My Edible Garden
By Judy Ellen
A gardener's diary
My Edible Garden
In 1985, we moved into our new home that had a vegetable garden. It included a large rhubarb plant, two red currant bushes, and a row of raspberry canes. The garden had about six to eight hours of sun e ach day.
In April, after the soil dried and warmed up a bit, we rototillered bags of manure and a large bundle of peat into the soil. I'd read about raised beds and their advantage in cold climates, but I didn't want any structures in the garden itself. I raked and hoed the soil into mounds 6 to 8 inches high, with troughs for walking paths.
I always planted my seeds directly in the garden. The first things planted were seed potatoes and let tuce see ds. Onion, radish, spinach, beet, pea and bean seeds followed. As for plants, I learned that no matter how nice the we ather seemed, hold off on planting them until the Victoria Day weekend, even though I bought my plants early to be able to find my favorite "Sweet Millions" cherry tomatoes. Herbs were planted as well. Tarragon, parsley, cilantro, chives, various mints, sages and dill. I later discovered dill is one of the most prolific weeds in the garden - a wonderful gift, which returns every year with no effort. Companion planting tomatoes with basil was my favourite combination.
Pesticides were never used in my garden, but pes ts will come. Natural methods of pest control include: using nastur tiums as a border to collect aphids, a dish of beer to drown slugs, tuna fish oil or a board placed on the ground to round up earwigs.
The garden pests are weeds. Pesky weeds were controlled with mulch in the troughs, and with much hoeing. Watering is necessary in our climate. I tried to limit watering to once a week and then giving the garden a good inch or two of water. This can be measured by placing lit tle plastic containers around the garden and checking the contents.
I'm not a par ticularly conscientious gardener, but I love nature and the outdoors - including gardening . Nothing can compare wi th walking out your door and picking dinner among the beans, zucchinis, radishes, potatoes, and lettuce-my kind of "convenience food." You'll never taste anything so delicious as vegetables picked from your garden, grown minutes away from the table.
Many people have an edible garden but may not know it. Do you grow herbs or flowers? Some flowers are edible and can add color and interest to plates and salads. Violets, pansies, marigolds and roses have edible flowers. The herbs basil, borage, dill, lavender and chive flowers are also nice to add to salads.
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