Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Our garden "bounty"

Our garden "bounty" by Sesser
Our garden "bounty", a photo by Sesser on Flickr.
Last spring, Mr. Happy and I decided that it was time to plant a garden. With the rising price of food in mind, we rented a rototiller and Mr. Happy set to work tilling the bed. 

Working in the garden

Never mind the argument we had about the placement of the garden (an argument that only took 5 months for Mr. Happy to concede I should have won. Ahem), and never mind the incessant rainfall, we thought it might be a good way to supplement our "stores".

This is much better! (3of3)

We planted carrots, onions, red cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, green and yellow beans, sugar snap peas, lettuce and a couple tomato plants.

The carrots and onions grew, though only a little. Despite their size they are still delicious and appreciated in the various dishes into which I've thrown them.

The red cabbage, though a bit neglected, did grow and was delicious. The brussel sprouts were steam rolled by a small boy and his wheelbarrow. The beets, well, that was a sad loss.

Our little gardener

The beans, both yellow and green were picked and devoured quite readily.

Marjorie Willison, eat your heart out!

We did our best to use the "natural landscape" of our yard wisely. We planted climbing things near our fences. The sugar snap peas flourished on the fence at the end of our driveway. They were a tasty temptation when we arrived home at the end of a work day.

We did learn a valuable lesson about the sugar snap peas, however, after eating handfuls of the delicious pods raw: They are extremely hard on your mouth if eaten in large amounts. I spent a week at the cottage in "SSP addiction recovery" waiting for the skin in my mouth to return to normal. It turns out, they are still quite delicious if served lightly steamed.

The lettuce was the crowning glory of our garden and heartily fed many guests at our table over the summer. We hauled table and chairs outside at every opportunity and set about pretending we were dining on a backyard patio under a Tuscan sun. In actuality we were in our own backyard, surrounded by our ugly metal fence, near a busy street and under a Haligonian sky (though that setting does have its own charms).

Our lessons for next year are as follows:
  • Improve the soil.
  • Move the garden or cut the tree (hence the springtime argument).
  • Get the seeds/plants in the ground earlier.
  • Pray for more sun and less rain, yet encourage child to water plants in a gentle manner.
  • Remind toddler how to walk in the "valleys". between the rows and not across the "hills" with his wheelbarrow.
  • Make the garden bigger MORE MORE MORE!
  • Plant squash (oh wait, we did. It died.)
  • Plant pumpkins (pumpkin shortage in the city this year)
  • Do something to that dreadful fence.
  • Invite more friends over to enjoy our garden bounty with us, however small.


  1. Looks/sounds delicious! To improve the soil, consider composting. The soil gave up nutrients to grow those carrots, so it's fitting if you use the inedible parts of the carrots to feed the soil.

  2. Awesome garden. The constable and I talked about preparing a plot for next spring, but that has yet to materialize. I did do some container gardening this year, with quite a bit of success. I grew three varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and kitchen herbs. I agree with getting things going earlier. I still had tomatoes on the plants at Thanksgiving, which unfortunately didn't make it. I had so many tomatoes in fact that I was able to preserve quite a few of them. Would love to do more veggies next year.

  3. Fantastic!
    I second Jen's recommendation re. compost. You can amend the soil now by covering it with grass clippings and fallen leaves and let it mulch down over the winter.
    Our squash died, horribly, by inches. It was just heartbreaking. Peas and beans and lettuce did well, though. At least your yard is flat and you don't have to worry about retaining walls!

  4. Thanks everyone - we were very happy with our garden.

    re: Composting: We live in a city that has a municipal composting program, so we're quite accustomed to sending our scraps to the green bin - we just need to redirect the veggie ones to our compost pile, which we intend to do this winter.

  5. I'm impressed! I remember those times as a kid when my Mom would make me go out into our garden and use our hands to ready the soil, plant the seeds, harvest the crop... with absolute hatred. I like the idea of gardening, but might just be slightly thankful that condo-living has made that nearly impossible. For now, I don't have to feel guilty about the fact that I'm not a gardener.

  6. Aieeee! I go away for a summer, and you go and grow a bountiful harvest without me??!! You must teach me how to do such a thing. The carrots look truly yummy, fyi.

  7. Wow, it looks like your backyard gardening project has turned into a whole-family affair! The photograph of your little gardener tending a small plot of plants is priceless. Having a large backyard truly has its advantages. Stay happy!