Skip to main content

Our Urban Garden

In the Beginning...

I was so inspired by the farmer's markets last summer that I knew I wanted to do something this year to help provide fresh food for my family.

I got a book on Square Foot Gardening from my mother in spring and the inspiration grew and the confidence to make our garden grow. We have a very small back yard and I just couldn't see us having the room back there to grow much of anything. I considered building raised beds on the concrete that covered half our back yard. The thought of taking room away from my children's already small play area seemed cruel for us all; never mind I would have no control over what they took from the garden daily.

My cousin mentioned something about planting in our front yard and the light bulb went off! I have a perfectly useless front yard of rough grass and ant hills. Why not plant there? The really great thing about square foot gardening is that you can get more plants in a much smaller space. The added benefit is that it looks pretty. The perfect fit for a front yard garden!

After a day or so in May I had the yard measured and the plots planned on graph paper. I just couldn't believe how many plots I had. We were able to plant 32 plots in a 12'x22' front yard. I killed the grass and then broke up the soil a bit with a shovel. My Dad brought over the tiller to help turn up the soil and mix in our compost. There was a day or so of "weeding" to prepare the soil for plants as we sifted the large clumps of grass out. Thanks to our neighbor Megan we got this done much faster! After another day of outlining the plots using kabob sticks and string, we were ready to plant. Some plants were from seed, while others I picked up starters from the local garden centres.

We had some landscaping rocks left behind from the previous owners that made a beautiful paths for walking on. I bought some lattice and put it up after planting, by using stakes as support. Here is what we planted: Potatoes, Broccoli, Carrots (2 kinds), Peppers (4 kinds), Tomatoes (4 kinds), Beets (2 kinds), Lettuce (3 kinds), Sage, Cilantro (which did not thrive), Oregano, Radishes (didn't do so well) and Cucumbers.

We did grow some plants along the side and back of our house. We have a chain link fence in the back that was perfect for growing green beans, spaghetti squash and pumpkin. Hard to believe that in a 18"x10' line along a fence you can grow so much!

Oh, How My Garden Grows...

This is a typical daily picking from our garden from mid-summer. I could go out and pick so much every day. It was great to eat so much fresh food and to know that we grew it with our own muddy hands.

Unfortunately, I left the bulk of our beans on the vine too long so many just went to seed. Live and learn!

Graeme, enjoying our little garden. I am glad to have planted some carrots along the side of our house. They were the sacrificial carrots the boys would pick as they played. This way the food in the front was left to grow.

A HUGE spaghetti squash growing on our fence. We were able to grow 5 in total, but this one was the most large (still way larger that the store bought ones). They didn't go as yellow as the store ones, but I figured that was just because the store ones are ripened so long after they are picked.

The 1st sign of a thriving pumpkin. We ended up with three large pumpkins and a baby one (one for each of the children). I LOVE cooking & baking with pumpkin so the kids only get to have it carved for a day and then they are mine to cook up! Hopefully I can get an update on those posted soon (before they get carved).

The pumpkin plant took up a lot of room, but I really didn't think it would thrive so much in only a small patch of dirt along the side of our concrete parking pad.

I love beets so much. Be it raw in salads or cooked, so I grew purple and golden varieties. They are so beautiful on the plate. I will certainly plant more of these next year (maybe in replacement of the broccoli). I freeze the leaves for soups & pasta (kind of like swiss chard).

We also grew two kinds of carrots, orange and purple. The purple just look so pretty sliced into a colorful salad, or roasted along a yummy organic chicken. They are orange on the inside and purple on the outside.

My favorite garden meal this year was blanched new potatoes, beets, leaves & beans, lightly saut├ęd in garlic butter, topped with feta cheese and served with Citrus Basa and a cold cucumber tomato & red onion salad. YUM!

The garden grew very well and surprised many family and friends. It opened up a lot of conversation with my neighbors and generally made my house look better than it ever had before.

I While I have grown broccoli before, this batch was very bitter right from the start. I took up a lot of room so I think I'll trade it out next year. Does any one know what you can do with the leaves? It seems such a waste to just throw in the compost pile!

Aside from a few yellow peppers, we only grew the spicy variety of peppers. I was most interested in the peppers that are harder to find here in Winnipeg. Ancho, tobasco & habanero. A neighbor mentioned that they use the pepper leaves in soup. I will certainly try that one out!

Hopefully I can add more photos of the actual harvest, but times are busy in the fall preparing for winter, so I will do my best!

Popular posts from this blog

Our Oils Kit Thus Far

Over 9 months ago now we began using Young Living Essential Oils. Previously we used other store brand essential oils and a LOT of dried & fresh herbs or other "natural" remedies to heal our ailments or just simply live healthier. We still use some of these remedies (elderberry syrup & stinging nettle tea to name a couple) but our most often turned to fixes are found in these tiny, powerful bottles of essential oils. So without further ado, the oils in our "collection" as of now are...

... in order as they appear in this picture with very brief descriptions and how we use them. What works best for one body might not work as well on another. I'm not a doctor and can not diagnose or prescribe a fix for you. These are OUR most common uses and most common method of application...

Cypress: From stiff shoulder muscles* to a child's bleeding nose... this is a great oil for the whole family! Topically
Peppermint: Headaches, muscles* and digestion support. ALL

the W A Y Before and the N O W

This is a longer post, outlining my journey for healthy living to date. For those who are only in this for the quick tip... read the last two paragraphs, but know that there's to life & health than what we put into our bodies than food. Our fuel is both physical and spiritual because that's how God made us. Thanks for stopping to read about my journey and hopefully you come away encouraged.
Most of my childhood and even young adulthood, I was thin, to very thin (105 lbs by the time I was 18 at 5'3" tall). I didn't worry one bit about what I ate or how much I exercised because it simply didn't make a difference (though I was not "lazy") my weight never really changed much. I was very grateful for that because, for so many young girls, looks were a very high priority and thin was the only way to be. Growing up, I watched my mother and so many of her friends struggle to keep those extra pounds at bay. Some succeeded but more often than not they gai…

Crayon Making

Our little princess will be turning 5 shortly (I know where did the time go?) and so part of having a birthday is the party planning. Since we are a family who LOVES the re-gift, you can only imagine how we might feel about "goodie bags". We are always open to new ideas to thank our wonderful guests for coming without sending them home with heaps of sugar laden treats or highly fragile dollar store toys. We love our friends and want to honor them without breaking the bank.

Here is one of our ideas. Re-melting crayons into new, cute shaped molds. Unless you know it can be baked, I recommend melting in a pot on the stove (found out the hard way).

Here's a neat idea, re-use your empty glue stick containers and pour in melted crayon wax. Great for toddlers.

We had owl and flower shaped ice cube trays (not oven friendly) and Lego shaped (oven safe) molds. We also have one of those Crayola Crayon Makers (a gift) that is a neat idea, but a slow going process, but it comes with …