A Long Gardening Weekend

April 6, 2010

I had an awesome six-day weekend and was able to get loads of gardening things done.

First off was the annual spring trip with my mom to Richters Herbs, Canada’s herb mecca in Goodwood, ON.

The entrance has a new pattern of tiles and soil in which I suspect they will plant some walking herbs like Lemon Carpet thyme:

Once you enter through the doors you pick up a cardboard tray on the right to carry all your goodies:

Not much has changed.  There’s still the seeds and sales counter to the right:

And their workshop area to the left:

Heading back into the greenhouse is where all the aforementioned goodies are:

All over the place I saw these yellow, sticky insect traps to catch all the little indoor pests.  There was even a line of these sticky traps along the length of the greenhouse roof:

I snuck back into the staff-only area and took a snap of the numerous flats of herbs just starting out:

One item that really caught my was the herb cone hanging planters that were hanging everywhere:

Of course  I bought a trunk load of plants, some new stuff and mostly stuff that I’d bought last spring and killed in the following winter months indoors:

Here’s a list of what’s in the trunk of my car:

  • Greek oregano
  • Variegated marjoram
  • Society garlic
  • BBQ rosemary
  • Rex rosemary
  • Pineapple sage
  • Hummingbird sage
  • Grosso lavender
  • Mojito mint
  • Zaatar
  • a new-to-me Piss off plant
  • Pesto Perpetuo basil
  • Compact English thyme
  • French thyme
  • French tarragon

I also bought some Rainbow Swiss chard, Kobold garlic chives, Nelly chives and Monia dill seeds.

We drove to Foxboro, ON and visited Terra Edibles at the Village Green:

There’s lots of gardening related stuff in the store, however, we were mostly interested in the seeds:

In the attached greenhouse there were hundreds of seedlings that were unfortunately not for sale yet:

The owner grows some of her seedlings in recycled milk bag containers.  Here are some Believe It Or Not tomato seedlings:

Outside there were dozens of raised beds waiting to be prepared for summer plantings:

I picked up some Queen Alexandra sweet peas, New Zealand spinach and Jimmy Nardello sweet pepper seeds.

Back home the next day I decided it was time to prepare my home garden as the days had become unusually warm in the last couple of weeks.  I went to my local nursery, Pioneer Gardens, to pick up 10 bags of sheep manure and was delighted to find out they now carry Renee’s Garden seeds.  I bought Painted Lady runner beans, Magic Beanstalk scarlet runner beans, Sungold F1 tomato, Gala mache and Chelsea Prize english cucumber seeds.

I moved the herbs that had made it through the winter to one corner of the garden and potted up some volunteer Ruby Orach mountain spinach – this stuff sticks around, I didn’t plant any last year.  I added 7 bags of sheep manure and spread it out:

That lighter bit at the back is my little garlic plot.  I had mulched it with straw over the winter and my mom pulled it off to reveal little 2-inch shoots that have since greened up with all this weekend’s sun.

I dragged out the irrigation system that I had bought from Lee Valley Tools last year and lay down the hoses:

Then I remembered I needed to put down the twine to define my square foot gardening sections so I had to pull up the hoses, put down the twine and then put the hoses back down again:

That was when I decided to transplant out all my greens and lettuce seedlings that I started a couple of weeks ago:

The dark areas are where I watered with a watering can instead of hooking up the irrigation soaker system.  And just for kicks, here’s my garlic patch of garlic that I bought from Beaver Pond Estates last year:

If that wasn’t enough gardening for one day, I decided to tackle this one nasty patch in my flower beds that was becoming overgrown with some terrible weed:

It’s a low-growing weed spread by runners and it had infested a 5′ x 8′ space.  I’m determined to get rid of it this year and set to double digging the space:

I was only able to get through a 3′ x 5′ space:

From which I pulled out all these nasty weeds:

It was terrible – some areas were so infested with roots that I just tossed clumps of them.  I’m not even halfway through  the mess and I really want to get it done soon before they take off.

I took it easy the next day and made a list of all the things I need to do, buy and source.  I still need to buy some inoculant for sowing my pea and bean seeds, some seed potatoes when they come out in a few days and some mini blinds to cut up to make plant tags.

I want to make a floating row cover out of pvc pipe and remay cloth to protect my Brussel sprout, cabbage and broccoli plants from the dreaded white moth.  After looking around online I read about the Geoff Hamilton cloche which was exactly what I wanted.  I didn’t care for the wooden frame and instead used my Halloween prop-building skills to devise a PVC version that looks something like this:

That little bit in the upper left hand corner is my draft pea and bean trellis, based off a gardening friend’s permanent set-up.  After reading more about hoop house construction here, I realized that I’m going to have to add another hoop and make some minor modifications.  My main problem will be sourcing the special three-hole PVC fittings, a.k.a. 90 side outlet elbows and the pipe snaps.  I can always buy the cheap-o row cover at Lee Valley Tools for $15 if I can’t get this project together.

Of course my To Do list is a mile long (in terms of effort to be exerted):

  • plant out overwintered herbs
  • dig up spreading ajuga in side lawn
  • dig up weedy sections of flower bed (40% completed)
  • dig up hostas in front bed
  • plant spring bulbs
  • bag up alpaca poo (an offer from a local farmer – exciting!)
  • bag up oak leaves
  • start peas, chives and flower seeds
  • edge satellite garden
  • add compost and roto-till satellite garden
  • build permanent pea/bean trellis for satellite garden
  • source items for and build row cover
  • spread cedar mulch on side flower beds
  • spread compost on backyard lawn and reseed
  • fill up holes created by dogs
  • cut back clematis
  • plant out lettuce (done)
  • pot up orach (done)
  • sow 2nd batch of lettuce (done)

As you can see, the easy stuff is already done.


5 Responses to “A Long Gardening Weekend”

  1. Kara Says:

    Ah you got to see BOTH Richters and Terra Edibles – I’m so envious! hehe
    And they let you take photos, that’s awesome!
    And alpaca poo too, wow!
    Sounds like you had a super weekend.

    Happy Gardening!

    • Kathy Says:

      Hey Kara,

      Apparently Richters has been having problems with professional photographers taking photos in their greenhouse and they’ve since been banned. Once I told them that I have a gardening blog, they were more than happy to let me shoot. The folks there are super awesome and nice.

      • Kara Says:

        I ordered some live plants and a lot of seeds from them this year. Going to build a new bed just for medicinal plants this year. I am always amazed with plant health after the trip through Canada Post.

        Do you ever go to the workshops?

      • Kathy Says:

        No, I usually go on Saturdays as it’s a 3.5 hour drive one way there. As I’m the only driver, I like to take the Sunday to relax. I think I was there once on a Sunday last year. Must have been a long weekend. I remember being interested in the workshop but not wanting to stick around as it didn’t start for a couple of hours. I think attendees get discounts.

  2. Christine B. Says:

    Wow, you’ve been busy. I do hope they plant the herb entry with some lemon thyme. No nursery around here is that creative, alas. We still have quite a lot of snow, so no working in the garden yet for me.

    Christine in Alaska

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