A part of me has always wanted to be a farmer. I have a great Uncle who runs a cattle and catfish farm down in Missouri, so I do actually know how incredibly difficult the farming life can be. That knowledge and the complete lack of interest from my husband has kept me from pursuing a hobby farm myself.
The Niagara Region has been called a “Growing Region” which makes it ripe (puns!) for starting a home vegetable garden. I’ve grown vegetables from home before, but this was in North Vancouver, BC and the conditions are different there. I never felt like I was going to get a successful tomato since the conditions were ALWAYS wet, so I never tried. I really like the weather here in Niagara and I’m excited to see how this all turns out.
To make this very easy on me, I am not starting from seed. Seeds have to be started indoors and our cat will just absolutely wreck anything resembling a plant in the house. He’s a turd like that.
I sat down and made a list of the vegetables Dan and I eat the most so I didn’t accidentally grow something we’d be begging neighbours to take extra. We just bought our house and I’m not ready to kill a large part of the grass yet, so I’m doing this in containers on the side deck this year. It’s also better since we have bunnies, skunks, racoons and all other manner of animals roaming around. I’m not saying they can’t get my veggies, but I’m not going to make it exactly easy on them.
We went to Vermeer’s, a wonderful garden center in Welland, to get the seedlings and soil I’d need to start. A month before that I also attended one of their free workshops about vegetable gardening. It was a nice, beginner’s level session and just the thing to help get me started. The biggest thing I took away from it was the “rock tip.” Oooh, yes, the rock tip is wonderful. Let me fully explain…
We have some really nosy squirrels that live in our very large trees and they will dig for nuts all day if they can. The interesting thing about squirrels is that if they see disturbed soil (like planting a seedling), they will think another squirrel has buried a nut there. In a mission to find it, they will dig and dig deep into your planter to find that nut, breaking up the fragile root system of your seedling. To avoid this catastrophe, I purchased a bunch of small flat rocks I can use every year to lay atop the soil to discourage any digging.
So, onto the vegetable list. Here is what I have planted:
- Yukon Gold Potatoes
- Green Leaf Lettuce
- Red Leaf Lettuce
- Micro Tom Heirloom Tomatoes
- Bush Beefsteak Heirloom Tomatoes
Now, I know what you’re thinking. What’s with the fancy tomatoes? Linda at Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm was having her annual heirloom tomato seedling sale, Tomato Days, which brings people in from all over Ontario. It managed to coincide with my planting, so I was really interested in trying my hand at heirloom tomatoes.
If you have comments, tips or suggestions, please feel free to send them my way. I’m posting pictures of my beginning seedlings, containers and soil so you can follow along on this experiment, success or failure.
I will be posting my progress as development occurs. I will likely have Part 2 up next week since Part 1 is really gathering the beginning of this whole process. Oooo, exciting! I love watching plants grow and change – it’s a special brand of fun for me.
Now if only I can talk Dan into getting chickens…