Replanting Our Strawberry Bed This Year

round strawberryBack In 2008 when Jenny and I bought our home in Moncton I finally had the opportunity to start gardening with more than just potted plants. So I went out and bought my first strawberry plant. It was so tiny it was in a 4 inch pot.

That single strawberry plant filled half a 4×8 raised bed in the first year. I planted tomatoes in the other half. The second year the strawberries filled the bed and we had lots of gorgeous and tasty strawberries.

Fast Forward to Spring 2013

The old raised bed frame was rotting more each year and by 2013 it was time to replace it with a new frame. While I was building the new frame I decided to make it wider than the original raised bed so we could have even more strawberries.

strawberry patchLast fall I noticed there was a lot of grass growing up inside the bed so I dug up the entire bed and put all the dirt, grass and strawberry plants on a tarp and then cleaned up the bed. Even added some fresh compost in the bottom.

Jenny separated the strawberry plants and grass from the soil and I refilled the raised bed with the cleaned soil. Jenny then placed all the strawberry plants back on the bed and I planted them again.

Probably won’t get many strawberries this year although some of the plants are flowering but we have great hopes for next year’s harvest of strawberries.

Spring Has Sprung in New Brunswick

little blue flowersI don’t remember the last time we still had snow in our yard in May. For some it was a long hard winter in New Brunswick however it was the best winter I have had in many years and all because I now own a camera.

But… enough is enough so ‘Welcome Spring’ and winter I’ll see you just before Christmas.

crocus under pine treesI love how the snow melts away from a spot and within a few days something is sprouting like our Crocus. They don’t last long and even get buried in snow again but they scream that spring is pushing winter’s butt out the back door.

Every time I see something new I reach for my camera which is never far away and most of the time around my neck.

blue bells in springI stepped in the veggie garden trying to reach a stake from last year. Went right up over my ankles in an instance so I stepped back and will leave the garden for another week or two, I guess.

Continuing around the yard I noticed we have some lilac leaves that are almost completely open and will likely be open by the time I get this article completed and published.

fresh lilac leaves
Lilac Leaves Opening

autumn joy in spring

I almost missed Jenny’s Autumn Joys sprouting and walked right past them looking at something else I wanted to photograph but when I turned around to come back into the yard I saw these cute little green buds that will eventually turn a bright rusty red come Autumn.

Spring Has Sprung And My Coleus Is Looking Vibrant Again

bright coleusI love my coleus plant even when it’s kind of dull looking through those low light months of winter but when the sun hits us in the spring it only takes a few days to go from dull to vibrant again.

It is also the time of year that this coleus starts to grow. I can have one little coleus plant about 6 inches tall and it can produce enough growth that I will be able to plant dozens of coleus in our yard by the time the ground thaws and freezing nights stop.

coleus in raised bed
My Coleus Once I Put It Outdoors For The Summer

The coleus above is from the same little cutting you see in the top left image. They just get so dark once they have direct sunlight outdoors.

Last year I bought another coleus which is different from the ones above and I had a hard time getting any clippings to survive but I tried that last fall. Hopefully now that the spring sun is here I might be able to get some clippings to plant outdoors.

Picked The Last Yellow Pear Tomatoes Today

yellow pear tomato basketJenny and I really enjoyed the Yellow Pear tomato chutney I made last fall with our own yellow pear tomatoes. The plan was to do the same and more this year however plans don’t always work out the way we planned.

I was a bit depressed about the whole start to the growing season but the work I did in the garden by adding raised beds will pay off next year. We are even adding a couple more before winter sets in so the entire garden will be higher and less likely to flood out.

The Last of the Yellow Pear Tomatoes

We have had a couple of nights that dropped to only 2C so I decided to bring them in and call it a season. I do have enough to make a couple of bottles of chutney. Jenny and I only use the Chutney with Sunday brunch so those two bottles will last most of the winter.

Looking forward to the next growing season already.

Transplanting Mid Summer – DOH!!

raised bed gardenI am in my 60s and still have a great memory but I have to say that spring and summer 2014 has to be the strangest I can remember. Our vegetable garden was just a big rectangular mud hole.

The spring rain started, of course, but then it just wouldn’t stop. Before the garden could drain and dry there was more rain. You can read about our spring conditions here.

Ooops Veggies Way Too Close Together

The first raised bed of tomatoes is doing fine but the second raised bed was looking way too crammed for space. The crappy looking peppers and tomatoes I bought grew like weeds once they were in the raised beds and before long I realized they were way over crowded and the tomatoes had completely covered up the peppers.

I decided to try and transplant the peppers as I was sure they wouldn’t survive being covered up in the tomatoes.

Transplanting Our Green Peppers

green peppers in raised bedI built a third raised bed and put this one right on the lawn between two flower beds I started last year.

Because I put it directly on the lawn I put black landscape cloth under the bed to keep the grass from growing through the bed and then filled it with organic mulch and garden soil we bought earlier in the spring.

Jenny and I started by adding an inch of organic compost in the bottom and then mixed in an inch or two of garden soil. Then we almost filled the bed with garden soil we had purchased in the spring.

I dug up the pepper plants and Jenny moved them the new bed where I quickly got them back in the ground. Even going as fast as we did it only took about 10 minutes for the pepper plants to start looking dead. I gave them water twice a day and just two days they were already looking better than they did when I transplanted them.

Transplanted A Row of Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Once we had transplanted the green pepper plants from their original bed I could see just how close together I had planted the Yellow Pear tomatoes. So while I was in the transplanted mood I decided to move one row of tomatoes to the spot the peppers had been in.

I planted size of the tomato plants and still had two left so I put those two into separate flower pots big enough for them. A very risky move I know but I was certain they would produce very little if I left them crammed together so tightly.

They looks so sad by the time I was done and for the following three days. Didn’t think they were going to make it but still felt it was the best choice if we want some Yellow Pear chutney this winter.

This morning which is 5 days later they are starting to look better and very few withered leaves so I’m thinking they are going to produce some tomatoes after all.

Finally Getting More Yard Work Done

tomatoes in raised bedIt was a strange spring for us and a lot of other people around the world. So much rain this spring that we couldn’t get into the vegetable garden. But I did manage to get two of the three raised beds built and placed in the garden.

Planted tomatoes and green peppers in the two 4’ x 8’ x 10” raised beds. I also added a lot of mulch around each raised bed so we can walk in the garden with making a muddy mess of.

Next we had a stretch of 30+ Celsius temperatures that put me on the sidelines for a few more weeks. I was only able to work early in the mornings because by 8 or 9 am it was already hotter than I could stand. So glad we did manage to get some veggies growing before the heat knocked the crap out of me.

Bought And Planted A Hydrangea

hydrangeaWe finally bout that hydrangea we wanted and I planted in the south part of the yard where people will be able to see it from the sidewalk and we will be able to see it from our kitchen window.

I have a couple of old tires I had planted flowers in last year but this year I used them to create the exact size of circle I wanted for the planting holes.

A week or two ago we were at Canadian Tire where I saw a small hydrangea I wanted in our yard. The tire helped me make a perfectly round hole and after I planted the hydrangea I added a thick layer of dark mulch to help keep moister in the ground as well as to keep weeds from growing.

Our Hugelkultur is Coming To Life

For a while this spring I wasn’t sure if I was going to see any flowers growing on the hugelkultur bed I created last year. Fortunately it has started producing beautiful poppies again as well as a few other flowers.

poppy flower

Mother Nature Nearly Beat Me Out of My Summer Vegetable Garden

raised bedSo it’s the last day of June 2014 today and my vegetable garden is looking pretty sad. We’ve had so much rain that it’s been under water or so muddy I couldn’t work in it at all.

We had a few days of dry weather and sun so I did get the first 8 feet of the north end tilled and then I added the first 4 x 8 foot raised bed and got two rows of tomatoes planted.

No soon had I planted the last tomato plant the skies opened up and flooded the rest of the garden but my new raised bed and the tomatoes looked just fine. That was the first week of June so things are really late. Hope we have a warm Autumn so we get to enjoy what I have just planted.

I added a pretty thick layer of mulch around the new raised bed so we could walk on the dark mulch instead of sinking in the mud. Worked great but I will need to add more mulch once I have what it there tramped down. Was great walking around the raised bed once that mulch was there.

A Week Later

It was an entire week before I was able to start working the second 8 foot section of the garden so I could build and place the second raised bed. I had to work in the rain to get it completed but I did. For this section I used plywood under my feet to keep from sinking in the muddy soil.

I got it done and added green peppers and yellow pear tomatoes before I was forced out of the yard by the pouring rain. I didn’t even get the chance to surround it with mulch like the first one. I’ll get to that once I can get back in the garden.

Planting Flowers In The Veggie Garden

I’m a bit sad that we are so late getting things going this year but I will get it finished before next spring and that makes me happy because we should not need to worry about flooding any longer.

The fact that we have raised beds now means we can cover the top of the beds with plastic in the early spring and heat the soil so we can plant earlier than we ever had. We can even turn the beds into little green houses in case we encounter frost. Getting exciting already.

Bought A Troy Bilt Tiller For The Veggie Garden

pepper plantsEach spring I dig up our vegetable garden using a round mouth shovel garden fork. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to get it ready… if I don’t have to deal with flooding.

A couple of years ago a friend of Jenny’s came over husband and tiller in tow to till our garden. They tilled the garden in less than an hour so each year since I have thought about buying a little tiller and this year we did.

Just about a week ago Jenny and I went to Canadian Tire and bought a little Troy Built Tiller.

troy build tiller
Troy Built Garden Tiller

I used the tiller to loosen the soil at the north end of the garden where it’s the lowest and then dug it out down to about 18 inches then filled the hole with broken twigs and yard debris to help build it up for less flooding as well as better drainage.

burying yard waste

raised bedNext I built a 4×8 raised using 2×10 lumber I found being thrown away by some people moving out of an apartment building.

Once I dragged it into place I put three or four wheelbarrow loads of organic compost in the bottom and a couple of loads of top soil which I mixed together and then continued filling with top soil until close to the top.

Should not flood anymore and I can sit on the edge of the raised bed instead of kneeling next to it.

I also added a thick layer of dark mulch around the bed so we have an area we can walk on without turning things into mud.

I was almost done this part of the project when the rains started and they came down hard but the garden didn’t flood which makes me so happy. The plan is to make a second raised bed which will reach to about the middle of the garden. The rest will just be tilled as it’s already high enough it doesn’t flood.

Going To Have To Start My Vegetable Seed Over Again

cherry blossomsHoly crap I’m having a hard time getting anything started in our vegetable garden but I’m not planting anything until I have the north end raised a few inches to stop the flooding every time it looks cloudy.

The top inch of garden soil was drying out nicely but too wet just below that to start working. In just minutes I would have a big muddy mess and then it started raining again. In just a couple of hours 22mm had come down and soaked but didn’t flood my garden. Just a day or two of sun and it will be ready to start digging.

Hey Squirrels, chipmunks and mice stop digging up my starter seeds and plants. I didn’t actually see who did the damage but either way it sucked to open my garage door yesterday morning only to see all the dirt dug out of the pots and leaves nibbled off the plants.

Lost all my sunflowers and even the extra seeds I had planned to start outdoors. Little buggers eh?

Splitting Hostas Today

hostaThe Hosta Jenny planted next to the garage a few years ago is big enough now that I suggested we split it into 4 or 5 sections and make a flower bed out of them. So now we have 5 smaller hostas along the side of the garage.

It’s only 5 degrees Celsius today so I started off feeling a little chilly but a few minutes with the shovel and I was all warmed up.

This hosta is now cut up into 5 sections and stretched across the north side of the garage. Looks pretty messy but once they start to get their leaves they will look a whole lot better.

Made A New Flower Bed Next To Our Vegetable Garden

new gardenThe garden soil and compost we ordered is sitting in the driveway but it’s still too wet to start working in the vegetable garden so I started another little project.

I added a new flower bed between the vegetable garden and the property fence where I will start some wildflowers and sunflowers.

This will help to attract more birds, butterflies, ladybugs and pollinators like bees which seem to be in short supply these days.

NOTE: Because of the harsh and long winter we had there maybe far more bees that didn’t survive so I left all the dandelions in our yard while other flowers in our yard get started.

borderInstead of digging up the section of lawn I used to cardboard boxes to cover the lawn. Next I added a layer of garden soil, a layer of organic compost and another layer of garden soil.

About a half hour or so and I had the area covered.

After that I added a border around the area and levelled off the soil. Then I left it because it was going to rain.

We have a couple of days of rain going right now and low temperatures so I will wait to seed it until the rain stops and temperature goes back up a few degrees. Still early enough to get frost.