Sunday, September 21, 2008

Summer End

Today is the last full day of summer and we have started to clean up the plants in the back yard. This year has been a bit of a disappointment, but, some plants did quite well (impatiens, rosemary, sedum, thyme and oregano). The Sedum is now flowering and is adding a nice splash of colour to the back yard.

The honeybees are also in full force. On the sedum alone I counted four bees at one time and the impatiens have two or more at a time collecting the nectar.

The winter savour is now flowering nicely and it will continue until it is covered in snow. Two weeks ago we brough in the rosemary plant and it should survive the winter nicely in the living room at the south side window.

We have started to clear out the various planters of dead growth and saving the potting soil in a container over the winter. Over the next few weeks we will be doing the remaining planters and saving as much of the soil as we can. When the pail is full I will be reusing the soil and top dress the lawn area.

Once all of the planters have been cleared out I will be starting the winterizing of the perenials and like last year we will be raking and saving the leaves in large garbage bags and placing them on the top and sides of the planters as insulation as that worked very well last winter.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wet summer

So far the summer here in Ottawa has been very wet. In June we had 23 days of rain out of 30 days in the month. So far in July it has been almost as wet. Emily's portion of the garden (beans, carrots and onions) is doing quite well and we are happy that her efforts are doing very well.

To date we have lost 4 geraniums due to the planters not draining very well and the sedum we got in the spring also died due to the amount of water. The geranium planters had 4 holes in the bottom, but, there was so much rain the soil would not drain fast enough, the sedum planter also had four fairly large holes in the bottom for drainage. Normally this is more than enough, but, this year it obviously was not.

The impatients seem to love the rain and the herbs also like the amount of water. We have done three cuttings on the Basil, 2 on the oregano and one each on the rosemary, winter savoury, sage and thyme.

The Dill also appears to like the wetter weather as it is almost 160 cm in height. If I tied it back better it will probably exceed 175 cm. I think in two or three weeks we will be harvesting the seed, but, right now the back yard smells quite nice with the dill.

The basil that I have cut and dried has filled up one mason jar and I estimate that the other spices (excepting the dill) will do that over the next several weeks.

When Emily harvests her carrots she will probably take pictures. If she does take pictures I will post them showing her efforts of container gardening.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

2008 Garden layout

I have finally gotten around to drawing the garden layout for this year. We are concentrating this year of vegetables and herbs/spices over flowers. I tried to use a bit more colour coding for the types of plants. Light green is our vegetables, cyan is the herbs/spices, dark green is for the planters on the ground and the yellow is for our planters that hang on the fence.

The onions are within 2 weeks of their first picking and the carrots we think will be ready in another three weeks for their first picking. The herbs will be trimmed next weekend.

I have a number of images, but, I want to edit and label them before posting.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mid March

It is now the 16th of March. The last two snow storms dumped over 83 cm of snow in the backyard. I used part of it to cover our planters to protect them until the weather is warm enough. Over the course of this winter we have had almost 4 metres of snow fall. Outside of the fence we have two piles. The smaller is 150 cm high, 200 cm wide and about 300 cm deep. The largest pile is 150 cm high, 300 cm wide and about 400 cm deep. The nice part is that the grass will get a complete soaking this spring when it melts down and got excellent protection from the cold so I don't expect much winter kill there (for a change).

Why should we cover up the planters with the snow? Well the Ottawa airport it is reporting a temperature of -2c, but, our backyard faces south and has a fence on the three sides. Check out the second photo for the temperature. In the yard it is over 15c. I have a second thermometer in the shade showing a temperature of not much over 10c. If the planters were not covered with snow they would start to grow and the freezes overnight will eventually kill off all of the plants. When the pile gets down too much I will probably go outside of the fence and transfer more snow to cover and protect the planters until early April. With the bags of leaves over the planters and the snow on top the plants should survive the winter. Without the protection we would probably lose every plant in all of the planters. You can go out and buy foam covers and use them, but, why pay for that when you can use what nature provides (leaves & snow) for free?