September in the Garden

It’s been a while, but here I am! I was house sitting most of last month, and writing here just hasn’t happened yet. But here I am, with a garden update.


The passionflower is performing beautifully this year! The new seedlings from this year are still quite small, but the ones that came up from last year’s roots are extraordinary! They’re taller than me, and each have sent out multiple flowers. I have yet to harvest from this plant, all aerial parts are good for a calming tea and mild depression.

 Holy Basil


Holy basil is a personal favourite. I started all these plants from seed I collected from last year’s plants, only to find the old part of the garden full of its own collection of self seeded goodness! Leaves and flowers make a delicious, fruity tasting tea that is adaptogenic in nature, and is good for the digestion, mental clarity, and helps your body adapt to stress. Even without all that goodness, it makes a fantastic tea!



I tried something different with kale this year. Instead of planting transplants out, spaced out 18 inches or so apart from each other, I sowed five rows in my 30 inch beds. This provided us with lots of tasty baby kale leaves earlier in the year (way more than we needed!), and most of the kale grew back. I have yet to cut down all the kale except for one every 18 inches in a diamond pattern down the bed, which will keep growing and provide for our winter kale needs. So far it’s working great!


It’s been a rough year for tomatoes. It started out quite promising – over 40 plants went in the garden, and they were all growing beautifully on my new trellises. But then, about a month ago, the leaves started turning black, and tomatoes rotted on the vine. A friend told me it’s tomato blight, which is nasty business. I suspect I introduced it with the compost pile from last year, into which I threw all the tomato parts from last year, and I must not have composted it completely enough to kill all the pathogens.

I had eight varieties planted, and the only variety to survive thus far has been the Hawaiian currant, a tiny cherry tomato… so we’ll be getting some still. At least I’m working offsite at another farm this year, and they have plenty to spare!


The sunflowers have been great this year – especially since I didn’t plant any! They all popped up from seeds that fell last year (which is why some are in the middle of the pea bed). They’re glorious to see, and the bees love them! I hope they’ll seed themselves again for next year.


These cardoons I started from seed last year. A biennial in the thistle family, they didn’t flower last year – but it was worth the wait! The flowers are enormous, and another magnet for bees. Unlike artichokes, their relative, it is not the flower bud you eat, but the leaf stalks. I have yet to try them, but you harvest them in the fall. Even the dead flower is beautiful in its way – just think of all the seeds that will come out of a single head!


And that’s the garden this September! Thanks for stopping by. How are your gardens looking? What are your favourite parts of September?


From the Garden, July 2016

The gardens are really happening now! The carrots are still small, and I’ve just managed to get the winter carrots in the ground before the rains of the last week – some of those have already sprouted!

This lettuce bed is super lush. A little weedy, too, but c’est la vie. I’ll be cutting these little guys a bit above the roots, and most of them should come back for at least another cut, maybe two.

The tomatoes are having a wild time on the new trellises I built over the winter. Our first tomatoes should be ready in a week or two!

The Broadfork

I got a broadfork!


This fun new toy loosens the soil to a foot deep, while keeping the soil structure relatively intact. Plus, it’s barefoot friendly!

I bought this model from Stefan at Wolfram Tools here in the Cowichan Valley. If you’re in the area, you should totally check him out!

Yesterday I spent three and a half hours loosening roughly 2000 square feet of the garden with this amazing tool, barefoot and all. This area had just been sheetmulched over the winter and covered with tarp, so it wasn’t very loose. This broadfork did it no problems! A couple of the tines bent out of place, but they were easy to bend back into place.