Sunday, July 10, 2016

Blessed Rain and Garden Update

The last weeks of June and the beginning of July brought some pretty scorching temps here in Nova Scotia. "No outside fires" banned across the province which was a shame (but necessary) as we do enjoy our little back yard firepit. At the end of a day, especially if we've been tidying up in the garden, we burn debris and reward ourselves with a glass of wine or whatever. You can just see the flames off to the left above, the garden lush after the downpours.  Refreshed with mushroom compost, cutting a good 'edge', the beds look smart this time of year.

Finally, the roof on the Summerhouse shed is finished and although a big job removing the old windows we are pleased. You can compare with the last blog post in which the shed looks very broken. Thanks to our neighbour Quentin for helping out!

So what's growing in our Nova Scotia zone 6 garden right now? Had my fill of lettuce and salad greens..enough so that most are pulled out and composting. No guilt, no guilt, no guilt :( But the peas have come on strong and one variety in particular is prolific. Golden Sweet Pea is not only beautiful and glowing, the see-through pods are buttery, and delicious. They are my favourite ever ever ever! Dill and garlic scapes and a few green peas add to the bowl.
The blooms of the Golden Sweet Peas (seeds available at Baker Creek or Johnny's seeds) are a bi-color pink and purple fading to blue when finishing.  Awesome!
If we want a side of salad greens right now, we use the thinnings of baby beets, baby leaves of chard, the inside new leaves of kale, tiny garlic scapes just forming, tiny flowers off the Egyptian Walking Onions, (above mentioned peas) any and all herbs that would enhance the side, served (we like) with a stronger dressing as you would on a Caesar salad.

There is a carrot we tried this year called Nelson, an F1 from Johnny's Seeds in Maine and it too, has been prolific and tasty. Not as sweet as some, I will admit, but a great success, and carrots can be so fussy I find.
No strawberries this year sadly, as the bed was five years old and so not really producing. Next year perhaps, a bed devoted entirely to berries and I will cover them like a grown up gardener would do so the chipmunks and squirrels don't get them first. But, that means finding the plants for sale now.  Red currant bushes are loaded and they will satisfy almost as nicely but it isn't the same, you know. We have four shrubs of red currant, planted way back. Oh gosh, I can't believe it was sixteen years ago. Have we lived here on the south shore of Nova Scotia that long!! Apparently so as I just asked the Captain and he says seventeen years ago.

And that leads me to admit, we took out the lilac bed and yes, we will forever mourn grubbing out 'Beauty of Moscow' the lilac we loved the most. Sadly, the forest grew a lot taller in seventeen years than anticipated and the whole planting had become sad..just sad, tired, leggy and shady. It is surprising how beautiful the burning roots and branches smelled last night. Made me even sadder though.

This spring and summer was especially more difficult regarding weeds unwanted seeds. For the first time in a few years there was very little compost to spread on the beds to freshen them early on when the weather turned warm. So, I bought some, but too late realized that lovely bucket of compost had been left uncovered from the year before and OMG, the unwanted seeds that sprouted. I guess I can be thankful there were no invasives in there, and hopefully only annual unwanted seeds but I guess time will tell. Let that be a hard lesson learned because I tell you there is nothing sneakier than a clump of couch grass hiding in a bed of carrot fronds.

The rain continues thankfully but please don't let the tomatoes get blight, please don't! I can live without lettuce greens, carrots, peas and more, but I can't live without tomatoes.




10 comments:

  1. I feel the same way about tomatoes - I scan them carefully every day, hoping not to see any signs of the dreaded blight. Those little baby carrots look absolutely perfect! I bet they were good with one of those mixed salads you describe. I'm quite "in to" raw veg at present, and raw carrots take a lot of beating.

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    1. Nothing quite like the taste of your own carrots Mark, is there. We served them with other raw veggie and hummus yesterday to folks who raved about 'not like grocery store carrots'. But nowadays there are some fine local garden markets, thankfully. Like you, we can't wait for tomatoes!

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  2. Your beds do look wonderful! We haven't been fortunate enough to get a good downpour here yet - we had a bit of drizzle last week, but it wasn't enough to lift the fire ban. I'm growing Golden Sweet too, but my first impressions weren't as glowing. From your photos, however, yours look much nicer than ours. Once I stir fried some up, that impression changed as they were quite delicious. And I completely agree about the blooms - they are gorgeous!

    That's a good lesson learned with the compost. The weeds have been worse then ever this year around here too but I blame our very mild winter as even our mulched pathways are under a heavier attack this time round.

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    1. Margaret, thank you for the kind words re the beds. Hope you have had rain since you posted your comment. Re the peas, every year is different isn't it..and the soil in each others gardens must affect the taste of things. Once on the radio I heard a man being interviewed and he said he was an old farmer and he just wanted people to know peas love lime. He said they love it so much they will grow in lime, so we don't forget to add lots to the soil. (Ours is more to the acid side). Still picking the Golden Sweet but they are hardly flowering now. Magnolia Sweet Tendril from Baker Creek are following. Have you tried them? Waiting to see how they taste but they are beautiful as well. Thank you again for your comment. Your harvests are huge and your edging in your beds fantastic.

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    2. Hi Bren - you are MUCH too kind :)

      I haven't tried Magnolia Sweet Tendril. I checked it out on the Baker Creek site and they sound really nice. Reminds me of the shelling pea I'm growing, Aladdin, which is a "semi-leafless" variety, so lots of tendrils but not many leaves making the pods much easier to see & pick. Hope you post an update on how this variety does in your garden and on your plate :)

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  3. So glad the shed is now mended and looking so good. Those yellow peas look so unusual! That's a wonderful crop of carrots it's something we always find difficult to grow! I'll keep my fingers crossed for your tomatoes! Sarah x

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    1. Thank you Sarah. Your comments are always kind and uplifting. Carrots can be difficult to grow and for years we had poor luck. Even when they germinated, one year, am sure it was mice, every night chomped away until the whole long row was gone. Now that I am a little more 'grown up', I do cover them and keep moist up to when they germinate with a white fleece/remay and then, thin and cover until they are strong enough to not have the cover. Hope that helps.

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  4. Gorgeous garden! I don't have enough sun to have a garden - just a few herbs and a container of cherry tomatoes! Your veggies look beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Amy for your compliment and for your kind comment. Herbs and tomatoes are two of my favourite harvests but did you know, many greens..lettuces etc. can grow in partial shade and like it cool besides. I didn't, so passing that along. Thanks again.

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  5. I have bed-edge envy. Yours are so sharp and neat and mine are so raggedy and sloppy. *sigh* Something for another day when the ground is not rock-hard.
    I have tomatoes in containers and they are not doing as well as I'd thought they might. We had such a lovely hot start to the season, but now we are back to relatively cool temps and that refreshing and damp sea breeze which is not, unfortunately, what tomatoes like. Time will tell!

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