I don’t know if Dutch heritage is enough to create a zest for growing things in a person but I have that desire. So do some of my other Dutch friends so there could be some truth to Dutch people being mad gardeners. I think my gardening passion is starting to border on obsession. That said, what don’t I get obsessed with if I am passionate or excited about it, really? Who am I kidding?
There is so much in life that just starts with what amounts to a seed. An idea might sprout an invention. A chance encounter could sprout a relationship. A dream could create a champion. There is so much hope, vitality and potential packed into a seed. I just love them. Especially special, rare and difficult ones.
This year, my challenge was to grow nothing that didn’t start as a seed. I wasn’t going to buy little plants and nurture them to adulthood… I was starting from scratch. I couldn’t have chosen a worse year to do so. However, like inventions, relationships and competitions sometimes you have success and sometimes you fail. Certainly, this was a year for me of both success and failure.
I started my garden early this year. I had planned well in advance what I wanted to do, prepared my greenhouse, compost, pots, seeds and you name it, I was ready. However, there was no sun. I lost some prized watermelon seeds given to me by my friend Thomas last year because the soil, even in the greenhouse, was too cold. It was a bummer.
Two months after that first planting, I started again. There were a few seedlings that survived the dark spring but the watermelons did not. The cucumbers were not happy. Some of the flowers were okay but not great. Restart in May. When there was still no sun, really, but it was warmer.
Fast forward to August and I have discovered that my cucumbers are just not going to yield what I had hoped for pickles this year. This jar is going to be VALUABLE
Yep that is pretty much it. There are some gherkins out there but I am not sure it is ever going to be worth it. Same goes for the corn and perhaps my red onions. Very average year especially for hot weather plants such as these.
But it wasn’t all failure this year. I did get some wins.
I planted loads of flowers in amongst the veggies and really, the garden was beautiful in July. I was so excited about the diversity everywhere and planting the flowers attracted far more pollinators which in turn, led to happy tomatoes.
The early spring harvest of strawberries was terrible. The summer harvest has some of the best berries ever. Those terracotta pots, even when you put irrigation through it, totally suck. Don’t bother.
After 3 seasons of trying to grow mignonette strawberries from seed… I had success. This is the most beautiful pot on my deck and these little strawberries are like nothing you have ever tasted. So cute and so sweet and delicious! Reminds me of riding my horse into the fields in Salmon Valley to eat wild strawberries and blueberries in the summer.
This is considered a big one of those little beauties.
Having blueberries on the deck for breakfast is handy.
I am a master at the beet crop. I have about 7 varieties right now.. all of them doing well. Beets are really easy for anyone to grow in the Pacific Northwest.
I only grew this zucchini to be a good companion crop for my tomatoes but this stripey heirloom variety is really sweet and tastes so much better than other zucchini. I really love it! The tomatoes like it too so I will plant it again.
This tomato is still growing. It is called the Garden Monster. I love it… they are huge. I will do a post on my 15 varieties of tomato if by any chance I get a ripe one before I have to go to Worlds. Stupid weather. These ones and the Japanese black tomatoes are my favorite weird ones. We’ll see what they yield.
The deck is also where I plant all the herbs so I can walk from the kitchen to cut them. This is chives, italian parsley, mint and some cilantro. The dill was finished so I pulled it out and planted more.
This one is four varieties of basil, lavender, english thyme, curly parley and in the background is my lovely lemon tree that actually has small lemons on it for the first time. Yes! Another garden success. There is lovage, lettuce, lilies, asparagus and an olive tree out there as well.
I planted loads of flowers and flowering vines like jasmine in the front to feed my hummingbirds real food in the summer.
I think this is a gallardia flower. Pretty and first time I got those pesky seeds to turn into a plant.
The whole reason I got a greenhouse was a bet I had with my friend Paul when he said I could NOT grow a watermelon in Victoria. So one season of trying to grow the plants on the deck and I bought a greenhouse. That year I got a small melon that rotted at the end of September. The bet is for a very expensive bottle of wine and I think I have lost 3 years in a row. The melon has to be EDIBLE. This year, I have 8 melons on the vines. This is the largest one so far:
This was August 15th
I think you can see progress already on the 21st but I may be dreaming
This is it on Aug 25th after I gave it a little hammock to lie in 🙂
Either way.. here’s hoping I can add to this:
At the end of the day, like everything in life, if you don’t try you are certain to fail. I like to think that it is all worth it as long as you enjoy the effort you made. My gardening doesn’t pay off in much of any way other than giving me enjoyment of my downtime. I still go back every year having learned something and am totally excited to try again. I would like to think I could do this every time I re-try at something. Remembering how much I enjoy what I am doing really helps take the pressure off and gives me confidence to try again. Like the silly watermelon bet. Trying to win that has been some of the most fun, ever. Same goes for some big races coming up.
For all of you heading to the big shows this fall.. remember how much fun you had preparing for them. It will make the whole journey worth it, no matter the outcome.
This is the little zen garden I can sit by an create such philosophical posts. Actually I had fish in this thing and they died as well. Another #fail. Oh well. It is pretty still.