OK, it feels like spring

Maybe it isn’t yet, but with the temperatures up to 16 today, it definitely felt like the middle of spring. I st I started to uncover my back garden, and found that some of my daffodils are over an inch high, my buddleia has buds, as do my roses, and that things seem to generally be growing the way one would hope.

I started to uncover some things — not most things, just things like daffodils that I know will be able to handle it if we get a hard freeze between now and the end of the month.

Big optimism

At the beginning of February, I stuck it out through 25 minutes of being on hold to get on the waiting list for an allotment garden near Leslie Spit. They look like fair-sized gardens — about 20 x 20 feet. I was told that I’m in the top ten on the waiting list, and that I’d find out by the end of April if I get a garden this year.Well, heck, I can’t wait that long. Especially when Vesey’s sends me an email message that they’ve got free shipping until March 20th.So last night I ordered seeds. Lots of seeds. Lots of seeds with hopes of using a few of each kind for a vegetable garden on Leslie Street. Wherever possible, if they offered a choice, I’ve bought organic seed:

Food items

  • Sweet Slice Cucumber
  • Mei Qing Choi — these are the “baby bok choi” that you see in the markets and supermarkets these days.
  • Eight Ball Zucchini — hey, they look fun. Round zucchini. And if you’re getting too many of them, start harvesting the blossoms to stuff.
  • Sunburst Squash — these are the little “patty pan” type of summer squash. Harvest them before they get to 2″ in diameter, and just saute them (or I want to try putting them on the barbecue with a brush of olive oil) Yum yum.
  • Brandywine Organic Tomato — kinda ugly. Large, needs to be staked, and won’t necessarily give you a lot of tomatoes. But damn, they are tasty. One of these, a buffalo mozzarella, and some fresh basil like we could grow in last summer’s dry heat, and you’ve got one tasty salad for two.
  • Cherry Fox Organic Tomato — because sometimes you just want little tomatoes. And they’re cute.
  • San Marzano Organic Tomato — I tried making tomato paste/sauce this summer using ordinary field tomatoes. That takes a lot of boiling to bring them down. So now I want to grow my own paste tomatoes for sauce.
  • Asparagus Peas — strange thing I’ve never heard of before. Ridged peas that you harvest when they’re about an inch and a half long. Saute with butter, the copy says they taste like asparagus. Hey, I love asparagus and don’t want to wait 3 years (at this point) to be able to harvest something tasty. So I’ll try the peas.
  • Rainbow Organic Swiss Chard — I love beautiful food on my plate. And if you keep harvesting the outer leaves, it should continue to grow for a long time.
  • Cajun Delight Okra — I love the hibiscus-like flowers. And okra’s great for thickening any kind of soup or stew. Needs a long time to grow, so I’ll be starting seeds indoors.
  • Baby Leaf Blend Organic Lettuce — my own mesclun mix!
  • Sweet Basil Organic Herb — if we have a summer like last summer, I want to make a whackload of pesto.
  • Italian Organic Parsley — must have.
  • Organic German Thyme — Ash’s favorite herb.

Flowers

I thought I could use the lot as a cutting garden, too…..

  • “Queen” Series Cleome — I want a few of these for the back yard. I don’t know if they’d work as a cutting.
  • Mont Blanc Lavatera — a few for the back yard, some more for cuttings. We had them the first or second year of living here, and they were really hardy — quite beautiful, too.
  • Royale Mix Salpiglossis — one of my favorites. They look illuminated from within.
  • Little Darling Snapdragon — want to scatter some seeds in the front garden, among all the roses, and put the rest in a cutting garden in the allotment, if I get it.

Non-edibles

  • Birdhouse Gourds — just because, OK? Maybe I’ll make birdhouses and give them to all the neighbours. Just have to figure out the right diameter for things that are native and won’t allow nesting of starlings, european sparrows, or even the native house wren, which tends to dominate its territory.
  • Neem Oil — dormant oil. To apply to the garden before it wakes up (hope it gets here soon). This can help reduce nasty buggers like the rose sawfly (Ash’s bane) and I’ll use some at work, too, to try to get rid of the pine scale attacking our little mugo pine in the roof garden. It’s supposed to have good antiseptic properties — also known as tea-tree oil I think..
  • Compost Accelerator — because we’ve got a little composter, so it doesn’t build up the heat to have an effective pile. Hope this will increase the speed of degeneration!

Books

Can never have enough books

  • Square Foot Gardening — a revision on the original book about getting the most bang for your buck from a little garden.
  • From Highrise to Haystack — tale of a couple who moved from the city to the country. Let that be a warning to you.

So keep your fingers crossed that I get my garden, or else I’m going to be giving seedlings away at work.

Also went to Canada Blooms

My fifth (I think) Canada Blooms. Wasn’t so thrilled this year: didn’t feel like I was learning much from the display gardens. Some silly things, like painted stripped dead trees with big black umbrellas hung in them (get it? umbrella trees – ar, ar, ar). Felt that the plant material from one garden to the next was too similar — I know that all the plant material is ordered from one woman, and distributed to the different garden-makers, but I wish that there wasn’t the feeling that they each got a piece of each pie — it would have been more interesting to see some variation, rather than the same repetition of plants. Oh well. .. Maybe I’m just getting jaded. Maybe I should have spent more time in the education section, or the retail section. I was expecting to be gob-smacked by at least one garden, and came away feeling like that Peggy Lee song — “is that all there is?”So hey — it’s March 12! Go out, have a look at your garden, and tell me what you’ve found growing!

Leave a Reply