Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Early in the year, I start planning my garden and make preparations for planting season. I can’t wait to get outside. The plan this spring was to start some seeds indoors and sow the rest directly outside. In past years, I just waited to transplant everything outside until risk of frost had passed for my area (SW Ontario) but this time I did a bit more research, planned out a chart for each item and followed that instead. I was able to sow seeds as early as April for the cold-hardy ones (radishes, spinach, lettuce, carrots). We’ll see how things go!

This is what I’ll be growing this year:

  • 6 types of cherry tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • 2 types of leaf lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Beans (will direct sow as I harvest the radishes)
  • Marigolds (pest control)

This is my chart:

Local Frost Date (“FD”): May 1-10, 2017

Plant Sow date Growth Safe set out date Planting date Notes
 Lettuce Apr 15 Once ground is workable Apr 15 Direct Apr 9
 Onion sets Apr 22-29 2-3 wks before FD Apr 22-29 Direct Apr 22
 Radish Apr 15-22 3-4 wks before FD Apr 15-22 Direct Apr 14
 Tomato Mar 25-Apr 8 6-8 wks 1 week after FD May 13 Trans. May 13
 Basil Apr 8-22 5-7 wks 2 weeks after FD May 20 Trans. May 20
 Parsley Feb 18-Mar 4 8-10 wks 2 weeks before FD Apr 29 Trans. May 13
 Carrots Apr 8-22 3-5 weeks before FD Apr 8-22 Direct Apr 9
 Spinach Apr 8 5 weeks before FD Apr 8 Direct Apr 9

As of a week ago, everything is now outside in my 2 square foot garden beds (4×4, 2×8). The radishes, onions and lettuce are coming along nicely. I can see the tips of the carrots and spinach. I transplanted the tomatoes and parsley and they’re recovering a bit from transplant shock but they’re resilient buggers – they should bounce back. I bought basil from the garden centre (my seeds from last year didn’t take) – and I planted those on Saturday.

I keep a gardening journal to record when I do everything and track progress of how the seeds/plants are doing. It helps to look back on past season to see what worked / what didn’t. Last year, I had tomatoes, basil and parsley in one bed and the herbs were HUGE. I’d never seen basil bushes before but there they were in my backyard! I made pesto in September and it lasted us through the winter – I have 2 little containers left in the freezer. 🙂

So excited that garden season has officially begun!!!


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I’ve decided to give square foot gardening a try this year. I have my raised bed frame and garden plan – a 4′ x 4′ grid with 16 squares. I started some seeds indoors a couple of weeks ago and am convinced I have magic beans…

I picked up a mini greenhouse for $30 at Lowes to store my seedlings indoors in a warm spot (my office) which will also work well when I harden them off later this spring out on the deck.

I decided to start some from seed and buy the rest as plants from the nursery. The seeds I started include basil, beets, green beans, spinach and marigolds. The plants I’ll be buying include cherry tomato, regular tomato, peppers and onion sets.

I started my seeds in early March which may be a bit early for the beans. This is them a week later. The beans sprouted really quickly. I’m a bit worried that they’ll grow too quickly before my outdoor garden is ready but I figure worst case scenario, I’ll transplant as needed in to bigger containers and I can always plan new seeds directly into the soil. I’ll play it by ear but they should be fine.



Below is the mini greenhouse and the potting soil I’m using:



And I transplanted some of the beans (top) and the beets (bottom):


These were taken today. I transplanted more of the beans and thinned out some of the beets.




These were the first beans transplanted. Magic beans. 🙂


Stay tuned for progress!

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Well, I can really say it’s the *first* bounty since I’ve been snipping the basil and parsley for a few weeks now. That being said, this morning I picked the first veggies. Behold the bounty of our first mini pepper and mini cucumber. And they were delicious!!!  I thought I might have picked the cuke a bot early (I was testing it out to know when to pick the rest) but it was sweet and fresh and yummy. The pepper was crisp and fresh too. So excited to eat more!

Here are more pictures of my container garden. I originally had plants on either side of the patio door but noticed that the ones on the side that got more sun were getting a bit parched – you’ll see them in the pic of the entire garden – they’re lighter in color and smaller. I moved them all over to the far left this morning – hopefully they’ll be happier there.

Basil and parsley In their new home

The garden!

Pretty soon we’ll have too many veggies to know what to do with. 🙂 And I can’t wait!

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This heat wave is really getting old. Yesterday was 38 (49 with the humidity). For the Farenheit folks out there, that’s 100 (120 with the humidity). Hello..??? We’re in Canada. That’s too hot. But – I’m still not craving ice and snowmen. So, I’ve been staying inside with the AC on, or in the pool. Life is hard. 🙂

I’ve been keeping an eye on my garden – for the past two days, I’ve come home from work to find them sad and wilted but a good watering perks them right up again. The basil and parsley are doing very well – used basil in some meals this week. And I’m finally seeing tomatoes and peppers! Not sure what’s up with the cukes though – lots of flowers, but nothing growing yet.

I see tomatoes!


More tomatoes

Parsley and basil (Thai basil and Cinnamon basil)

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They’re aliiiive!

Although things started slowly, they’re finally getting there and starting to bloom.

The middle one with yellow flowers are mini cucumbers. The larger green one to the left is a tomato plant. The four other large ones are mini bell peppers – they just started to flower. The two white pots in th 2nd row are parsleys – they finally kicked in about a week ago. And the front row is all basil (three Thai basils and one cinnamon basil).

The other batch includes tomato plants (the large ones) just about to flower. The two in light green pots are more mini bell peppers.

I transplanted one tomato plant, the peppers and the basil into larger pots this morning, gave them a good watering and now they’re settling down in the sun. 🙂

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Summer has slowly come upon us and it’s about time. We’re still getting the occasionally rainy day but at least we’ve had some 30+ days in the past couple of weeks, coats are long gone and sandals are out.

Here’s the yard as of this morning. Everything is late to bloom compared to last year’s steamy summer. The peonies are just starting to bloom. The lilacs bloomed and died in about a week. The wild roses are coming along. The giant hostas are doing fine and seemed to grow to full size in a week.. The geraniums were slow as well. what can you do.

Even my seedlings took longer this year, although I started them a couple of weeks later than last year too. I transplanted them into larger pots this morning and placed them outside.

This year, I have cherry red tomatoes, cherry yellow tomatoes, mini cucumbers (hence the trellis), mini peppers, thai basil, cinnamon basil and parsley. We’ll see how they do with this wonky weather we’ve been having.

The cucumbers and tomatoes are doing good (brown and white pots), as are the peppers (bigger green pots with leafy plants). The herbs are taking long (see small pots in front and small white pots), so I put them outside to see if more sun would do the trick. Stay tuned.

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During a discussion with friends this past weekend, it occurred to me that I’ve evolved quite a bit over the past couple of years. If I look at the “me” from a few years ago, I didn’t have the faintest idea about home ownership, was afraid of bugs, killed every plant I touched, stuck to my usual hobbies/activities… Mind you, I was very happy at the time but I had no idea what I was missing. Don’t get me wrong, bugs and I still don’t have a warm and fuzzy relationship. BUT, I no longer run away squealing with arms waving if a bee is in my vicinity. My, how I’ve grown!

I am proud to say report (with confidence) that I am about 80% of the way towards conquering my fear of spiders. I have killed so many spiders in the past year, I can’t even count them. Those who “when me when” will find this absolutely shocking. The remaining 20% are the big mamas – but I will get there. I’ve killed one so far. We don’t get very many where we live. Maybe I just need more innocent victims…

I have also managed to maintain landscaped front and rear yards (oh all right, with the help of a gardener, but still)… 🙂 I have also grown my own herbs and tomato plants which we’ve been eating all summer – and they’re still alive!

I learned “home”-stuff like taking care of a pool (skimmer and all) and building a fire. I tried new activities that I would never have tried before: archery, ziplining, riding a Segway, yacht racing, horseback riding and more! And discovered a new hobby and appreciation for learning about wine.

Here is a look back at some old posts from “back in the day” that give me a chuckle when I read them now. 🙂

Val the gardener: https://valcitygal.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/feb-23-val-the-gardener-strikes-again/

Val the hardware store expert: https://valcitygal.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/nov-29-christmas-preparations/

Val the pool cleaner and gas stove cook: https://valcitygal.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/toronto-day-8-oct-3-2008/

Looking forward to more of the same!

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