Spring is finally here!! Gosh you guys, I am so relieved. We have been outside every moment we can, those late night sunsets, I tell ya, they’re life-giving.
Anyways, I took photos of our garden last summer, knowing I would want to share something about it this year. Now I’m wishing I took more.. but any-who..
I’ve had a garden since the first year we lived in our last house. So it wasn’t my first rodeo, just done on a bigger scale. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and each time I fine-tune it just a little more. I’m gonna share all the things I’ve learned,  as well as answer some questions you guys asked over on my Instagram stories.

I decided to split this post into two parts as it was getting long and would have been a lot of info to try and fit in.So this will be part one which will cover the fruit & veggie garden and then I will do a part two which will cover the flower garden.

 

 

 

First off, I really want to make clear that you do not need anything big nor fancy. Our garden is simple. Wire fencing (to keep predators out and our animals in) so that just so happened to work well for growing climbing plants/ flowers.  We have 12″x 2″ wooden garden boxes and overall our garden space is 25 ft by 27 ft big.

And even if you live in a townhouse, condo or have a small backyard there are so many options out there for raised beds

As well,  if you don’t have a handy husband to make the raised garden beds  you can find them pre-built online. When I calculated the cost of supplies and time, it was actually very comparable
(I’ve posted them below)

 

 

What fruit and vegetables should I plant?

Here is a list of things I love in the garden, and the things I personally think are worth it. Just my opinion but I have come to realize over the years, that some things should be left to the professionals- hah!
I like to grow things that the kids and I can pick right from the ground and eat.

Must Haves:

* Strawberries (everbearing variety so they last all summer long)
* Carrots
* Peas
* Cherry tomatoes

I also LOVE planting things that come back each year. So if you have room, fruit trees are great for that.  (just make sure you do you research as some need other types of trees for cross pollination.)
Our property has some old Apple and Cherry trees on them. They needed some love, but Cherry jam and apple pie are on my dream list this summer.

Fruit Tree Favs:

Apple trees
Plum trees
Cherry Trees

Picking apples last summer

Favourite Perennial (come back again plant)

Another thing we have loved over the years are our blueberry plants. In fact, it was the kids favourite memory from the last house.
Go figure.
Our family is in the blueberry industry, so we really don’t “need” them, but they are so easy to grow and nothing beats a hot summer day and fresh blueberries off the branch.
Steve recommends “Duke” or “Blue crop”

 

Do you start your things from seeds or buy the plants?

So most things I just plant from seeds. But, I do get tempted if I run to the nursery and they have zucchini and cucumbers and some other magical things. I always buy my tomatoes from plants though.
Last year I started seeds in little containers in the house while it was still winter, but it was a gong show.
Then we went away and Steve’s Grandma had to babysit them.
Never again!
Unless I get a greenhouse, maybe that would change things.

 

When do you plant everything?

I don’t wait until after Mother’s Day to plant them.
As soon as the threat of frost is over, they’re in the ground.
I do bring my tomato plants in at night until it’s over 10 degrees overnight

 

How do I not kill them all?

This sounds so basic, but it took me years to figure out.
Lots of food and water and at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
When you water, make sure you soak them. Not just a “sip” of water but a “gulp” of water in the early morning or in the evening around or after sunset.
And a good fertilizer. Some are specific for certain plants, so have a look at the bottle.

 

What do you do about the bugs?

In a backyard garden, they’re gonna happen.
This is why I stopped growing lettuce etc.. They seem to love some things more than others.
I guess I’m still a city girl trying to go country, but I just get too squeemish especially if there have areas to hide-in.
But one trick I have learned is planting marigolds.
Slugs love them and will go to them, not your precious seedlings

 

How do you control the weeds?

Steve lined all our boxes with a “weed mat” (pictured below) – It basically blocks anything from coming up from the bottom. But putting something other than grass in-between the boxes helps too (when the grass is cut it can get into the soil which in turn, can cause weeds)

If you want to do beans, I love the bush bean variety. Last summer, I just canned them as they came available. I have the best recipe, I shared it HERE

I think for a small backyard garden, it’s more about creating joy, then feeding your entire family.
It teaches the kids SO much, mostly an appreciation and understanding of where their food comes and the hard work that goes into it.
So happy gardening!
Anymore questions feel free to reach out

XO, Michele

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