growing food

I’ve finally planted vegetables! I’ve wanted to create a vegetable garden ever since we moved in. Every spring there was some reason why I couldn’t do it:

  • 2005: got the house in late May, had a baby in June.
  • 2006: away in Sri Lanka, house rented out.
  • 2007: the new baby is four months old, K is in Sri Lanka, and we’re planning a renovation.
  • 2008: working full-time, kids in daycare, busy coming to the realization that I should leave work.
  • 2009: away in Berlin, house rented out.
  • 2010: did it!

I bought too many plants. Perhaps next year I will graduate to growing from seed but this year I bought seedlings to plant directly outside. Also, as a newbie, I didn’t realize that one little dish actually contains four plants. So when I thought I bought one broccoli plant, I bought four. And four times as many kale plants as I’d planned. Ditto the carrots, zucchini, chard, peas and beans. Never mind, the more the merrier.

First step was to prune the hell out of the flowering almond tree in the front. It’s beautiful for about a week each May, otherwise it’s pokey and sends up very persistent shoots all over the garden. And it was shading my future vegetable garden patch. So it got a very severe haircut.

Next I dug up all the plants. Some had been planted  intentionally (by the house’s previous owners) but most were opportunistic. Out they came. I lined the edge with bricks, spread some compost, nursed my sore muscles, and sat back to figure out how to get this many vegetable plants:

…into this much space:

This is how it turned out:

However, there were many little plants left over. And I like kale so I set about finding spots for them all. I searched for “small plot gardening” and soon found instructions and photos of upside-down tomato plants. Brilliant! There are two big hooks nailed into the fence in the back yard. I can’t get them out. But now I can use them! I got some empty buckets from the bulk food store and Malli and I turned them into tomato planters. I cut holes in the bottoms, threaded the wee plant through the hole and filled the bucket with dirt:

Next I scrounged around for empty pots, nailed a trellis to the wall, and turned a sunny spot between our house and our neighbour’s into a garden. These are beans, kale, spinach and basil:

I buried a broken pot in the backyard wood chips and planted some snow peas. These little guys are already winding their way around the strings:

Still a few plants to go. I put the last spinach and the last chard in the top of the upside-down tomatoes and set the two remaining zucchini plants on the sidewalk with a sign imploring passers-by to help them find some soil in which to spread out. They were gone within half an hour.

It’s hard to stop. Every bucket and sunny spot I see looks like a potential planting spot. The kids have caught the farming bug and have ‘planted’ an assortment of sticks and shovels out back. We’ll start watering them from our rain barrel and see what comes up.

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2 responses to “growing food

  1. Shovels need shade – they’ll never grow there!

  2. Pingback: gardening lessons « Chapter Four

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