ORC Week #3 – Vegetable Garden

This week I’m sharing some vegetable garden progress. I’ve been dabbling in growing vegetables and flowers for a few years and every summer I try to learn something new, however my knowledge is still very basic.

These are some of the doube early and parrot tulips that I planted in the fall. I filled one planter bed with about 100 tulips bulbs plus I tried adding some garlic too. In the springtime I love to be able to cut flowers from the garden before planting vegetables.

One thing I learned the hard way before is to leave the tulip leaves until they turn yellow. As tempting as it is to tidy up the leaves they are needed to feed the bulb for the next year, otherwise there will be no flowers the next year.

Now that the tulips are almost done I’ve added some spinach where there were some gaps and I direct sowed some kale seeds as well.

Spinach is supposed to do better in cooler weather so I put some here in one corner of the box with the tulips (I still have to paint this side of the planter).

This is about one week after putting the seeds directly into the soil. I figure I have the seeds left and the space so we’ll see what happens. Growing from seed was a first this year and while it was exciting to watch them grow throughout March and April indoors, they haven’t been very successful.

I ended up turning to store bought these seedlings to get a jump start on the limited growing season in Canada. I definitely have a new appreciation for farmers and growers.

These are the seedlings from the nursery first planted.

Now the swiss chard and kale are filling in. I painted these raised beds with dirt in them so it wasn’t the best job but it’s better than they were before.

Also these chives came back from last year, somethingI didn’t know they did. This kale made it through winter and now we’re hoping that these flowers will turn to seed.

A reminder of what the yard looked like last summer.

Back in the early days at our previous home I would plant kale, swiss chard and brussel sprouts in the gaps between the limelight hydrangeas and cedar hedge that I planted. The trees were small enough that there were still big enough gaps between them to let enough sun in.

We also had success with planting zucchini in random spots in the yard too…like this giant one below!

So if you have an outdoor space but don’t have planters maybe there’s somewhere you could plant directly in the ground. Swiss chard and kale are so easy.

Swiss Chard in September, grown beside a cedar hedge.

 

Next week I will have some advice from my friend Isabelle of Paradise Herbs here to give some tips for growing. She has recently set up a farm in the Slocan Valley BC where they promote self-sufficient living and sell culinary & medicinal herbs.


Last summer Isabelle was visiting for a girls weekend here and suggested getting the overgrown mint out of the raised bed in our yard. That idea prompted me to move it into my front hanging baskets where it can no longer spread out of control – plus it means staying home and using what we already have.

To see what everyone else has been working on for the One Room Challenge click here.

 

One Room Challenge – Spring 2020

It’s One Room Challenge time again and I am joining with a small outdoor project to refresh what we already have and prepare our vegetable garden.

Everything is different right now but one thing is the same – paint can make a huge difference to change what you already have and also to maintain materials outdoors. A lot of people are also more interested in growing their own seeds (myself included) so I’ll be sharing some of my trials and errors with gardening over the past few years.

One thing I have learned is that kale is so easy and provides green vegetables for months!

Kale from my garden – it’s so easy to grow!

Here’s a quick refresh of my ORC 2017 where I built my own planters and trellis:

How to Build Cedar Planters

 

This time we already have raised beds so I will just be changing the colour. One difference about our new home is that we have deer that come into the backyard and eat the garden so I will be figuring out a way to build a fence around this garden area. This was last summer with my Father in Law just after we moved in, late July.

Last year I naively thought that this little bit of chicken wire would keep out the deer. Two days later they had decimated the vegetables that I had planted.

I moved what was left of the vegetables into one box and made this ugly arrangement that did keep out the deer and did grow a ton of lettuce and kale.

Vegetables thrive here in the Okanagan. This little raised bed produced these large romaine leaves, swiss chard and kale despite being planted at the end of July.

This year I want to maximize what I grow in these three raised beds while making it prettier and more functional.

Right next to the raised beds is a hot tub that is in good condition inside, but the outer wood needs a new stain to protect it. This umbrella got destroyed by an animal last summer too so I am hoping to build a large pergola for shade.

Project Plan:

  • New coat of paint on previously painted wood raised beds
  • Sand & restain cedar
  • Build a fence for the vegetable garden
  • Build a pergola for shade

This is the back of the house, these sliding doors lead to the kitchen/dining/living room area. There is a large concrete slab patio which is the perfect blank canvas.

I love the look of these simplified pergolas that are an extended size. I would like to build something similar to these quick sketches and images below…we’ll see what ends up happening.

My brother now lives 5 hours away and I was hoping he could visit and help me but we’ll have to see what travel restrictions are looking like in June to know whether or not that can happen.

Fixer Upper

 

Humphrey Munson

 

Meanwhie these kale seedlings are getting ready for the garden soon. This year I had planned to try growing seeds for the first time. So far, so good but I have a better appreciation of buying plants now!

kale seedlings

Lots of other people are working on projects big and small in their homes, here’s the link to see what they’re up to.

 

DIY Aged Terra Cotta Pots

Do you add more houseplants & flowers to your home this time of year?

Terra cotta pots are a classic & inexpensive option for plants but the ordinary colour isn’t my style. Doing a quick paint job adds that aged look.

Here’s a look at the before and after – which only took a couple of minutes and hardly needed any supplies.

Supplies:

  • Terra Cotta Pot (from a home improvement store, dollar store)
  • Paint Brush (any size or shape)
  • White, Cream or Grey Paint ( I use my leftover house paint samples)
  • Newspaper or scrap paper to dab paint

 

The trick to this look is using a dry brush technique. Dip the paintbrush into a tiny bit of paint, then dab most of the paint off onto the scrap paper. Apply the paint to one spot on the pot and then rub it with the brush and gently spread the paint outwards until no more paint is left. Continue these steps until the whole pot is covered.

Using very little paint is key.

Here they are finished and below is a pot I did a few years ago with white paint. This larger herb pot was left outside over a couple of summers too so that’s what added to the patina.

Well spring may be a few months away still but it feels more lively in here with extra plants & forced bulbs around. 

ORC – Final Reveal – Part 2

Here is the final reveal of the planter box and lattice that I built for the One Room Challenge.

In the boxes I planted several types of kale since I know that they grow well in this spot and will provide us with steady greens into September. There are also 4 clematis plants to grow up the lattice and vinca vines to spill down the front of the boxes.

Here’s a reminder of what the fence looked like before. 

Now is the part that I love, watching the vines fill up the lattice and having a constant supply of leafy greens for the next few months.

The Before & After of this project is also on Apartment Therapy.


More photos of what this area looked like before I started and inspiration can be found here:

Week One – One Room Challenge

Photo Instructions on How to Build This:


 

ORC – Week 6 Reveal- Part 1

The 6 weeks of the One Room Challenge are over now and it’s time for the final reveal. My reveal is going to be a two-part post because I’m not quite done building and we were still having frost warnings last week so I’ll be waiting to plant. The planters are currently in place but in the photo above I drew in the lattice since it’s not done yet.

This was some prep work along the fenceline where the raised beds will be going. Since they’re open on the bottom I dug up the grass where the boxes will be sitting.

Constructing the boxes was so smooth and quick but staining them and the lattice strips have taken much longer than I had anticipated.

Here is the  14 feet of raised planters in place in the garden. This space already feels more organized and expansive with the black boxes.

The lattice is coming together and I hope to have it installed within the next 2 weeks. Since it is 8 feet tall I need a hand putting it in place plus there is still more lattice that needs to be stained.

In the meantime, by propping up some wood it gives me an idea of the space will look once the full screen is installed.

The final reveal is now on Apartment Therapy

Before & After: Plants and Privacy, What More Could a Backyard Need?

 

To see how the other One Room Challenges turned out click here for the final reveals. It’s incredible to see how much changed in such a short time.

One Room Challenge – Week 1

Over the next 6 weeks I’m going to join in as a guest for the One Room Challenge. Basically, over the course of 6 weeks, participants share the progress of their space, broken down into weekly blog updates, for a final reveal on May.11th.

This was a last minute decision for me to join so I’ll be sharing progress on a backyard project I’d already been planning to do. My plan does include plants so I may have to do another reveal later in the summer once things have filled in and leafed out.

 

 

This was our yard when we first moved in, during summer 2014. The backyard shares fences with 6 other neighbours and there was not one single plant or tree here even though the house was nearly 20 years old.

At least one good thing about this was that I could choose whatever I wanted to plant. Below is the garden in August last summer (2016). There is no privacy in our yard so my focus was on getting all of the plants growing first before thinking about building a deck or putting in a patio.

I’m a new gardener and absolutely love planning what to put in the garden and seeing it grow. Along the fence by the back last year I turned this empty space into a spot where herbs, swiss chard and kale thrived. It wasn’t the prettiest setup but it added a lot of salad greens and was a good spot for vegetables that grow in the shade.

My plan this year is to build a long and narrow planter box along the edge of the fence where I can plant vegetables and have vines growing up trellises to create a green screen.

In the winter when all of the leaves are gone, the black trellis and black planters will be more interesting to look at than the plain fence. I would really love to stain the whole fence dark grey but right now I’m not prepared to talk to all 6 neighbours who share to the fence to ask if they’re okay with that.

This is a photo of the planned area that I took yesterday – we’re still waiting for spring here in the GTA.

These are some inspiration images of black planter boxes and privacy screens. Follow along on Pinterest for more images of beautiful gardens.

 

Below are the photos from my mood board which are linked to the original sources.

Elana Nathan

Interior Salvage Design

Kriste Michelini via Gardenista

To see the other guest participants and 20 featured designers click here.