July garden update

The Vancouver weather has not been conductive to growing a garden. The sun has been slow to appear this year and instead of warm, bright days, we’ve had a continuation of the dreary grey rain that characterizes most of the year. However, the temperature has slowly inched up the last few weeks and my garden is responding! When we last looked at the garden, my basil had failed, my beans were stagnant and the tomatoes were still growing. Only the watercress had been a success. And now… ?



The Beans – Struggling Through Adolescence

I grew these beans from seed many, many weeks ago. At first, they grew quickly, but then became almost dormant. I realized my mistake a week or two ago – the soil was no good. Brian and I had purchased a bag of mushroom manure soil from the Scouts for one container and a bag of regular potting soil from Van Dusen Gardens for the other. We planted sweet peas against the trellis in both containers. Interestingly, the sweet peas in the Van Dusen soil did beautifully while the sweet peas in the mushroom soil did terribly, like the bean plants. Then, the mushroom soil started growing… mushrooms. All sorts of mushrooms, including a few poisonous varieties! I dug up the first half foot of soil and replaced it with potting soil and the plants been much happier and growing much more quickly since then! The stems have several more sets of leaves and possibly even the beginnings of buds.


The Oregano and Thyme – A Epic Success

Last update, I reported that the oregano and thyme had been successful. If anything, in the last month and a bit, they have grown even more. I have used the thyme in stews and roasts, and also given away several bunches. The oregano has been used in pizza and pastas. Unfortunately, an army of aphids has discovered the herb pot and moved in. I am planning of purchasing a plastic spray bottle and making some bug spray* this weekend.



The Watercress – A Epic EPIC Success

The watercress continues to grow like a weed. I harvest at least one bunch per week from our little 6L pot. I actually have to be careful to harvest frequently because the larger shoots can sometimes block out the smaller ones, resulting in wasted, wilted leaves. We use watercress in salads, soups and sandwiches. My mom also suggested using it as a base for stir-fried beef and onion slices. Yum!


The Tomatoes – Signs of Life

I’ve tried growing tomatoes for several years now without any success. I’ve never had any luck getting a place with a sunny patio or window. Now, my luck seems to have changed. I went outside to look at my tomatoes today and what did I see? The beginnings of a baby tomato! WOOHOO. Not only that, my plants have a ridiculous number of buds and flowers. Needless to say, I am very happy with this result and I will be watching my babies very carefully over the next few weeks.




Things are looking good in my little balcony garden. I’m definitely taking notes for next year (although I probably won’t be living in the same place…) and I am NOT going to get mushroom manure again!

*CF’s Bug (And Cat) Spray Recipe

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 squirt of hot chili sauce or 2 diced Thai chilis

Combine ingredients in a 500ml spray bottle and fill with water. Spray on plants to deter bugs and cats. Do not spray cat.

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