Thursday 22 October 2020

Planning for 2021

While I was pulling weeds, I was planning seeds.
Like last year I used to plan it out.
Both Plots for the Whole YearFull planting list

I clearly have high hopes but those pics are a bit blurry so here's some zoomed in versions.

1st half Planting List

2nd half Planting List

Plot #4

Plot #5

Even with GrowVeg, I did not have a detailed enough list for me(they separate by month, not by week) so I started building a spreadsheet and I'm glad I did. Some of the DTM showed me I should move some things earlier. I plan to experiment with planting dates and trying to get as much food as possible out of these plots. 

Detailed Planting Spreadsheet

This is the first year I'm going to be keeping detailed notes on yield and such. I know it won't be of use after we move to a different climate, but hopefully this experience will teach me not only how to keep notes efficiently, but also what level of detail I'm interested in keeping. I do know that if going to sell in the future, I'll need to be able to know when things will be ready and about how much per sq.ft. of bedspace.

Some of the "extra" food we don't have space/storage/use for will be going to friends but I plan on taking quite a bit of it to the FoodBank. I know if I went the UrbanFarmer route I could produce a ridiculous amount of salad greens, radishes, and baby turnips to donate(no selling allowed from the community gardens).... but salad greens don't really keep well unrefrigerated and I'm growing first and foremost for my family so I'm growing what we like to eat.

I'll probably fiddle with the layout over winter but this is what I want to grow and I have all the seeds. (I do still need to get potatoes in spring and garlic in fall.)

Are you growing food next year?

Tuesday 20 October 2020

I was done for the season....

But then I talked myself into a lot more work. I had Plot #5 at our garden and after cleaning up I tarped it and thought I was done..... But then I kept looking at Plot #4 right next door to me that had been abandoned mid-summer and dreading poor neighbours next season..... 

SO, now Plot #4 officially belongs to my mrs. 

A large square black tarp anchored to the ground in front of a fenced-in area full of 2ft-4ft tall weeds.
Plot #5 closed, Plot #4 in background

Knowing there wasn't much time before the snow, and knowing I did NOT want to let those weeds overwinter, I got to work. The first day I went out there and pulled up every big weed. Anything I could reach from standing was removed, some cut with pruners at ground level, others hauled out with whatever roots would come. The fencing was removed by me and the rolls were either stolen, or retrieved by the previous owners overnight. I like to think it was the latter.

EOD Plot #4 Oct 11
EOD both Oct 11
EOD pano Oct 11

Next pass and with the help of a garden fork I managed to uproot about a third of the weeds. The pile of refuse on the tarp was growing surprisingly quickly. I had no clue the MASS of bio mass you really can get of such a small area. I was quickly learning however, the muscle mass I really didn't have anymore.

EOD Oct 16

A few days later I managed to get a LOT of the weeding done. At this point I had pulled out about a gazillion lil white rootlets that I knew were gonna cause trouble. There will be more; I don't doubt that... But I've done my best to give us the best start for next season.

Weeds all gone!Leaves down
EOD pano Oct 20

Today I spent all day at the garden and not only did I finish the weeding. I laid out the leaf mulch, I used the finished compost in Plot #4's bin to sprinkle over them so they wouldn't blow away, I moved the now empty bin next to the other one, and I dug under the old bin for the milkweed root that had spawned the plant that managed to grow all the way up through the compost. The knot was about a foot below ground level, it was the size of my fist, and the runners went about 3 feet in each direction!

My feet are sore and my back is aching but so happy that I could get the weeding done before the snow. There's still some weed refuse to get into a compost bin and once the tarp I ordered gets to the store I'll come back out and pin it down...

but for now, I think I'll just enjoy the view. :-)

Both plots as I left them today

Saturday 17 October 2020

6 months gone

 I've been:

  • hiding from COVID
  • seasonal summit with Hugslut
  • housing Wolfie in our spare room
  • learning to program in Ruby
  • went back to work
  • listening to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts
  • gardening
  • learning new plant based meals
  • hiding from COVID again
  • canning
  • writing penpal snail-mail with my niece
  • signing up for a second garden plot
  • thinking toward the future farm plans

Sunday 29 March 2020

End of March Garden Update

I stopped by the garden because it was SUPER windy today and I wanted to make sure everything was in place. I was surprised to see caution tape all over the playground. I mean... it make sense... but my first thought was "crime scene" not "reminding people to not be idiots during a pandemic".

Here's a before and after for today. If you look along the left you can see the garlic growing surprisingly well considering the flood and such. As I was cleaning up the blown over barrels and such a gust ripped up the top left corner of the tarp. I went around re-anchoring the tarp and then grabbed some loose 2x4s that had washed against the fence for weights.

A lady walking her dog on the other side of the fence struck up a conversation that left me a bit confused:

Lady: "Hello! Getting to be that time isn't it?"
Me: "Yup, we're getting there. Today I'm just making sure the tarp doesn't fly away in the wind."
Lady: "I wonder if the garden centre will be open in time."
Me: * shrug * "I bought seeds online."
Lady: "Oh, you're one of those."

Now, I'm not sure exactly what she meant by that. Maybe "doesn't support local", maybe "very into tech", I hope it means "so good at gardening I can grow my own starts".

Friday 27 March 2020

On Journaling

I've seen a few posts on social media encouraging journaling because future historians will be so happy to have day-to-day accounts from everyday people during this pandemic . . .

but I don't really want to preserve my every lil worry and stress. We've made sure our moms are being sensible, and checked in with Wolfie to make sure he was okay, and Hugslut's working from home while I'm on leave trying to make the most of my time by homemaking like a boss . . .

but I'm not interested in documenting for the future. I'm more interested in living for the now.

Sunday 22 March 2020

First Seeds of 2020 Planted!

If looking at this chart crosses your eyes like mine, you'll understand why I made a timeline below. 

Now keep in mind the numbers are actually kinda vague because I'm planning on interplanting, and some of the seed is older so it's not like one seed = one plant.

TimelineSeedling tray legend

I also rejiggered the plan a bit because I realised I had interplanted root crops together which is less ideal than interplanting them with the leafy veg nearby.

Looking forward to posting some pics once they sprout in a week or two.

Sunday 15 March 2020

Garden Plan for the 2020 Season

The original plan for 2020

As you can see the plan is very crowded, with lots of interplanting and a LOT of different plants. (26 to be exact) This plan heavily relied on being able to get things in the ground as early as March. After learning about the flood and coming to terms with the actual land situation I'm working with, I looked ahead to the next couple months and...

March April May

As you can see, we're expecting the weather to dip below freezing until the beginning of May so the delicate things like the tomatoes definitely won't be going out til at least mid-May. Thinking of a shorter growing season and looking at the original plan I noticed that potato/zucchini area was where the mint was the worst last year and could probably use a longer period of time under the tarp, so I decided to move the heat loving crops to that end of the plot. Double checking on maps I found that end is actually the south face anyway and they'd probably do the best there.

With this new idea in mind, and trying to simplify my first ear instead of trying to do ALL the things, I rearranged the plan.

The left side where the garlic has over wintered(and is not covered by the tarp) will be the first seeds to go in. around the beginning of April. The quick crops of radishes, green onions, and baby carrots are the ones I'll be spending the most time on(harvesting and replanting often) so they're along the fence of my tidier neighbour. Her garden was weed free last fall and I want to not only be a good neighbour by keeping our "property line" tidy, but also take advantage of the lack of competition.

The next section to be planted will be the brussel sprout and potato bed along the bottom/north walkway in mid-April.

The middle two beds of leaves and roots will go in end of April to beginning of May.

And the heat lovers will go in the top/south bed Mid to end of May.

The new plan for 2020

As you can see, the new plan is much simpler with larger quantities of the storage roots and less of a focus on large specialty items like melons and pumpkins which we use so rarely. Reducing the tomato and pepper plants by one each also allowed the cucumbers to be on the same trellis, eliminating the need for sunflowers altogether (which is great because I was worried that might not work well to begin with).

Simple, tidy, tasty. What more could I really ask for. :-)

Now I Know

Here's how things looked in January. 
I thought the plot was tucked in snug for the winter.

My first winter in this community garden has been a learning experience for sure. Near the end of February I stopped by to find the tarp had been completely washed into the walkway. Another gardener told me that there was a 6 foot flood a week or two before that washed everyone's empty composter barrels into the soccer field so I was pretty lucky my tarp had remained anchored in one corner. She mentioned that it's a usual thing and happens pretty much every year.

Unfortunately, after the flood there had been some very cold weather so my tarp had frozen to the ground in the walkway. Watching the weather for a warm streak I went back out March 5th to try to get everything back where it belongs.


Another surprise under the snow; the garlic has started to sprout!

So now I know. 
This garden gets REALLY flooded in February, AND that the flood didn't mess up my beds at all. I also now know that overwintering garlic is a viable option despite the flooding. I also need better anchors for my tarp next winter.