Garden update – mid May 2020

Mid May is tomato planting time here on the West Coast of Canada. Scattered hither and yon, from the bathtub on the roof, to pots on the deck, to a quick bed we put together last night, we’ve got about 60 tomato plants.

Of course, the real work starts when it’s time to can the dang things. But it will feel particularly awesome to have all of that good food put away for the winter.

Hopefully tomatoes won’t be the only things we’ll be preserving. There’s a lot more growing around here than tomatoes!

Garden update - tomatoes
The tomatoes are planted in the roof planter now, along with the mustard greens.

Mid May plantings

I’ve also planted beans over the last couple of days. Scarlet runner beans along part of the fence, and in a small bed by the shop; and Black Turtle beans in a bed in the garden. All the Black Turtle beans are seed saved from last year, and about half of the runner beans are from saved seed.

I also planted some dill from saved seed. I love dill, and if they all sprout, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in it. That will be awesome, because I plan to do some fermented carrot sticks, and will be using dill and garlic to flavor them. I think it will be spectacular.

The left over plants from last year – chard, kale, summer celery – were taken out today, to make way for the Black Turtle beans and zucchini. They will find their way into my next batch of fermented vegetables.

garden update - planting beans
After the chard and summer celery were pulled out, I planted Black Turtle beans and zucchini. Looking forward to some fresh juicy zucchini!

Mid May harvests

The perennial arugula is amazing. It is lush and delicious. I love the nutty flavor and aroma it adds to my salads.

The oregano is huge, and needs to be tamed a bit. I’ll put some in this next ferment, and maybe dry some. It really is taking over the herb garden; and I want the thyme plants to get a little more room, so I’ll cut them way back.

We’re still getting daily harvests of mustard greens. I thinned them out a bit in the shop roof planter when I planted the tomatoes, but there is still lots. I think I’ll have a tuna salad for lunch with all the thinned out mustard. Yum. (I did; and it was awesome.)

We literally have mustard growing everywhere. It is growing in the pots on the deck for the tomatoes, in the greenhouse, and even on the ground by the compost piles. So there won’t be a mustard shortage around here any time soon.

One very interesting and awesome thing I’ve noticed is that, while the mustard greens in the garden all have at least some predation (slug chomps), the stuff on the shop roof doesn’t. At all. It will definitely be the mustard-growing spot in spring and fall when the slugs are out in droves.

garden update - mustard greens mix
This mustard mix looks nice, but it seems to be quite attractive to slugs. But we’ll still get a good harvest from it.

When the mustard in the roof planter comes out, it will be filled with nasturtiums. I think it’s going to look fabulous, with them trailing their stems covered with blooms.

Lots of calendula is popping up in the garden now. Most are still small, but one has already bloomed. I’ve been moving the ones that have come up in places that I want to plant something else. We have a flower corner this year, so they go in there.

I’ve been pulling the borage as I need the space, and just letting it grow where it won’t be in the way. There will be plenty, and most of it will find its way into the compost, which is just fine. It’s a good compost plant, and puts out a lot of greenery during the growing season.

The next big job will be building a trellis for the tomatoes on the shop roof. That should be interesting. I’ll keep you posted.

Getting creative, and using what we have

As we were sitting outside today – after a delicious tuna salad with mustard greens, arugula, lettuce, chives, and radishes from the garden – Rich asked, what is something that you just plant and then leave it until the end of the season? Or as he likes to say, “Heave it, and leave it.”

I first thought of squash. And then he said he was thinking of putting a planter on the peak of the shop roof. I thought for a bit longer, then suggested planting scarlet runner beans in it, and just letting them grow down the roof.

Can you imagine how beautiful that would be? All that greenery, sprinkled with scarlet red flowers. Gorgeous. The humming birds would be ecstatic. And! The slugs wouldn’t find them up there and mow them down. Bonus!

But that won’t be until next year. So you’ll have to wait for the photos. : )

When Rich planted the cayenne peppers and tomatoes in the bathtub on the roof, he decided to put up some plastic to protect them until they’re bigger. He used some plastic that he had in the shop, and bamboo from the bamboo patch. I think it will work great; and it’ll give the peppers that extra warmth that they love.

bath tub planter
We put a bathtub on the roof, and planted it with cayenne peppers and tomatoes. Looking forward to seeing how it does up there.

Bamboo comes in handy for so many things. I used it to build the trellis for the snow peas, and will do the same for the beans. I also used it to put together a quick little fence to keep the dog out of the new tomato bed. He has a tendency to think all new beds are built just for him. : )

snow pea trellis
Canes from the bamboo patch were used to put together the snow pea trellis.
garden update - tomato bed with bamboo fence
We built another bed the night before planting, to accommodate all of the tomato plants we ended up with. Then I used bamboo to make a little fence to keep the dog out.

Looking forward to the coming months

This time of year, the garden plants are just starting to kick in. I can see the potential, and look forward to the time when it is full and lush. I am eating something from the garden every day; either a big mid-day salad, or perhaps a stir-fry for dinner.

When I’m harvesting produce from the garden, I do a lot of grazing. Today, I munched on mustard greens (of course), as well as the buds on the kale plant. Later in the season I’ll be munching on parsley, beans and peas, and other greens. This is an excellent way to get some extra nutrients in ya: super fresh, super tasty, super nutritious.

So here’s the final list of everything we’re eating from the garden as of mid May 2020.

  • Mustard greens
  • Chard
  • Beet tops
  • Turnip tops
  • Kale – leaves, buds and flowers
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Radishes

And that’s the mid May garden update! I am exceedingly happy with the garden so far. This is the second year for this garden, and it is producing beautifully. Everything that I’ve planted has come up, and is growing vigorously.

The new beds have added a lot of growing area, and our tomato crop should be slightly more than outrageous. I envision a LOT of spaghetti sauce in my future.

I hope everyone’s gardens are doing fabulously. If you have any questions or concerns about your garden, please feel free to drop me a line. I’ll do what I can to help.

Health, Hope & Happiness


saved dill seed
Dill seed saved from last year’s garden.
turnip greens
Turnip tops are lush and tasty; but they’ll need thinning out soon.
azaleas in bloom
The subtle sweet scent of azaleas waft through the garden in spring.

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