was just the orangey red kind, then they were joined by a more speckled variety. 

That was it for the harvest. I did not want to stress the plants more and focused on picking off bugs. I also removed the mulch, because the bugs love to shelter in the duff. They did not get watered enough but are once again a vigorous forest. I still have to do their fall cleanup and give them a dose of COF. We shall see what the spring brings.

Meh. I love them, but it is a one sided affair. They took forever and stayed small in spite of generous applications of COF. One good thing: the improved golden beet performs better than the old variety. I will keep trying.

I planted three tipis of pole beans, 1 Emerite and 2 Blue Lake in the main garden.
Emerite was once again less vigorous and not noticeably earlier than Blue Lake. No more.
Some Roc d'or and a small section of Jade bush beans were planted in the greenhouse, and a patch of Delinel bush beans in the top garden.
For bush beans I much prefer Jade to Delinel. It is good at all stages while Delinel needs to be picked small. We ate lots and there is plenty in the freezer. For some strange  reason the beans in the greenhouse did less well than those in the garden. In other years I had a tiny patch in the greenhouse yielding tons. 

This gorgeous head was dinner on June 6! I came close to getting the succession right. They keep giving side shoots for weeks, but at some point it makes more sense to rip a plant out and replace it with a fresh start. The greenhouse works so well for getting lots of starts happening.

Brussels sprouts
 Not the worst we have had but not the best either. The plants looked great earlier but the sprouts were smaller than I like. No cabbage loopers but lots of slugs to make up for that. Also, the leaves turned a weird yellow, I have never seen that before.
They could have used more water in summer. By the time it got wet the days were short and the the slugs thrived on the moisture. Even so we have eaten many all during December. The last stalk is still sitting in a pail outside the kitchen door. I get the impression they would prefer to have the bed to themselves except maybe very early in spring. I have plenty of room for green leafy things elsewhere so I will do just that next year. It might be nice to have some narrower beds, just 2 feet wide, for crops like the large brassicas and peas on trellis that do not need three feet.

Not a bad haul at all! I started with half a dozen nice savoys in a single file large brassica bed, in between the ubiquitous kale. 
Remay kept the loopers off early in the season. Egg shells, sluggo and the vigor of the starter plants helped to deter slugs. Then there was the garlic/cabbage succession. In 2014 it worked, in 2015 it failed, this year it worked again. The trick is to have the cabbage starters as big as possible. This year I had vigorous plants filling their one quart yogurt containers, going in early August. Growing and harvesting is only half the work, then there is all the preserving. I made some sauerkraut and it worked! I should have made more but did not trust myself enough and just shredded/froze a bunch.

Once again the early crops got slugged, in spite of being lovingly planted in between rows of egg shells. I finally got some going in one of the small squares after the potatoes had come out in August.
For some reason these came up fine, but it was too late in the season. I got some fresh carrots in October, the size you get excited about in early July.

Not this year. Let's face it, they are prima donnas. Fortunately Andy the Intentional peasant at the market had a bumper crop and I got some for freezing from him at a good price. I don't freeze broccoli. I had been pinning my hopes on Romanesco, that crazy green broccoli with the fractal towery thing, as a fall crop. It performed beyond expectation in 2014, failed in 2015, and almost made it in 2016 but not quite. 

No matter how long the last frost is postponed, at some point plants stop growing. These Veronicas were tiny, still wrapped in their cover leaves, and frozen solid when I picked them December 6. It was the latest haul ever! The picture somehow makes them look bigger. It took all three to make one meal.

The good news is, I had tons of it from my own starts. Tango Hybrid comes up vigorously and is a good sport about being transplanted. I had it next to the Brussels sprouts and in between onions. 
The sad news is, the stalks were thin and tough, no good for salads. They do work fine for winter soups and I froze lots. I suspect they want more water and more nitrogen.

Last year I fell in love with Lucullus, a pale variety that is more like spinach. Planted lots but, I hate to admit this, it suffered from being taken for granted. It needed more TLC in the form of a side dressing of COF and more water and/or mulch. Wait. Slugs love both mulch and chard. Sometimes you just cannot win! I did get some but wanted to have more of it in the freezer. This year I will plant it again, but will also plant more Rainbow chard. It is more vigorous. Besides, I love how it looks in the garden. I want more chard for the freezer and will not freeze kale again, dehydrator only.

I had high hopes for the beautiful vigorous starts in the greenhouse. Two varieties this year: Sweet Success hybrid and Fanfare. Fanfare because Home hardware was selling seeds dirt cheap at the end of the season, Sweet Success because the reviews were so incredible. Early, girl flowers make babies without needing help, and disease resistant. 

The seeds were very expensive and the performance was disappointing. Cucumber must have heat. As reported earlier, July and August were relatively cool. I had enough for fresh eating but not tons. I am the only one in the family eating them so even two plants performing below par yielded enough with some to give away. I wonder if planting them in the bed in the greenhouse that has hardware cloth in the bottom has an effect? The yield in those beds, prepared with such care, has been disappointing.

As usual the rot demanded its sacrifice, even though I planted in a new section that had never been cultivated before. Crazy thing: one of the small beds, about 3 X 8, was more than half rotted, but the other bed was mostly fine. I did not plant them on the same day and wish I had kept better records. 

Also as usual, the garlic that was intact kept just fine and I had enough for my small household with some to give away. I am still eating it.

I had all I wanted to eat which is not saying much. I really enjoyed having some greens in containers in the deck, for easy grabbing of a quick lunch time salad. I finally managed to get arugula seeded every few weeks and I grew a nice crop of Pak Choy in the greenhouse. Praise Sluggo!

Kale was its usual abundant self, bless the stuff. Dehydrated kale makes a nice gift to health conscious non gardeners. I grew red Russian, or rather it grew itself, Lacinato, and the traditional Dutch curly variety called Westlandse. 

I did get some aphids, but they are easily rinsed off with a good stream of water. 

As reported earlier my own starts mainly failed. I bought some but they were pretty pathetic too this year. But wait! The  2017 crop has been started! Hope springs eternal in the gardener's breast.

I wanted to grow extra multipliers, the variety that grows best for me. Regular onions always get some kind of rot. Yes, I rotate crops religiously. Multipliers are mostly grown for green bunching onions. The bulbs are tough as nails and will survive sitting outside without protection. Even getting frostbitten and thawing out again does not stop them from remaining either edible or fit for replanting. They keep well as an eating onion too. So I thought I'd be clever and just plant them by way of main onion crop. Somehow many of them turned out to be ordinary onions, maybe two instead of one, but not the cheerful cluster of bulbs I was counting on. Too big and singular to be a multiplier but smallish for a main crop onion. Many were also attacked by the rot. I wonder if the fault lie in the bulbs? Could some of the sets have been mislabeled by the seed company? I planted some of the good ones in fall. Meanwhile it was an excellent year for those wonderful Egyptian Walking Onions.

Once again a nice harvest of Norli snow peas and Sugar Anne. I love having the earliest snow peas in the greenhouse. 
By the time the trellis is needed for cucumbers they are almost ready op top.

The best EVER! 

In spite of the coolish late season I finally managed to grow decent bell peppers with a good thick wall. I kept them in containers on the table in the greenhouse and from now on that is where they will be. Only two plants each of Jalapeno and Bell yielded a surprising amount.
I may do more container growing. It is fun and age friendly. On a good day I am itching to get started on serious digging and hauling, on a bad day I can feel that I am not 60 anymore, 0r 70 for that matter. On such days the season ahead looks daunting, and I think it may be time to move into the village. Can you tell I have a mild cold as I write this?

A decent year, with the earliest meal ever as posted earlier. I actually did that chitting thing. I now keep them under Remay during flea beetle season in early summer. 
I had been hoping to see more potatoes growing through the piled up straw, but I finally learned that forming spuds UP only works with late varieties. Thanks for that to youtubing urban food growers Hollis and Nancy.  It does irritate me when food gardeners call themselves homesteaders but we will forgive these sweet people. Garden porn on youtube is my antidote for despair about the state of the world.
I learned from them that, just like tomatoes, potatoes can be determinate or indeterminate. Early varieties are determinate, and will only set tubers below the point where they first emerge from the soil. I never knew! 
We still ran out before January, but that is partly because we ate more potatoes this year. 

The success story of the year: BUMPER CROP! I have never managed to grow a meaningful amount of winter squash before, but I did it this year. The secret was using an unfinished compost heap, slightly flattened out to form a new bed in the newish section of the top garden, in between the asparagus and the former raspberry bed. 
The beginning, July 1st.
Six plants of Avalon hybrid butternut squash grew into a wonderful jungle by mid August.

 In September we could see green squashes hiding underneath the foliage.  
I picked one to test it. The catalogue said the fruits would be about 4 to 5 pounds. The first big ones were around 7 and the flesh was a pale greeny yellow, not quite ripe yet. I cannot stand food waste and made a mild curry soup out of it anyway that was surprisingly tasty. 
By early October I decided to harvest. I wanted that space for garlic, and I did not want to wait till autumn cold made the work a burden instead of joy. By this time I had learned that squash will keep ripening even after harvest. Tadah!

  They ripened to a beautiful, deep orange. Wonderful versatile comfort food. At some point in late winter I cooked them all up and froze them. I am still enjoying them.

This was not their finest year. First, a small tragedy occurred early in the season. I had splendid plants in one gallon pots waiting their turn on the big table in the greenhouse. 
They were so sturdy and I was so busy that it never occurred to me that they might be in need of staking. Wouldn't you know it, the very day before I was ready to plant them out they keeled over and I lost a bunch. I ended up with only 6 paste tomatoes. Roma never quite made it. Summer was coolish and by the time the trusses were loaded it was too late in the season. There was always a few for fresh eating, but never enough for canning or dehydration. The beefsteak tomatoes in the greenhouse took their time but did reasonably well.
Somehow I don't seem to have the knack for tomatoes. Needless to say I shall keep trying. 

And, last but least,

Only three plants but what more does one need? By the end of the season they did need all that room.
 They did great and were enjoyed, with plenty to give away.