The 2016 Garden.
I’ve been told and inquired about my garden more than a few times this past week with comments like “your garden looks like a magical place”. From my Instagram maybe you have imagined a beautiful backyard full of vegetables and flowers which it is far from (the power of editing and the beauty of highlighting selected moments on social media – even with a garden you can create a curated image). Honestly my garden is mess, it is in front of the house which I rent the second floor apartment in, it is a big mixed house of five units of young city dwellers none who care about the state of the house (nor the landlord). Most people pass by my front yard to come inside without ever glancing at the garden.
While it is not a glamourous garden, it is functioning. Arriving back in Canada in May, I moved into this apartment the second day I was back and a week later I was putting in the garden. I was lucky to have two of my downstairs nieghbours be very keen on being my garden assistants, helping me dig up the part of the front yard. I planted all kinds of lettuce and greens, herbs, flowers by seed but opted for seedlings for things like tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber and such.
I am still relatively new to gardening, this is really only the third year that I have had one – last summer I bounced between a few on my travels but none to call truly my own. While I was the one to inspire my brother Matthew to start a garden – as I made him help me double dig my garden the first year I had one in Toronto while he was in town visiting for a few days. I learnt so much from my brother last year while I was home in Saskatchewan, watching him tend to his plants, and take so much pride. Growing up we never had a garden as I believe my mother thought it was too much work (but having five kids, I can understand).
Learning to garden in this new spot has been okay actually good but I’ve already got some many ideas/plans for next year as I just understand better where certain plants should go, where the sun hits the most and least. All things you must learn by gardening.My personality does not leave time for contemplating and researching and as my roommate said to me last night – I am a doer. I do things, while that is good in some ways, I often do not think things through and only understand once it has already happened and you can’t go back.
I chose to live in the current apartment I am in because it allowed me to have a garden where I live. The previous two years that I had a garden in Toronto, I had a garden in the backyard of a friend in my neighbourhood, a ten minute bike ride away. While it was not far away, I always thought how nice it would be to harvest fresh lettuce right before dinner or run out and grab herbs mid-cooking. While I am able to do that now and love it, I actually miss my gardening spot, as I grew to love it and it was on a slightly busier street, so I always had people walking by, stopping by to chat with me. It also made me commit time to the garden, I would go almost every day for an hour or more to water, weed, inspect, now that it is in my yard I am for some reason less caring (though it has been an overwhelming summer of work too).
And while it may also look quite productive from my Instagram as well, it is okay. I mean I am solo person, who is constantly surrounded by food at work so I don’t even need much food to begin with. Some plants have been a disappoint like zucchini, I was so excited as I planted three varieties this year with still no zucchini grown to this date (August 16th), the most prosperous zucchini plant was crushed by a human or animal the other week completely killing it, the other two varieties have been eaten by critters before coming to size (I just placed some chicken wire on top, so wish me luck! – I may have homegrown round zucchini – a hard find in Canada and Sicilian cuccuza – thanks to my British gardening friends).
Garden hits this year have been the tomatoes which I have in all sorts of varieties. The other big producers this year have been the husk cherries, which absolutely endless, I just can’t keep up, cucumber, borage and chamomile.
The absolutely cutest thing growing in my garden goes to these mouse melons.
The smell of tomato leaves.
The smell of a fresh carrot being pulled out of the ground.
Snacking on fresh crunch peas while weeding.
Never having to buy herb bunches.
Learning how vegetables/fruits grow and seeing them come to life from seed to edible food.
Creating garden/wild flower bouquets.
Read one of my favourite gardening posts from two years ago here, Gardening for The People.