Earth friendly gardening in the Kootenays region of British Columbia, Canada

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Old-Fashioned Garden

Country garden

Pictures taken in July and at the end of September 2006

 
 
 

It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility - Rachel Carson

    In the quiet rural settings of Wynndel, in the Creston Valley, British Columbia, close to the Kootenay Lake and to the famous Creston Wetlands sits a picturesque, old fashioned garden.
    There is an orchard, all white and pink in spring when the trees are in blossom, and golden and red with fruit in autumn.
    In the garden, lush vegetable beds are bordered with flowers all season long. Healthy Peonies, Bee Balm, Phloxes, Sunflowers, Dahlias and Sedums attract bees, birds and butterflies and add greatly to the charm of the garden.
    In May trillions of tiny, old fashioned Violets growing amongst the grass on the lawn and in the orchard fill the air with a sweet aroma.

    For 33 years already this place belongs to Alex and Ruby Bone.
    When Alex was still a child, looking at the gardens of his neighbors he promised himself to have a garden of his own when he grows up. Now he is an experienced gardener and the owner of one of the finest gardens in the Kootenays.
    Ruby helps with flowers and, of course, she takes care of the harvest.

 
    From the very beginning Alex employs organic gardening methods in his garden.
Organic gardening begins with attention to the soil. The rich, healthy soil is the basis for growing healthy plants, resistant to pests and diseases, rich in minerals and nutrients necessary for the health of animals and people who consume them.
Alex himself is a testimony how healthy his vegetables are. As he confessed to me, his doctor joked that he can't make any money on 71 years old Alex.
    Before he started gardening in Wynndel, Alex brought several trucks of manure to improve his soil. He also incorporated into the soil a lot of rotting hay offered to him by his neighbor. Year after year Alex continues enriching his soil with fallen leaves, mulch, compost and manure. Soil should not stay bare during winter, says Alex. He sows winter rye late in fall and works it into the soil in spring.
His soil is rich in humus, dark in colour, silty loam.
On that soil he grows 3 kg cauliflowers, 25 cm in diameter broccoli heads, 4 kg cabbages, 60 cm long parsnips, Corn and Tomato plants taller than himself (see Ruby on the picture above picking cherry tomatoes from one of the plants), peppers, potatoes, onions and other vegetables. His vegetables are not only healthy, they also taste great.
    Flowers bordering vegetable beds are impressive, too. I have never seen Bee Balm as big and vigorous as in Ruby and Alex's garden.

       
    Alex's approach to gardening is open-minded and innovative.

    To protect the Tomato plants from rain, hail and wind Alex built a hoop-house. He uses a black pvc pipe to make hoops supporting the greenhouse poly. Under the cover tomato fruits grow healthy and never split.

    He uses small hoop-houses topped  with a crop cover to protect his Cabbage, Broccoli and Cauliflowers from moths and butterflies.

    Since regular Tomato cages one can buy in garden centers are useless for his Tomato plants, Alex made his own, much bigger cages, using reinforcing wire. There are other numerous innovative improvements he uses in his every-day gardening.
 
    In his beautiful orchard Alex grows Apple, Pear, Cherry and Apricot trees. All trees are exceptionally healthy and loaded with fruit. Even the smallest, youngest trees bear more fruit than one can think they could support.

       

Great gardening, Alex!

And thank you for sharing your garden and your gardening expertise with other gardeners who are visitors to the kootenaygardening.com website!

       

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