Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Closing the Garden Thoughts

I am basically new to gardening.
 I still am learning and that is why I get such enjoyment from watching Christine's Garden on Youtube. Christine Walkden is so joyful, enthusiastic and encouraging to us novices.  Here is her episode 1 if you haven't already watched.  After watching a Dateline or 48 Hours Mystery show, it's nice to be soothed and comforted by Christine's chatter about all growing things.

  My past gardening experience was mainly adding a few seeds to soil in a flower bed mid season and hoping for the best.  I always had enough success to keep me at it and trying again the next season.  Indoors I kept a few plants that were fool proof, the geraniums and African violets namely.

 On the old property with all the land, I'd been seduced into branching out and trying to grow vegetables as well as more kinds of flowers.  The results with the flowers had been pretty good; the vegetables not so much. I never could identify what kept eating things and figure out how to put them off.

 Rhonda at her Down To Earth blog gives very good advice on how to grow your own vegetables as well as tips and information on many, many topics.  She is an inspiration to live more simply and find the pleasures in doing so. And what she harvests from a relatively small piece of land is amazing proving you really don't need a lot of land to have a harvest if you have your wits about you.

Before I forget to do so, I want to show you this flower.  It sprouted these bright yellow flowers in mid July and has only stopped blooming early October.  I'd never seen it before but the huge elephant ear leaves caught my eye before we'd moved in.

With research I discovered this is ligularia, a relative of the genus Aster and sometimes called leopard spots.  I loved how the bees and butterflies also loved it.

This Swallowtail butterfly spent a couple of hours on it one day while I was sewing nearby. I think by that point in the summer there was slim pickings for any other flower food.
There are two large clumps and I'd like to divide them.  The clump in front of the house is quite large and seems to enjoy the partial shade of the veranda, a thought to keep in mind for replanting.

I'm a note taker ( I've shown you my lovely stack of journals and notebooks) but not with the gardening stuff.  I wish each season that I had taken note of what grew well so I could use that brand of seed again.  It is a mistake to rely on my memory, which since retiring struggles to keep in mind which day of the week it is, sooo

What I could write down if I did...

What grows well where

This is fundamental because soil conditions, even from bed to bed, affect sprouting and growing.  When faced with the huge bank of seed envelopes at a store or in the catalogues, it would make so much sense to have a few reliables to turn to that grow well in Ontario.  And then to know where exactly to plant them in my garden.

Sometimes I seem to neglect the easiest things.

Sprouting Too Late
This caught up with me badly a couple of years.  Often March is still steeped in bad (snowy) weather and does not seem like seed planting time, green house or not.  But it kind of is especially for the tomatoes.  And about tomatoes...

 Not properly staking the tomatoes; what a silly mistake this is.

Something else I need to take more seriously.  Tomato plants grow many branches and usually sprout a tomato or two on each branch.  These get heavy and need supports to stay upright.  I found myself trying to tie branches to stakes haphazardly mid growth.  It would have made sense to plan for this by caging them properly from the start.  

Lacking foresight is a gardening problem not just mine...I see that all the time with people planting trees too close to the house.  That little seedling is just too small to imagine the size it will become.

End of October is close and I still have pruning to do and some extra mulching.  I was told there were lots of spring perennials here so it will be fun to see what pops up next May.

Meanwhile we are still looking up.
 Leaves are clinging on and at the height of their colour. Our drive last Thursday was through a forest of blazing colours on both sides of the highway.  My little camera could not capture the vibrancy especially through the windshield but you get the idea.