Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Get Your Garden On

I often complain about the oddities of our 100 + years rental home in the city, when really I should count myself fortunate that we have a wonderful yard, treehouse included, for our kids to play in. Part of our rental agreement is that we help maintain the grounds and we are discovering that outdoor work is a joy (to some people, I know many who loathe gardening).  Last year I concentrated on creating raised vegetable beds to grow our very own "farm" to table produce. 

Some results from last year's garden.

To help me out on my foray into the land of vegetables was my dear neighbour J, who as I mentioned earlier this year passed away from a quick spreading cancer. J was very kind at pointing out my mistakes, my number one error; planting too earlier. My number two error; planting too much. This year I plan to take the lessons I learned from J and grow the best urban garden. Ever.  But let's be honest, I'm still a novice and without J watching over my shoulder, my cucumbers may grow into pumpkins again. 

Thankfully I was sent a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Small-Space Gardening by Master Gardener (yes, that is an actual title), Chris McLaughlin, and after reviewing the book, I'm full of renewed hope that my garden might produce an abundant harvest. Here are a few of the tips I found most helpful:

Succession Planting - McLaughlin suggests planting the first row of seeds and then simply plant the second row a couple weeks later for a continuous harvest. Duh. It seems obvious but we didn't do this last summer and all our greens matured at once. The flowers were pretty but our plates were empty by August.

Cool-Season vs. Warm-Season Vegetables - Get this, some vegetables grow better in the spring and fall, some grow better when temperatures are consistently warm. Note to self: Don't plant tomatoes in April. The key is to also know what zone you live in, for identifying the cool and warm season. Living in Vancouver I'm a Zone 7-8er. 

Use Your Space -  There are so many flowers, vegetables and herbs that can thrive in small spaces. I've been mapping out every nook and cranny of our yard this year so that we have plenty of plant variety without the overcrowding. 

These tips are a tiny portion of the wealth of information The Complete Idiot's Guide To Small-Space Gardening contains. McLaughlin uses her expert knowledge to create fun projects for even the most inexperienced gardener. 

Let the adventure begin!


  1. I want that book! Must add it to Amazon wishlist.

  2. I'm mighty jealous of your home grown garden! I might have to invite myself over for some salad!