Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Random thoughts..

Kale that was overwintered.
I must say that yesterday was a lovely first full day of spring! The sun was shining, the birds chirping and I had a chance to play in the dirt.. Our garden is tucked in the backyard - not because I think it should be hidden from sight, but because it was our warmest and sunniest spot. The land slopes slightly to the south, allowing both excess water and cold air to drain away from the garden. Plus, the southern exposure offers maximum sunlight. The garden sits on a former forest.. when we cleared the dead trees and grubbed the scrub (say that 5 times fast!!) away, we dug down to loosen the earth and remove any roots that could become perennial problems. The soil was poor though and rocky, so we brought in some good organic earth. The beds were built up and we surrounded the beds with logs from the dead trees we cleared - waste not, want not!

Now, I top the beds with well aged manure every spring (as well as in between successive crops), as well as homemade compost and a mix of organic amendments and some lime. I actually limed yesterday. I had been digging shredded leaves that we gathered last autumn into the beds and figured that I was a great time to lime. Our soils tend to be acidic and a yearly liming is important. If the pH drops too much (or goes to high, on the other hand), then nutrients become unavailable to plants. I haven't done a soil test in a couple of years, but plan on having one done this fall. It's good to check up on your soil every few years. It really is a window into what's happening in your soil in terms of major nutrients, organic matter levels and pH.
Mache in the garden yesterday
I know that no-dig gardens are 'all the rage', but I have to admit that I like to dig. When people see our 2000 sq feet, they always say how much work it must be, but it's really not work - on two levels. One, it only takes a few hours in the spring to ready the beds and two, if you love doing something, it's not work. Turning the soil, digging in leaves, raking it smooth is a pure basic pleasure. Like most gardeners, I even like the smell of the earth.  (take a deeeeep breath)

Growing up, we didn't even break ground on our garden until late May and it was done by mid August.. Sowing seeds in the garden in mid-March was unthinkable. Yet, sow I did. I sprinkled some of my favourite hardy veggies in the garden yesterday and popped a quick mini hoop tunnel over the bed. I planted tatsoi, arugula, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and some mixed Asian greens. Our winter crops are almost done, so these will fill that gap nicely.

An unexpected surprise beneath a mini hoop tunnel!
Being able to harvest 12 months a year is another basic pleasure and one that is so much more obtainable than most gardeners realize.. let's change all that!!

Tunnel covers ready to be cleaned after winter use.
PS - saw the cover of the book yesterday for the first time!! So exciting.. I can't wait to share it with you.. soon!

Happy Spring!!


  1. Your enthusiasm shines through, Niki. Some is bound to rub off on others!

  2. Mal, you can't imagine how much Niki's enthusiasm has rubbed's changed my way of veg gardening, that is for sure.

    I liked the photo of your unexpected surprise..we had broccoli and a miserable cabbage show up in perfect condition under the snow...discarded in autumn, praised in spring. See..snow is good)).

    Look forward to the book cover appearing here on your blog!


Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)