I realize it has been quite a while since my last Grow Write Guild post (and that the Grow Write Guild is so old that probably no one is doing it anymore). Probably about a year. Despite my neglect, I think the writing prompts are really helpful and interesting. Usually I just do a quick update that is mostly photos, and maybe a recipe tagged on at the end. Most of these prompts are not something I would normally think to spend time writing about, and so that is why I still want to continue with them.
Despite what I just said, I wish that I read this prompt before I wrote my last post since it is basically about the same thing!
"Describe your garden right now".
Well right at this current moment it is covered in rain, which as a gardener and as someone living in an area at risk for wildfires I have to say I am ok with that. My perspective on rain has changed dramatically since moving from coastal BC to the southern interior of the province. Rain used to be the backdrop of nearly every day from November to June! Now a rainy day is a rare reprieve from the heat. I am adjusting to this new climate, but I still make a lot of mistakes. Not to mention that each season is so different from the last that I feel like I'll never quite get it right! Last year summer came on with the flip of a switch in April if you can believe it. This year we are having much more of a normal spring with rain and cooler days. Last year I couldn't grow peas or radishes to save my life. The heat came on so heavy the peas stayed half a foot tall, and the radishes bolted up to flower almost as soon as I put the seeds in the ground! This year both are flourishing.
Speaking of peas and radishes, these are both unlikely success stories when it comes to my seed saving efforts. Unlikely for the radishes since I have always had to garden in very small spaces and often try to grow different varieties of the same type of plant. Preventing cross-pollination is a huge challenge in such close quarters. Last year since they all bolted I wasn't able to get any of the roots, so I decided to see what would happen if I let them go to seed. They might not be quite true to form (which is a pity since they are a beautiful heirloom variety called Purple Selzer from the preservation gardens collection of Seed Savers Exchange that looks like it is not available any longer) but they are still producing. I am hoping I can weed out the ones with the wrong characteristics and get them back on track. I was also growing some Rat Tailed Radishes - also from Seed Savers Exchange - and I was hoping since they had slightly different blooming times that the seeds would not cross-pollinate too much. We'll see what happens. So far I'm just impressed that the seeds were viable at all! I wasn't convinced that it would work out.
The peas star in a story of my forgetfulness. I was really excited to save some of the seeds from the Amish Snap peas I planted a few years back in my garden in Surrey. I let the plants go brown and harvested the seeds at exactly the right time. After that I promptly forgot them outside in the garden only to remember to go get them after the pouring rain had soaked them through. I was hoping that I could somehow dry them out and that not too many would germinate right away. Maybe I could save them! I figured it couldn't hurt to try them out if I happened to have a spare garden bed sometime in the cooler weather. Lo and behold that opportunity came earlier this year in March. I hadn't purchased any seeds yet for this year so I thought I might as well find out what the verdict was. It had been quite a while and there was no sign of growth so I picked up a few more pea varieties to try, but when I went to put them in there were quite a few pea seedlings poking out from the ground. Rather than waste the other seeds (although I suppose I could have tried returning them) I sowed them too and now - as I referenced in an earlier post - I am accidentally growing three varieties of peas. It remains to be seen if this was a bad idea or not. So far all are growing well and two are already blooming! I must make sure to save the Amish Snap seeds again this year!
As for the rest of my garden there is garlic (Russian, German, Music, and also a variety I do not know the name of that I have been growing for four years), buckwheat (sharing a bed with the Green Arrow peas), beets, onions, scallions, spinach, rat tailed radishes, raspberries, haskaps, potatoes, and many herbs. I am really happy with everything so far, but I am starting to feel the crunch of the warmer weather and I need to get my summer crops going! I don't want to be caught without any tomatoes, peppers, melons, corn, or squash! I may not succeed with those things (I have had mixed results so far), but it is always my goal to try.