Posts Tagged ‘vegetable garden’


In past years, we have used a few raised beds as an informal vegetable garden. This spring, we expanded the vegetable space into a more formal area with walkways, a screened sitting area, and flowers and vegetables in a mixed potager garden. We started with taking up the sod with a rented machine and laying out the beds and walkways. Pictured above is the new site as it looked on June 3rd. The little wilted plants in the left-hand foreground are sunflowers, transplanted from the places where birdseed had sprouted around the yard.


And here is the same view now, two months later. The sunflowers are now 5 and 6 feet tall! Corn, to the right, is also taller than I am.




…and after!

It has been very satisfying to watch the transformation of this space. And very pleasant to sip tea in the screened room and watch as goldfinches help themselves to sunflower seeds and hummingbirds visit flowers.


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This year’s major garden project has been expanding and formalizing the vegetable garden. Here’s the site as it appeared on May 16th, with the sod removed. The plot is 42 x 50 feet.


By June 3rd, the garden beds had been laid out. The plan features a 3 foot wide walkway around the outside perimeter, which I hope will give us a fighting chance of keeping weeds and grass out of the vegetable beds.


A screened room will allow us to relax in the garden in a bug-free space. The beds are laid out to form a symmetrical pattern with walkways that will allow easy access for upkeep and strolling.


I was able to purchase a couple of espaliered apple trees at our local Home Depot. How winter-hardy they are remains to be tested, but they make a charming accent in the garden. I hope they survive and thrive. Each of the six grafted branches bears a different variety of apple: Lodi, Fuji, Gala, Yellow Delicious, Summerred, and Honeycrisp.


For the first time in a number of years, I didn’t start my own tomato seedlings, but just purchased an assortment from local nurseries. This year’s crop features lots of boys and girls: Ultra Girl, Better Boy and Early Girl, along with Sweet Gold, Heinz 1350, Super Sweet 100, Pink Oxheart, Beefmaster, Biltmore Hybrid and Yellow Pear.


Blue Lake pole beans are just beginning their climb up the support ladder. A selection of squash vines are settling in, along with some cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, corn, potatoes, celery and peppers. A host of sunflowers that had seeded themselves from winter bird feed have been transplanted to make a sunny display, and nasturtiums and marigolds add colour to the plots.

Here’s a photo of the garden taken this morning. It is beginning to look settled.


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There is lots of talk about food these days. Slow food. Local food. Organic food. And now, no less a personage than Michelle Obama is leading the way to a healthy, locally grown, DIY organic diet. With help from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and a group of fifth graders, a 1,100 square foot vegetable garden was recently planted at the White House, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden of World War II. It has quickly become one of the most high-profile vegetable gardens in the world. The garden will provide fresh vegetables and herbs for the first family’s meals and formal dinners. In addition, it is hoped that the garden will play another important role, teaching children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes have become a national concern.

The garden will also include a couple of hives of honey bees, highlighting the plight of pollinators, with White House carpenter Charlie Brandts serving as the First Beekeeper.

Not everyone has been positively impressed by Mrs. Obama’s new organic garden, however. The pesticide industry is offended. In a letter, Mid America CropLife Association, an industry association representing more than 60 companies, set out information about the benefits of technology and pesticides in agriculture.

If you would like to follow Mrs. Obama’s example, but don’t have the time, space or inclination to grow your own vegetables, you can still enjoy farm-fresh organic produce. CSA farms (Community Supported Agriculture) are on the rise. To find one near you, check out the Ontario CSA site, or google your own locality.

Photo credit: Official White House, from The Daily Green.

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