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.

 

How to Build a Cedar Planter & Privacy Screen

How to Make this Cedar Planter & Lattice

Here’s a brief photo guide showing how I made these cedar planters and lattice. The construction was quite straight-forward, especially making the boxes.

The cedar boards were cut to my measurements at Home Depot so when I brought the pieces home they were ready to assemble. The outer boards are cedar decking and the inside supports are spruce 2″x2″s. First, I assembled the front and back sides before adding on the ends. These were so large that I could fit inside the planters as I put them together.
I chose to stain the boxes and lattice pieces for a modern look. This is an opaque stain and it took two coats to get even coverage. The lattice is made of pine 2″x 2″s and 2″x3″s for the outer frame. Using these gave me the flexibility to choose my own spacing for the lattice grid plus they could fit in my car when a 4’x8′ sheet of premade lattice wouldn’t be able to. 
Once the boxes were positioned, I attached two panels to connect the planters and create the illusion of a box around the dogwood shrub that is already planted.
After Staining the pieces for the lattice I began to assemble them right beside the planters so that I wouldn’t have to walk very far carrying the screen once it was built. I predrilled holes and used deck screws to attach the pieces.

To make it more manageable to install I made one large screen first, attached it to the fence in a few spots and then filled in the sides with the smaller portions. My friend gave me a hand lifting the large screen into place and holding it and the rest I was able to do alone.

To line up the side portion of the lattice, I made a basic frame and then added the horizontal pieces to match up with the existing grid.


Once the planter boxes were in place and the lattice was complete I lined the boxes with landscaping fabric and then filled them with soil. I packed these boxes with kale this year and have put some spring bulbs in as well. Once winter comes, I plan to fill the planters with boughs and branches – these are perfect for multi-season use.

To look back on more photos from the progress and plans for this project below are links to previous posts.

ORC Week 1 – Inspiration

ORC Weeks 2 & 3

ORC Week 5

ORC Week 6

Final Reveal

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: