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The Art of Backyard Gardening



There really is no way to describe how satisfying it is when the gardens get planted and your seedlings immediately respond; all happy and perky. Yup, I can tell…



We had our first garden salad earlier this week and I almost wept, lol. The explosion of freshness after dealing with store-bought varieties…



GROWING TIPS


Weeding

In order to grow a successful organic garden, you have to ensure your seedlings are not competing with weeds or one another. Undesirable weeds also steal nutrients from the soil so it’s important to weed regularly (ugh). Root vegetables such as garlic, onions and potatoes have zero tolerance for weeds. Corn also needs room to grow and is a super heavy feeder so regular weeding, especially when young, will be extremely beneficial.

Grooming

Some plants such as tomatoes and peppers benefit from a good prune. “Suckers” should be identified and removed, and dense foliage regularly trimmed for proper air flow. Broken stems or dying leaves need to be removed as soon as possible to help promote healing and new growth. Squashes and zucchinis also need frequent checking to get rid of any leaves showing signs of powdery mildew.

Feeding

Just like every growing species, your plants need food too. I typically have no problem purchasing all-natural concentrated feed at the local nursery every spring but holy crap! has the price for that exploded this year! Compost and comfrey teas will be our regular go-to this summer. Either way, it’s important to know what your plants’ feeding requirements are. Most plants are okay with bi-weekly feedings if your soil is rich to begin with. I’d up their meals to weekly once your fruit and veggies emerge.

 

BACKYARD FINDINGS

Morel Mushrooms

It was exciting to find these unique looking mushrooms growing on our property. And based on our research, these are top-notch ‘shrooms that are very expensive since they cannot be cultivated, and have a very short growing season (March-June). Its meaty texture is different from most slimy varieties, and per my brave partner, they are fantastic, and he swears I’d like them too. After reading about their health benefits, I’d be a fool not to at least try them; Morels are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including significant amounts of iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin D, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and a complimentary dose of potassium, magnesium, calcium, selenium, thiamine, vitamins E and B6. They're also high in antioxidants, fiber and protein, and are low in calories.


Snapping Turtles

​This monster was given its space and left to himself. Fascinating dinosaur-like omnivores; they are abundant here in the Moraine, so much so there’s turtle crossing signs everywhere along the main roads. If there’s one fact about them I will always remember is that the female will hold sperm for several seasons, using it only when necessary. Imagine that!







Blueberry Bushes

​After being chewed down to stems by hungry rabbits over winter a couple of years ago, they’ve been loved back to life. Clusters of blueberries everywhere!










Hummingbird Moths

These are apparently one of Canada’s “coolest creatures”. Finally, some bragging rights! They are natural pollinators so of course they are welcome in our gardens…


 
Update - Spongy (a.k.a. Gypsy) Moth Caterpillars: Since my last blog, we’ve seen (and destroyed) a handful of caterpillars so nothing compared to last year. In fact, I was looking back at pics and by June 20, 2021 our forest was completely defoliated so I’m confident we’re not going to endure another infestation. And one thing we have certainly noticed is the overgrowth of everything this year; hostas, day lilies, irises, ferns, jewelweed (emphasis on ‘weed’); it’s insane. We believe all that caterpillar poop from last year super-fertilized the earth!!!
 

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