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growing green

May 4th, 2010

Planting strawberries

One of the really strange things for me, living here in Toronto, is how all the plants are virtually the same as the ones I grew up with in the Chicago area. We have such similar climates, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But walking through my neighborhood with crab apples and lilacs and bridal wreaths everywhere reminds me so much of home that I sometimes have to stop and just remember what it was like to grow up in St. Charles.

It’s also fun for me, to suddenly be the one who knows something about local plants. See, I pretty much suck at gardening. Aside from a brief period when I lived in Sunnyvale, I’ve never had success with keeping potted plants alive for more than a few weeks at a time. Maybe I’m too distracted by everything else, or maybe I just have a brown thumb. Without doubt, Sandra is the gardener in our family.

Our new house has a really tiny backyard. LIke 13 feet wide and maybe 15 feet deep. Basically the size of a small room. When we moved in, it was half plants and half patio. Now, we’ve added about ten containers for growing veggies and flowers, some from seed, some from small plants.

Planting Strawberries

We’ve got strawberries, cilantro, two kinds of lettuce, a small pot of various herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, marigolds, poppies, alysseum, leeks, green onions, red onions and I forget what else. We also went a little nutso and bought a plum tree, two blueberry bushes, and some ground cover to help fill in the front yard where the plumbers destroyed the landscaping. And some containers for annuals for our front porch.

I haven’t ever tried this much GROWING before in my life, and I’m a little scared. I don’t know how we’ll it’ll all do, but I’m hoping to have some home-grown food by the fall.

the lettuce pot

Sandra has a green thumb... I hope

Are you into gardening? What are your favorite blogs or books or other resources to teach a wanna-be-plant-grower like me?

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6 Responses to “growing green”

  1. debi Says:

    I am totally into gardening, I live not far from where you grew up. Relo to the North Shore of Lake Michigan. I like the library for my books and magazines. I recently started a compost heap and that is what my reading has been on. I have beets, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, peppers, and zuc’s in my garden. I mix some of the plants in my flower beds, pea’s because they climb and will give visual height. There are tons of resources on the web, but you obviously know that.

    PS Hope your dad is doing better?

  2. telma Says:

    I pretty plant things and keep my fingers crossed all summer. I started trying to plant things in our yard about a year after we moved into this house. of course, my dad, being portuguese thought it was blasphemous that we allotted more room for flowers than edibles. lol

    I dont have any gardening blogs or such that i read… i learned everything from my dad… here’s what i learned and i hope it helps:

    Sun – you need very sunny spots so they get a lot of sun as long as possible each day

    water – tomatoes and lettuce require a lot of watering. if they’re in pots thought, be careful to not over water so you dont get root rot.

    Soil – turn the soil around your veggies every once in a while to allow for air to get into the soil

    flowers… well, he didnt care much for flowers… lol

    i’ve been doing what my dad taught me for 2 years now. I get really awesome tomatoes and lettuce every year. last year cucumbers as well… peppers though… i fail at. those just won’t grow for me… if you figure out how to get those to grow please let me know 🙂

    good luck and happy gardening!

  3. Kristi Says:

    I would definitely check out You Grow Girl’s website. She does a lot with container gardening, and her books are full of great information. Also, my favourite container gardening book on my shelf is The Bountiful Container. I have done containers for the last few years in apartments, but this year, now that I have a house, I just put in two raised beds.

    Which I guess are just really BIG containers! 🙂

  4. Jody Says:

    One of the sites I use is – this site helps with basic information and has just a good overall coverage of all the different facets of gardening. I was raised in Saskatchewan and as an adult have moved all over Canada and the US – we finally settled down in Dallas and bought a house – so needless to say I had absolutely no idea about growing conditions down here and have had to learn by trial and error. When I just need a little information to help fill in the blanks I find that I can usual find what I need on

    It’s been 5 years now and I get great comments from the neighbors (or neighbours if I revert back to being Cdn) on my yard – so I guess I’ve finally figured it out a bit…


  5. Judy G. Says:

    I have four half-barrels in which I do all my gardening. Three are usually dedicated to flowers- geraniums, trailing stuff, spikes, and the other one is planted with carrots for the dogs to excavate.

    Of course, all this green-thumbery is dependant on the frickin’ snow taking a break. Maybe next week…

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