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Rain Finally Falls and Our Three Vegetable Plots Come to Life

I am not sure what is better news this month, the fact that I can walk again after my ACL surgery or that it finally rained.  Regardless, both have had a really positive impact on our vegetables.   Here on the Canadian prairies rainy days can be few and far between so we really appreciate what we do receive. To give you an idea of how dry it was this spring, in April and May combined, we had 5mm. Thankfully we had a few solid days of rain in June and in this month alone the total came to 85mm.  I know that's not a big number compared to other places on the continent, but it was huge for us. That moisture has made a huge difference for our crops and my peace of mind.

Our small urban farm only presides over four properties this year, and since we lent one of these to another urban farmer for the season, we are really only managing three active plots at the moment with a total of 67 of our standard 50 square foot beds.  This has been a welcome change from the seven plots we had in production last season.  Now that all the vegetables are large and recognizable, it seems like a good time to give you a quick virtual tour.

This first photo shows the current state of our home plot.  After learning that we would need to scale back production this year, we decided to plant this plot like it was our personal homestead garden.  That meant planning for smaller quantities of crops that we can't store, such as snap peas, cabbage, celery, summer squash, and lettuce.  This is why there are several smaller beds and trellises in that centre zone of the garden.  The high tunnel in the background is planted with tomatoes, peppers, and a melon experiment that I will tell you about another time, perhaps in the next newsletter.

Our boulevard plot (above) is across the street from our home and it looks a lot like it does in a typical farm season with large plantings of each crop often in multiple beds.  In the foreground, you can see a large planting of hardneck garlic in the centre with some potatoes on the left.  The other end of this plot contains our first direct seeded carrots, beets, rhubarb, and a raspberry patch that we started establishing last year.  I will be transplanting a second round of bush beans and beets out here later this week too.  Things are looking pretty good at the moment and all of the street construction has been kind of nice for limiting the foot traffic by this plot. 

The third plot we have in production this season is a little further away on Avenue H.  This is another place where we were able to make use of some boulevard space.  On this boulevard, you can see potatoes in the front and a later planting of carrots behind them.  Inside the fence, from left to right, there are several beds of mixed onions, strawberries under the hoops with netting for bird protection, another bed of potatoes, and a couple beds of winter squash at the end.  The strawberry patch is the most exciting element of this plot for us this year.  If you have been keep up with our newsletters, you'll know that we started our strawberry beds last season but had to pick off the flowers to let the plants get established in their first season.  Now the plants are growing vigorously and we are finally starting to enjoy the fruits of our labour.  In fact, we had our first small harvest this morning!

That should give you a general idea of what we've got growing this season.  The general theme is that we are devoting more space to crops that can be stored if necessary and fewer crops with a really short shelf life.  This plan gives us more flexibility with sales on our urban farm this year and also allow more flexibility with garden maintenance.


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