Monday, May 18, 2015

May Long

This weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada, fondly known as May Long. The May long weekend is one that people especially look forward to, as it seems to mark the beginning of the summer season. It is the weekend that locals will tell you is the earliest date to put in your garden. As well, most parks and camping destinations open on the May long weekend and close the Labour Day weekend, the first weekend of September. For us, the dilemma this weekend was whether to go camping or to plant our garden. 

The garden won out, as it almost always does on May Long. I had already cleaned out and weeded the perennial flowerbed in the front years a couple of weeks ago, and the plants are coming in nicely although nothing but the tulips have flowered yet. This weekend we dug up and planted the annual flowerbed at the front of the house. It is a raised bed that Rob built with garden ties two years ago. There are three bushes down the middle of it - a spirea and two pontentiallas - and we planted wave petunias in assorted colours around the front and sides. 

We also planted a container of pansies and more wave petunias in pipe planters on the back patio. 

Rob built the pipe planters out of ABS plumbing pipe. They have a concrete base. In past years we have planted trailing strawberries and cherry tomatoes in the pipe planters, but I like them best for flowers, especially trailing ones. 

I also planted potatoes in potato bags. I tried this for the first time last year. Basically, you start with a few inches of soil in the bottom of the bags, and put about three seed potatoes in each. Then you cover them with an inch or two of soil. As the potato plants begin to show, you add another layer of soil and another layer of seed potatoes. You should be able to get about three layers of potatoes in each bag. It is a great solution if you want to grow potatoes but you don't have a lot of garden space. The black bags also seem to catch and hold the warmth.  

This weekend, I also turned over most of the soil in my vegetable plot. When we first moved here, the soil was terrible, all clay and rocks. Now, going into our fourth summer, I finally have built up the soil to be better for vegetables. I have used compost, manure, black humus, and sand to improve the quality of the soil. I garden organically without the use of chemical fertilizers, so it is especially important to have good soil. 

The weather has been unseasonably cold all week with the possibility of minus temperatures and frost, so I have held off on planting much so far. However, I did put in some herb transplants: dill, thyme, and parsley, and I also planted some celeriac transplants. The oregano, sage, chives, and savory have all come up again and are doing well. 

My fruit garden that I just started last summer also is doing well. It is a tiny triangular bed with raspberry canes along the fence, a rhubarb plant in the middle, and strawberry plants at the apex of the triangle. Everything seems to be thriving and the strawberries are all in bloom. 

I have always loved to garden ever since I was a teen. Wherever I have lived, I have always created a garden. 

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