In spite of feeling that we got off to a somewhat slow start to gardening this year, it’s gratifying to know that the peonies pictured here are the only item available at our farmers’ market that we can’t or haven’t grown ourselves. At this time of year, our local farmers are largely confined to selling rhubarb, spring onions and early greens, and we’ve got all of those right here in our own garden. We’ve even got some beets, thanks to our (extremely modest) winter gardening efforts.
The spring onions were a nice surprise, as I’d completely forgotten about planting these last fall. When I found a large corner bed full to bursting with these up at the house, and a smaller bunch down in the greenhouse, I couldn’t believe my good luck. There is something to be said for being disorganized, if only for the pleasant surprise it can afford.
Every year we move forward and do more, and it’s good to take stock amidst the mishaps, misses and other misadventures. Such as:
i) Winter gardening kind of got away from us, largely due to poor planning, inattention and then being overtaken by life events (homeschooling), but we have discovered that we can do it, as evidenced by the spinach, beets, spring onions and lettuces that greeted us in the early spring (and which we’ve been harvesting in earnest in recent weeks). This gives us much greater confidence for the coming cold season, and means that we’ll pull up our socks, knowing it will be worthwhile.
ii) My mum, having never really grown food herself, has started a small bed with carrots, lettuces, kale and peas at our place. It’s nice to be doing a tiny bit of gardening together in this way.
iii) The mature fruit trees that we’ve planted over the past couple of seasons are mostly doing very well, particularly the plums, an apple and a serviceberry. The Manchu cherries that we bought by mail order are absolutely thriving, and the blueberry bushes and a single red currant bush are looking pretty strong. We’re awaiting delivery from the US of some blackberry bushes that we found after a long, drawn out search, and are hopeful that they will do well here. The ‘baby’ nut trees that we also received by mail order did not make it, and we’ve learned that it’s better to focus our efforts – at least when it comes to trees – on mature ones, (particularly as we’re not so young ourselves anymore), as we’re not inclined to coddling.
iv) We continue to expand the number of beds that we can plant, and have done so at a pace that pretty nearly matches our appetite for growing more varieties and consolidating how much we grow of our favourite crops.
v) Having chickens to feed has made sense of the truly silly amounts of kale and other greens that I tend to grow, creating a more sustainable supply-demand chain.
vi) We finally bought a very good sized, energy efficient freezer, which will enable us to save more of what we grow more easily.
Now I just need to find somewhere to plant peonies, and we’ll be all set, right?
Please tell me what’s growing in your garden or what you’re most looking forward to growing this year, I’d really love to know!