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