Garden-sitting for the Alters, Part Two

Anyone who knows anyone in Toronto will be able to tell you that this city has been plagued with the worst summer weather this year — nothing but rain, rain, and more rain. Add a 34-day garbage strike to that (not to mention no daycare, community centres, ferries to the island, etc.), and you’ve got about two million people wearing their cranky pants like they were never going out of style. But I’m finding that one of the best ways to get out my frustration is to head over to the nearest garden and pull up weeds for an hour. However, because my garden is teensy, I usually go to the Alters, who have kindly let me garden-sit for July and August.

So here’s a little update: The beds of seedlings (beets, pea shoots and a bunch of other stuff) are sadly not doing very well but I can’t quite figure out why. I’m guessing it’s either a lack of sun or animals, except they’re pretty well guarded with chicken wire. The peas are faring the best, but who knows if the beets will make it. Here’s the pic:


Here’s a close-up of the peas (I don’t have a macro lens on my camera, so they unfortunately look a bit blurry):


On the bright side, however, the lettuce is doing quite well — it’s growing in these crazy vertical stalks rather than stubby little heads. I didn’t know lettuce could grow this way, but it looks healthy:


And although the kale at the back of the garden is covered in slug holes, the ones at the front look fab:


The squash and zucchini are also surviving the rain-and-no-sun problems, although I accidentally stepped on one of the zucchini stems while trying to cut back some dead flowers. Grr.


And finally, there are the herbs — the basil looks to be in stable condition but also appears to have finished growing. The sage, after a bit of pruning, looks pretty decent, and the container pots are still alive and upright (one got knocked over by a raccoon but survived the trauma):



That’s it for now! Feel free to offer any tips/advice on how to cope with mass amounts of rain… In the mean time, I’m going to stay home today and clean (and also sulk).

9 Responses to Garden-sitting for the Alters, Part Two

  1. Lupa says:

    Your lettuce looks like it’s bolting, which means two things: it’s about to go to seed, and it’s going to taste really bitter. Unless you want lettuce seeds (which aren’t easy to harvest) you should probably just pull and compost the lettuce and use the dirt for something else.

  2. Dahlia says:

    I prefer cutting back lettuce and eating it. Bitter leaves shouldn’t be a big problem, what with the Noah-flood-like rains we’ve been having, and with a little luck there will be a few sideshoots. Or you can let it go to seed and and self-sow, and with a little luck the Alters will have volunteers for autumn.
    I know this sounds crazy, but your beets look dry: they need a lot of water in order to swell up nicely, if you have compost to hand, give them a good inch as a mulch, otherwise mulch with whatever you can find, dried out grass clippings are also good as long as there are no seed heads, or whatever you deadhead or cut back can be dumped around them to keep them moist.
    To get the basil going some more cut them back a bit, so that sideshoots can grow. And if you have some fish emulsion or compost tea, I would feed them because all that rain will have washed out what little nutrients there were in the pot.
    It looks like you’re doing a fine job of garden-sitting on the whole!

  3. pat says:

    I agree, the lettuce needs to be cut and the soil looks dry and lacking in organic mulch. Can go buy manure (in a big plastic bag) or maybe the Alters have compost?

  4. EcoYogini says:

    Wow I also had no idea lettuce could do that! So interesting!!
    I think that the garden looks FANTASTIC considering the crap-tastic weather we’ve been having (NS has been pretty similar, sans the garbage strike- yay for it being over!). My garlic passed away a horrible death and my peas only sprouted once….
    Kudos to you for keeping them alive this summer- not an easy feat! 🙂

  5. erikka says:

    lettuce doesn’t grow straight up, the lettuce is bolting! 🙂 bolting = bitter and past prime growing time.

  6. molly says:

    Despite the few problems your garden is looking fab!

  7. EcoYogini says:

    hehe bolting lettuce…. RUN AWAY

  8. Sasha says:

    It’s hard to tell from the picture, but my guess on the seedlings is that the soil is too compacted. It’s worth using a garden fork to loosen the soil in a bed before you plant. Mixing in compost, or even some mulch, wouldn’t hurt either.

  9. Compost, compost and still moe compost. Our son has never gardened before but emptiesd their compost bin into a raised bed , planted a few Tomatoes, Basil, Parsley and Sage and had to stand back – the bed has gone crazy, Tomato plants are nearly six feet in addition other things have appeared Cucumbers and Squash that came from seeds in the compost. He know colloects veggie scraps from the industrial kitch where he works.
    I know of a gardener who composted his wife’s fur coat…
    All the best, Alice
    v. alice hughes
    Argosy Books in Ottawa

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