On June 3, 2010, I was chatting with a co-worker who turned out to be a member of the about the Abbotsford Community Garden, a well-kept secret. She gave me the name of the contact person and I quickly phoned to be put the waiting list. It turn out that plot #100 had just come available that day so we quickly claimed it. Read more …

I found the community garden experience so fascinating that I started taking photos and writing about it the next summer, August 2011. I continued this blog until the end of September 2013. Those old posts can be found in the collection below.

Thinking Ahead

Last year, our kale plants provided delicious salads right through until early spring. I didn’t manage to get this year’s winter kale crop seedlings in as early (actually I was a full month later) so I can’t expect the same production from these...

Fortextacies

I continue to be impressed by this amazing bean variety. At the beginning of September, I expected to pull the plants after what I considered to be a full harvest, but I’m an optimist and when I saw new blossoms, I left them alone. The vines are bedraggled and...

Tucked Up for Winter

I thought about calling this post The Dark Side, but that wouldn’t be fair. The north end of the plot is getting ready for winter and won’t have any more work to do until early spring. As a result of covering this quarter with black plastic, the soil will...

The Sunny Side

Saturday defied the forecast of rain, so we headed over to the garden to do a little harvesting and cleanup. The south half of the plot yielded one zuchinni, two quarts of beans, eight carrots, seven stalks of rhubarb and a grocery bag of kale. Jim also took some time...

Kale Borscht

You’ve probably guessed that we’re big on soup. We each take a jar to work for our lunch every day and it’s always homemade. Yesterday’s trip to the garden gave us two onions, two zucchinis, a quart of Fortex beans, four gigantic Cylindra beets...

Green Velvet Soup

I made another easy summer soup on the weekend. Necessity is the mother of invention and I didn’t feel like using those giant zucchinis for baking. This soup turned out to be velvety, creamy and delicious. 1 sweet onion, diced 1 tablespoon butter 5-8 cloves garlic,...

Snap Pea Soup

I picked the bulk of the snap peas last week. After two weeks of hot, dry weather, not many of the pods looked nice enough to serve raw, although they still tasted fine. I also noticed the occasional pod with a worm inside, another reason not to put these out on a...

Wonderstruck

What a wonderful time in the gardening season. So much abundance, so much beauty....

First Beans

The very first of the Fortex pole beans were ready on Wednesday when I visited the garden with my almost-seven-year-old granddaughter. I fed one to her like a mother bird giving its baby a delicious worm. According to the West Coast Seeds catalogue: This stringless...

Bumper Crop

Spaghetti squash are trying to take over the entire garden. I have to keep pinching out the growing tips of the vines. It seems early to have squash this big – looks like we’re going to have another bumper crop. Last year we stacked spaghetti squash against the...

Yes, Virginia …

… that really is a zucchini. And now we see what happens when we don’t check carefully under all the leaves!  

Jack and the Beanstalk

When our family came to visit the garden, the granddaughters were delighted with everything. They each got to pull a carrot. How magical to see that perfect orange vegetable appear out of the dirt. Felicity, age three, was almost defeated by her carrot’s...

Heartwarming Harvest

We had to go to the garden on Tuesday after work to water since it hasn’t rained in a week and a half, but what a reward! While Jim manned two hoses, I started picking snap peas and ended up with half an ice cream pail. Then beets, carrots, zucchini, onions and...

Onions, Turnips and Beans

I think we must have the perfect climate for Walla Walla onions. I hope it’s not just two lucky years in a row. These onions are seriously amazing – so trouble free and delicious. We transplanted the whole box of tiny onion seedlings and they have never...

Spinach Success

Even if the mesclun was an abject failure, our Tyee spinach was a resounding success. First we were eating spinach that grew from a sowing last fall. It was only a couple of inches high after the winter, but soon took off and gave us a wonderful harvest. By the time...

May I Have a Volunteer?

I wouldn’t plant potatoes on purpose because Jim is allergic to them. But one small hill that showed up all on its own can’t hurt, right? Just one taste is all I ask. So, many thanks to this willing volunteer now in bloom. New potatoes can’t be far...

Mesclun Fail

So far my methods for trying to grow baby greens have not been very successful. This year I planted two of the sixteen squares in the beet box with a mesclun seed mix. It’s not that the baby greens didn’t grow. They did very well. Failure had more to do...

Pea History Repeats Itself

Once again, our beautifully lush Cascadia peas grew higher than their support. Once again, just as they were blooming, we had a tremendously heavy rainstorm. And, of course, once again the vines fell over just as a gorgeous crop of snap peas was in sight. I hope the...

Beet Box

One of the improvements Jim made to our community garden plot this spring was the addition of a raised 4′ x 4′ bed just beyond the rhubarb. The box sits 16 inches above the garden perimeter frame and has made a huge difference. Last year our extremely...

Kale Spring Growth

On Saturday we were able to pick half a grocery bag of kale from the new spring growth on our plants. That will keep us in salad for a week. The plants seem to be producing new leaves at a fast enough rate to provide greens right into May or whenever they go to seed....

Rhubarb Is a Sign of Spring

Saturday was sunny – a rare occurrence here in early spring. It was inspiring enough to send us over to the community garden. We didn’t have to unlock the gate since several other gardeners had the same idea. This photo of our rhubarb looks almost the same...

Squash after Christmas

While I’m on the topic of eating fresh from from the garden in winter, I should mention that we still have four spaghetti squash left. I’d say they’re good keepers. It’s not like our garage is climate controlled or anything. Oh, make that...

Delicious, Healthy Kale Salad

We grew two kinds of winter kale, Blue Armor and Red Russian. Blue Armor is a lovely, frilly green, but has a tendency to collect mold along the underside of the stem, so I have to trim it carefully. Red Russian isn’t as attractive, except for it’s...

Winter Kale Harvest

Off and on throughout the winter we’ve stopped at the garden to gather our winter kale. These beautiful leaves have been through cold weather – they’re sweet and tender. Instead of our summer kale chips, we’re now enjoying delicious kale...

Squash We Didn’t Grow

These squash came from Wisbey’s, a farm near Yarrow and only a few miles east of us, so technically we could have grown them. But, our little garden plot would be overrun with this many varieties of squash plus the spaghetti and butternuts that we did give space...

Pumpkin Trek

We made our annual expedition to Wisbey’s farmgate market on Saturday. The piles of pumpkins, and bins of all kinds of squash are a beautiful sight. One year I left it too late, and there wasn’t much left, so we didn’t wait so long this time. In...

Fall Seed Bed

Technically, my fall planting was probably too late in the season, but it just might produce because of the unusually warm and dry weather we’ve had this year. Still no rain in over two months. That is setting records for our west coast rain forest climate. We...

Fall Harvest

We went to the garden on Sunday with our two oldest granddaughters to get supplies for our Thanksgiving feast. They were delighted to each harvest a big butternut squash. Picking basil was more of a challenge since the plants are pretty bedraggled. We thought...

Clever Cold Frame

I regularly stop by Sheila’s square foot garden plot for inspiration. Here’s the latest. To extend the season, she has succession-planted an assortment of cold hardy greens. Not only that, but she’s pushing back the boundaries even further with her...

Marigolds Are Good Company

One garden plot is edged completely by marigolds. Not only do they look bright and sunny, but they repel certain types of garden pests. I may have to look into this. I planted marigolds at home one year but they were delicious to slugs and I found their sad skeletons...

Aphid Attack

It’s getting harder and hard to find any kale leaves that are free from aphids. We’re gradually cutting the the big kale plants out, salvaging what leaves we can, and sending the rest to the compost pile. Fortunately, the new crop of kale is coming along...

First Fall Garden Visit

After two cold, cloudy days that produced no rain, we’re back to sunny skies. At the garden, tomatoes, peppers and beans are doing beautifully. Not ours, sadly. It’s a shame to have missed that BC rarity – the bumper tomato crop. I really backed the...

Spaghetti Squash Tally

Jim pulled out the spaghetti squash vine since the leaves were completely dead. He carried the squash to our car in a wheelbarrow after I took this photo. There were fourteen, plus two we’d already eaten and one growing outside the fence that completely...

First Butternut

The temptation was too great. I knew the butternuts weren’t ripe yet – they haven’t been growing long enough. This was the first one to set, therefore the biggest, but I could tell by looking at the skin that it was still on the green side. Even so,...

Crunchy Kale Chips

I did not expect the kale to get so tall. The top of the fence is about 24 inches high; the kale has doubled that and is still growing. At our house, summer kale gets ignored when there are so many other vegetables that taste amazing and are begging to be eaten. Its...

Caught in the Act

If we didn’t already know who was responsible for our loss of carrot and kale property, we do now. Jim’s sharp eye caught a glimpse of the suspect, so thinking fast, he began photographing the crime in progress. Since this robbery took place in...

Community Garden Harvest Barbecue

On Saturday, September 10, we had a garden party! We celebrated the harvest, visited each other’s plots and feasted together. It was a true west coast meal enjoyed under the trees on a perfect September day – fresh corn on the cob, salmon barbecued in foil...

Blooming Onions

What can I say? There is artistry everywhere at the community...

Fennel Squared

The community garden is a amazing array of creativity and beauty. On Labour Day weekend I took a stroll around the 130 or so plots to enjoy what our fellow gardeners have been up to this year. Among the many inspiring and unique things to look at, I found this choice...