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

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In my Garden:     July     August     September

Nature, at whose feet every one who does any gardening must sit and learn, settled the question ages and ages before mankind began to cultivate flowers, by creating the annuals as the great filler-in of the vegetable world - the finishing touch to her handiwork.  -  Benjamin Goodrich

In my Garden  

   July 2009


    I garden in the West Kootenay, British Columbia, Canada, in the plant hardiness zone 5a, in the area known before as "that dry desert".
    It is undoubtedly dry here, but it doesn't mean it has to be a desert.
    My soil is sandy and acidic. The drainage is almost too good. Summers are very hot and dry here, winters are very snowy and seemingly without end. Very often a thick blanket of snow covers the ground since the middle of November through the middle of April. I have about four months frost free, usually since the middle of May through the middle of September.
    In my gardening I try to follow Nature's ways of doing things. This kind of approach is called biomimicry.
    I don't use synthetic fertilizers and don't use herbicides and pesticides.
    During dry weather I water my gardens about once a week. During heavy production of fruit I may water every five or six days. I try to mulch as much as I can to ensure that the soil is cool and moist all the time and the soil temperature even and to provide food and home for soil organisms. It is the soil organisms that make soil fertile.
    In my garden I grow vegetables, flowers, fruit trees and berries, especially those not grown commercially.
    I value my garden not only as a source of beauty and healthy food but also as an opportunity for a health restoring, whole-body exercise in fresh air and sun.


Beginning of July in my edible garden

    White Currant. The fruit just starting to ripen. The ripe berries are small, about 1 cm in diameter, sour-sweet and very juicy.
   Currants are not best suited for growing in hot, dry summer conditions I have here. They like cool and moist places. I try to compensate for that by ensuring at least good air circulation and mulch the plant well so the soil at the roots stays cool and never became excessively dry. 

    Alpine Strawberry. The berries are red or pale-yellow, small, about 1.5 cm in diameter, sweet, with a buttery texture and a very distinctive and pleasant aroma. They add variety to my fruit garden. The plants bear in June through August.
    I protect my Alpines from excessive summer heat by growing them in the shade of one of my fruit trees.

    Lettuce Sierra French Crisp.  Very crisp, juicy and sweet tasting, with a nutty flavour. Slow to bolt and heat tolerant. One of the best Lettuces I have grown so far.
    Another Lettuce I grow is Nevada, on one of the pictures below. Both belong to the same, introduced in France, Batavia family of Lettuces. 

    Zucchini Dark Green getting ready to bloom and produce, produce, produce ... As a matter of fact, I am looking forward to that.
    In the left-top corner a row of planted in April Strawberries.

    Cabbage Golden Acres started forming a  head a week or so ago.

    Asiatic Lilies. On my property I grow not only fruit and vegetables, but flowers too. I consider growing vegetables more challenging than growing flowers. It is why I post here mostly pictures taken in my food garden.

    Cauliflower Early Snowball, so far just only a few centimeters in diameter.

A few days later


    Cabbage head getting bigger every day.  Cabbage contains anticancer and antioxidant compounds and helps cleanse the digestive system.

    Russet Potatoes and Asparagus.
    I started growing Potatoes a year ago after learning that commercial crops rank very high for pesticide contamination. As I did last year,  I bought five (three last year) organic Russet potatoes in one of the organic food stores and used them as seed. They were very big so I cut each of them in half before planting. I am quite happy with the growing results of this approach.

    Zucchini and Beans Golden Wax. Asparagus in the top-right corner. Compare with a picture of Zucchini taken at the beginning of July, above, and the one taken 12 days later, in  the second half of July section below, to see how rapidly plants grow at this time of year.


Middle of July


    Pear variety Clapp's Favourite (my favourite) ready for thinning. May be even a little overdue. I will remove at least 90% of fruit, leaving only about 80 pears to grow and ripen.

    Sour Cherry. Loaded, as always. I like the sour-sweet taste of the fruit. The cherries are about 2 cm in diameter, very soft and juicy. They have a very high nutrient and antioxidant contents. They are great for eating fresh, for juice, jams and jellies. They don't store well and probably because of that are not grown commercially.

    Swiss Chard, Orach and Kohlrabi.
    I allow annuals to bloom in my vegetable garden if they want to. I threw some seeds there few years ago and they come year after year since. On the picture you can see Alyssum, Calendula and Viola Tricolour growing together with the vegetables.

  Harvesting - second half of July  

    From my little tree (it is about 180 cm tall and 2.5 m wide) I have had about 12 kg of sour cherries this year. I made juice, jam and I devoured them fresh straight from the tree, still warm from the sun. 

    Black currants. Very rich in antioxidants.
    I will freeze them and use in winter for juice, mixed with other fruit. The rich taste of the berries adds a very special flavour to the juice.
Black currants are also excellent for making jams and jellies.

    White currants ready for picking. What I will  not be able to eat fresh I will freeze and use for making juice in winter.


    Lettuce Nevada, cabbage Golden Acres and chives. I love chives for breakfast mixed with organic cottage cheese and sour cream. Lettuce I will eat in salads, mixed with other  vegetables, whatever I have growing in my garden. Fresh, crisp, juicy cabbage is excellent for coleslaw.

    Zucchini already started to bloom and produce. The plant is huge this year, about 2.5 m across, well rooted (the leaves don't wilt even in the hottest sun), so I am probably going to have even more fruit than I had last year. The fruit is best picked when it is about 15 - 20 cm long.

   A new recipe I am going to try this year is for zucchini pancakes.
    Ingredients: 2 eggs, separated, 2 c. shredded zucchini, 1/2 c. finely crumbled feta cheese, 1/4 t. salt, 1/8 t. grounded black pepper, dash of hot red pepper, 3 T. all-purpose flour, oil for frying.
   Combine everything except egg whites and oil. Mix well. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into batter mixture. Heat oil until very hot. Drop about 1/8 cup batter for each pancake. Cook on both sides until brown and crisp.
    I love the pancakes served with coleslaw.

  End of July  

    Josta berries. Picking berries is time consuming so I am glad the plant doesn't produce much. From quite impressive sized bush I will pick another amount of berries like above and that's all. Usually I pick a handful of berries each day for about two to three weeks, just for a change. The taste is similar to black currants but less strong, with a tint of gooseberry.

    Rudbeckia Indian Summer, a new acquisition in my garden. I planted it at the beginning of May at the edge of one of my flower beds.
    In the background you can see ripening native grass I have been working on restoring on my property. It is especially beautiful at this time of year, swaying gently in the wind like ocean ripples.

    Unlike the Jostaberry my White Currant is loaded with berries, what looks like much beyond the shrub's capacity to support. Other fruit bushes and trees follow suit.
    I love fresh, naturally grown fruit straight from the Sun. It is loaded with health. What I will not be able to consume fresh I will freeze, make jams and preserves.


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