Summer gardening thread

114 posts / 0 new
Last post
Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture
Summer gardening thread


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

It looks like summer is finally here!

I ordered a bug (mesh) jacket earlier, and it arrived today - I tried it on and was able to garden for two hours with it, and no bug bites! I look like someone from another planet with it, but at least I don't get bit. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]


Thanks for opening a new thread.

My rosemary finally kicked the bucket over the weekend, though my basil, chives and oregano are still doing fine. Good thing rosemary is my least favourite of the group!


Our perennial herbs -- sage, oregano, thyme, chives, parsley (both curly and flat-leaf), mint (which needs to be reined in regularly!) -- are all doing well.

The peach tree has a gazillion tiny peaches on it. They won't all mature but it looks as if it will be a good crop. And the grapevines are starting to look lush.

As for the garden area itself, my loving chief gardener (husband Dan) is very discouraged because the goutweed has taken over so completely that it will take a major effort and much time (that none of us have) to try to conquer it.

It's very invasive and it's not uncommon around here. We've tried many ways to get rid of it but in the end, it will have to be dug out. And we know that every last microscopic bit of it has to go or else it will be back with a vengeance.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Things are going well here. Everything I've planted so far is growing like gang busters. We've had pretty decent growing weather. Rain every couple of days then decently warm. The perennial bed I planted last year is a jungle. So much for first year they sleep, second they creep and third they leap. It's leaping!! So are the weeds though. I swear you could just sit there and watch them grow. I'll get the last of the tomato in the ground tomorrow hopefully. Bit late on the beans...just didn't have time yet.
I also have way more lettuce then we can eat right now. It's time to start the neighborly give away.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Oh and there is the most amazing numbers of snakes around this year. I accidentally created a habitat form them and they breeding like crazy. In the early spring I covered about 1000 sq feet of our meadow for a new planting area with a layer of black weed barrier. Warm and cozy underneath. I removed a small piece today for the tomatoes and there were ten big ones and maybe a dozen or so babies in various states of growth.
Luckily I don't have an problem with them and am more then delighted to have them around. I decided that I'm just going to leave and area in the middle of the new area covered for them to live under. I'm naming it the 'barracks'. A veritable pest control army.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'd love a few garden snakes here to keep the mouse and mole population under control - they're everywhere.

Just came in from a few more hours of cleaning up the garden - getting rid of weeds, watering, and planting grass seed. The mesh bug jacket is a life saver - the little monsters (blackflies) can't get at my skin when I'm wearing this outfit. Wish I brought one of these two years ago when I started gardening!


My parents up north have a cat that sits in wait outside mole holes, pouncing when they appear. He's a great mouser, too.

I used to have a backyard composter that made beautiful rich soil, but had to get rid of it because of the rats and the mice. You'd open the lid and it was like animation: zoom! in all directions. We're close to a Loblaws, and we share an alley with several restaurants and a butcher. In short, Rat City: huge frigging rats that sometimes go running through our backyard.

Most of us own cats, and they help keep the rodentia at bay. No rats in the house so far.

My apricot tree has a bumper crop of apricots for the first time in eight years. I thought I might try drying them. Fresh apricots don't keep, and they're kind of blah.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

July 1st will mark my second year in this house.

I am still learning from my neighbours about the
local flora growing on my property - I've learned
I have wild mint, strawberry, clover, roses and marigolds growing in different parts of the lawn, so I have to mark everything out with stakes because I want all that wild stuff to grow, instead of cutting it with the lawn mower.

My neighbour to the east has a nice field of mint, with a delightful smell that wafts over here. I wish our winters were shorter - I'd love to enjoy the summer smells much longer. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]


I wish I could afford to be a property owner so I could garden! I am envious of you lucky property owners....

ElizaQ - I absolutely love your snake "barracks" idea - very neat.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

If you can stand long hard winters and considerable isolation, you can get a deal like mine: nice property, garage, woodshed, ocean view, lots of wild plants, two gardens (one small flower garden, the other a large veggie garden) and completely furnished house, for $28k. Oh, and lots of wild birds here every day, including a family of 7 Mourning Doves that visit my backyard bird sanctuary every day - all year long! [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

What zone do you live in Boom Boom?

Ghislane I never, ever thought I'd be a property owner either. Had basically given up on the idea. Some stars did some aligning and somehow we managed, though it's what one would call a MAJOR fixer upper. Plywood floors, unfinished drywall, still has holes in the walls, the roof had a hole in it and we haven't had potable water for over a year. Can't even shower or anything. The place was literly covered with dog shit and urine and we had to live in a tent for a month when we moved in... It is home though and of course has oodles of place to grow things. Which is great because I can work outside and ignore all of the other things like that back deck and stairs, that are slowly falling
apart. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

As for the gardening today...managed to get in about 50 tomato plants but ran into one of those unforeseen *arrrrrghs*. I was digging in our new bed area, awesome black earth on top now that the grass is dead and 'clunk'..move the shovel over 'clunk'...what the? Well I discovered what I think is the remenant of an old stone wall long buried. Of course it runs right down the middle of exactly where I was going to plant....


I think my attitude towards gardening, if anyone ever blessed me with a little plot of yard to garden in, would be similar to Heather Mallick's:


It was April and my garden felt wonderfully incipient. I felt incipient in solidarity, a fallacy that was pathetic. I saw a snowdrop, the hatefully chirpy Disney character of the bulb world, and my brain bubbled serotonin.

I was eager to start work.

There's digging, planting, training, clipping, fertilizing, watering, painting, repairing, shoring up, amending, mulching, thinning, picking up with a shovel and carrying delicately away, edging, raking, grafting, weeding, hoeing, top-dressing, deadheading, shifting, scraping, scrubbing, hauling, bickering, replacing, spending, weeping, more spending.

And then something breaks inside you. You throw away your mulch fork and spend the rest of the summer in a Muskoka chair, scratching at your mosquito bites till they go septic. You have no interest in this, this thing, this fenced green experiment. It's not an Eden; it's a rod for your back. Everything goes raggy and yellow in August and then winter comes.

Then you do it all again next year.

[url=]The rest.[/url]

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

*grin*. It really doesn't have to be that way. There's always some work involved but depending on how you go about it or what your after as a final result it can be some work or crazy insane stupid work. If one is after a perfect, manicured, show piece, impress the neighbors and play one up with the gardener next door and always need to have the 'lastest' 'new' specimicm then yeah it can be bloody insane.
Gardening has become horrible commercialized like most other things where people are convinced that they always need the latest do-dad and that it has to look and be perfect. Plus there's just things and ways people do things that create way more work then necessary, largely because that's always been done that way...and for asthetic reasons.
I remember when a lady came over last year and was aghast that my veggie bed was *gasp* covered with straw and the plants not in nice perfect rows. She actually said it didn't look very nice. So I asked, well how often do you go out and hoe and weed yours. She said oh a lot, several hours if not more a week. I pointed to my hoe that was hanging in the shed. 'I haven't taken that off the hook for a month and half. Thanks but no thanks I'll live with the straw and it looking messy." [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

We gave up on the vegetable garden; it's now an herb garden, doing nicely. Too much shade and too dry (the century-old manitoba maple deflects half the rain, and sucks up the rest with its roots). But herbs do well with little care: sage, oregano, tarragon, chives, parsley, 3 kinds of basil, 2 of mint, sorrel, coriander, dill, wild celery (smallage) and a rosemary bush.

A cherry tree and hanging strawberries round out our attempts at growing-our-own. The squirrels are well-fed; we get an occasional taste.

[ 19 June 2008: Message edited by: Lard Tunderin' Jeezus ]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture


Originally posted by ElizaQ:
What zone do you live in Boom Boom?

I live in Zone 3a, although considering the cold, wet weather we've had this year, it feels more like Zone 2a. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I love reading Heather Mallick's exercise in gardening. It's a lot like my experience here, where I spend 6 to 8 hours (and sometimes more) [i]every day[/i] weeding, watering, mowing the lawn, and feeding the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks (I try not to feed the mice and moles, but they grab what they can). My back is constantly in pain, but nevertheless I enjoy all the work - this morning my property looks gorgeous, and the flowers aren't even blooming (it's cold and cloudy). And, beginning in mid-August, I should have a basket (at least) of fresh veggies [i]every day[/i]. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture


Originally posted by Boom Boom:

I live in Zone 3a, although considering the cold, wet weather we've had this year, it feels more like Zone 2a. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img] [/b]

I have great respect for you Boom Boom. I'm not sure I could handle that zone. Moving from 7/8 to 5 was bad enough.


Wow - your place sounds wonderful Boom Boom. I do not mind good winters - I actually moved back home from Vancouver Island as I missed the cold and snow! But, I doubt there is much in the way of job opportunities there? lol

Elizaq - we are contemplating taking that route as well. Looking for the perfect piece of land with a real fixer upper. It is good to hear from someone who has experience in this regard.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

There are a few job postings here from the provincial government - assorted jobs for health and teaching professionals. However, not all in the same community - I think I've seen two for Kegaska, and one apiece for all the other communities of Quebec's Lower North Shore.

My property is small, but I make the best of it. I'm still trying to get something done about shoreline erosion, after two years of trying.

Outside the village limits, we can dig up whatever trees or bushes or indeed any plants we want, and transplant them to our own properties. I'd like a few small trees, but I don't know how to deal with the massive root structures even the smallest trees have. Canadian Tire in Sept-Iles has a plant nursery, with their tree roots bagged, but you actually have to go there and pick out what you want - and I doubt I'll be leaving the coast this year.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

All I have growing at the moment are garlic and tomatoes (in the greenhouse) and sunflowers - I guess the sunflower seeds were dropped by the birds, as I didn't plant any sunflower seeds this year. They're growing everywhere, and that's okay, because I like sunflowers.

My wildflowers are dying, except for a few, as we've had very little sun since last month. On the other hand, some of my shrubs are doing
very well.

If we do get some sun by the end of the month,
then the veggies should do well.

Our forecast is for more cold, wet weather at
least until Wednesday. Right now it's cold at 9C, drizzling rain, and foggy. I had the furnace on yesterday (before the hydro went out for eight hours...) because the house was freezing - in the middle of June! This could be the coldest June
on record here. I'm at a loss to explain this cold, damp weather. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]


I think if I had a yard, I wouldn't even bother with grass. I would love to get the courage up to ask my landlord if I can take care of the front yard this year and plant it all over with perennials, because this summer and last, he's tried to seed it for grass, but the grass never takes because we have a huge maple shading the yard.

But I haven't gotten the nerve up yet, because I'm not an experienced gardener at all, and I'm afraid of failing. I wouldn't be afraid of failing if it was MY yard, but I certainly don't want to fail in his!

But anyhow...if it were my yard, I would make the entire front into perennials (low maintenance ones like hostas) and herbs, with maybe a few big rocks here and there (perhaps in pathways, or separating beds).

I often feel like inside me there is a gardener trying to get out, but I have no confidence, and my houseplants often die because I forget to water them. So I have a feeling I wouldn't be a great gardener either, despite my longings. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

My big dream is to have a beautiful (in a wild way, not manicured way), yet useful garden, even in the front yard. With almost all plants being edible, that sort of thing.

[ 21 June 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]



I guess the sunflower seeds were dropped by the birds, as I didn't plant any sunflower seeds this year. They're growing everywhere, and that's okay, because I like sunflowers.

I put a bird feeder over a part of the garden and now I am swarmed with sunflowers. There are so many that the dirt is covered in some type of moss. They are growing well though. Lillis just bloomed and the Morning Glories are everywhere.

My neighbours and I are setting up a garden/outside art studio. We'll be dividing the lawn in half, with one part studio, one part garden. Although I'm not too sure if it is too late to start planting now.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I have a beautiful small flowering garden just outside my LR window where the shrubs are doing very well, and the marigolds look ready to bloom as soon as we get some sun.

As for sunflowers - last year I planted what were called Russian Giant Sunflowers from Veseys, and they grew over seven feet tall with thick stems - thick stems are good, because it's so windy here. I decided not to plant any this year because they take so much space. Now I have regular sunflowers starting to grow just about everywhere, so this will be an interesting gardening year if the sun ever makes an appearance.

By the way, I have four feeding stations for the birds, I guess that's a reason I have so many sunflowers taking root everywhere.


We have little-bitty kiwis today. Last year they didn't grow much bigger than small olives, although we were away for a month and didn't take care of them.

I finally had chopped cilantro to spread over my tagine at supper this evening.

My wild roses (rescued from a gravel road ten years ago) are blooming and spreading over my front yard, which, incidentally, is about to explode in lily blossoms.

The wild tiger lily I rescued from urban sprawl a couple of years ago popped out of the ground last week and is ready to bloom in a few days.

The French courgettes are making their Canadian cousins look like wimps. I hope they produce! My basil and tomato transplants have finally taken hold and are growing, and some basil I sowed about ten days ago is up today too, as is the Italian parsley that I planted about a month ago.

And the Heyer #12 crab I planted three years ago is loaded with little green apples this year, while the gooseberry I planted the same summer finally has berries this year.

One of my mint patches seems to have gone barren, and has but a couple of tiny shoots where I had a mint jungle the last couple of years.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I have a tarragon plant that is trying to take over my rosemary and mint. I'm going to try cutting it back and dividing it. I see some apples on our September ruby tree, but I'm not sure the hardy mac will produce this year (new last year and still quite small). Raspberries are going great guns, though, and the gooseberry is loaded, although we have to watch for bugs -- if they chew up the leaves it will drop all the berries.

The grape vines look like they'll produce a nice crop this year. Basil is finally looking like it's going to take off, and the oregano and thyme are doing beautifully.

The tomatoes are looking good, and we already have some zucchinis growing on the plants. Everything is up and we are already eating Ms B's radishes. We'll soon have lettuce, too.

Bloody squirrels are eating my lilies this year, which irritates me. My front yard is shady and they add some much-needed colour to the front of the porch.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

double post

[ 23 June 2008: Message edited by: Timebandit ]


We have a September Ruby too. We planted one three years ago (when we planted everything - it was our first summer in our new home) but last year realised that those bitter little things it produced were the fruit of the graft that had taken over, and not September Ruby apples.

The nursery let us have a new tree and I planted it last year. I stuck the old one in the alley behind my fence (did I tell you the tale of how the city paved the alley, digging up my nice potato patch back there? The spot is a weed-infested ugly mess now.) and it's actually growing.

Anyway, the new tree has a few apples on it this year. We'll see if they're red and medium-sized or green and small later this summer.

We have clusters of little flowers on our Valiant grape, which is exciting, since we hadn't seen those before.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I can't remember what variety our grapes are, but they are smallish and have a fair number of seeds, but taste like concord grapes. I may try grape jelly this year, if I have time.

The apples from our September Ruby tree are not especially big, but they are lovely, sweet apples. We just have to keep the damned squirrels out of it.

Sorry to hear about your potato patch. Our alleys have been paved for decades... I lived in this 'hood when I was very small, and they had been paved long before that. We have a plot of raspberries just off the alley. I think some of the neighbors raid them, but they produce like mad so we've never been short.


I'm so jealous of all of you. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] Growing berries in your yard!

I want a yard! Waaah!

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Well you guys are inspiring me to get off the couch and head out to check my berries. I'm having one of those ho-hum days with a serious motivation issue. Even though I'm sitting here, with suncreen sunhat on and my grubbies on and it's beautiful day out I'm having issues going out and planting the last flat of plants and whatever else needs to be done!

I also have a recommendation. The hubby got me a pair of fancy gelled knee pads for my birthday. They are super awesome wicked! I don't know why I didn't get a pair long ago. Super comfy and I know longer have to move my kneeling pad around or worry about hurting my knees or gouging them or getting them packed with dirt and grime everytime I need to get close to the dirt. So yes I now look like and uber geek walking around outside with a super floppy sun hat, a gardening tool belt, purple crocs, camo shorts and a pair of bright green bulky knee pads.... The tan line may be kinda weird but I don't care!!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Today is the thrid day in a row I've to don a parka to go outside, it was so cold. Plus, early this morning we had a very heavy rainfall.

Everything in the garden is starting to grow, despite the lousy weather. A week of sun and warm weather, which we should get sooner or later, and I think my five gardens will look very nice.

In the greenhouse, my 44 tomato plants aren't any taller, but they're much leafier. We really need the sun.



The apples from our September Ruby tree are not especially big, but they are lovely, sweet apples.

Uh oh. I was hoping they'd be tart, like Macs.

I made cider from a neighbour's crabapples a couple of years ago. I heard September Ruby's are good for juicing, so maybe I can make cider from them once the tree gets big enough.

I saw a couple of these bugs ( top row, second from the right) on my wild roses this morning, poking and slurping away at my rose buds:

[url=! [/url]

[ 24 June 2008: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]

[ 25 June 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Oh, no! Have they done much damage?

We're dealing with tent caterpillars right now. Wretched things. I need to send Ms B out with a bucket to pick them off my plants.



Oh, no! Have they done much damage?

Not much; five or six buds. I caught the bugs in time and sent them to the secular arm right away.

I have to be vigilant over my gooseberry, though, as cankerworms are a constant menace.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Yep, we use insecticidal soap on our gooseberry. I think we may have used rotenone powder on it at one point, but the blond guy doesn't think we did... Anyway, we usually lose the berries if we don't spray.


al-Q, I edited your post simply to fix your long URL - didn't change anything else. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]


Thanks. I edited that link a few times, trying to isolate the image,etc., then got fed up with the effort it was taking.

My gooseberry is covered in rotenone powder as we speak.

[ 25 June 2008: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]



I would love to get the courage up to ask my landlord if I can take care of the front yard this year and plant it all over with perennials, because this summer and last, he's tried to seed it for grass, but the grass never takes because we have a huge maple shading the yard.

Michelle, I do think you should ask your landlord if you could do this.

We live on a heavily-treed street and, on our side, most front yards get almost no sun. (Our backyard, thankfully, is sheltered and gets lots of sun so it's a nice little micro-climate.)

Many of our neighbours have magnificent shady front yard gardens with many varieties of hostas but also exotic grasses, flowers, herbs and veg -- I'm just enthralled by them.

You would probably have to do some work with the soil -- that maple tree is not only shading your yard but its roots are sucking a lot of nutrients from the soil.

I hope you do it!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Here, I think it's the opposite situation. Most housing lots on Quebec's Lower North Shore have been carved out of thick, heavy treed bush, and homeowners struggle to lay down a nice field of grass - sadly. In the effort to have a nice manicured lawn, some beautiful trees and shrubbery have been removed, on virtually every lot. Some of us are trying to reverse this trend by planting trees and shrubbery native to the area on our properties, with some nice results, although it's a struggle, because much of the original topsoil has been allowed to blow away.

There's a lot of empty properties here overrun with weeds and their pollen blows everywhere, so it's a lost cause trying to remove dandelions and the like - we all just cut them down with the grass, and the result are lawns that are about half weeds and half grass. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]


Thanks to my rink, my backyard lawn is half weeds, half bare patches of dirt.

I checked the allottment today. Everything's pretty well up now, even if a bit slowish.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

My lawn is patchy, but not where the rink was. Unfortunately, dog pee over the winter has taken its toll.

Our goal this summer is to teach Luna to use one small corner of the yard (where nothing much grows anyway) to do her business. Kali's already pretty good that way, but last fall we were just focused on getting Lou to keep it outside.

And the digging. We're also working on the digging. Ah, well, I get more joy from life with a setter than I would a pristine lawn... [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Haven't been out to the garden plot for a few days, but we've gotten enough rain to keep it damp. Everything's been up for a week or two and is doing well, except for the cukes. Lots of attrition on the cuke front. My "heirloom" variety tomatoes are doing really well, and so are the brussels sprouts.

[ 25 June 2008: Message edited by: Timebandit ]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Now am up to 70 tomato plants. I just hope they all grow! Fortunately they're in the greenhouse, where it's warmer than outside (outside temps are about 55F, greenhouse is about 70). Spinach, cucumbers and garlic in the greenhouse are all shooting up green spouts, but they really need some sun and warmer temps.

The big outdoor veggie garden is overrun with grasses, so I have a fairly big weeding job ahead of me next week. I wish it would warm up! I had a heavy parka on tonight when I was bringing in bags of topsoil.

Jerry West


Originally posted by Ghislaine:
[b]I wish I could afford to be a property owner so I could garden! I am envious of you lucky property owners....


If you have any space at all try large pots. I live in a condo with a bit of yard space and most of my garden is raised in big pots (Canadian Tire, $6 each) and half barrels.

Currently I have over a dozen pots of snow peas doing well, and about seven or eight of scarlet runner beans doing well.

Tomatoes which I have sheltered started well, but the last part of spring was so dark and cold they are just now setting fruit. Squash which should have come up in May is just now busting ground, but my chard and Chinese greens have had a good time in the cool weather. Basil is so-so, but my rosemary, in pots and sheltered every winter, is into its fourth or fifth year and still growing.

Strawberries are just getting ripe, about a month off schedule.

The oregano, mint, parsely and wild black berries and raspberries which I encourage are unstoppable as usual.

remind remind's picture

Had radishes today from my garden, baby greens, lettuce and beets, will be good to go in 2 days. Starting the second run of them, Monday. Was 38 here today.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I wish my camera works - there is a Mourning Dove perched on an arm of the scarecrow in my veggie garden. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

In other news, the dreadful weather of June continues into July. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I had no idea slugs and snails could be so big. They are merciless. Goodbye arugula! Goodbye spinach!

remind remind's picture

catchfire, circle your rows with a trail of salt that has no breaks in it, and that will take care of the attacks!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks for the tip! I'll try it out, although I fear it might be too late!

I've been hunting them at night (just went out for a's hard, because it doesn't get dark until 11:00 here) and laying jars of beer as traps, and it seems to be working a bit. But I underestimated their destructive force. They are so big! Like, prehistoric. Fuckers.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture


I'm on bug alert here. My issue is with rolly pollies and earwigs. Since we live in a wet area there are 100,000 of them. The rollies aren't supposed to go for green stuff but they do for some reason like young newly sprouted plants. I just planted a bunch of vines out that aren't very big yet and am crossing my fingers that that they don't get attacked tonight.
Last year was a problem with beans so this year I've started all of my beans in the green house and will plant them out when they get bigger. It's pain but hopefully it will work as they don't go for bigger plants just the sprouts it seems.
None of my radishes or beets even made an appearance. I couldn't figure it out until I did some investigating and figured that they were being nabbed as soon as they poked out of the ground.


We were schlurmed by hail last night. Lots of stuff has been pounded into the dirt, and plants with bigger leaves, such as courgettes, look like lace.

Since this is Saskatchewan, though, everything will bounce back stronger than ever.


Topic locked