Learning From My Garden

I think I mentioned somewhere back that on the 8th of September we had a severe frost which wiped the garden out (even the stuff we had covered up!). Thanks Mother Nature. Since then we have been having sunny, hot weather so I am trying not to think about how much more growth our garden could have seen if it didn't decide to go all winter on us there for a few days.

We managed to do a big harvest prior to the frost and these are our spoils. We have been vegetable gardening for three years not and have learned so much but there is still lots to learn every season. When I first started I had three 4' square raised beds. I grew radishes that I left too long and they turned to petrified wood, broccoli that got infested by flies, and carrots that barely grew. From that failed experience I learned to read the seed packages and actually research what can be grow in my area. Seems like a no briner but I like to learn the hard way.

Here are a few things we learnt this year:
  • Plant more carrots! We are almost out of carrots already!
  • Less spaghetti squash. It just didn't taste that great sadly.
  • WAY less turnips! We are never going to eat all these turnips plus worms have gotten into the bottoms which is common in our area. The tops are still good and they grew to mutant size but there are sooooo many!
  • Try butternut squash next year.
  • Plant kale sooner. I was going by the internet (which never lies of course) and it said to plant in August but I think that was just too late for Alberta. My kale never really got going.
  • Do spinach in a planter on my deck instead of in the garden space.
  • Parsnips just didn't germinate AT ALL. Weird? Maybe old seeds?
  • Harvest the corn a bit sooner. The first week we harvested it was great but by the next week it had gone quite chewy. I should have picked it all while it was good but I ended up still freezing it to add to dishes anyway.
  • Only do two plants of each zucchini type. With the help of co-workers we managed to eat all the zucchini but too many for just us.
  • I also slacked and let the cucumbers go a bit too long. Some had turned yellow but I can still harvest their seeds for next year. 
  • Make a sunflower patch. All summer while we worked in the garden we could watch the goldfinches eat from the sunflowers. It was so nice to have them singing around you. The sunflowers also brought a ton of bees to garden to help pollinate. 
  • Try planting rosemary alone. My rosemary stayed tiny all summer. It was in a shared pot so next year I may try it alone to see if it does better.
  • Don't bother starting turnips or spinach early in the house. I wasted a few seeds on some very pathetic attempts at growing. No need to start them early, they grow like weeds once they were out in the garden!


  1. Oh, glad you got a harvest before the frost! I will have to remember these tips, we only have a tiny space (mostly for containers) but I definitely wanna grow some stuff!

  2. wow, how lovely to see these harvest! I am curious, do you use all the harvested veggies by yourself?

    1. We are still perfecting how much to grow so nothing goes to waste. Any extras we give to family member, co-workers, and friends!

  3. Wow, that turnip is huge! Your end-of-season harvest looks wonderful... I hope tastes as good as all the work that went into it :) I'm with you on planting a sunflower patch next year. I had some trouble getting my squash to be pollinated this year. We had plenty of bees, but many stayed put in a flower garden that's a bit too far from the veggie garden. Sunflowers seem to be the cure-all for pollination!

    1. Our sunflowers were actually accidents! The birds from a feeder nearby planted them for us but they worked so well we will definitely have to do it again!

  4. Sorry to hear about the frost! Hope it was not too bad and your plants and vegetables keep growing! They all look so tasty!!

  5. Oh my gosh your blog is perfect. I've spent a lot of time amongst the Rockies (I'm originally from BC) and these photos feel like home. Your harvest is very impressive! I'm in Ontario so this may differ a bit, but I planted my kale in May and we were able to start harvesting in June and it kept growing until August. I also found that eggplant did incredibly well in the garden, as did swiss chard. Your onions and potatoes are super impressive!


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