Thursday, June 23, 2011

Garden Updates

On Father's Day I went home and spent some time with my parents. About once a week I get to check out the garden and how it is doing, but this is the first time I had my camera with me so I took some pictures. With all the rain, most of the plants are growing like crazy! There have been a few flops, but also some pleasant surprises with some plants that didn't look like they were going to make it.

I think the rhubarb got a little damaged in one of the thunder/hail storms that we have had since planting. Hopefully it will regain it's strength and we will get some decent stalks come Fall.

Here is the basil, which has flourished quite a bit, and some newly planted rosemary. The first plant died from who knows what. I think you can actually see it's skeleton in the bottom left of the pot there.

Here is the bay leaf tree provided from my Nonna. I have never used fresh bay leaf before, but I have a feeling it is best used dried. We will probably dry the leaves at the end of the summer.

The kale is actually doing quite well. At first it looked like it was getting nibbled by some kind of bug and looked like we wouldn't get much of a leaf. It is looking better though and I look forward to some nice full kale bunches this summer!

This is some baby swiss chard coming up from some seeds we planted. Another newbie for me, so hopefully it turns out.

Here are some leeks planted by seed. Last year, our leeks (we planted seedlings) did not grow very much. It may have been their location near a cedar tree, but either way, we were not planning on planting them this year. However, we got a free pack of seeds in one of the other packages we bought. So, here they are. The fact that they have sprouted is promising to me. I guess even if the leeks don't get that big it is still okay and we will still enjoy them.

These are beets planted from seeds. It looks like someone has been nibbling on the greens. I hope they survive those cunning little rabbits.

The lettuce on the left was grown from seedlings and the other lettuce that is sprouting is from seed. A lot of lettuce has been lost to bunnies. I hope they leave some for the rest of us. The lettuce that was planted between the tomato plants has been untouched and is ready to be harvested. Maybe that is a good strategy to prevent rabbits from eating it?

The outside plants are cabbage plants which seem to be doing well. No sign of the cabbage yet, but soon it will emerge, and I will wonder how on earth I will be able to deal with so much cabbage. In the middle are some radishes. I was astonished with how well they have done (from seed!). Last year our radishes were a huge flop. So it was a pleasant surprise to see some nice big radishes under all those greens.

I picked a few of the bigger ones to add to our salad at dinner. They were so fresh and soft. It was nice to  enjoy the first produce from our garden on Father's day. That along with some of my Grandfather's leaf lettuce.

These are all the pepper plants with some cherry tomatoes at the back. In this photo you can see the little irrigation system my Dad put in. All he has to do is plug in the hose, turn it on, and all the plants get some watering right on the soil, where it is needed. I like to think this saves some water.

Here is the pepper plants that I planted in a pot to bring to my own house and grow on my patio. It seems like one of the plants is not very happy. I think they are just planted to close together. Originally there was a third plant but one of the neighbourhood critters took it. I probably should have redistributed the plants, and I guess I still probably could. 

These are the tomato plants. They are doing quite well and have been tied a couple times already.

It is hard to see the comparison in these pictures, but the plant in the pot on my patio is not quite as big. It may be as tall but the stalk is not as big, and there are not as many "branches." Normally we have to be concerned with removing the "suckers" (as my Dad calls them) from the branches to make sure that less energy is put into growing the plant, and more is put into growing the fruit. I have not had any suckers yet (the vegetable bed plants have), and I am not sure if that is predictive of anything or not. This plant will definitely not get as big as the others but I am sure I will get a few good tomatoes out of it. It will definitely be worth it. That is, unless some city dwelling animal steals them from me. Anyone have any tips on how to keep the animals away? I have considered wrapping the pot in chicken wire, a few feet high. A bit much for one tomato plant?

Lastly, here are the squashes, melons, zucchini, and in the back are the beans. The initial honeydew and watermelon did not survive, so some butternut squash and cantaloupe have been planted as a replacement. So far so good!

Last week my parent's went to my Nonna and Tatone's (Grandmother and Grandfather) house and the topic of this blog came up. My Aunt mentioned that I have been posting about the garden, and he suggested I put up some pictures of his garden! I have only been sent one picture from my Mom but here it is:
This is inside the greenhouse beside my Tatone's garden. It is heated throughout the winter with a wood stove and inside he grows seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, marigolds and other plants from seed, to get a head start on the growing season. The real reason for the greenhouse is this fig tree. When my Tatone emigrated from Italy, the one thing he missed the most was fresh figs. Importing of figs became more common shortly after his arrival to Canada, but the high price made it an occasional treat. So, he took matters into his own hands and built this greenhouse. When the weather is warm in the summer, the sides of the greenhouse is removed and exposed to the Niagara summer climate. In the winter, the house is closed back up and kept warm enough to survive through the winter. I have been spoiled to have access to such fresh figs and didn't really appreciate it until recently. I only started liking figs in the last couple years and  now I can't get enough!

I look forward to when I own my own house and not only can grow my own garden, but also build my own greenhouse. I only hope that my future gardening ventures are half as successful as my Nonna's and Tatone's have been.


  1. I hope to send you those pictures soon

  2. This is one of my favourite food for fuel posts! SUPERB!