‘Grow Your Own’ no longer refers to marijuana ! Everyone (including me !) is trying to grow ‘a bit of veg’ ! Sales of fruit plants, vegetable seeds and young’starter’ plants have exploded over the last two years. The wholesale growers are finally catching on, and we now have all kinds of edibles in stock.
Last year, at our new farm in Langley, B.C. , I started to grow edibles in raised beds. I envisioned four beds, each 4′ x 12′ , made out of rough red cedar planks. I had noticed charming copper fence post tops at Home Depot, and could see them on the corners. 4″ x4″ cedar posts made hammering the frames together quick and easy. We also screwed ‘L’-shaped corner brackets on the inside (out of sight) for added strength. The frames were checked with a level, and adjusted where needed.
I then ordered a load of really yummy ‘organic garden blend’ soil from a local company (18 yards) , and it was just enough. The most fun was deciding what to grow…. what would look nice, and what would be good to eat. For the first time in my life I used a taught string to create straight rows of seedlings !
I alternated vegetable types to create a pattern of foliage in the beds. It seemed possible to plant three rows across in each 4′ bed…. lettuces on the sides and something taller down the centre. Or carrots on both sides, with parsnips in the middle ? There are no rules.I chose (from Renee’s seeds) ‘Cut and Come Again’ lettuce for on-going picking. My friend Terri Clark swears by this lettuce . ‘Merveille de Quatre Saisons’ lettuce looked nice on the package, with red shadings on perfect rosettes. It was decorative and easy to grow and even better to eat.. I planted parsnips , varieties ‘Javelin‘ and ‘Gladiator‘, not knowing if I would even like them. As it turns out, I love them roasted in the oven with a bit of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a bit of rosemary. We make ‘Parsnip Fries’ this way, also. They are fantastic! I hate the taste of beets, but I planted them to give to friends. ‘Jewel- Toned’ beets looked great bulging out of the ground in shades of orange, gold and red. I love carrots, so I planted several types. ‘Babette’ has a rounded tip, instead of a tapered one, I now know. Yummy. I planted purple ones, yellow ones, and lots of normal orange ones. I had no bug problems on anything - ‘ Carrot fly ‘ never found my new veggie garden.. I still have parsnips in the ground. Every seed seems to have grown ! I did no thinning, no fertilizing, no weeding. The soil was new and rich. I think this year it will be just as good. The raised beds seem to have fooled the cute little brown rabbit I have seen in my large fenced-in area. Nothing was eaten except nearby weeds and tiny grasses ! This amazed me. I have always loved rabbits, and would have shared my bounty with them. Maybe this year ?