Tuesday, May 22

garden update: patio, may 2012

Chives in bloom. Find the bug!

It must be Super-Fun-Turbo-Awesome-Plant-All-The-Things Time because Bryce and I are now a familiar sight at the local garden shop, Tim Chiang's Garden. They're a local small business with a no frills approach to their merchandising. This means two things:

  1. Prices are much cheaper than big box stores (Home Depot, Rona, Canadian Tire, etc.) and cute garden shops that cater to hobby gardeners with big houses I will never be able to afford (Art Knapp, GardenWorks, Prickly Pear, David Hunter, etc.).
  2. There are many, many varieties sold but all seeds are locally derived from their own gardens or from local seed sellers.

Both are great news because I'm cheap and given the choice, I will always choose the local small business with local products.

We're at Tim Chiang's at least every other week to buy soil, pots for the patio, and whatever annual flower that I happen to gravitate towards. That said, none of the photos on this post include plants from Tim Chiang's...that's for another post, maybe.

May means our weekly salad harvest will soon begin! Last fall we constructed four 7'x 4' (2.1m x 1.2m) rectangular borders for the community garden so we can practice crop rotation. I used the left-over pieces to create a small salad box. Behold, my DIY prowess:
DIY Salad Box! Contains mescluns 'Mild Blend' and 'Valentine'.

The tomatoes were transplanted the first week of May, both in the patio and the community garden. They're all doing well with the exception of the Toma Verdes in the community garden who may be whispering to themselves, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..." I believe both will make it though. In the meantime, we've had two straight weeks of sunshine in May so some plants growing like gangbusters!

The tomato 'Gold Nugget' seems to be growing in height at least an inch a day. It's already started flowering and it may just bear the first fruits of the season. It's accompanied with 'Genovese' and 'Purple' basil.
Tomato 'Gold Nugget', Basil 'Genovese' and 'Purple'

Meanwhile, the 'Hahms Gelbe' isn't getting taller but it's getting leafier and stockier! Like me! I bought the seeds from You Grow Girl so I like to think the seeds were saved from the plant on this post. This was sown on March 26, want to see the photo evidence?
Tomato 'Hahms Gelbe' and Basil 'Sweet'

For the first time, I was crazy enough (and Bryce was even crazier for agreeing to come with me) to attend the VanDusen Plant Sale. If you don't know about the sale and you're not a gardener, I'll have to put it in terms you would understand:

  1. If you love fashion, it's a 7 hour pop-up shop with limited-edition current season designer clothes, bags, and shoes on sale at 70% off. Oh and your favourite blogger got a sneak peek and there are only two of the purses you want!
  2. If you're a nerd, it's a 7 hour sale for the signed, original series, screen-used costume from the show-with-a-remake you love. Oh and it's the one your favourite character wore for the season finale with a twist that changed the entire story!

Anyway, back to the plant sale. It's a yearly fundraiser for VanDusen Botanical Garden. It's a one day event from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. There are about 3,000 plants for sale and draws about 12,000 visitors. The list of plants for sale are published a few weeks ahead. Master gardeners are present throughout the different stations to answer any questions. The main draw for avid gardeners is that many plants come from local master gardeners' personal collections--plants that are often not available in stores! This year, the first person to line up was there at 5:45 AM.

I consulted the master gardeners for advice on which plants would be happy in a container on a north facing patio. They recommended that I begin with hostas and geraniums. That said, I could not help myself and bought some lilies. What? Yeah I know, lilies require full sun...but I still get a solid strip of full sun at the very end of the patio which they can happily share with the tomatoes. Here's my first hosta!
My first Hosta, 'Bressingham Blue'

A gardening post is never complete until there is an obligatory photo of the garden supervisor. Monty has made a habit of perching on this nest of leaves while I garden. I moved his catmint plant right next to it for convenience, which he habitually bats half-heartedly. Also, because he loves boxes I've placed a box next to this set-up just in case the leaves are wet and he can't perch on it. Don't even act like you wouldn't do the same!
Monty on his leaf nest, eyeing his catmint.

How is your garden coming along?

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