Day 13: The Villain

26 Sep
Mr. Poopers

Mean Kitty

Every story has a villain. Whether small or big, no mystery is solved without first finding the evils that plague it. My garden is no different. It has a villain too, and I witnessed first hand, his dirty paws preying on my seedlings.

Meet Mean Kitty. Do not let his fat stomach and white paws fool you, this feline is a scoundrel. A nomad who is likely the culprit that is destroying my peaceful garden community. Today I witnessed him slyly trespassing into my garden. He jumped the fence, landed solidly in the garden and began pacing in the planters. I came face to face with him, stared him down, and even flailed my arms wildly at him in hopes of scaring the beast. He gave me one look, turned his nose up and walked the other way. Little brat!

Finally, he chose a  spot just outside of my sprouted leaflings (thank goodness) and started digging! My heart about fell out of my chest. He dug and dug and then stopped. I froze in anticipation of what he was to do next. And what he did next made my jaw drop. He careened his butt to my face and started pooping!

A few seconds later, as quickly as he dug the hole, he had covered it right back up. Evidence hidden, he must of thought.

Not so, scoundrel! I saw you!

After relieving himself, he decided to take a little sun bath in my back yard. That’s where I snapped a photo of his dirty self. I think he thought himself proud, giving me a pose or two. I wanted to shoot him.

In the past week I have found several pieces of poop around the garden, one openly planted on the planter’s edge, as if a gift to taunt me. I didn’t think much of it. But now that I know he’s made my garden his pooping grounds, I’m rather miffed (perhaps more so at the neighbors for having such a reckless little kitty).

After spending many hours tending to my little greens, I feel a certain maternal attachment to them that I will defend by every means possible. It pains me to know that a simple cat could decide to dig them up with one swipe of his evil paws and my hard work would be destroyed. What is an overprotective garden momma to do?

My first thought was to KILL THE KITTY! Touch my babies, you die. Second option less the psycho death match was to put a winter shield or some sort over the plants so they cannot be invaded by kittyzilla. Third option, which can and likely will occur with option two, is to call out the neighbors on their poorly behaved, free pooping kitty. The thing is a rascal. It once made it up on to our roof. We have a 3 story house! How it made it almost to the top of our 3rd floor will remain a mystery. But like all villains, they possess evil powers that can only come from no good.

If anybody has any good cat repellant to use in gardens, please let me know.

For now, this website is giving me some good ideas on how to GET RID OF CATS in your garden. Planting lavender, it says, is a good repellant. I’m shocked because I used to have a whole planter full of them. And guess what, no cats! I’m sad that they have all died. For the time being, I’m going to look into this chicken wire solution and commercial cat repellants like “Shake Away”. Cats be gone!


Day 12: Baby greens showing personality

25 Sep
"Miss Lucky" Lettuce

"Miss Lucky" Lettuce

12 days into the vegetable garden and most of my seedlings are growing strong. The butterhead lettuce, chinese greens, kale and chard are sprouting surely.

“Miss Lucky” Lettuce

In fact, only 12 days old and my cute little butter lettuce are already showing signs of personality, sprouting a brown sheen on their delicate skins. It makes their momma oh so proud!

And since they’re to take on unique signs of life, I’m finding it hard not to give them all nick names. Butterhead lettuce were the first to sprout and so I’m christening it my “Miss Lucky” Lettuce.

“Cheeky Chinese” Greens

Cheeky Chinese Greens

Cheeky Chinese Greens

Near by, my oh so cheeky Chinese greens have also made an entrance in full bloom. In fact, they’re the strongest ones so far with broad leaves. They’re also sprouting a distinctive feathery leaf alongside their rounded ones.

I’m naming them “Cheeky” chinese greens because they’re awfully mischevious. You see they’re one of the ones that were mosh pit sowed. So they’re growing in wild spurts. A trait they acquired under their garden momma’s rather misfit hands.  Oh well, nurture in this case is to blame.

"Sir" Kale

"Sir" Kale

“Sir” Kale

My kale are the strong manly variety it seems. So it is only appropriate that I address them with “Sir”. They do have a distinctly strong gentlemanly demeanor, standing tall and lean. Even in their tender youth, they are already showing signs of their manly toughness and  swagger. My kale will be kings!

“Sultry” Shard

Every family has a siren. My shard are the sultry ones, already showing their sexy red leggings. Yes, they’re growing bright red stalk 12 days in! So gorgeous! Unfortunately, only a few have sprouted so far. I’m hoping for more to come but it looks unlikely.

The Degenerates

At this point, it seems my Mesculan greens, carrots and spinach are the degenerates. 12 days in and they have not sprouted. It’s rather sad. I’m giving them a few more days and hoping that they’ll show some sign of life soon!

And that’s the update! We’ve had a great bout of sunshine in late September so the veg are growing strong. Few days of rain fall so far, so I’m hand watering every other day. Again, absolutely no measure for why this often or this intermitant. Novice’s hunch maybe?

Next update to come in a few days.

Click gallery below for larger images:

Gutsy Gardeners

21 Sep
Gorgeous 31st Ave garden! Oh my!

31st Avenue garden

Plants are inspiring and their owners even more so. Ms. Janice Kreider’s local garden blog is simply breathtaking. Her neighbors garden bounty do not fall shy either. In fact, after seeing photos of her 31st avenue walk through in Vancouver, I’m so very tempted to take a personal stroll through the neighborhood myself to see how the pros grow greens.I believe the king of brussel sprouts lives there!

Knight and Broadway Community Garden

Knight and Broadway Community Garden

Urban gardeners are also just plain gutsy. No space? No worries. Carve front lawns into pumpkin patches, porches into a food trellis, and even turn an ugly back alley into an edible haven. Got an empty car in the back yard? Plant food in it! This car is part of the Knight and Broadway community garden. Pretty fantastic, no? Gardeners got some guts, I tell ya!

Day 6: Babies show sign of heartbeat

20 Sep
Butterhead Lettuce

Butterhead Lettuce

My seeds are sprouting! Just a few days ago there was no sign of life. This morning, I saw life! My butterhead lettuce and chinese greens are sprouting strongly. Salad greens have yet to peak their heads out yet, so I’m guessing a few more days for them. Kale is also going strong. I’m not too worried about the kale since they grow pretty much like weed.

Now the curious part are the spinach. You see, I made the novice mistake of literally shaking the packet into the dirt. I think in my excitement, I may have let the wind blow a few (ok a generous amount) all over one side of the garden. Woops! I’m getting baby sprouts everywhere in the south planter. I hear spinach grows pretty wild so I’m going to let it do its thing for a few more days before “aborting” the wanderers. Yes, that’s what it feels like as I plucked a few of the sprouts out of the dirt today. It felt wrong and dirty. But it must be done!

Very excited to see my seeds growing strong in 6 short days!

Lesson #1: Mosh Pit Sowing

19 Sep

Do not sow your seeds in a mosh pit!

Evidence: Mosh pit sowing

Evidence: Mosh pit sowing

Lesson numero uno! Do not dump your seeds by  pinch full. I made this little novice mistake and this is what has happened. A random spattering of seed growth! Pretty yes, but I fear I will soon have an invasion of spinach in my back yard. I’m an urbanite, spinach en masse scares me.

So lesson novices! Always sow your seeds in a single line seperated by a few centimetres away from each other. Otherwise your plants will be fighting for sunlight and energy.

Mosh pit sowing = bad!

Day 1: Sowing the seeds, or “throwing the seeds”

13 Sep

North facing planters

North facing planters

It’s Sunday September 13th, and I’m driving to Home Depot with vegetable seeds in mind. “Where do I get vegetable seeds in September?” If you’re a real gardener, you are likely face palming yourself already at anyone trying to find seeds in September. And you’re right to be concerned because surprise, surprise, Home Depot had no seeds. In fact, when I asked the garden centre guy for seeds, he said, “Seeds?!”.

Ok woah, back the garden truck up Vanessa! I guess, I should back up and tell you a little bit about where I am and all that geographic information vital to gardening before I jump into the seeds. Read on…

Continue reading

Miss Eats eats local, right from her backyard

12 Sep
Cherry Tomatoes! Yum!

Cherry Tomatoes! Yum!

I became an urban gardener about 2 weeks ago. If you count the bushy tomatoes my husband decided to plop in to the backyard this summer, then I’m 3 months new to this whole gardening thing. Truth is, probably like many, I fell into it because of boredom, and like many, I was not born with a green thumb. In fact, I’ve been known often as the green reaper – killing all things green in my path.

No, I am also not growing vegetables in my backyard because of some environmental creed to eat local (though, I fully understand and can appreciate the tastiness of local produce!), but because I am looking for a hobby and my husband’s tomato plants have been immune to my reaper hands, not to mention that they have delighted us with sweet little fruit all summer long!

So how did it happen? Well, it was simply one sunny weekend after many sunny weekends where I was standing bored in my backyard thinking to myself, “I like food. No I really like food! I also have a backyard full of dirt and a whole weekend with nothing to do… Eh, lets grow some food!”

And that’s how it happened. Seriously. $32 dollars worth of seeds later, I’m officially a vegetable gardener.

So this little blog space will be the chronicling of my food gardening adventures. Each week, I’ll be updating the progress of my vegetable patch straight from my urban back yard. The trials and tribulations will be many, so if you’re like me, a complete novice to growing food for yourself, you’ll have a friend here digging dirt, just like you.

Garden start, go!