We got a streak of beautiful weather in Grande Prairie at the end of April. And because I was feeling so ambitious (and it was on my list, dammit!), I stood staring at the grass-less spot in the yard that had clearly at one point in time been a garden, and declared to Tyler that I was making a garden this weekend. I mean, summer was CLEARLY here! So I went out and bought a bunch of organic soil, a whole slew of seeds, and a couple starter tomato and pepper plants. And I made a diagram and put it on the fridge so I could remember what I had, and where, when all my wonderful veggies started growing prosperously.
Hah! So much for the weather! The next week, we got frost every night. Needless to say, my starter plants promptly shriveled up and died.And then, the dog decided that muddy spot looked like a good spot to dig. Right in the middle of the carefully set-out garden plot. She got a good talking to after that. But she’s cute, so we forgive her. And, she hasn't done it again (in fact I'd say she looks quite remorseful in this photo). A dog that learns, is a dog that's loved.
I kept my fingers crossed that something (anything?) survived the dual attacks by Mother Nature and Zoey, and continued to buy my veggies in the organic section of the grocery store. And when it seemed we REALLY were done with the below zero temperatures, I threw in some more seeds in miscellaneous places. So much for my fridge diagram.
I got another tomato and pepper starter plants and put them in pots so I could bring them inside, just in case the weather went bad again. Unfortunately, the dog once again ruined the pepper, when she bulldozed into the pot one day while playing with her human-father. Luckily, the tomato plant survived (so far).
So here we are, in July, and guess what… THERE ARE GREEN THINGS GROWING IN MY GARDEN!!! :)
Now, I don’t want to jinx myself, but things are looking good. I believe what I have below is the following (I'd label the photo if I knew how to do that in photoshop):
Left-side column, top to bottom: squash, green onion, cucumber, and miscellaneous greens (spinach I think)
Right-side column: pumpkin, miscellaneous greens, carrots
Ok, I admit, it’s not the most exciting garden of all time. As of right now it looks like this fall we will be "feasting" on 3 squash, 10 carrots and some greens… and maybe carving a pumpkin or two. But it’s growing!! There may even be a pepper seed that survived the dig and is in with the cucumber, but I can’t tell yet... it might just be a weed. The herbs are growing like mad though, especially the dill, so much so that I’ve started drying them because there’s just too much to go through (know any good recipes that call for massive amounts of dill??).
Alright, major lessons learned:
1) This is Alberta. Do not get excited about nice weather in April. Be patient and don’t plant until at least mid-May.
2) Chicken wire does not keep a curious dog out of the garden, aka the muddiest spot in the yard.
3) Don’t be so sparse with the seeds. My garden could be a lot denser but I was trying to give the seeds room to grow. I might have overdone it. But this year I’m just gonna blame that on lesson #1 and 2.
And now my questions for the group:
1) I started spreading my used coffee grains on the garden after I was in a Starbucks and saw a free bin of used ground coffee to take for gardening. Do any of you do that? I read a few places online that it's best to mix it in with the soil, but how do I do that without messing up the plants that are now growing?
2) Will I be able to transplant any of these things into pots and/or plant new things in pots and keep them growing all winter? Or should I stick to an indoor herb garden?
Any tips for the beginner gardener are welcome! In the meantime, if you're looking for me, I'll be out by the garden shooing away the dog... and keeping my fingers crossed that we don't get frost in July.