backyard garden

Backyard Garden: Digging in to 2022

Backyard Garden Plan

Late last year my husband and I decided we would not be doing a large vegetable garden in 2022 in order to focus on some of our projects, such as (finally) putting up our greenhouse.  However, given another in a series of world events that may result in food scarcity and higher food prices we decided we should make our garden even bigger and more productive instead!  Nothing like making plans and sticking to them ? See past posts about our garden here!

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backyard garden
Honeyberry flowers

In the past couple of years we had been experiencing reduced yields – for example in our first year we had way too many cucumbers, then the next years hardly any.  We weren’t sure what we were doing right and/or wrong, so when I saw an email from Westcoast Seeds about a Happy Hour webcast on the topic of being able to eat from your garden every day I decided to attend and it was fantastic! You can view it here.

Some of the topics that resonated with me were:

  1. Succession planting: I never seem able to plan and execute to make this happen. However, in the webcast (linked above), it was suggested to succession plant by sowing different varieties (with differing maturity timelines) at the same time – this idea blew me away and I’m definitely going to do it with carrots and lettuce this year!
  2. How to prepare the ground when planting seedlings: I usually just transplant into the ground and ensure that I water the plant in. However, it seems that I should actually be adding some compost or castings when planting.
  3. Eating from your garden in the winter: I tried this with a couple of vegetables with some success but didn’t plan it out very well but felt very inspired to try it again after listening to Jordan and Carissa!

At the end of the session a limited time promotion was offered for a garden consultation with Carissa of Seed & Nourish and, after being so inspired by the webcast, I booked a session!

Backyard Garden Challenges

Some questions I was hoping to have answered in order to improve our knowledge and hopefully garden productivity were:

  1. How do you know if soil needs amending, could it be the root (pun intended!) of our yield issues, and how do you correct it?
  2. Are there places better than others to plant certain vegetables in our yard?
  3. Anything we don’t we know that we don’t know?
  4. What aren’t we doing that we should be, are there things we should be stopping?

What We Learned

Does our soil need amending?

Short answer – yes! We found out that we should be topping up our garden beds each year with a good amount of compost and we have not ever done this in the years we’ve had our gardens where they are. Additionally, there is a chance that our soil is acidic due to the junipers and spruce that used to be in the location where our garden beds are now, so we may need to apply lime two weeks before planting – which means very soon! We have a test kit so will test our soil to see how acidic it is and, if it is not in a suitable range for the vegetables we want to plant, then we’ll add lime accordingly.

Are there some places better than others for certain vegetables in our yard?

Yes! Carissa, using a fit-for-purpose app, was able to tell us how many hours of sun each of our garden beds receives in the prime growing months. In fact, we found out that one of the beds we had previously planted tomatoes in is actually more suited to leafy greens due to its limited sun exposure.

backyard garden
Plum tree flowers

Are there things we don’t know that we don’t know?

I’ve often wondered how people manage all the little bits of time that add up to the sometimes significant amount of time required to maintain a productive garden. It turns out there are tasks that successful gardeners automate that we’ve been doing by hand, and maybe not achieving the best results due to it. For example – watering! It takes a lot of our time in the summer and I had never really considered an irrigation system. Also, it seems that we might not be watering deeply enough for some of our plants, and even our inadequate watering takes a good amount of time. So to address this we will look into some DIY irrigation options.

Things we should be doing but aren’t

Worm composter: we have three regular compost bins that we put our yard waste and kitchen scraps into, and we are able to harvest some compost each year. We found out from Carissa that this composter from Wormbox is a great way to turn food and yard scraps into high quality fertilizer and I think we’re going to make the investment!

Food forest: we have a number of fruit trees in our front yard and have been working at making more garden and less grass, but hadn’t given a lot of thought about specific plantings around our trees, but now we will!

Square foot gardening: in the past we haven’t done a lot of planning before planting, so will look into this method of planting, as well as the use of trellises, to maximize production in our space.

Things we should stop doing

Growing grass! In the next few years we will look to replace whatever is left of our front yard with bee turf.

backyard garden
Peach tree flowers!

Is a Backyard or Deck Garden for You?

Sign up here for the next Happy Hour on March 31st about preparing soil for the season, check out the previous recording linked above, and get inspired! Interested in a similar consultation to the one we had? Check out this link here!

Are you planning to try growing a garden this year?

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  • Christy E

    Thank you! This was so helpful!
    We also were thinking of not doing a garden this year until the most recent issues made us concerned.
    I signed up for the soil happy hour as it’s something I really need help with – especially this year as our soil is going into year 3.
    Can’t wait to watch the other happy hour you recommended as well!

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!