ORC-Spring 2021- Vegetable Garden & Exterior Painting Progress -Weeks #6 & #7

The Spring 2021 One Room Challenge is wrapping up next post. I have slowly been working on these outdoor projects over the past 2 years.

The main focus was to:

  • Complete Exterior Trim & Garage Painting
  • Maximize Planting Space in Garden
  • Create Seating Area at Front of House

Exterior Trim & Garage Painting

Garage Door & Trim Painted

Our house started out with mustard trim and a beige garage door. I started the painting myself but eventually realized we needed to hire painters to do the upper portions that required ladder work.

Before – Perfect Candidate for Cosmetic Paint Changes

I did climb out the front window to paint back when my youngest used to nap but it was risky and realistically it would have probably taken me 5 years to finish at the rate I was going. Hiring painters was worth it.

Painting the Trim to change the colour & maintain the wood.
July 2019

Create More Planting Space

We were lucky that there was already a dedicated garden area off the back patio. It had irrigation installed too. The only downside was the deer are frequently in the yard so these raised beds needed some protection.

This fencing Spring 2020 has worked to keep deer out and there was still space for a couple of other raised beds.

Deer Fencing built Spring 2020
Still working on these new raised beds
So many shelling peas growing right now.
The newest garden bed tucked in along the fence
Work in Progress Still
Maybe we will have our first pears this year?
There are animals (I think they’re marmots) sneaking in and eating the lettuce. Now I’m figuring out more ways to cover the vegetable garden.

Front Porch Reading Area

We have been using this space, especially in the afternoons.

There was a shrub here that unfortunately wasn’t alive anymore and I had to remove it.
Foam & Fabric for Cushions

This is the foam and Sunbrella fabric I chose to make the base cushion. I decided on this black and beige irregular fabric so that any marks won’t be obvious. I am going to try out this stool as a side table too.

In the next 2 weeks I’m going to pull together the final details to complete the plan before the official start of summer.

To see what everyone else is doing here’s the link: https://www.oneroomchallenge.com/blog/orcspring2021wk7

ORC – Spring 2021 – Weeks #4 & #5 – Front Porch Reading Area

The weather is getting hot so now we are seeking those shady spots, like at the front of the house.

Last year we didn’t use this front shady area of the house because we had no furniture.

Originally we had thought of putting out a bistro set here like the prior owners had, but when I saw this outdoor wicker loveseat I changed my mind.

This was the colour the house originally was before painting it.

I tried a few different options for coffee tables and ended up using this sturdy woven basket upside-down.

Now I’m sourcing foam to make a cushion and hopefully I’ll have some fabric in my stash that I can sew into a cushion cover.

Vegetable Garden

Meanwhile in the backyard the peas are flourishing.
Cedar Planter 3 Weeks ago
Last year I tried these containers but they got too hot & dried out quickly.
Current State of the Garden

Before

Before ORC 2020 – Painted Raised Beds & Staining Hot Tub

I was going to plant this nectarine tree but after the deer ate the apple tree I’m holding off and keeping it in the vegetable area until I can figure out how to protect it.

We love seeing the deer hanging out in the shade here, I just want to have some areas where they can’t eat the plants.

To see everyone else’s projects check out the One Room Challenge.

https://www.oneroomchallenge.com/blog/orcspring2021wk5

ORC – Spring 2021- Cedar Vegetable Planter – Week #2

Are you loving gardening especially during pandemic times? Learning to grow some of our own food has been a huge learning experience for our kids and me. I also want the vegetable area to look good too.

Design – Bueno, Bonito y Barato

Projects I share on this blog follow the principles of this saying in Spanish that my husband uses – Bueno (good), Bonito (pretty) Barato (inexpensive). I think that with creativity it is possible to find this balance.

I have been experimenting over the past few years with adding more edibles to our garden.

Rather than have a bunch of mismatched pots I’ve built simple cedar boxes. I find it’s less watering because they don’t dry out as quickly, there’s more space for roots to grow and the look is more streamlined.

Cedar Planters Stained Black – ORC 2017

Instructions on how to build these cedar boxes from our last home can be found in a One Room Challenge from 2017.

How to Build a Cedar Planter & Privacy Screen
Before – Mismatched Pots
How to Build a Cedar Planter

What I like about building cedar planters is that you can customize the size to fit your needs and choose a paint or stain to suit your style.

Kelowna Vegetable Garden 2021

We were fortunate to have raised beds already set up in our current home. Last year for One Room Challenge I painted them white and built a few extra cedar planters as supports for deer fencing.

Deer Fencing & Cedar 2″x4″ Planters

This year I am maximizing all available space in our vegetable garden by adding a couple more planters in the empty areas.

Unused space beside fence – perfect for another planter!

I used 4 untreated cedar fence boards to create each of these planters. I cut them with my hand saw and used white paint on the outside.

Planter in progress, trellises to come next.

In the background you can see there is still some available space where I will build another planter later. I also plan to make trellises along the fence here to maximize vertical growing space.

Books with Inspiration & Practical Ideas

Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay and Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela

Last year I shared these books that helped me with design ideas and learning about growing vegetables. There are many other gardening books that gets lots of hype online but I haven’t found any of them as useful as these too – both of which can be found at the library.

I highly recommend Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay for ideas of how to set up different styles of vegetable gardens and making them look good.

Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela is a wonderful resource to learn about growing vegetables, herbs & edible flowers. There are lots of ways to use containers in smaller spaces to grow food and she explains how.

Salad, Fresh from the Garden

For the past week we have been able to eat salad from the garden everyday. I’m learning about which seeds to start when and it’s working! In March I put cool season seeds for spinach, pea and various lettuces out and they are all taking off now.

Last year we had 4 months of eating from the garden and this year I’m trying for 5 months. I’m a beginner and sharing what I’m learning along the way.

Spinach, Romaine & Leaf Lettuce
Kale from last year that Overwintered.

Garnishing food with edible flowers & herbs is something I love doing in the summer & spring.

To see what everyone else is doing this week in the One Room Challenge follow the link below.

https://www.oneroomchallenge.com/blog/orcspring2021wk2

ORC Spring 2020 Reveal – Vegetable Garden & Deer Fencing

Here is the completed vegetable garden & deer fencing I was working on for the One Room Challenge. I’m glad that the deadline was extended because it took me so long to finish. Thinking about the design for the deer fencing was holding me back.

In the end I spent more time thinking about it than actually making it.The fencing ended up being inspired by a combination of a modern deer proof structure by Lauri Kranz of Edible Farms LA and the casual & coastal feeling of Malibu Farm – yes I’m on a California theme now that we’re living on the West Coast.

Inspiration:

Lauri Kranz – Edible Gardens LA

Malibu Farm

Here’s a reminder of what this area looked like last year – in need of some TLC. Now we can maximize our use of this designated vegetable garden area without the deer eating everything.

I started with staining the hot tub and painting the existing raised beds & house trim white (photos link to the process in Week #2)

The Finished Exterior Refresh & Vegetable Garden

These are photos from around the vegetable garden and a look at what we have growing.

Zucchini Growing in a Container

Intercropping Cucumber, Garlic, Spinach

Lettuce, Kale & Lettuce Seeds Sowed 10 days ago.

Snow Peas

 

Deer Fencing Solution

Instead of digging fence posts that may have ruined our irrigation (not to mention our car isn’t big enough to transport large posts) I built boxes to support the chicken wire fencing. I had the cedar 2×4’s cut at Home Depot and then the rest of the cutting I did with my little hand saw and plastic mitre box. I’m not going to do a tutorial on the process until I see how my idea holds up to a snowy winter.

Winterbor & Dwarf Kale

Containers- Cherry Tomatoes & Zucchini

  

There’s a small pear tree that’s in the back along the fence side too as well as two blueberry bushes in the white box beside the side fence. The Okanagan has incredible fruits & wineries and I hope that we have some success with fruit too.

In the past 3 months we have learned so much about gardening and are excited to continue growing more of our own food. Using seeds was new for us and now we are ready to get our beets, swiss chard, arugula and lettuce seeds in the ground for the fall. And now with the deer fencing we shouldn’t have to worry about the deer eating everything.

To see everyone else’s projects check out the page for the Spring One Room Challenge Reveal here.

 

 

 

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 and starting building the structure. 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 #4- Herb Growing Tips

This week for the One Room Challenge update (where I’m working on our vegetable garden) I have some tips for growing herbs from Isabelle at Paradise Herbs.
Isabelle and her partner Rob, moved from Switzerland to BC last year to start an herb farm. They also have animals, fruit trees and grow vegetables while using regenerative farming practices.

Herbs are so easy to grow and so expensive to buy, and they add so much flavor to a meal. I think a small balcony herb garden could benefit a lot of people.

Herb tips
– If you have a balcony and limited space, I would take 2 window boxes to plant two sets of herbs. Parsley, marjoram, savory and basil for example all take rich soil and lots of sun, so any normal potting soil will do and plant them in the sun. Some small rocks or sand in the bottom would help with drainage though. All of those herbs, except the parsley, are annual and will need to be planted again next year if you leave the box outside. However, if you bring the box inside over the winter, you’ll have parsley at least all winter too.
In the other box, I’d put perennial herbs that like good drainage and put half sand and half soil in the box. Perennial herbs that like good drainage are rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, sage and oregano. This box should be brought inside at least its first winter (if growing from seed) and especially if you want to enjoy these herbs in the winter.
– You can grow herbs from seed but they require sometime up to 3 weeks to germinate, so do not hesitate to plant them any season inside and expect 80% germination with most herb seeds (50% with rosemary). Within a year though, your rosemary will be 20cm high even from seed.
– Lastly, if you want mint or lemon balm, plant them in a third box alone, otherwise they will take over all the other herbs in the box.
Perennial Herbs:
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
More behind the scenes from the long farming days and what Paradise Herbs is working on can be found on Instagram below: 

Fresh herbs make simple food feel fancy and even if you don’t have a lot of space, they can be planted in pots to enjoy as Isabelle explained.

Since we’re all spending more time at home cooking, here’s a simple recipe based on Whitewater CooksCool Sesame Miso Noodle Salad‘. I love Whitewater Cooks and their recipes that are healthy, often plant based and uncomplicated to make but so delicious. They’re also based in BC near Nelson and have several cookbooks available.

 

I’m not a food blogger – mealtime is too chaotic at our house to be taking decent photos but this recipe is so simple, summery & satisfying that I had to share. I modified it to only use basic pantry staples that are livened up with the addition of fresh herbs & leafy greens.

Dressing:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 vegetable oil

Method: Mix dressing ingredients and add to cooked & cooled spaghetti noodles- (run them under cold water) before serving. Toss with fresh green vegetables and chives. Add chopped nuts and protein as desired. Keep the extra dressing in the fridge and you’ll be ready for another quick meal.

Right now in our garden everything is growing and the kids are enjoying picking and sometimes eating the leafy greens.
My older son loves going out to pick our salad greens and loading up this colander before mealtime. Now of course I wish he would eat them!
These are a couple of books that I have found to be useful resources. Edible Landscaping by Senga Lindsay has lots of different edible garden styles that look good and covers everything from rooftop gardens to potager to urban gardening ideas. Edible Spots & Pots by Stacey Hirvela has information about planting combinations, how to harvest herbs and which choices make the most sense to plant.
While my One Room Challenge is about the vegetable garden area I am also going to plant these trees and grasses. This size of pine was much easier to bring in the car than the 6 foot cedars I planted to create a hedge at our last house.
I figure that this is the ideal time to plant trees since there will be no vacation plans so the trees can be watered daily to become established.
To see what everyone else is up to 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.