janet @ the taste space

Garden Update: May 2016

In Garden on May 24, 2016 at 10:04 AM

While I have never done complete garden updates, my last garden was a few years ago. I still love going back to remind myself of that jungle (see here and here) and then what my carpet of baby kale looked like the following year before I left for Houston.

I was very lucky to have a lot of help setting up this garden over the long weekend and I hope to update you with the successes and failures at the end of the season.

Garden May 2016 - oregano, sorrel, tarragon, sage

Profusion oregano, garden sorrel, French tarragon and sage

In the front of the house, nestled among the perennial bushes are (left to right):  Profusion oregano, (some evergreen plant ?juniper), garden sorrel, French tarragon and sage. All perennials in themselves, I hope they return next year. The sorrel and sage both survived their first winter. I haven’t had too much luck overwintering oregano in pots (even if I bring them indoors), so I am hoping the Profusion oregano is as “super hardy” as Richters advertises.

Since this location also gets partial shade, I also seeded an experimental crop of early mizuna from Urban Harvest. The seeds are a tad old (c. 2011), so if any plant grows, it will be a bonus. Mizuna is supposed to be cold and bolt resistant with a quick maturity, so I am eager to try it out. My other “bonus experiment” are two patches where I planted Ayocote Morado runner beans from my package from Rancho Gordo. A bean normally grown in Mexico, I wasn’t sure whether it would grow in Ontario. However, this article from The Ottawa Citizen says it certainly is possible in even the harshest Canadian climates and scarlet runner beans are one of the easiest beans to grow. If nothing else, hopefully I get some pretty blossoms and hopefully later some beans, too.

Garden May 2016 - garlic


Next to this, I planted garlic from my Aunt last fall in October. They are coming up nicely.

Garden May 2016 - goji berry tree, tansy, kale

goji berry tree (with tansy and kale in the background)

Garden May 2016 - tansy, kale, bergamot

lacinato kale

In the front, we dug out a new patch of garden. Next to the goji berry tree we planted last year, I planted a Silver “Jackpot” Tansy, a supposed non-invasive perennial that repels insects like ants but should boast lots of white flowers. At the other end, I planted Marshall’s Delight Bergamot, which should be more mildew-resistant and will have pretty purple flowers. In between, kale seedlings (predominantly lacinato with one curly kale) were planted. From seed, I planted two rows of marigolds: the more classic French marigold and Orange Gem Marigold, which is a citrus marigold that actually looks pretty. Both marigolds should repel insects as well. Note: to self, marigolds can cross-pollinate, so I should separate my marigolds next year to be able to save their seeds.

Garden May 2016 - rhubarb, asparagus, chives, garlic chives

rhubarb, asparagus, chives and garlic chives

In the back, we made a lasagna garden in the fall by placing newsprint on the bottom, then filling up the container with leaves, compost, broken egg shells and more leaves (and repeat). In the spring, we added coconut coir and top soil because I was worried it wouldn’t be able to hold onto any water. It was basically a no-weed garden except for all the maple trees that grew from the leaves/seeds we added into the mix ourselves. In this garden, we planted red rhubarb, 10 “Jersey Giant” asparagus 1-year old rootlets, chives and garlic chives. All of these are perennials and should come back next year.

Garden May 2016 - tomato and tomatillo


For annuals, we constructed another bed (I had too many tomato plants and not enough pots). In it, we planted 7 Bulgarian tomatoes from my Aunt and Uncle (we are not sure what it is, but perhaps this one?), 1 Mystery tomato plant from Sofia, and 1 black cherry tomato plant. In between, I planted (from seed) French marigold and Orange Gem Marigold again to keep away the bugs.

Garden May 2016 -tomatillo, flowering collard, herbs

flowering collards, tomatillos, herbs (basil, rosemary, pregano, parsley)

Garden May 2016 - mint, Greek columnar basil and thyme

thyme, Greek columnar basil, mint

In pots, I planted verde tomatillos (you need at least 2 plants for cross-pollination). My friend bought me a planter with rosemary, basil, parsley and oregano. I kept my overwintered thyme from last year and added Greek columnar basil (I prefer it because it doesn’t bolt in the summer).  Another pot has mint from my mom. I added Fernleaf dill seeds to those pots so we’ll see if it works (I haven’t had tremendous success with dill from seeds in the past). Fernleaf dill is supposed to be slow to bolt. I also kept my overwintered collards to capture their seeds. I had 4 plants last year and 3 survived their storage in my pitch black garage.

I have had very good success with herbs, collards and kale in pots using moisture control potting soil. This is my first time with tomatillos in pots and tomatoes in the garden. I know they need large pots (over 10 gallons are preferred), and these are not even 10 gallons, so we’ll see how it goes.

Happy gardening! What are you growing this year?

  1. Yaaaay!! Looks amazing!!! 🙂 I’m totally intrigued by the goji berry tree…will it fruit in our climate? I’ve had good luck with scarlet runners (planted them in my front yard last year up the porch columns) and had a ton of flowers and big meaty beans! The mystery seedlings I had were most likely calabash or purple cherokee, as those were the ones I planted many extras of (but didn’t label)…. I can tell you for sure once they set fruit. I do have seeds from the mystery tomato in my post, if you want to try it next year! The weather was so beautiful over the weekend…I think our gardens are off to a great start. Happy gardening :)))

    • We bought the gojiberry tree with fruit last year, so I am hopeful they come back. It is supposedly a low maintenance plant, so I hope it goes well.
      Thanks again for the tomato (and raspberry) plants. I will let you know what they look like. 🙂

  2. […] though the new rhubarb plant is looking marvellous, I was worried about shocking it if I started to harvest the stalks too soon. […]

  3. […] be curious to see what my 1-year old asparagus plant looks like after it was planted (not even) 3 weeks ago. They shoot up so fast and now it has made it into the fern stage. Definitely too thin to harvest, […]

  4. […] summer salad with local produce. Obviously I am not growing corn or peaches, but the tomatoes (black cherry tomatoes) and mizuna were from my garden. The salad dressing was a simple lemon-maple dressing that […]

  5. […] I had hoped to do more garden updates, or even to spend more time working in the garden, but alas. Life happened. But I thought it would be fun to show you what it ended up looking like by the end of August. It is amazing how much it has changed since it was first planted in May (can see photos here). […]

  6. […] continue to harvest a bit, too. I may even be able to store some of the Ayocote Morado runner beans, which only started to produce bean pods in September despite a summer of glorious red blossoms. I […]

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