It’s Not Too Late…

…To start your vegetable garden.

The garden project I just finished had two main mandates: fun for the little girls, and edible-productive. So we made some great raised planters:

Raised beds made of clear cut cedar and corrugated steel, 4' x 6'

Raised beds made of clear cut cedar and corrugated steel, 4′ x 6′. Columnar Scarlet Sentinel apple trees in front.

Thanks to Max and  4 Elements Gardens for a great job on the planters. And everything else! But about it not being too late…

Over the weekend the homeowners went to a local nursery and pretty much chose what ever they had left. You can see there’s 5 planter boxes here, giving them 120 sq. f. of planting space (with drip irrigation). When I went by yesterday all but one of the boxes was filled with maturing, good looking specimens, including corn, tomatoes, beans, greens, peppers, potatoes and probably other things I didn’t notice. harvey st

We finished this project June 19, which would ordinarily still be in the wet season, on this Wet Coast. But this year we’ve had record dry months and heat heat heat. Lots of vegetables are weeks ahead of their usual growth habit. So is it too late? What can you plant now and still hope for a harvest?

That’s a great question, and really easy to answer: there’s lots you can plant/sow now and expect to get results quickly, and even more you can start indoors and then plant out later in the summer for fall and winter harvest. The trick will be to keep seeds damp so they’ll germinate (hence the drip irrigation) and plants that like cooler weather in a bit of shade.

Here’s West Coast Seeds planting guide. Choose the chart that matches your area and/or climate.

Here’s my annotated list:

1. Plants that you can direct-sow now, giving them some shade:

Arugula, radicchio, lettuce, bok choi, spinach.

2. Plants that you can direct-sow in full sun:

All kinds of beans, beets, all kinds of broccoli, cabbage (July 1 according to WCS), carrots (can still be sown every few weeks for longer harvest), celery, corn, cucumbers, fennel, kale (sow again later for winter harvest), leeks, scallions, parsnips, rutabaga, swiss chard and turnips.

3. Plants that you can start indoors now for fall and winter harvesting, or even overwintering for spring harvest:

Brussel sprouts, cabbage (sowing indoors delays it enough to mature later so it’ll make it through the winter), cauliflower, onions, parsley.

Here’s Margaret Roach’s (A Way to Garden) “later” planting Guide.

And if you don’t want to wait to for seeds to germinate, you’ll still find lots at the garden centre.

If you want Real Life Garden Solutions to design something like this for your garden, go to the Contact page.

The Battle for Your Lawn

I just read this in Friday’s Burnaby Now: “Burnaby Subsidizing Pricey Bug Packages”. Isn’t that a great heading? Even I, who has lawns on the brain, having just finished a new project with lawn in the front and the back, and having ripped up my front grass for reasons that will become apparent, didn’t clue in to the story behind this heading.

European Chafer Beetles.

If you haven’t yet been educated about the effects of ECB damage, you might find this post interesting.

Most years since the ECB really took off, Burnaby has offered a subsidized nematode package to Burnaby residents. This article is a reference to complaints that the product is an overly pricey version whereas Canadian Tire and Home Depot have nematode packages for less. Well, if I were using nematodes for my (now non-existant) lawn, I’d want the most effective.

Here are the details, for those of you who are Burnaby residents. Don’t wait too long–they’re taking orders only until Wednesday (June 24 2015). If you aren’t a Burnaby resident, you may borrow a Burnaby resident friend who doesn’t need nematodes to get you the deal. I’ve tried to find out which other Metro Vancouver municipalities are offering reduced nematode packages, but if any are, they’re not advertising very well.

Of course, you don’t need to get nematodes from your city–most nurseries and big box stores will have them. Just make sure it’s the most effective species: Heterorhabditis bacteriophora.

And this is why I don’t need nematodes for my lawn this year:

It's started...

It’s started… racoon damage, early Dec 2014.

This picture was taken about Dec 1 2014. Lots and LOTS of racoon damage.

Dec 30 2014. Lots and LOTS of racoon damage inflicted in the space of about one hour early yesterday morning.

Today, June 22 2015.

Today, June 22 2015. Ready for me to start digging a pond. After I call BCOneCall of course!