Our 2022 garden: remaining T&T Seeds order is in

Before I get into how the rest of the day has been going – aside from “wet” – the rest of our order from T&T Seeds came in! You can read about the whole order, and why we chose what we did, here.

We got our forage radish seeds a while ago, and it was the perishable stock that had to wait to be shipped in time for planting in our zone. I never got a shipping notification. I’d actually gone to the website a few days ago to look up my order and see if there was anything to tell me when it would be shipped, so we could be ready for it. There was nothing. Not even anything to say that the seeds got shipped already. So I tried their live chat function. I ended up getting an automated reply, apologizing for being really busy, and giving me the option of leaving my email with my question, and they’d respond later. I did that, but the only thing I got in my email was a transcript of the chat that didn’t happen.

Well, something must have happened, because suddenly, here they are!

We have decided the highbush cranberry will be added to one end of the rows of silver buffalo berry, where we’d grown corn and sunflowers last year. The sweet potato slips will be split between a grow bag and a bed where we’d grown potatoes last year. The sunchokes are still not 100% decided, but I think there’s really just one spot for them; in an unused bed near the garage. We’d tried to grow strawberry spinach there last year, but that didn’t work. There are invasive that keep trying to take it over, but sunchokes have a reputation for being somewhat invasive, too, and I think they’d win out on that battle. 😉

I also got a shipping notification for our TreeTime order. You can read about what we ordered and why, here. We’re expecting a total of 41 trees and shrubs that will need to be planted right away.

Which is going to be difficult. What came in today needs to be planted as quickly as possible, but it’s been very rainy off and on, all day today, and it’s expected to continue through tomorrow. In fact, we have started to get weather alerts.

There’s another Colorado Low on the way.

At least it’s bringing rain and not snow, though we’ve have a rather cool May, and it’s looking like June will be, too.

The warnings for our area is for heavy rain falls. Once again, the south end of the several provinces are expected to get the worst of it, as the system swirls its way east and west. There are even tornado warnings!

The transplants did not get taken outside today. They are probably okay with the temperatures by now, but being in pots, and the pots in trays and bins where they get watered from below, it doesn’t take much for rain to accumulate too much in their containers.

For the stuff that can’t be planted until after last frost, it’s looking like we won’t be able to get them out until after June 5, because of the overnight temperatures. Once they’re in and established, if temperatures dip again, we can try protecting them with row covers, but not while they are still undergoing transplant shock.

One good think about everything being in at least low raised beds: the paths may be full of mud and water, the the beds are still good.

Somewhere in there, we need a break in the rain – or at least the heavy rain – and get our T&T Seeds order into the ground!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: T&T Seeds order, forage radish in, and other supplies

Well, the van did start this morning, so I went ahead and did our city shop without even coming inside from doing my morning rounds, other than to grab my purse. No morning kitty pictures, because I was wearing mitts. It was viciously cold out there! I can usually get away with just wearing fingerless gloves, or using my pockets, but not this morning!

Before heading to the city, I made a side track to check the mail and found a package waiting for me.

I’d completely forgotten that we’d be getting something in from T&T Seeds!

Most of what we ordered will be shipped in the spring. We’ll be getting a lot of stuff shipped at about the same time! All the companies we ordered from ship their perishable stock based on what zones the addresses are in, timed to arrive ready to be planted almost immediately. Last frost dates can still vary quite a bit within zones, though, so there’s a possibility some might arrive and need to wait a bit before planting. We shall see.

The Forage Radish seeds are a lot bigger than I expected, but then does grow into a big… well… long, radish. As this is a cover crop, it will be planted strategically in areas we want the soil to be broken up for planting next year, or in between things that might need some “tilling” around them, this year. I don’t expect we’ll use even half of this seed, this year. Unless we decide to start sowing in the outer yard, to lure the deer away! 😀

While in the city, one of my stops was at Canadian Tire, where we pick up the wood pellets we use as kitty litter. I hadn’t been able to get through to our mechanic to reschedule our oil change, so I took a chance and asked if they could book me in at the Canadian Tire, right away. Sure enough, they could fit me in, so I had about an hour to spend in the store.

It is very dangerous for me to be in a place like Canadian Tire. Especially since the oil change was going to be under budget, which meant I had wiggle room!

Along with the wood pellets, I snagged a small folding saw horse. The saw horses we have now are home built and very old, so they’re awfully wibbly. The one I found was on clearance, so I was happy to be able to take advantage of that. I also found some vegetable grow bags on clearance. I was going to make grow bags for the sweet potatoes, using feed bags like we did with potatoes last year, but these bags were so cheap, I went ahead and bought two. It will at least give us something to compare.

I also picked up a couple more trays for seed pots, to allow watering from below, plus one that had square Jiffy Pot type cups in it, for those smaller things we want to start indoors, and will do better if they’re transplanted with their pots, to avoid root disruption. So the extra time I had to spend in the store was productive.

Once the van was ready (complete with a printout of little things they found that I’ll take to our local mechanic to check), I headed to Costco to do the main shopping.

It’s very weird to shop at Costco and buy no meat. I just picked up some fish for my daughters. I didn’t need anything else. I love having such a well stocked freezer!

While there, I picked up a couple more small, plain aluminum baking sheets. I got some last spring, and they came in very handy for moving seedlings in and out of the sun room to harden off.

They also come in very handy as kibble trays for the outside cats, so I was down a couple! 😀

When I got home, the girls made sure to put Butterscotch and Nosencrantz into the carriers while we hauled things through the sun room, into the old kitchen. They even set the carriers up, so the cats could see and watch us. 😀

Then, while the girls put away the groceries, I loaded the van back up with garage for the dump. It’s open this evening, but I was done with driving. It can stay frozen in the van until the dump is open next, two days from now. That’ll give us a chance to gather the recycling together, too.

I’m thinking that tomorrow, we should start getting the luffa, and at least some of the onion seeds, started. I’ve been researching and will try something different with the gourds this time, to help improve germination rates. Of all the gourds we have, the luffa needs the longest growing time.

From the zone 3 garden groups I’m on, we should be starting the eggplant and peppers now, too. Our last frost date is a lot later than the people posting that, though, so holding off at least a bit longer would probably be a good thing.

When it comes to planting our garden this year, we haven’t quite planned locations all out, yet. The existing beds will be easy enough to work with, but we will also be building new – mostly temporary – beds, too, as we slowly reclaim more and more of the old garden area, and work our way closer to the house.

It was a bit funny when I was telling my mother about what we’ll be doing this year. She was having a hard time picturing where we are intending to plant the sea buckthorn and silver buffalo berry, as much as a living fence as for their berries, where we will be planting the Korean Pine, as well as how we haven’t quite decided on where to plant the Highbush Cranberry. She knows we plan to plant more fruit and nut trees, and made this surprising comment about how, if we plant all these trees, we won’t have any garden left. Not just because of the trees taking up the space, but their shade, as well.

There’s two reasons her comment was a surprise. The first is that she had already said to me before that, if it were up to her, she would have filled that entire area with trees by now. She did have a habit of sticking trees in, anywhere, without much thought to whether it would be a good place for them! The other reason is that my parents planted so many trees on the south side of the garden, closest to the house, that there’s not a lot that can grow there anymore. Too much shade! I know they planted these for protection from the wind, but if they’d planted them on the north side of the garden, it would have been just as effective, and wouldn’t have taken away so much prime garden location. It’s one of the main reasons we’re going to build permanent garden beds in the outer yard, where they will get full sun.

My mother and I talked a bit about our wanting to plant a southern shelter belt, because we have a gap that needs to be filled. I told her about the renter wanting to replace the fences (he’s responsible for the fencing, as part of the rental agreement), and that I’d suggested making a new, straight fence line from the barn to the road, rather than going around the old hay yard. It’ll mean a lot less fence to put in, though they’ll loose a small amount of pasture. If they do that, we’ll be able to plant shelter belt trees near it, and not have to worry about having to protect saplings from cows. My mother suggested planting lilacs as a hedge, but I told her that we need to start with something taller, first. Not too tall, though, or we’ll just end up with more shade problems. Many of the farms in the area are completely open, with just a block of shelter belt trees around the house and outbuildings – and their gardens are outside the shelterbelt, far from their houses. There just isn’t anywhere near their houses that gets enough sunlight for the size of gardens they are growing. Whatever trees w decide to plant on the south, I don’t want anything that will get as tall as the spruces we have by the house. They’re about 65ft high, and we’ve been watching how far their shadows are cast, at different times of the year. Since we will be planting permanent garden beds out that way, the last thing we want to do is plant trees that will get so tall, they’ll end up shading the garden beds. I figure we can plant trees that grow no taller than 30 feet and still get the shelter from the wind that we need. Especially if we also plant shrubs along the line, too.

But maybe not more lilacs. I’m thinking more along the lines of hazelnuts and berry bushes! 😀

No decisions can be made until there’s a fence, though!

So for now, we focus on the vegetable gardens!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: T&T order, and McKenzie seeds

Well, this is it. Today, I placed my last order for our 2022 garden. While I was doing the first half of our monthly shop, I also picked up some pea seeds. I am now done ordering things we are planning to grow this year.

First, the peas.

There are so many varieties of peas, I have been struggling on which ones to pick. While at the Walmart, I saw a new McKenzie Seeds display, and finally settled on one. As much as I love edible pod peas, I decided to go with shelling peas.

Some selling points on these: very productive, heat tolerant and disease resistant. Plus, of course, they’re supposed to be tasty. While I hope we don’t get another drought this year, our summers to get as hot as our winters get cold, so heat tolerant peas are a good thing.

My daughters are not big on peas, but they have never had peas, fresh from the garden. The ones we grew last year did not really produce, due to the heat (just the odd pod, here and there), then the green peas got eaten by a groundhog! The peas sown late in the season, in with the corn, were planted for their nitrogen fixing qualities, and the few pods we got were there only because we had such a long, mild fall. Nothing reached their full potential in flavour. Hopefully, this year will be different, and we will get lots of delicious fresh peas!

Once I got home, I placed an order with T&T Seeds.

All images belong to T&T Seeds.

First up is Jerusalem Artichokes, or Sunchokes.

I just ordered the smallest size; a 10 pack. A friend on a neighbouring farm successfully grows them, so I know they will grow here.

We’re sort of taking a chance on these ones. We’ve never tasted them before. I’ve never even seen one in real life before. However, these are something that can easily be propagated from year to year, and are supposed to be quite delicious. If we like them, we have another good storage food to add to our inventory of foods for self-sufficiency.

If not, well, they are in the sunflower family and have pretty flowers.

We will be planting them in a location that can be permanent, so not anywhere in our main garden areas.

Covington Sweet Potato

This one is pretty much just for me, as I seem to be the only person in the family that actually likes sweet potato, so I got the smallest option; five slips.

This variety is the only short season variety of sweet potato that can grow in our zone that I have found. I think I will make a grow bag or two from our feed bags, and set these up somewhere near the south facing side of the house, just to hedge my bets, though I would need to make sure there is space for the vines.

Highbush Cranberry.

The girls and I debated whether to get Highbush Cranberry, or more raspberry bushes. We decided to work with the raspberries we already have, and go for the Cranberry. I ordered two.

In cleaning up along the east fence line in the spruce grove, I actually found an American cranberry (at least that’s what Google Snap told me it was). It now gets light and everything, but I would like to transplant it, eventually, to a better location. Not sure where, yet.

Forage Radish

Also called “tillage radish.”

We had tried to plant a daikon type radish to help break up the soil in the corn blocks last year, but I think something ate them shortly after they sprouted, because they all just disappeared. So I was quite excited to find these forage radishes.

They are sold as a green manure and a type of cover crop. They get planted, then left to die off. Their roots can reach up to 6 feet in depth, boring into the soil as they grow. After they die off and decompose, they leave behind root channels that other plants can take advantage of.

With our concrete-like soil, filled with rocks, the plan is to basically just scatter these in strategic areas, so we got the 500 gram/1 pound size, which can cover 5,500 square feet. I don’t expect to use it all this year, but who knows.

So that is it for this year’s seeds and trees, though it’s entirely possible we might still order more. I forgot to order more alternative lawn and wildflower seed mixes from Veseys, but those would be sown in the fall, anyhow. We shall see how the ones I sowed this past fall turn out, this spring.

We still have a monthly “seed” budget, though, and now it will go to other things we need. I did pick up more potting soil today, as we will be starting onion seeds and luffa soon, and have lots more seeds to start over the next few months. After much searching, the girls and I found some netting online that we will be using to help protect our garden from critters. It’s a netting that is 14 x 200 feet. We can get one roll this month, and another roll later. Some of it will be used for the temporary fencing we will need to build around larger blocks, such as the corn. We can also cut it to the sizes needed to cover individual beds. We simply have too much ground to cover, and beds spread out in too many places, to fence it all in from both deer and smaller critters. Particularly since so much of it is still temporary. We’ll also have to figure out what best to use to support the netting, in the different ways we plan to use it, and get what we need for that. We are shooting to have consistent sizes on the permanent raised beds, so that any protective covers we build will fit any raised bed. The low box raised beds are 3 feet by 9 feet (because that’s the size the boards I found resulted in). The high raised beds will all be 4 feet by 9 feet, but with the thickness of the logs we are using, the planting area inside will be smaller, and the 3×9 covers should still fit. Other beds, such as in the old kitchen garden, are oddly shaped, so they will need completely different ways to protect them from critters.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer