Another gardening thread!

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@ Ripple

Yes, your limiting factor won't be temperature as much as hours of sunlight (since we are not talking about hot, long season stuff like corn, tomatoes or peppers, anyway). You will need full sun, which might be a challenge depending on what part of town you are in and which way the land slopes. Also, there is a big difference in how much frost you get at Hastings and Commercial and how much you get at Mount Pleasant Park.

The days have been getting shorter for a month already, and August is when things start slowing down. But things like kale and brussel sprouts don't taste as good until they have taken a good (-5) frost, and I have pulled them out of snowbanks a few times. But I would definitely try gai lan. It should be easy to find there, and it is faster than broccoli. On the upside, you should be planting next year's garden outside in February. As for whether it is worth planting things like carrots now for next year (my worry would be that they would just go to seed) best to talk to a gardener there who knows.


I pulled up the tomato plants in the back yard this aft. and salvaged what fruit I could.  Blight ravaged the plants this year.  I've never seen tomato blight before - it's an ugly disease.  Ironically, the backyard garden is drying out and some plants are wilting, after months of rain.

I went out to the clay-based allotment last week and picked four cucumbers.  That's been my total harvest this year.  It's bad, but some of the plots grew nothing but weeds, so the city mowed them.  I heard the gardeners were reimbursed their rental money.  I should probably qualify for something, seeing as I dug in 80 % of my plot since nothing grew.

The bright side is I'm not a farmer this year.


@ a-Q

Wow. My condolences. Sounds like you are at the five-corners garden.

It has actually been a good year for carrots and for beans, and I suspect potatoes as well, though I have pulled all the blighted tops and will wait a few weeks until I dig. Got a nice big potato that was sitting half out of the ground already, though. If everything goes well I should have 40 pounds or so/

I wasn't able to can any tomatoes this year (usually I get 12 or 15 quarts), though I have been eating a few. Bad year, as you say.

My brassicas, chard, and squash are doing well. I have never managed to grown good cucumbers in my yard for some reason.

All in all, a very odd year - the oddest thing being all the new weeds I have never had trouble with before, and no wasps to speak of (though we had bees, fortunately and a few hornets). Plus, after all that rain we got, I just emptied one of my 50-gallon rainbarrels into a crack in one of the garden beds. It sucked the whole thing up, and the surface never even got damp; I didn't even see a drop of it. The upside is I never watered once this summer. I am waiting for the rain this week to start bulking up what is left before I start harvesting it.

As far as putting stuff by, I have some cans of chard, plus roots, squash,  coriander and dill seed and herbs. The brightest spot - I think my apple grafts took, so I need to start about pruning the other trees I have in the yard to make room for something that actually produces food.

Well, they don't call this next year country for nothing. At least we got more water in the ground that we had coming into it. It could have been a lot worse.



You've reminded me that I need to ask a question. I have some quite nice dwarf lilies in a pot -- lovely spicey perfume to the flowers that you could smell at a distance, just walking by them -- but I'm not sure what to do with them right now. Do I risk leaving the pot (large, clay) outside in a corner of the covered deck through the winter? Should I bring it inside? Do I have to pull the bulbs out and replant next year (please say no)?



Wow. My condolences. Sounds like you are at the five-corners garden.


Nope. City plots out by the airport. My cucumbers and carrots are doing well. I've made quite a few jars of dill pickles so far. The basil crop was the best I've ever had, and I froze a bunch of that. The peas didn't start producing until recently, but the yield isn't bad. Some bugs have been devouring my Swiss Chard though - it's like lace.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Missed the comments about clay that started in July - much too late for this season, but if you end up with the same allotment next year, consider putting in some sunflowers and bergamot - the latter will have the benefit of attracting pollinators and can be harvested for tea. The sunflowers will not "thrive" but they should still produce reasonably well... I have used them in a couple of places to break up the clay and left cut them off at the ground leaving the root system intact... a season or two of doing this and the ground is much more workable.

polly bee

I just came in from turning over about half of my veggie beds.  What a dismal year!  My spinach, which has been amazingly cooperative every other year, bolted in early summer and went to seed.  My snow peas failed to thrive, and we got handfuls instead of buckets this year.  My strawberries were pretty much small and hard, after five years of growing like...........well, strawberries.  I had lovely cabbages, the slugs ate most of them.  Even my lilacs were sad this year.

I have tons of spuds, beets and carrots -  I just have to pull them out very carefully as they are stuck in the clay.  My carrots look like corkscrews, most of 'em.  My chard and my lettuces are excellent, except my second seeding is only a few inches high and has stopped growing.    My tomatoes are still green, and I am thinking that I need to find something to make with green tomatoes or watch them freeze.

The weeds though, oh the weeds had a brilliant showing this year.  Next year I think I will PLANT weeds, cuz then surely the grass and the veggies will thrive?

George Victor

Potatoes are a wonderful weed suppressant though, aren't they?  My favourite plant, it shades out the little buggers. I'm lazy, and had an Irish grandmother, so planted many...two varieties. 

Trick now will be to store potatoes in a heated basement.  Will experimentally feed cold air down a flex-hose from an unused hole in the header to shallow cardboard boxes on the floor, the whole covered with a drop sheet.  A thermometer will nestle in the spuds. That cooler corner kept dahlia coms/bulbs very well last winter in a plastic bag left unsealed until a bit drier in January.


Right after I wrote that bugs were eating my chard, I was looking out the kitchen window and saw a squadron of little birds (sparrows I guess) descend on the garden and chomp the Swiss.  These guys were doing this in the spring, too, which held the sprouting plants back quite a bit.


Nobody's helping me with my dwarf lilies in container yet ...

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

skdadl wrote:

Nobody's helping me with my dwarf lilies in container yet ...

Depends on where in the country you live. My best advice is to dig them and pack them in sand in a cool dry place for the winter and replant in the spring. Leaving them in a clay pot outside will leave them suceptible to frost. Bringing the pot indoors won't work either. Why worry about it. Preparing for next year is part of the fun.


@ skdadl

Sorry. bulbs are not my forte. I'd make sure they are okay to overwinter for your zone.

Also, I do have some perennials that aren't made to survive here which do just fine down the basement in a south-facing window. You could probably do the same in a garage.I have also dug pots into the ground for the winter for protection, though I'd be concerned that a clay one might crack. YOu could transfer them into a plastic one and dig them in, perhaps.


Frost last night, with "killing frost" (cue Skip James) forecast for tonight.


al-Qa'bong wrote:

Frost last night, with "killing frost" (cue Skip James) forecast for tonight.

Yes, usually we're usually a good three to five degrees higher than they are over at the airport weather station, but my vines got toasted last night. We're having tempura squash blossoms for supper tonight. I did take the precaution of bringing all the pots in, fortunately.

The last bean plant is still alive, so I think it was just a degree below, but I guess it's down to roots, brassicas and chard.

I heard La Ronge got a proper snowstorm last night.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture


 Just for the fun of it I entered a few things in the local country fair. 


 I won first prize in the biggest squash category.   LOL 





a-Q, I just noticed your sparrow post. The first two years I planted here I got no chard at all because of them. Now I start it all indoors and transplant.



ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

ebodyknows wrote:

Use thai basil for pad gapow...I thought anthing but thai curries was a waste of time till I remembered that I'm in love with basil of all types.

Apologies.  Turns out it's holy basil that's used in pad gaprow.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

So, I didn't get around to putting floating row covers on my cabbages, and they were pretty young today when the frost/snow hit. I think they're done for. My purple sprouting broccoli and brussel sprouts look pretty good though. Do I have to do anything to them to ensure their health throughout Vancouver's "winter"? Oh--and my kale looks alright but it's stopped growing. Boo.


Most brassicas can take quite a bit of frost.

(that's why they plant the ornamental kind as flowers here on the prairies)

I don't know how far down, but minus 5 for sure. I have had leaves frozen so solid by a frost that you could crack them off that were just fine once the sun hit them. I have only grown potatoes through the winter in Vancouver, but I wouldn't think brassicas would need any special treatment to survive there.


garden zombie


We've recently moved and now have a small (~20' x 15'), south-facing, shady backyard.  It's bordered by a 5' cedar fence, then 10' of pines and cedars, then a major transit route.  It gets some dappled sunlight, but we will likely lose that to a large maple.  We also have a 4' x 6' planter in our very social, also very shady front entrance.

It's all bare sand right now - the previous residents were preparing to lay patio slabs.  We'll probably do some of that, but will plant along the fence.  Maybe bamboo, because it grows quickly and some species do well in the shade.  Hydrangea might do ok in one spot.

Not likely herbs will grow; definitely no tomatoes.

Always happy to read suggestions (I'm looking at you 6079_Smith_W.)


Not being a gardening expert, and not being on the west coast (I assume that is where you are) I am doubly-disadvantaged. You should probably find someone out there, and also, it all depends on what you want for the space  - ground cover, bushes - flowers, eatables.

If this is your first year and you are wonderig what to do you might want to keep stuff in pots and flats or just plant annuals for a season until you see how the light and water move around the yard - certainly before you start changing the soil. The best gardeners I know out there actually have everything in pots. Of course, their thing is bonsai.

I know if I were out there I'd plant foxglove, wisteria and rosemary.  Mimosa if the conditions were right, and there is a beautiful clematis with large white flowers I have seen out there, but it would probably be at least medium and probably high light (with shade for the roots, of course).

Really, I would recommend walking around and snooping at other peoples' yards to see what you like.


I'd put it all into potatoes, just to see how things go.

I've heard that this year is supposed to be just as bad as last year for tomato blight, so I'm not going to put any in.  I'll put a few in plant pots, though, as the potted tomatoes did OK last year.

George Victor

Have you tried digging all over with a spade or fork?   What did  it reveal in the way of "large maple roots?"

Are you in an area where "hardiness zones" might be important? 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

We're expecting very heavy rain tonight and tomorrow, and it may be the end of all our snow - in which case I'm hoping for an early start to till the existing veggie garden, and start a new one, maybe a combination rock/flower/tree garden.

We have significant shoreline erosion, and I'm on a cliff overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence, so I'm trying to find the best trees with significant roots to anchor my shoreline. I have some small trees on my Vesey's order for June, but I'm always interested in hearing from folks here what plants are good for anchoring the shoreline from erosion.

ps: I'm in Zone 3A

George Victor


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Thanks, I'll look into that, GV.


@ al-Q

That is good/bad news to get. Thanks.  Also, the only tomaotoes I saw that did not get blighted were cherry ones. 

Off to seedy saturday tomorrow.



My cherry tomatoes were blighty along with the others. 

Where's Seedy Saturday this year?  I could look it up, I suppose.   Pete G. alsways keeps me informed of these thing.


Just looked it up myself....

E.D. Feehan Catholic High School

411 Avenue M North
Saskatoon, SK


According to this, Nettie Wiebe's going to be there.

We had supper at EE Burrritos tonight.  There was a Nettie/NDP pamphlet at the till.  Ernesto, the guy who runs EE Burritos, does a lot of good work for the community.  I've heard he was a guerrilla fighting for the Salvadoran leftists before he came to Canada.

Digiteyes Digiteyes's picture

Planted some bare-root roses last week in my front garden.

Got the pump for my water cascade going in the back pond, so if the weather turns nice I can sit outside to take photos of little migratory warblers stopping by for a drink.

Contemplating hauling a couple of big bags of soil up to my flat roof and punching holes in them. One of the newest lazy ways to plant veggies without having a garden (I get more sun on my roof than in my yard).

If the rain stops...


For Vancouver gardeners, Vancouver residents can pick up free compost at the Vancouver landfill until the end of May.


I was out at the allottment today, and got everything sowed.  I didn't bother with tomatoes or corn this year, as last year I had no yield of either.  I put in buttercup squash in the spot that was under water last year.  I believe squash likes a lot of water, so...bring it on, rain gods.

Half the garden is spuds, even though potatoes haven't done so well out there over the past couple of years.  I'm rolling the dice, hoping this will be a good year.

Upthread I mentioned how my soy and lima beans produced zilch last year.  I planted each again today.  I'm stubborn that way.

On the bright side, I wasn't slogging through mud while seeding this time.  Last year was a wet nightmare.

Brian White

I am playing with the idea of a recirculating compost tea garden this year. Basically I have a solar panel, battery, inverter and bubble pump for an aquarium. So the plan is to use the bubble pump to power a "nano" airlift pump to pump the compost tea from a sump to the plants in a container where it leaks back into the sump. It might even get attached to a composter too, so the compost tea waters the plants and waters the compost too.  Anyway it is a totally experimental low tech system and only a few people are working on it. Virlusun has and for those who want to know how these little air pumps work and I have  showing that the tiny super low tech airlift pumps can go really high.

This type of thing might work for recirculating nutrients to a living wall too. 

Anyway, my garden is growing slowly and now that it finally warms up, I have tonnes of work (masonry) to do so little time or energy for the stuff at home.



Compost tea, eh?

Back on the farm I kept a jar of chicken manure and water that I'd use to water my seedlings in the house before setting them outside.  Those were some healthy and vigorous plants.

I put in my backyard garden today.  Woo hoo!  One takes it for granted not having to slog through mud to plant seeds, which is what happened last year.  Everything's in two or three weeks ahead of where I was a year ago.

Refuge Refuge's picture

I am toying with the idea of gardening now that my son is much more self sufficient and should be able to play while I garden. Problem is I have to wait at least a month until he has his walking out ceremony before I can start. Any suggestions on gardeners who start in mid to late June? I didn't do so well on my last attempt at gardening and prefer vegetables or fruits and have to stick to mainly container gardening because of limited space for gardens here.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm sore all over from tilling the big veggie garden with a shovel. A friend used to bring his gas-powered tiller over, but it churned up the weeds and they eventually took root, so by doing it with a shovel, I can see the weeds and pull them out. Takes longer, and it's hard work, but it should pay off.

And I've been doing some landscaping as well, getting ready for new plants I have coming in the mail. This will be a nice place if I ever get it finished.


@ Refuge

You should be able to do peas (you'll at least get pea greens, which are edible) , beans, some lettuce, Also dill, cilentro.  I think you might even be able to get a feed of gai lan, though really, any cabbage green - kohlrabi, broccoli, kale - you can snip and eat at any stage, so I would fill a row and just harvest it like lettuce.

If you can start some stuff out in flats right now you could get a  lot more - summer squash. for one.


Refuge Refuge's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Refuge

If you can start some stuff out in flats right now you could get a  lot more - summer squash. for one.


My son loves squash! I have never started something from flats before. Can I tend to it in the house until ready to plant outside?


Yes, although at this point you might want to go buy a seedling from a greenhouse, and re-pot it.  THey are also heavy feeders, so prepare the ground well.


I dug up two wheelbarrow loads of the leaf mold, gravel, etc that has built up in the gutters in front of my place and brought it into the yard to use in plant pots.  It has composted nicely, and is full of big fat earthworms.  I've always thought about doing this but have never tried it before.  I'll keep you posted on the plants' progress.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Enjoyed a pot of cream of herb soup today, made with lovage, sorrel and chives from the garden. Turned out very nicely.

I packed the pot with loosely chopped herbs (roughly 5 parts lovage to 1 part each of sorrel and chive), just covered them with chicken broth (about 6 cups) and boiled them for a few minutes to soften. Then I pureed it with the hand-blender and added 2 cups of cream and salt and white pepper to taste.

It was somewhat thinner than I remember my last attempt, but tasty and likely much more nutritious. Last time I didn't use sorrel (which is vitamin packed) and chive, just lovage and a store-bought onion.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I've been using a garden composter for five years now, but it never gets warm enough outside for it to do its magic. I get a couple of spadefuls of compost every year from the bottom of the pile, but that's it. I thought global warming would have taken care of that problem by now.Tongue out

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'm conceding defeat in the war against the weeds - this is my last year with the big veggie garden. Next year, I'm going to fill it in with shrubs, trees, and wildflowers, and just enjoy the view. I'll keep the small greenhouse for a few essential veggies. I'm fed up with dealing with the weeds every year.Frown

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Just finished planting the big veggie garden - in a very cold wind. I'm exhausted. The weeds were a killer. Frown

Tomorrow - will plant a small greenhouse full of lettuce.



If you want to avoid most of the weeding, you could try using black plastic mulch.


I can get here at the local building supply store those plastic sheets that they remove from their shipped in lumber for nothing.It is usually white on one side and black on the other side. If you use two layers of that to cover the ground it will kill the weeds.And all you have to do is cut some round holes where you want to plant your veggies.  It has several advantages.For one it keeps the ground from drying out. It warms up the soil a bit quicker and prevents the weeds from getting sunlight.It does not kill the weed seeds that are already in the soil. You have to weigh the plastic down to prevent it from blowing away on a windy day and wrecking some plants in the process.


 If you have some old lumber laying around you could make  some rectangular frames and staple the plastic sheeting onthe bottom , black side up. And if you realy want to get fancy you can nail some A-frames on your wood frame and use themto support your taller plants and have the option of covering the plants if you can see a light frosty night coming.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Yes, black plastic was suggested to me - yesterday - too late for this year! I'll look into it next year, but I already think I'm going to just plant trees and shrubs and enjoy the view.