It has been an exciting summer and we have seen some of our yard dreams become reality. The privacy of the new fence was a huge step towards the yard we had hoped to have, which would be a small oasis of privacy and relaxation. Although we are in a residential neighbourhood rather than in a rural area, the new fences give that sense of more privacy and even space. But the dream that was one of the most exciting to become reality was our new garden beds. It is one of the largest visual pieces that we have completed in our landscaping and we couldn’t wait to see what it would look like when filled with plants. It did not disappoint.
Let’s start with our post back in March called “Spring Dreaming“. If you don’t have time to look back at it, we were eager to get planting in our new garden beds and were thinking about all the ways that it would be beautiful, grow a load of vegetables and provide us even more privacy. Kurt and I, for the first time, really focused on what we were going to plant and where everything was going to be planted. We wanted to do a lot of companion planting to take our gardening to a new level, which meant a lot of time standing in the yard with a piece of paper drawing and erasing notes about where to plant items. In the end we decided on a great setup that we anticipated would create a living wall in front of our path, blocking us from our neighbours as we walked down below the fence sightlines. It would also help increase the amount of food we were able to produce so that we could share with friends and family. I ended up creating the below graphic as a visual representation of what we thought the yard would look like.
Well, our visualizations seem pretty spot on. The top bed with all of our tall growing vegetables definitely helped block out path. The lower beds filled up and the cucumbers finally climbed the ladders that I provided them. Thank goodness they did, because they had nowhere else to go with Zucchini and celery under the ladder and carrots and onions on either side of the plants. The below photo was from July when nothing had yet been harvested. The sunflowers had not fully developed their heads yet, the tomatoes were not yet bursting their supports and the cucumbers hadn’t started climbing down the other side of the ladder, but you can see that our hopes certainly were close!
Since we have been harvesting, we now have some empty spaces in the garden that we had thought about planting fall harvest plants in. Unfortunately, the blanket of thick smoke that we were under for a few months deterred us from getting motivated to do a second planting of some of our garden. Hopefully next year we will be able to get out into the garden and enjoy the summer a little more…fingers crossed for less fires and smoke.
In the meantime, those plants that didn’t get pulled out of the garden have been continuing to grow and produce. Well, most have produced. Our butternut squash plant had only male flowers this year, so I have given up on looking and have just enjoyed the ground coverage that it has provided between the corn stalks. The rest are doing great. We got 4 beautiful heads of cabbage, the cucumbers, celery and zucchini are very happy together, though they are now thoroughly infested with spiders of all types. The sunflowers are mammoths, literally…that is what they are called “Mammoth Sunflowers”, which certainly explains the ginormous nature of them. The corn has been harvested but we have left the stalks to dry out and change all sorts of beautiful colours. And the tomatoes…well they are producing amazingly. Some of them have to be around 10′ – 12′ tall. As mentioned in previous posts, I will likely be building much sturdier supports for them next spring.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what our overall harvest numbers are for this coming year. We are well on track to beat our previous year record for produce, even with a few of our plants not producing anything. We still have so much to harvest from the garden this year, including our potato towers. It looks like our middle one ended up with a potato plant popping up, despite the fungus that seemed to have taken over at one point. I am still unsure about eating those potatoes, but we will see.
Now that the weather is getting cooler, our gardening days are numbered, but our landscaping days are starting to pickup again. We will be getting started on the walls that we didn’t make any progress on in the spring due to some injuries. I told Kurt that we have to finish all those walls before the end of October. No more rock wall building after this year. I’m hoping that over the next week, we will be able to start cementing posts for the bottom wall. Kurt has a bit of digging that needs to be done to bring the base of the yard a little more level, but we are almost there.