Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Winterizing and snow storms

I finished off winterizing my containers just in time. On the weekend they forcasted a fairly major storm for Ottawa. I did a few things differently this year. Last year I piled the leaves on to the containers. That is great, except in the spring it is a royal mess to clean up. This year I put them in two large bags and then placed the bags on top of the containers. This still allows me to use them as an insulation layer, but, should be much easier to clean up in the spring. I then covered everthing with burlap and then used stakes at each corner of the area to sucure the burlap.

On Monday the storm dumped and with drifting I had over 50cm of snow covering the plants. The only plant showing was the sedum tops. I used the shovel and then covered all of the planters with an additional metre of snow so that everything is completely buried. Like prior years the planters are on the north east side of the yard so in the spring it will get the advantage of the sun and thaw out more quickly.

Over the winter we will be doing our planning for next year. The impatiens and geraniums will be coming back. They were a nice complement set along the fence in that the colours were almost an exact match and they bloomed for the whole season. They also were very low maintenance plants in that I only needed to water daily and feed bi-weekly.

This spring I will need to either split the sedum pot into two or thin them out again as the growth completely filled the container this fall. I will not plant tomatoes again. For some reason my tomatoes grow in excess of 2 metres in height and width and take over an area that I would like for a number of other plants. If you grow carrots use a sandy mix with a lot of peat moss. We did that this year and the carrots were large and tender. Two containers gave us over 4 kilograms of carrots.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Winter is almost here

It is still 'summer', at least for temperatures here in Ottawa. The garden has been cleaned out (early) and is almost ready for the winter. We had to do this as the backyard fence was being repainted and we needed to remove the tomatoes and other plants for the painters. In November i will be setting up the planters for their winter covering with burlap until next spring.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

This year in a word... Disappointing

This year has been less than a great year for our garden. The tomatoes didn't produce anywhere near what we had last year. I was lucky on one plant to get three small containers of cherry tomatoes and the Roma has produced about that much so far this year too. Last year one plant produced a small container a day.

The flowers themselves are not doing too bad and the herbs are producing a nice crop, just not as much as prior years.

The geraniums and impatiens are doing quite well and look great. The sedum is starting to flower and should be specatular in a few more weeks.

In a few more weeks I will be starting my fall clean up and preparing my containers for winter again.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

July Garden

The garden is now completely in and producing some really great herbs and flowers. The herbs have been cut back twice now and I had to use large mason jars to start to hold the dried herbs. The tomatoes are now almost waist high and I had to prune back the roma tomatoes once already.

The first picture shows the yard from the door to the house looking east. At the bottom of the photo is the sage followed by the sedum and the other plants. At the top of the picture in the hanging planters are carrots (right) and peppers (left). The peppers don't like being up there as we have lost three out of the four pepper plants. Carrots definately don't mind the planter.

The sage is definately liking the pot and I had to remove the rosemary and put them into their own pots. I put in only three plants and at this time they are 60 cm across and about 30cm in height.

The tomatoes have started to produce and yesterday I had two cherry tomatoes. The roma (left) self-seeded from last year and as I noted earlier our neighbors and in-laws got part of them. The plants were quite tolerant of being transplanted even at the start of July.

The basil (right) really likes the location and pot that we used this year. The soil is a mix of peat moss and light planting mix and they get watered every day. We used a 30cm pot and put it up on a rack about 1.25 metres off the ground beside the carrots (left). During the next week we will be thinning out the carrots by about 1/3 to allow the remaining plants to mature. Emily is looking forward to fresh carrots for dinner.

The geraniums and impatiens are also doing very well and by accident we picked plants that had very similar colours. They are along the south fence. The geraniums are on the top of the fence and the impatiens are underneath running along the fence where they get shade for most of the day.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

May Garden

It was too nice to be inside for the past several weeks even with some of the really hot days so I haven't been updating this blog. The garden is completely in and is doing very well so far this season.

The Roma tomatoes from last year self-seeded and there are about 12 more plants growing in the gravel. I gave my in-laws one and it survived and is growing very well. Our neighbors wanted several and we transplanted 8 more that survived. I left about 3 in the ground and reorganized the planters around the area just in case they grow as high as last year.

The savoury and oregano (left hand picture) are growing very well and the oregano was trimmed back once already and the spices dried and bottled. The basil (right hand container in right hand picture) really likes being in a small container. The box is about 30x30cm and gets sun from noon hour until the end of the day. It was over 30cm in height before I trimmed it back and dried the basil.

The planters on the fence contains geraniums and are doing very well. Underneath them in the shadow are impatiens and the colours are the same as the geraniums and the two together are quite nice. When (if) I get time I will take photos so you can see what the combination looks like and what the whole garden area looks like.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Garden is almost in

We have been busy for the last two weekends. A number of planters have been filled and set up for this growing season. The only problem we have had is the squirrels got into my daughter's Carrots and Onions. We have a neighbor that I suspect is feeding them and they are now using my pots to dig holes and deposit the peanuts into. So far I have lost four pots (2 carrots and 2 onions). Emily is quite upset that all of her work was lost, but, we can redo the planting again.

It looks like I will be doing the two things that I find discourages squirrels. The first is to dust the pots and plants with powered chili pepper (or cayenne). The second thing is to mix vaseline with a hot sauce (the hotter the better) and put a few dabs on their favourite entry points into the yard. They are both non-toxic, but, effective for 1-2 weeks. This weekend we plan to finish off the planting and I will be drawing up the layouts and pictures of the start of the year.

So far:
  • Cherry Tomato (lost that battle with my wife and daughter)
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lavender
  • Oregano
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Geraniums

Friday, April 13, 2007

The planting season has started.

If the weather holds up we will be starting the planting of our garden this weekend. Emily will be doing up several containers with carrots and onions. It is a bit early, but, I have several packages of carrots and onions so I won't be upset if they don't germinate.

We have started to clean up the containers after the long winter and cut back the sedum and savoury and then added more soil to the top of each container. Several containers have soil three years old so I will be going through them and using them to top dress the lawn area and refill with fresh soil (high in peat moss this time).

One of the plants that may be put in this year is dill. I grew it several years ago and it does do well in planters and was over 2 meters in height before I harvested the seed. Jane picked up several packages of snap dragon seeds and we will be putting those along the house wall and outside fence area where there is a bit of soil to cover up the area that is not covered by the concrete pavers.

When I have finished the weekend plantings I will udpate the diagram showing what is planted where.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

2007 Garden Layout

Updated: 2007/03/18

We have started out layout of the garden this year. I am trying to use OpenOffice draw to do the layout and it is quite the learning experience. Once I got the hang of the basics it is quite easy to sketch out the yard and what I want to put where. We know that we want geraniums (1) on the south fence line so I dropped in seven objects on the fence. I drew in the rough sizes and positions of the various objects where we cannot put plants due to doors, gates, window wells etc. in purple. As we revise the plan I will update this blog with the decisions we made for our garden. I exported the document to JPG format, but, if anyone is interested I can make the OpenOffice document available for downloading.

2007/02/18 - We have made a few more decisions on the plants and the location of a few of the planters even though they don't have anything in them yet. I also worked a bit more on the scale and location of items.

(1) Geraniums - 50x15 cm planter, quantity of 3 plants per planter.
(2) Rosemary - round planter, 50cm diameter, quantity of three.
(3) Sedum - 60x60 cm planter.
(4) Winter Savoury - 60x60 cm planter.

(A) Sundial.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Planning for 2007 gardening season.

It has been a while since I last updated the blog. There is really not much to do here in Ottawa during the winter other than reviewing what I did last season and what I want to do this coming season. Jane and I have been discussing what we want to see in the garden for the 2007 season now so that when the plants are in the stores we know what we want and where.

The first decision is to plant only geraniums along the fence line. They have done well in prior years and are tolerant of the heat and drying out there. We are planning six planters on the fence and each planter will contain three geraniums. We are looking at planting white and red alternating. If the savoury survives the winter we will be keeping that too. One thing that we will not be planting this year are tomatoes. It was nice, but, we were too successful and the plant took over too much space that several other planters needed.

One other thing is that we are slowly cutting back on the ornamental plants and are looking at more edible plants and herbs. Emily will be getting several planters for herself and we expect that she will want onions, carrots and beans again this year.

When I get time I will be drawing up the proposed layout for this year and I will scan it in so you can see what we are going to try to do this year.