In our province of British Columbia, Canada we currently have over 70% of all people having received at least one dose of Covid vaccine and our freedom to interact is increasing steadily!
The 15 months of lockdowns and Covid 19 safety restrictions in British Columbia were indeed challenging, but necessary. Like many others, we utilized this period of lockdown to reflect and enhance our sustainability independence.
As fresh produce was increasingly difficult to obtain, and we were avoiding shopping line ups whenever possible, we decided to join so many others who were establishing vegetable gardens. Until now, our gardens were the flower and shrub variety. Priorities were changing…
Initially, we researched by watching youtube videos, contacting experienced gardeners, reading about most successful plants to produce in our growing zone area, and talking to experts at local garden stores. Then we observed the areas of our yard which produced the most direct sun for varying periods of time each day and season.
My husband measured the selected location while Sophia (our rescue cat) observed. We decided to use 3 raised beds for this initial garden creation. After establishing level bases, the support beams were placed. Next the 3 beds were framed and built.
Mark designed the raised boxes and built them mainly utilizing recycled materials. I learned about companion plants and the most successful vegetables to use for newbies first attempts at growing vegetables.
Next stop, was Gogo’s sawmill to purchase some local rough edge cedar planks to beautify the exterior of the beds. The Gogo family has been involved in local logging for a few generations.
The office displays amazing photos of old growth timber from past eras. Sadly, the number of these majestic trees still standing has dwindled substantially.
Green Thumb, our local nursery, sells local organic mixed soil.
We needed to consider drainage and mixes of soils. This project was more complicated than we anticipated!
Once the raised beds were lined and completed on the outside, then we commenced the process of mixing all the soil types and compost together and carefully planting the seeds being cognizant of companion planting.
Everything seemed to make perfect sense. But, there was much learning yet to come. The water irrigation system was set up. The trellis for the peas was up. Patiently we awaited the signs of growth.
Meanwhile, Sophia played with the neighborhood fawns. My husband and I constantly appreciate the diversity of beautiful flowers popping up around the yard.
Then finally, our vegetable garden started to establish itself. Selecting fresh vegetables and herbs as you create your meals each day really is inspiring and so gratifyingly.
From this experience we learned to deeply appreciate local organic farmer market producers as we battled slugs, earwigs, cabbage worms, mildew, overcrowding, and wilting from excessive heat. There truly is a lot of thought and effort involved in producing fresh produce.
Our learning curve was steep last year, but this year we have returned with more optimism and ideas. The tomato plants are separated in their own caged pots on the sundeck.
We have given up on iceberg lettuce (earwigs love it) and Gai Lan (cabbage worms love it). Planting occurred a month earlier than last year (early May) with extra radishes in place. We also added raspberries and strawberries this year in addition to all of our fruit trees.
Each morning there is such satisfaction checking the garden’s progress. We wait with inspired anticipation to see what bounty we are offered this season.
Keep smiling! Upcoming blog posts reflect hiking, kayaking, and outdoor exploration on Vancouver Island.