These tomatoes are obviously in need of ripening, but if they are anything like last years crop, they will be really sweet! I think we will have a yeild of about 50 so far...Forgive me, I forget the name of the variety, I always just seek out the seed labled "for growing in pots".In past when I have grown larger varieties of tomatoes in this situation, they get too large and don't produce a lot of fruit (yes, tomato is a fruit).Vegatables suited specifically for pots are shorter and stouter.
The beans have taken over the arbour! I am always amazed at the quick growth of Scarlet Runner bean...these were only planted in the existing soil 2 months ago!
I ate this bean this morning!
Call me crazy, but does anyone else see the beauty of these beans as I do?
This pic is of a seeding Karl Forrester Feather Reed grass I have been growing in a pot for 4 years! I have many other perennials growing in pots as well such as hostas, sedums, Siberian Iris and Cord grass. Many are surviving in pots for 8 years now! All I do to care for them is pile leaves on them in fall in a protected corner of our yard. I do have to water all these pots, but other than using harvested rain water, I also use old pet bowl water, leftover cooking water, and any left over water that people sometimes leave in glasses as well. Why not?!
Same goes for this Spiderwort, though it growes a little taller.
And this bit of mess is what generally happens when you feed the birds, chipmunks, squirrels and a few others; the sunflower seeds sprout! Luckily they are pulled very easily. We don't mind really, it's all worth it!
I cannot even begin to explain how happy it makes me to see our children enjoying our healthy and safe organic garden.
My biological child seems to be the one with a very keen interest in gardening AND helping the environment. I wonder if it's nature or nurture...Just as I did as a child, she spends a LOT of time in the garden!
And no, this pic is not taken at our home, but nearby. I just really love this picture for you can see how truly happy the garden makes her.
This daylily came from my mothers garden. It seems that almost from birth my mother has been my gardening buddy, just as she was her mothers buddy before. For fun in winter when I was but 5 years old, we'd go through her multiple seed catalogs, plotting what vegetables and flowering plants we would grow. I always loved the gardens there and eventhough I lost myself during those troubled teen years, by age 25 I was totally garden obsessed again! I remember ordering bulbs online at this age and not even being able to sleep I was so obsessed.
This is just another shot of the same daylily. Don't ask me why it turned out this way! Just a cool shot in my opinion; just a few moments of praise yet again for the daylily.
- They are drought tolerant
- bees and Hummingbirds love them
- a native plant, though this one is a hybrid
A quick update on the rest of the garden:
This is a little off topic but as I have mentioned in an ealier blog, I find that when gardening organically the plants are healthy and can withstand such pests as these. Look, you can even see the moths EYES!
The Scarlet Runner beans are flowering abundently... beans are already forming...it is growing so quickly. Especially after the big rain we just had.
I grow this "Ladys Mantle" specifically for how the rain droplets form on it. It's considered an "old fashion" plant but I still love it. Beauty is all around us!
Here in our 50' x 150' lot we have planted 22 large trees! Most we planted only 8 years ago...then it was a totally barren building lot. It's so amazing how quickly it has grown. I do think David Suzuki digs this garden as imagine the carbon offsets!
In the business I am in, I find people are often afraid to plant trees near thier homes. I will clear up a few of the misconceptions.
- Tree roots do not "poke holes" into house fountaions, pool or other by the ends finding thier way into them.
- If a tree root does cause damage, is is because the tree sets down a root nearby and grew in girth enough to cause damage. This takes a long time to happen, with any tree.
- Tree roots go where they can easily get nutrient; not usually around houses or pools filled with gravel around them. Tree roots cannot get nutrient or grow easily in gravel.
- Trees help cool our homes in summer, shelter it in winter and provide oxygen and habitat for widlife.
- Though I would not plant a large tree right against a house there is so much room for them, even in a small lot. If planted now they likely would not be a problem within our lifetime, and if people are worried about trees close to the house that far in the future, no one would plant any! And look at all the benefits they and the earth would be loosing along the way.
On a lighter note, in the above pic my husband is feeding the frontyard chipmunks...
We now have 3 resident chipmunks, 1 bunny, 2 hummingbirds, 2 chipping sparrows, a small flock of chickadees and gold finches plus the many birds(including a hawk), squirrels, mice, racoons that are occasional visitors.
And now on an again serious note...where are all the bees?! I have noticed a drastic decline in the bees population here in Barrie this year. I feel it is less than 1/4 what it was last year!. None of my fruiting trees are producing fruit!
Hello again everyone,
I have refrained in past to speak much of organic vegetable gardening as all the other bloggers on this site are speaking of such, but today I will give you some insite into the edibles that we grow here in our small urban space.
Daylilies are a wonderful tastey treat! They can be added to salads, stir frys or just eaten on thier own.
Nasturtium are another edible flower, that also acts as a "trap plant" for most veg garden pests will feast on it on not your precious bounty. I always use when growing vegetables and the flowers are so plentiful, there are usually enough for the pests as well as me.
Both the leaves and flowers of Nasturtium have a peppery flavor great for salads. I really like them in salads that have dried berries and nuts as well.
Mant people do not realize, but the berries of the Serviceberry are edible! They are a bit tarte but tastey. I feel every yard has a place for the small statured Serviceberry tree. Beautiful white blooms in spring, edible fruit, and scarlet foliage in fall; and it's native. What's not to love!
Squash flowers are also edible...but you'll have to give up the squash that would follow...mind you, pinch off a few flowers and you will get larger squash of the ones that remain! Again, great in salads.
Even the petals of the humble clover that fills our very small patch of lawn is edible. As well, see the nice, clean cut our reel mower makes on the blade of grass beside! Other edibles common to many peoples yards that I don't have good photos of are Pansies(dipped in egg white and powdered sugar; great for cake/dessert decorating) and the berries of the Elder tree(more like a large shrub).
We are also growing tomatoes, many herbs, 2 varietis of beans, plus we have 2 peach and 2 plum trees. As I spoke in my opening blogg, you can fit many trees, natives, and edibles in a small urban lot: and have it all look fantastic. It is redundant to me to explain why I garden organically, as I feel all you people that read this feel the same, BUT, I really want to show you that it is easy, rewarding, soul-fulfiling and beautiful as well.
I made this arbour out of a renewable resorce... Dogwood! What is so great about Dogwood is that it's fast growing, soft wood replenishes itself so quickly I can prune for projects such as this without guilt. Other years I have left in bare for I love just the structure and colour, but this year I have scarlet Runner Beans growing to scramble up it. Scarlet runner bean flowers are a favoite of our local huimmingbird population and the beans that come after are delicious even raw!
For anyone that loves Japanese Maples, but doesn't want to grow a tender import, try this "Tiger Eye" Sumac shown on the left of the arbour!
Here is a "living fort" made of willow saplings! It is in it's 3rd year and is finally looking as it should. The rabbits ate the back of it this winter (we don't mind...every living thing has to eat)but just as the Dogwood, Willow replenishes quickly. To make this fort, all we did was prune our neigbours Curly Willow, stick the cuttings in the ground and water them. As it grows I weave the new braches in to create the "dome" effect. I will let the entrance grow in a little as well...this kids are finally playing in there!
The rest of the garden is looking lush as well with all the rain we've been having.
Here is yet another native plant I love. This Liatris is not even flowering, but still has a great textural contrast to most other broad or fleshy leafed plants.
Lastly, I love it when it rains as rain water helps the garden grow and everything outside looks so beautiful afterwards. These are the mature leaves of the Eastern Redbud that come out after flowering.
Thanks for reading!
So this is the result of our newest project; a "Living Wall" that is a feast for pollinators! I picked hearty sedums such as "Blue Spruce" &"Angelic", as well as "Primula" and "Creeping Jenny" for the drapey effect. I am so happy with the result. It looks like a tapestry!
Here are a few of the benefits of Living Walls in the outdoor application.
- They reduce Urban Heat Island effect, and improve air quality..
- They help in preventing excessive stormwater run-off.
- They create opportunity for bio-diversity.
- When installed on the exterior of a building, they conserve energy year-round by insulation the building envelope.
- Living walls are sustainable due to their design.
- They have great intangible benefits such as heath, fresh food and education.
- They are beautiful and take up very little space!
I know a lot of other bloggers are speaking of soil & mulch, but I'd like to make a few of my own comments.
I find organic gardening to be quite simple. I use lots of good soil and add bone meal at planting. When making a new garden bed, I find that if I put 3-4 inches of soil over the existing grass or weeds, there is no need to dig it out as the soil + mulch just smothers what is beneath; as it decomposes it feeds my plants.
I water well before I mulch. With mulch, I find the perennial/tree/shrub beds rarely need water as the mulch protects the soil surface therefore retaining moisture. Weeding is cut down by 90% as the weed seeds that blow in cannot get enough light to germinate. As well, the bottom layer of mulch is constantly decomposing to create food for the plants. With a healthy cycle such as this, I do not worry about pest and disease as the plants are healthy and can easily withstand such plights. Of course you have to have the right plants in the right spots as well!!! Veg gardens are a different story, and you do need to water a bit more and take more effort in protecting your crop, but I am so happy to see others mulching their veg gardens. I have always done this and had great success even though it is not a common practice.
Video to come soon!
After a long hard winter, I notice many plants suffering...especially the trees. Luckily, all of ours have survived except one ( a fruiting Cherry :( ) but we did not loose our Eastern Redbud! I will refrain from using botanical names as I think common names are more easily understood.
I love the Redbud for many reasons...it is native, has a beautiful shrubby, wide form, large heart shapes leaves, and every year when it is in gorgeous bloom; that is when our hummingbirds return! Even though it bloomed 3 weeks late this year , it was the first time we spotted a hummingbird. I guess nature just knows. The bees love this tree in bloom too!
Other spring plants I love are: the species Tulip ( truly perennial, unlike it's hybrid cousins),
grape hyacin ( spreads and is low care)
and the Pagoda Dogwood(for it's cool puckered leaves) also a native and late spring flowering. Spring is hard on the bees and others dependant on nectar, it is important to have spring bloom.
From our new "living wall' ( a feast for pollinators), seeding; from beginning to harvest, our "living fort"(made of willow saplings) and much, much more. Stay tuned to see the drama of our hopeful successes, and our inevitable failures. My video will improve; I have great new footage. See you in the garden!
I have the extreme good fortune to share my passion with my wonderful husband! Andrew is a Horticultural Landscape Technologist and the garden/nature is our obsession. We met and married quite quickly, our linked professions, views and interests making our merge a seamless one. Together we teach our blended family of 5 our environmental responsibilties...as well as how to enjoy and appreciate nature!
Just as when building a house, a garden, or a marriage...all begin with a strong foundation. Regarding the garden, all that is needed is good, healthy soil. Above is our wedding day 2 years ago in our garden! Note the native sumac in back....
I was very fortunate to grow up on 100 acres, with forest, pond, large ornamental gardens and a HUGE vegatable garden. Having a somewhat isolated upbringing, the animals were my friends, and I busied myseft with art and nature. I grew up having a tremedous love and respect for all things living. This has carried through for my entire life, and now at age 35, I am a certified Horticulturist and Landscape Designer. And as it was when I was a child, chemical is never an option. Above is a small glimps of my parents property; my beginnings.
Recent posts by Melanie
- Melanie wrote, "Thanks! I like to let a few get too large for eating, then save the beans (let them dry with..." on Perfect Potted Tomatoes and Beautiful Beans
- Calvin wrote, "Fantastic update Melanie...your stuff looks amazing!! We're going to have to switch to the scarlet runner bean next year. We..." on Perfect Potted Tomatoes and Beautiful Beans