I bought my house in 2004 and suddenly I was responsible for an 8′ x 16′ raised bed garden and a slew of landscaping plants out back. The first year my family helped rake, dig and mix compost and manure to turn my weedy area into a beautiful and thriving vegetable garden. The second year was all up to me and, though I didn’t completely botch it, it was definitely not up to par as the year before.

I didn’t have a plan. I ran around to many of the nurseries in my area, not really knowing what I was doing. I bought stuff that wasn’t useful (who needs aerator sandals?) and was scared to weed for pulling out a viable plant.

In 2007 I was struck with spring fever at the beginning of March, purchased $60 of seeds online and awaited their arrival. In the meantime I scoured the Internet, looking for tips and trying to glean inside information from all those gardeners to whom gardening seemed to come naturally. I bought “Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew and was inspired.

I’m a smart cookie, I could do square foot gardening too. The vertical gardening was really intriguing.

The more I read the more I was confused. Should I use vermiculite or perlite or not at all? Do I sow indoors or take my chance and sow outdoors only? Do heating pads really work? When’s my last frost free date for my zone? What is my zone?

In 2008 I had a better understanding of what I should and shouldn’t be doing.  I saved some of my own seeds! I branched out into flowers, wintersowing and expanding my beds. I even sold some of my seedlings at the local start-up farmer’s market and at the end of my driveway.  This was also the year that I started a raised bed satellite garden at the in-laws’ house.  It was a major undertaking by all family members and the 16′ x 32′ garden was mostly a spill-over of extra seedlings and experimental crops.

2009 is the year that I try to understand the effect of crop rotation and companion planting.  It’s also the year that I start herbs for a local restaurant’s backyard garden.  Hopefully this the year that my dreams of a huge sweet potato payload will come true.

2010 made me scale back my tomato plant sale insanity so that I didn’t burn myself out for the rest of the season. I had a bumper crop of sweet potatoes.  I swore myself off starting corn.  I kept the dogs out of the small garden.  I stopped blogging halfway through the season and left people hanging on my EMT experiment.

2011 sees me starting a whack of hot peppers that I probably won’t eat, starting my own slips from my own sweet potatoes and revising my list of things to grow in the satellite garden.  Who can eat that many bush beans anyway?  I’m hot for potatoes and lettuce.  I bought a food dehydrator in 2010 and am looking forward to saving my own foodstuffs.

There was so much I didn’t know and still don’t. This blog is a public record of my trial and error.

Send me an email!


23 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Wade Says:

    Kathy nice to have met you, I am very impressed at your blog. Its very informative and certainly answered a few question I’ve had.


  2. Angela Says:

    I LOVE your blog title! LOL!

  3. gillian Says:

    Kathy, I will be using you as one of my many guides as I embark upon a similar journey. 2008 is my first real crack at gardening and it will be good to compare my progress with someone else – even better with someone who has more experience!

    Cheers. 🙂

  4. someone Says:

    interseting worm info and idea

  5. Marsha Says:

    Hi Kathy,
    Love your site! How interesting to see all the information you have here. You’ve done well! It’s very helpful!
    aka: woodlandfey

  6. Diana Says:

    I had a similar intro to gardening when I bought a house in Barrhaven with an established (translation: INTIMIDATING) flower and veggie plot. I borrowed a book from the library and learned the latin names (just for show ;), care and feeding of all my plants. Soon I was confident enough to try dividing and moving them around from sun to shade and vice versa. Eventually I was ready to express myself and replace most of the veggies with flowers.

    I ran a pre-dawn paper route in those days as a stay-at-home-mom and found that if I left notes for people with overflowing gardens, they were often willing to give me clippings and clumps.

    Soon I had a garden full of three- to five-foot flowers with paths weaving through it for the kids to play in.

    Now I live on a farm and I have all kinds of room to experiment with. This is my first spring here and I’ve just dumped my first 4 wheelbarrow loads of composted manure (we have sheep) on the beds.

    I’m so excited I might just wet my plants too. 😉

  7. Raceytay Says:

    Hi Kathy. I’ve been snooping around your blog for a few days now. Very nice place you’ve got here. I’m the “T” who asked you about the quarry location in Kemptville. I’ve added a link to your blog from mine, I hope you don’t mind. It’s mainly so I can get here quickly 🙂


  8. Kathy Says:

    Sure, no problem! Are you going to haul some of those rocks?

  9. Raceytay Says:

    I have! I headed over to Hoffman’s on Thursday and got 644 pounds of flagstone – we carted it back in my less than 24 hour old new car!

    We’re headed to the actual quarry next weekend for some blast rock; our neighbours have a trailer for hauling, it’s going to be a joint effort. I’m excited about rocks. Yes, I’m sick!

  10. Winston MacDonald Says:

    Hi Kathy:
    Interesting site you have there.
    our daughter has bought a house just south of Kemptville. We live in Ottawa and would like to order garden quality topsoil to help her start a flower garden. Can’t seem to locate a firm that sells topsoil in the Kemptville area. Would you share the contact info on the topsoil provider that you used? Sounds like you were happy with the product & I see that as a pretty good recommendation.

  11. Kathy Says:

    Hi Winston!

    We bought from Price Paving in Kemptville, tel: 613-258-3422. The quality was fair as we found numerous rocks and chunks of clay throughout the pile. We weren’t sure what the percentage of compost was in the soil so we amended with about 20 extra bags. I’d buy from them again though I’d look around at other places first and maybe get some reviews from customers.

    Good luck!


  12. Raceytay Says:

    Kathy, Parkview Homes, a going concern in the area, recently bought out one of the quarries and a sand pit and now sell topsoil (and fill). They’ve supplied to most of my neighbours, who’re in the position of grading their properties. They’re who we used last year as well. They’ve got the best price in town for a truck load (20 yards). Their number is (613) 489-3838 and they’re located in North Gower (www dot parkviewhomes dot info)


  13. Deborah Says:

    Your website is so informative and thank you for sharing step by step and with images. We discovered square foot gardening about three years ago as well as the companion planting book by Sally Jean Cunningham. By combining these two methods, we have had great results. Last year we came across winter sowing and thought it was a great idea but couldn’t find the information we were looking for. We actually didn’t find the wintersown.org website helpful since we needed more details which your website provides. Thank you so much for sharing all your gardening “know-hows!”

  14. George Yahwak Says:

    If only Richters could send just one Mojito Mint seedling to me…but their limit seems to be much more than I can handle. If anyone happens to have a plant to share, drop me q line gyahwak1@aol.com

  15. Christine Says:

    Hi Kathy, I found your site tonite and am inspired by it. (and you!!). I am a fellow Canadian gardener (Markham, ON) and am going to try winter sowing this winter. Thanx for all of the info on getting started and organization…I especially love how you coralled all of your containers into a larger bin. And your photos are great. Thanks for sharing. Christine

  16. Dan Says:

    Hi there, I just found your blog through ‘Down on the Allotment.’ It is nice to find another veggie garden blogger from Ontario, I’m from Brantford. My blog is at http://veggiegardenblog.blogspot.com/ and I will be adding you to my blog list.

    How did your sweet potatoes do? I am going to give them a try next year after watching Tiny Farm Blog/ grow them this year. If you have not been to their blog before, they are a small farm located north of Toronto.

  17. Tessa Says:


    Well, it’s nice to meet you. You’ve started off on your gardening adventures pretty much the same way I have. Good thing we never really stop learning, or I’d be bored:). I will enjoy reading your blog and learning about your adventures.

    Tessa at Blunders with shoots, blossoms ‘n roots

  18. Janine Marie Says:

    Hi Kathy,

    I’m glad I found your site. I saw your post on “no kids”. I don’t have children and I am happily married. I love gardening. I have a flower garden, but no veggies yet. I live near New Haven, CT


  19. John Says:

    Great effort on the spreadsheet! – I am working on one now – can you please send your .xls to me as well? – cerulea@comcast.net

  20. Ayaobaa Says:

    I found your blog really informative and interesting. I am a novice at gardening but I’m trying hard at it. Hopefully next year, I want to start winter sowing and experiment with some peppers. But why is it that plastic containers are used for winter sowing rather than the regular clay pots or biodegradable pots?

  21. suzan Says:


    Just found your site (with the BEST garden blog name, btw) today while surfing for iris info.

    I, too, started veggie growing by the square foot method. What a rush THAT was!

    Hope to keep reading you.

  22. Laura Says:

    Really Sweet Pototoes? Let us know how this grows for you… I didn’t think we could grown these in Canada….

  23. Cynthia Hurley Says:

    Hi Kathy,

    Are you still out there? Just came across your site – love it – but I haven’t seen anything recent.
    I’m just starting up a veggie patch near Kemptville and was so excited to see that we’re practically neighbors! I’m a newbie and am in the overwhelmed stage, so if there’s any way we could get in touch that’d be great…in the meantime I’ll keep reading all the great info you have posted here 🙂



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