backyard garden

Backyard Garden: Surviving the Weather

Well, it’s been awhile since the last backyard garden update and a lot has happened this season! To set the stage for those who don’t live on the southwest coast of British Columbia: it’s been a wild year.

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We had a cold spring that ran quite late, which changed almost like the flip of a switch to a couple of very warm spells including a record-breaking heat wave that went above 40 C. That hasn’t happened here since recordkeeping began and the effect on the whole province has been profound.

As you can imagine, the plants in the garden have reacted in varying ways – read on to find out how my garden has fared! Check out the past posts on my garden here.

Backyard garden flowers

Fruit and Berries

  • Apple trees: Hardly any blooms this year, but both trees produced a lot last year and I’ve read that, because I didn’t remove some of the fruit last year, the trees could be skipping a year. Or maybe it was the cold spring? We’ll find out next year!
  • Blueberries: We have plants in the front and backyard garden and they have both fared differently. The backyard garden blueberries have done fairly well and seemed to weather the heat. The front yard blueberry bushes were transplanted last year and we wondered if they would skip this year – and they have. Skipping a year has looked like very few flowers and berries this year — then the heat came and dried/burned quite a number of the leaves. We’re seeing some new growth this year, so hoping they recover well! We’ve been trying to give them extra water through this hot summer and will fertilize thoroughly in the fall.
backyard garden blueberries
  • Raspberries: Did very well this year! We’re planning to add two more rows of raspberries next year in an area that they seem to do well (and not much else seems to grow).
backyard garden raspberries


  • Asparagus: We planted five stalks last year and they require three years to become established before you can harvest a significant quantity. They had multiplied quite a bit this year, so only one more year and then we can harvest away!
  • Cucumbers: Just one plant germinated and established itself with the cold-then-hot weather. There are now lots of flowers on the one vine so hopefully we get a few!
  • Tomatoes: They seem to be a bit late getting going this year but starting to see more flowers and fruit now.
  • Kale: Our best year yet! We’ve planted a lot of nasturtium throughout the garden to draw aphids off of the leafy plants and it seems to be working well.
backyard garden kale
Kale and nasturtium
  • Swiss chard: Going like crazy — now I have to figure out how to cook with it!
  • Peppers: Our indoor started pepper plants didn’t grow much past seedling size so we bought a few on clearance from the garden centre and these seem to be doing well!
  • Peas: We had trouble getting them to germinate in the cold spring and then when we did have a row come up, it was just in time for the heat wave and so they are now pretty crispy. Will try a late sowing shortly!


  • Luffa: We actually had seeds come up this year! However the plants didn’t transplant well and we’ve only had one survive and begin to grow up the trellis – but no flowers yet.
  • Scarlet Runner Beans: We have been loving these! I had purchased the seeds from a local heirloom seed sale and then found out that they needed a 15 foot trellis, whoops. My amazing husband built a trellis and we weren’t sure what to expect, however they have been amazing! We regularly have hummingbirds visiting the red flowers as well as using the trellis as a perch. We haven’t been able to eat any of the beans yet (which you can eat fresh or dry to eat later) but looking forward to it by the end of the summer.
Hummingbird resting on the Scarlet Runner trellis
  • Zinnias: As dahlias aren’t particlarly supportive to pollinators (and we’ve really been trying to attract pollinators to our yard!) I had decided to try growing zinnias this year. We planted them a bit late but are starting to see some blooms!
backyard garden zinnias
  • Sunflowers: Wild bunnies from the park across the street ate two of our plants but now that they’re larger, I think it would have been too crowded with all of the ones we planted. Thanks bunnies!

How has your garden been growing this year?

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  • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader)

    It has been an interesting year in our garden. The tomatoes I started from seed indoors are taller than me. The cherry tomatoes are yielding a lot of fruit, but the full size tomatoes are very small and sparse. Unfortunately, the tomatoes are crowding out my peppers so they aren’t doing as well.

    This year, I planted leaf lettuce in pots for the first time and it is delicious.

    Our yellow beans have done well but the green beans not as well. We finally picked some peas this week. I thought we weren’t going to get any at all.

    We also planted potatoes that are looking good.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Wow! Taller than you sounds impressive! It sounds like a lot of ups and downs for your garden this year. Peas and lettuce straight from the garden are some of the best things πŸ™‚

  • Kate

    Your garden sounds like heaven! All the fresh fruits and vegies, and wild bunnies coming to nibble (that bit is probably less fun for you, but it did make me “aww”!) the weather has been wild this year, so it’s really interesting to hear how your plants have fared and what you’re doing to take care of them πŸ™‚

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Thank you! We “aww” at the bunnies too but then ask them to not eat our plants haha. They really are super cute πŸ™‚

    • Eri Tz

      Your garden must be perfect! I am not much of a gardener myself but my mother has a huge garden with every vegetable you can think of.
      It has been really hot here in Greece also …over 40 degrees for more than 10 days in a row…my mother triesh to keep her garden alive during these days!
      Lover reading your post! Thank you πŸ’ž

      • A Sustainably Simple Life

        Thank you! πŸ™‚
        Over 40 degrees for more than 10 days…wow! Our stretch was much shorter and it was so challenging. I hope her garden fares well through the heat!

  • Angasa Salome

    Wow! You have all these in your back garden (and front haha)? Incredible, I’m not much a green thumb but I did enjoy this post. Also, I have never heard the apple picking thing where is you don’t pick them one year then they might not come the next. Really interesting. Nice post!

  • Anika

    Beautiful shot of the sunflower! And I love the sound of the Scarlet runner beans, they’re definitely on my shopping list for the next trip to the garden centre πŸ™‚

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      It can certainly take a lot of time, so I understand putting it off. Growing your own veggies for your recipe videos, though, would be amazing πŸ™‚

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

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