Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Round the Corner to the Vegetable Garden

I got rather distracted didn't I?  At the beginning of September I started to give you a tour of the gardens and all I showed you was the backside of the garage.  Some tour guide I am.  How about we continue to the other side of the garage?

Between the house and the garage sits the vegetable garden.  Hard to believe that two seasons ago this was a blank slate.

Now it is filling in considerably

It started with a couple raised beds the first year.  Now in its second year more raised beds were added and several areas were dug out for in-ground gardening.  A few perennial plants have been established and I'm expecting rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries ready for picking next spring in its third year.

The strawberies have done so well this season
they have begun trying to escape the confines of the box
I'm excited to have some produce that will be ready earlier in the season as the last two years I have been overwhelmed with vegetables in fall with little to eat at the start of summer. 

I created a lot of beds this past spring with the sod cutter but I didn't end up using all of them.  The long bed in the middle, seen below, was never used as I didn't have time to properly dig it up.  I layed cardboard down after the sod was removed and I've added compost over that throughout the summer.

Perhaps peas or squash will make their home there next year?

I will also increase my space next season by moving some plants out of the vegetable garden.  This spring I received lily bulbs early in the year and had no space to put them other than beside the asparagus.

I'm not a fan of lilies but I do love yellow and these blossoms are about as yellow as you can find.  Next year they will move to a flower bed and I will use their present space for more vegetables.

One large square we dug out was initially committed to herbs.  The reality is that this spot was sacrificed to overzealous flowers and weeds some months ago.  The cherry tomato decided that it needed at least 16 square feet all to itself.  To hell with the dahlias, basil and oregano, they could find their own garden to live in.

What was meant to be a small herb garden with
criss crossing paths became a rampant free for all
It all started when the chamomile daintily spilled over the brick path.  Then engulfed it.

There was a path here right?
The benefit of this space becoming so wild was how it seemed to call to the insects in the neighbourhood.  It has been a hotbed of pollination activity this season.

Bees and other pollinators loved the oregano and various herbs
Overall I'm really happy with the size of the veggie garden and I don't have any plans to expand it further.   Next spring should be a little less hectic if I don't have to spend months digging beds, leaving time for other projects.


  1. Marguerite you have done such a lot in your first 2 seasons, I envy your nice flat grass mine is all lumps and bumps and taken ages to get just a few areas flat, I love that your herbs have spilled over the path I don't like neat and tidy nature isn't neat and tidy, I can imagine how the pollinators have loved it, also if the good are growing well they help keep the bad under control, your veggie beds look good and productive, it will be so nice next year when your can just weed and lightly dig the beds for planting, I can't believe how much easier it is in the areas of my garden where the ground has been cleared, makes me feel many gardeners have it easy, Frances

  2. Our I am so pleased you continued the tour. The two comparison photos comparison!!! looks so lush, healthy and cared for. Your beds are producing nicely and the garden is not too far from the house, calling your name, I am sure, each day through the seasons. Next year will be easier, as you've put in the long hours to get the beds to this point.

  3. I have my strawberries in a raised bed and they too are leaping over the side into the paths. I haven't had the heart to pull them out. Pretty soon it will be nothing but strawberries.

  4. I always like to see before and after shots, like your blank slate photo, and then the next photo of the gardens filling the space so nicely. Wonderful job creating a garden from scratch.

    It's interesting how nature will fill our tidy, dug-out beds with her own wild abandon, and then bring in all the pollinators, when we turn our backs for just a while. We really do garden with a very rambunctious, undisciplined partner!

  5. Oh, my! You can certainly tell with the before and after shots how much work you've done. It looks great! You have a lot to be proud of!

  6. One of my oldest memories as a child in our family home was the asparagus spears growing wild in our lawn in the spring! Of course the only vegetables I ate at that age were corn and yellow/green beans so I didn't appreciate them (then) at the supper table. But I loved the way they looked when they went to seed. Funny the stuff we remember isn't it?

  7. I agree with Frances, you accomplished so much in a short time. It is so wonderful that Mother Nature comes along and fills in the garden with such beauty, and you made a great partner for her in your garden.

  8. I think you've accomplished so much! I'm a bit jealous of your sod cutter. When I called about renting one today for a project, the office was closed and is only open M-F, or at 7am on Sat. So I have to either miss sleep or work to cut my sod so it looks like I have a date with a shovel. If your herb bed is packed with pollinators, you've done everything right!

  9. Frances - I'm looking forward to not having to clear ground next season. It's incredibly time consuming and tiring. To be able to just plant and weed will be a treat.

    Brenda - so glad they look cared for but the truth is they were pretty weedy this year as I just couldn't keep up. Yah for long distance photographs!

    Carolyn - I can hardly keep up with trimming back the strawberries. I've left some to form new plants but they need constant monitoring it seems.

    Laurrie - your before and after photos have been really inspiring to me so I really wanted to make sure I took similar photos. It will be great to look back on these in a few years and see the changes.

  10. Holley - The changes are so slow you don't really notice when you're outside working but the photos really do tell a story don't they?

    Jane - you had asparagus in your lawn? How neat. Jody still can't get over what asparagus looks like as a plant, hard to believe those spears are actually a fern.

    Thanks Donna. I don't think I would have gone so gung ho on a veggie garden if hubby hadn't been pushing for fresh vegetables but I'm glad he pushed me. Eating fresh food really makes it worthwhile.

    Tammy - I had a similar issue. We could rent a sod cutter on the weekend but they wouldn't let us book it in advance so you basically had to show up at the store opening to be sure you got it. Instead I ended up taking two days off work to deal with the garden.

  11. Wow, you have transformed so much already, and to have it so productive too... I love the description of the invading cherry tomato plant, they do tend to sprawl all over the place, big bullies.

  12. Janet - I was shocked how big that tomato got, it really was pushing the other plants out of the way in a takeover bid. Next year I'll remember to give them a lot more space.