It has been a month and a half or so since we had to put down my terminally ill beautiful dog. The back yard had become a bit of a depressing place without her in it so I was not so eager about my garden this year at first. I really miss her but I know she would not want us to be miserable so I have been trying to make it a better place again. I purchased two blue hydrangeas in honour of my dog the day after her death. These I have planted where our only other hydrangea seems to be doing well. So far they look beautiful and have brought me comfort.
In the garden beds (I have two this year!) or in containers I have planted all sorts of things like strawberries, carrots, onions, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs, pumpkins, and tomatoes. So far they have been growing very nicely and I love to watch them. I am particularly excited about the onions right now as they will probably be ready first.
Last year, I wrote a summary of what I learned from my garden and have referred back to it already this year. So far, I have done the following this year:
Soil & compost-late fall and winter I started directly composting into my garden bed. My new garden bed I had dug out and began to fill with grass clippings, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, newspaper shredding, leaves, etc. so the whole base is made up of compost. Earlier this year I had my husband buy potting soil and some special nutrient rich soil from the store and we mixed half and half into each plot. This has topped up the plots and I let them lay empty for a few weeks.
- I dug out another unused part of our yard as well where I will make a third garden bed for use next year. It is in the shade a bit more so will have to be careful what I plant there. In the meantime, I will do my composting there.
Seedlings I started indoors in late February but they did not do well. This was my plan from last year but it was not a success. I did get my friend who works at a local seed company to order some organic GMO free seeds for me and my sister bought me the rest as a Christmas present. I tried again a bit later outdoors and this seemed to work better and produce hardier plants.
- My sister obtained an apple tree through city program (they are trying to encourage people to grow more fruit trees). But, since she rents and is not allowed to plant it, she gave it over to me and my husband planted it in the back where we always intended to plant an apple tree. That worked out well! We now have a plum, cherry, pear, and apple tree there. Last year only the pear tree produced fruit but maybe this year will be different. We also have our famous struggling lemon tree my husband gave me for Valentine’s day but I will get into that in another post.
Flowers-Last year I planted a few flowers last year. Some of them did not make it and had to be pulled up but what returned is a spike speedwell plant, oriental lily, the hydrangea I planted last year, and one or two others. I added two blue hydrangeas as mentioned above. My butterfly bush is also doing very very well. In fact, I need to prune it before it gets out of control! Finally, when I was ill in March, I added a row of sunflowers which seem to be doing well. I look forward to seeing them grow and attract butterflies and birds. To discourage weeds by the flower walkway, I added some mulch as well.
Containers-This year I wanted to grow more and wanted more space to do so, so decided to also do some planting in containers which I had around. I planted basil, oregano, cilantro, strawberries, peas, and tomatoes in them so far. So far, so good.
- Onion sets-Onions like to be planted in cooler weather so this was the first thing we planted. Now, they have long tops. Not sure when they will be ready but I look forward to doing a second planting of them later this summer.
- Herbs-This year I knew only to grow herbs that I would use. So, I planted fenugreek (which my mother freezes for winter use), cilantro (need tons of this!), basil, oregano, and summer savory is the new one that I am trying out. We have a lot of mint growing as well in the front of our house which comes back every year.
This past weekend was very warm and I did quite a bit of weeding. I also enjoyed two delicious strawberries. I think I may need more of them for next year!