Friday, October 28, 2011

Chafer Be Gone

Driving on West 16th Avenue, I spotted some corn growing high above the street and thought to myself that there just might be more veggies growing there. Later, I dropped by with my camera and talked to the owners. It all started with those destructive chafer beetles. The owners constructed the sturdy raised beds in half of their sunny front yard themselves and had good soil brought in to fill the beds. It was obvious even though it is now late October that they had successfully grown a great crop of vegetables. In fact, they were still harvesting and were making a soup that very day with beets, onions and carrots freshly picked from the garden!

Here's the view of the other side of their front yard--they are considering expanding next year to be rid of this eyesore lawn.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Front Yard Veggie Garden in Fall

Spring is more exciting than fall in the garden because we usually think of spring as the beginning, with new life and all kinds of possibilities for the avid gardener. Harvesting is fulfilling in the fall, but otherwise it's a bit downhill in terms of thriving plants. In these photos from my front yard, the zucchini fruit may look grand but in reality is so small that anyone getting this two-inch wonder served to them on Thanksgiving in two days wouldn't even see it! The pea-sized Brussels sprouts are something to look forward to in 2012 (maybe). Only a couple of the red beets planted in early July survived, despite faithful watering; they now finally look alive with the cooler fall weather, but there may never be edible beets. The pea plants look awful, with powdery mildew, but the tips are still green and producing a few last edible pods. The ground cherry (physallis peruviana or cape gooseberry) production has slowed way down, but I appreciate every one of them more since I saw them being sold yesterday as "golden berries" (husked, not a great idea) from Peru at the Granville Market at $9.99 for a small box!

On the other hand, fall brings surprises and a bit of hope. The transplanted Swiss chard stands up straight. The volunteer fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) perseveres, but it's not a favorite of mine; I tolerate it for the insects. A shallot got left behind and sprouted. A volunteer cherry tomato plant is still toughing it out. With the recent cool and rainy weather, the hardy seedlings of mâche (corn salad, lamb's lettuce, repunzel), Red Russian kale, and Gotte Jaune d'Or lettuce are healthy and competing for space!

An offer from this messy gardener--does anyone want seedlings?

It might be easier to transplant some of this great surplus to your garden rather than "we plow the fields and scatter, the good seed on the land". For example, the spinach I painstakingly planted a month ago from commercial seed either didn't sprout or something ate it. These strong "volunteers" know when and where to grow.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!