ORC Week # 7

It’s almost the end of the One Room Challenge, next week is the final reveal. This vegetable garden project didn’t quite get to where I had hoped it would in terms of building an additional pergola but we have had tons of leafy greens so that part was a success.

Everyday, we go out and fill this colander with swiss chard, baby greens, kale and some herbs. I’ve been taking photos to show what we’ve harvested because it is so exciting for us!

Sometimes we pick the Swiss Chard when the leaves are almost full size like this and I slice them into ribbons for a salad.

We make lots of kale chips because that is the only way the kids will eat it.

I’m glad that I bought the Swiss Chard and Kale as seedlings in May because it gave us a head start. The seeds we grew have worked but are way smaller still.

Sometimes we pick the greens in baby size too like the mixes that we usually get from the grocery store.

This is the Candy Cane Swiss chard that I got from the nursery and I love the colour of these stems!

Now we have lavender blooming in another area of the yard thanks to the former owner – what a treat! We have been garnishing drinks with it, adding it to desserts, and enjoying the scent of it inside.

I had been procrastinating with the deer fencing plan…that was until the deer started hanging out in our yard again. I went to get cedar 2×4’s cut and some deer mesh but I haven’t built the fence yet. Getting these materials definitely reminded me of this ORC from 2017 that was featured on Apartment Therapy.

Staining the wood black was tons of extra labour but was worth it. I’m not sure if I’ll do white or the same taupe as the hot tub this time.

Our Kelowna yard with a frequent visitor.

When summer is so short in Canada we are enjoying making the most of it and I’m learning which seeds to get ready for fall planting (carrots, beets, garlic). Cooking and eating salads is way more interesting with lettuce and edible flowers straight from the garden!

Have a look at where everyone else is as the end of the One Room Challenge here.

ORC – Week #6 – Salad Greens

This week for the One Room Challenge for us is all about enjoying eating from our garden and watching it grow. My plan is to eat all of our leafy greens from our garden rather than buying them at the grocery store from June until the end of September (and hopefully longer).

Since the end of May we have been eating all of our salad greens from the garden for 2 meals per day. My Mum was telling me about how my Grandpa’s family used to grow a lot of their own produce in the yard to feed their large family of 8 and also to save money. I’m just a beginner with limited experience with kale and swiss chard but I plan to learn more!

The kids don’t eat much still, just occassional kale chips but this little one loves eating mint and the kale flowers.

We use a colander to go out and pick the leafy greens. We have let the kale get large but for the lettuces I am picking them as baby greens.

I bought these little lettuce as seedlings (Romaine, Leaf & Buttercrunch for $9 total) – I probably could have started them as seed but wanted to get started asap. There has been enough to pick salad every 2 days.

The lettuces are all in the gaps between the tulips. They don’t need a lot of space since I’m not planning to let them grow to full size. Once the tulip leaves are yellow then I will remove them and try adding some lettuce seeds to get the next round going.

We tried indoor seeding this winter but it didn’t give us a head start outside. In about 4-5 weeks the directly sowed seeds have caught up in size to the ones we started indoors in mid March. Next year we will sow seeds straight outside and start earlier in the season.

No new building has gone in this area, for the past two weeks we’ve spent plenty of time here just looking at how everything is changing. We are all learning together. I am also not comfortable digging 2 ft down where there may be irrigation lines to put posts up for a deer fence. I’m brainstorming a different idea.

This kale plant was from last summer and survived the winter and continues to bloom with hundreds of yellow flowers. We see bees going from one flower to the next every time we are outside. The seed pods are starting to form too.

I added 2 blueberry bushes and tomato plants in the pots along this fence line. I’m hoping that these will be foods that my kids will actually eat! These pots were what the trees (that I showed last post) came in. I’m going to build a couple of planters along this edge similar to what I built in ORC Spring 2017 at our last house.

We also added some cucumber seeds in the raised beds. It’s so incredible to see the leaves pop up. It looked like nothing was happening and then suddenly these just seemed to appear!

   

The mint has come back from this box! I guess I never got rid of it but that’s fine with us, at least we can make the most of this raised bed by growing kale and swiss chard here.

A reminder of how the back raised bed was full of overgrown mint when we moved in last summer.

Here’s a selection of the rainbow of swiss chards growing – Candy Cane & Bright Lights.

This is how the kale and swiss chard looked 2 weeks after planting the seedlings that I bought.

This is 2 months after planting the seedlings. Some of the swiss chard was turning yellow from bugs so we are now picking it smaller but meanwhile the kale remains nearly indestructible.

We are feeling pretty lucky to be enjoying fresh garden salads. Salad dressing is one of my Mum’s specialties – this one is based on her Honey Dijon Dressing.

There are also beautiful peonies, poppies and many other plants around the yard from previous owners that I am loving and have inspired some floral arrangements. 

There is so much to learn in the garden. Also the timing of this Spring One Room Challenge being later in the season means there’s way more to show as a transformation even though nature itself is doing the work, not me.

To see what projects everyone else is working click here.

 

 

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.