Friday, 4 May 2012

Big City Girl Plays Garden

I won't lie or pretend to be some sort of gardening guru. I am far from it. I grew up across Canada, from Winnipeg to Calgary and Calgary to Vancouver and Vancouver to Kelowna, where I live today. While my family always had healthy eating habits, we didn't eat organic or grow our own vegetables and the meat consumption was high on our list of priorities. I hated the garden. I hated the idea of cooking. If it came out of a can, I was more than happy to scarf it down. Now a days, I am an almost vegan who home cooks everything. As a part of my mission to raise my family with a true understanding of where their food comes from, I knew I needed to educate myself so I could then educate my children.

When we moved in to this house in a sketchier area of Kelowna (which is NOTHING compared to my experience in Van, but OK Kelowna), one of the reasons I loved this place was the huge gardening possibilities and the yard. It was however in less than desirable condition and has required a huge load of love to be put into it. And that we have done over the last couple of months. We are now in the process of getting soil to fix up our beds and get them ready for planting. In Kelowna, it is best to wait until after the May long weekend to sow your seeds because of frost warnings. In a couple of weeks, the seedlings I have already sprouted and the seeds we have waiting to plant will all make their way into the ground, where the true magic of having a garden can begin.

But before that time, I thought I would show everyone around my garden and yard so you can see it from the beginning to end. My plan is to update with photos and blog entries over the growing season. Please follow me right this way...

This is our gorgeous cherry tree that you see right when you walk out of back door. Unfortunately, cherry trees, like all fruit trees, need other fruit trees around so that the busy little bees will cross pollinate them allowing for them to bear fruit. Sounds familiar, hey? Anyways, the other tree must have been cut down years ago and so this beauty no longer produces.

This is one of the more practical, not so pretty areas of the garden space. From left to right we have a yard waste bin for weeds, dead plants, etc. Then we have a homemade leaf mold bin. This is a great way to use everything nature provides. If you allow leaves to compound on top of each other, they eventually break down and create a low fertility mulch that you can use to fertilize your soil, protect your soil come winter, and it also allows you to minimize your yard waste that goes to landfill. Instead, you save on fertilizer costs and save the earth. David Suzuki win!!

All eight garden boxes as you come around the cherry tree. We decided on raised beds because they allow the plants to be protected from the movement going on around, ie weeding out those damn weeds. Instead of trampling the delicate soil nurturing the life of the plants, you trampel the paths. It also keeps certain little hands out of the plants home. Now all I have to focus on is those freaking cats!

Ivy that grows up the side of our house, which until last week when I pruned it, was starting to overtake our bathroom window which you can see hiding in the corner there. Ivy is beautiful but it actually is a very invasive plant, as you can tell, so having it growing up the house like this is probably going to be a bummer for our landlord in the future.

Of course, any garden where children are around and involved must have a play area to keep them entertained. Lennon is only 16 months and although she acts like a three year old, she can cause a lot of havoc on my little sanctuary so I am glad to have this little slide and sandbox for her. Over the next couple of weeks I will finish up my homemade water table for her to rock out in all summer. She is one water baby!

Marigolds! Any gardeners best friend as they attract the bees and all gardeners shouldn't just love bees, but promote and protect them.

And my beautiful pansies! Mulit coloured to attract more of my little bee friends.

At the back of the garden, nestled amongst the fence and wild grass, are my pea plants and more marigolds. Peas like cooler weather so they are thriving outside. And my baby loves peas so I'm pleased!

Water is a crucial aspect to all life on this earth. But it is also something people are waring over across the world. Taking this into consideration, and maybe because my earth conscious ways have given me the nickname "David Suzuki" around my home, I created a way to conserve rain water so that I can use as little tap water to feed my plants as possible. This is where the water is caught initially and then I transfer it to another bin when this one is full.

At the back of the garden we put a gorgeous stump that I found in the shed as a resting place. The idea is that you can stop, rest and breathe in the freshness of growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Maybe write a bit or read. Whatever it is, this spot is meant to promote slowing down in nature. We are hoping to place crystals in spots like this to help with clarity and bring positive energy to our food.

Tulips! A great view as you sit at our patio table enjoying some yummy eats from one of our vegan potlucks.

And that is just the backyard! We have a front area that will soon sprout the wildflowers I planted and be home to our peppers and tomatoes as it gets a bit longer and more intense sunshine which the nightshades thrive on. I can't wait for things to start growing! Check back in for more updates on a city girl trying to manage being a mama and a gardener, a writer and a lover. Whew, think I need a nap now, but alas, time for our roastless roast potluck with friends.

Any gardeners out there with any words of wisdom for this eager newbie?

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