Our Vegetable Garden
The joys of sharing a vegetable garden!
Steve Irvine took this photo of the field south of the gardens in the summer 2022. The largest green circle is the site of Keppel Henge. The smaller green circle is the analemmatic sundial. Skinner's Bluff it the promontory in the distance.
The mown Nature Traill leads from Keppel Croft gardens to the vegetable garden. It runs by the vegetable garden, through the fields to our bush, Highview and Painter's Point.
Bill designed the vegetable garden as a series of rectangular, slightly raised beds with mulch covered paths between, with a tool shed on the north side. A grape arbour grows over the entrance on the west side, and another grows over a water tank on the south side.
A central concrete tile holds water for hand watering. It's filled by a solar pump located in a nearby pond.
The berry bushes .are just outside the entrance.. In recent years Bill has started an orchard of apple, plum and pear trees on the secondary path to the vegetable garden. Unfortunately the deer found the young trees this winter....
With our volunteers we plan, plant and maintain the vegetable garden. We harvest and share the potatoes, onions, garlic, beans, tomatoes, herbs, tomatillos, parsnips, lettuce, cucumbers, asparagus, kale, radishes, peppers, and so much more. Bill insists that flowering plants are included in the garden so bouquets are picked through the season,
The compost from bins by the barn help fortify the garden soil. The compost is screened into a wheelbarrow and then taken to the gardens. We are also composting garden waste at the vege garden
Mulch, deposited by local arborists, in our parking lot, is used in many places in the gardens. It is taken by the trailer load to the gardens to spread on the pathways. Bill also uses this mulch around the trees in the arboretum. We have spread the mulch over leaf litter in areas under trees in the laneway.
Bill sows vegetable and flowering plant seeds in trays and places them under lights in the house. When the weather is warm enough we transplant seedlings and they are moved to the pit greenhouse. There is no heating in the greenhouse but the warmth of the sun and all that light created great growing conditions. Some vegetables are planted as seeds directly into the vegetable gardens. Each year volunteer plants pop up in spring. They are transplanted to various parts of the garden.
Several years ago the vegetable garden was in need of a make over. New lumber replaced the original edging for the beds. We scraped off all the weeds and mulch from the pathways, right down to the upside down carpets that underlie all the paths. Fresh mulch filled the paths. The weeds went into the compost pile and we screened the rotted mulch and it made a great addition to the garden soil.
Last season the garden provided a bountiful harvest. For the first time we grew a number of different kinds of peppers and tomatillos. We transplanted lots of seedlings of garden balsam (Impatiens balsamina) from the flower garden and these plants loved being in the vege garden and took over!
The berry garden yielded lots of red, black and white currants. The various gooseberry bushes were laden and the josta berries were great
The 2023 season is slowly starting. By the end of March the rhubarb buds were starting to show through. The tops of the garlic were poking through and we even discovered several parsnips that we had missed during harvest time! Our asparagus harvest will be better this year we hope. We are anxious for the soil to warm up so the planting can begin!