Edible Garden

September 2015
One word to describe our garden this year: thyme.  Our thyme clearly enjoyed the vacancy in our raised bed because it has grown into a small bush.  Due to travel we had no choice this summer we had no choice but to go with hardy herbs.  However, the smell and beautiful purple thyme flowers are wonderful.  The dried products are easy to store and will be great in dishes this winter.  Raspberries did great again but unfortunately we didn't have much time to harvest all the fruit.  We did however, get one large bag in the freezer for future use.  We are already looking ahead to next spring when we can start planting again.

June 2015
Time flies when you're having fun.  Or in my case, tending to our 10 month old girl.  It's June and I haven't even put a single seed or seedling into our garden.  We did do a cleanup a few weeks ago, removing dead canes from our raspberry bush and turning the soil in our raised bed.  Part of the reason for the delay is we are planning to travel again this summer and we won't have reliable help to water our edibles. So the plan is to buy a few established herbs and make use of them as much as possible before the trip and if they perish when we return then, c'est la vie.  If anyone has any advice on what edibles can withstand a few weeks without watering please let us know.

September 2014
We had a fairly large crop of tomatoes this summer, however, most we had to harvest green because of a freak snowstorm in the middle of August.  They have been ripening in our kitchen and we've been enjoying them fresh in salads and salsa.  

Picked from the garden with snow still on them
Green tomatoes everywhere!
Prior to this, we were able to pick cherry tomatoes as they ripened, a single pepper (yes, just one, but it was good!) and of course, raspberries.  Our herbs also served us well and we plan to again, harvest and dry as much sage and thyme to use this winter.  

June 2014
It's been a slow start this year, partly due to the infuriating bipolar Calgary spring weather and partly due to our own procrastination.  We've decided this year to plant mainly herbs and tomatoes this season.  Herbs we've planted so far include sage, thyme and basil.  We found that the sage dried and kept well in our fridge and we were using it in our dishes right up until mid-February.  The transplanted herbs we tried to keep indoors just didn't seem to do well and to be honest, we never had success with indoor herbs.  We still have nightmares about the cilantro-aphid fiasco three years ago.  We are still on the look out for more herbs to plant.  We've started with several varieties of tomatoes- tumbling, patio, beefsteak and a yellow variety of which I've forgotten the name.  Finally, we are looking forward to a healthy crop of fresh raspberries late July and into August.  

More updates and picture evidence to come...

October 2013
It's been a warm fall and we are still able to keep our carrots in the ground and pull them up as we need them (it's now late October).  The chard has been very resilient in the cool weather and we've been able to have it up until a few weeks ago.  We have also enjoyed fresh herbs- basil, sage, rosemary and thyme.  Just a week ago we cut and dried what we could and transplanted a few sage, rosemary and thyme for our indoor planters.  

The largest and smallest carrot from our garden- so far!
(The large dinner fork for size comparison)

August 2013
Following our month absence, we were happy to come back to our little home garden.  As always, the raspberry bush (which now truly is a bush) produces more berries than we can consume.  Having them fresh, in smoothies, or in dessert, epitomizes summer for us.  

Raspberry banana smoothie- look at that colour! (no editing)
 We are also gradually harvesting our carrots, chard, basil and sage as we need them.  The chard has been quite good, in that we are able to eat them throughout the summer.  In previous years, the lettuce we grew didn't get enough warmth in the spring and got roasted as soon as the July heat came along.   

The rosemary and thyme seeds were slow to start and are still quite small, but we are already thinking of all the wonderful roasts we can add them to once we dry them for the winter. As an update on the Haskap berry - never saw it in the garden centre, but still very interested for next year.  Our blueberry looks about the same size as it was two years ago.  Mmmm, berries.

Planted sweet pea next to our raised bed.  Glorious scent!

May 2013

After some snowfall late April, it seems the warm weather might be here to stay.  Calgary is known for some volatile weather, so I'm thankful for weekends like these where there is no hail, wind warnings, pouring rain or God forbid, snow.  Yesterday we cleaned up the garden and planted some seeds.  We love tomatoes, but seeing as we'll be away for a month again this summer, we decided instead on a mainly herb garden.  In our raised planter, we now have seeded: sage, thyme, rosemary, chive and basil.  We like to dry the extra and storing them for later use in our kitchen.  Also in the planter are carrots, chard and spinach.  We hope to have the chard and spinach in our salads in a month's time.  

Clean up involved snapping off dead branches and leaves on the raspberry bush, which is getting to be an impressive height.  I am thinking we will have to cut the canes so they don't grow any higher.  There is also a dead spirea bush just below our front porch.  I tried growing a rose bush there our first year, but it failed miserably.  Spirea are typically very hardy plants so I am surprised to see it go.  There must be something in the soil.  I recently saw that Sunnyside Garden Center are going to start carrying the new Haskap berry bush.  Perhaps this will be the replacement...

October 2012

Thanksgiving weekend was the perfect time for our final harvest and we were very pleased with our yield of carrots and beets.  The carrots were very sweet and excellent for eating raw and juicing.  The smaller beets were slightly bitter but improved in taste when roasted in the oven.  

We also tried shallots for the first time this year.  I didn't read the instructions and didn't separate the cloves and planted the entire bulb.  They turned out ok, despite being a little crowded.  I left them to cure in our garage and have yet to try them in our food.  

As always, we were given a plentiful crop of raspberries, about 2 cups every week or so.   Although I noticed that frequent watering encouraged leaf growth rather than flowering, which resulted in a slight decrease in fruit this year.  

I am extremely envious of those who are able to maintain edibles during the winter months.  Another growing season over until the spring...

August 2012
Thanks to some wonderful house sitters, we came back after a months vacation to full grown heads of butter crunch lettuce, a wild tumble of mesculine lettuce and carrots and beets that will hopefully be peeking up from their soil-y depths by the end of the month.


I have to admit I have a tendency to over seed and when they sprout, have difficulty thinning out the seedlings because I feel awful about pulling them up.  There is no logical reason why I should feel this way but I do.  However, I'm working on being a little less sentimental and so we had our first "harvest" last week of baby carrots and buttercrunch.

We've had two big handfuls of raspberries, which were delicious in our morning smoothies, but I'm still waiting for that big crop that is slowly beginning to ripen.  And just in case you were wondering, the sweet peas and snap peas did not work out, as I forgot to tell our house sitters to trim around them (they probably looked like weeds!) and so they never even had a chance.   It looks like we might have to pull up some sod next year- a thrilling prospect, something to look forward to.

May 2012:
We have cleaned up our raised planter and put in our beet, carrot and lettuce seeds.  As well, put in some shallots in a separate planter.  Along our chain link fence in the back, we've also sown some sweet pea and snap peas.  I did this without ripping up the sod, I just dug little holes, dropped the seeds in and spread some topsoil on top.  Hopefully we'll see something soon.  Since we will be away for a longer time this summer, we decided not to grow tomatoes, which we will surely miss.  

Our raspberry bush produced more than we could consume last summer.  Pruned down and looking a little sad (it is still early in the season), we hope it will produce the same amount.  Not much luck with our strawberries, which we've had for two years.  They seem to produce 4-6 berries per season and stay the same size.  Same goes with our blueberry bush.  Not enough sun maybe?  More updates coming as soon.

Winter 2011

Next spring will be the third year we've grown edibles in our garden.   We are still learning and would like to create some sort of record while sharing our experiences.  Here are some highlights from this past summer:

Besides creating compost, what are you green thumbs doing during the winter months when the sun sets at 4:30 pm and the ground is covered in 2 feet of snow?  I am in a little bit of gardening withdrawal.  On a brighter note, our indoor succulent planter does not seem to mind it's perch overlooking the winter wonderland that is our backyard.

More to come...


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