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.

Powdery Mildew

We've had it every year, but I never knew exactly what it was. I just called it the end of the season. So I am very disturbed that it hit us hard in the third week of August. The zucchini plants are covered with it and the spaghetti squash looks pretty unhappy too....

What’s That Perfume You’re Wearing?

I actually looked around to see if I could find out who was wearing the incredibly exotic perfume, but Jim pointed to these flowers in Frank and Elizabeth's garden. They're not as showy as some of their colourful cousins, but I have never smelled a more wonderful...

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...

Killdeer

I can't help thinking of these adorable birds as clowns. They call out their name, "Killdeer, killdeer," to get your attention, and then run away, staying just out of reach. They never get so far ahead that you'll be discouraged from following them, or close enough...

Great Blue Heron

Considering the abundance of voles in the community garden, I thought it was only a matter of time before the predators started to show up - owls, hawks, coyotes, foxes, even neighbourhood cats. What I didn't expect was a great blue heron, but apparently they feed on...

Too Beautiful for Words

The dappled sunlight and one of my favourite colour combinations, green and purple, made this a perfect...

Succession Planting 2

Succession planting has been happening all along. We've sown Cylindra beets and transplanted basil into the squares where the lettuce was harvested, and transplanted a pepper plant into the former kohlrabi bed. However, this is probably the last succession planting...

A Pea Patch Surprise

The forecast was sunny and HOT for the next few days, so on Friday I took advantage of the relatively cool morning to do some garden cleanup. First I did something I've seen in my neighbour's summer squash patch  - I pruned out some of the leaves. I have no idea if...

Vertical Squash Space

This trellis is constructed as described in the All New Square Foot Gardening, a book I highly recommend. We have the right netting - big enough to put your hand through and tough enough not to break - but we didn't manage to get it attached properly. We basically...

Making Rather Merry

I haven't been writing blog posts about the garden because our daughter Lydia was married on July 28 in Kelowna. It was a beautiful wedding in a garden chapel - so pretty. I didn't take any photos at the wedding myself because I didn't want the distraction, and it...

We’ve Been Discovered

... but not in a good way. I suspect voles because all of these chewed on root vegetables show tiny, gnawing marks right on the heel. Oddly, anyone who tells me about losing produce to the voles has been attacked underground. This damage is all above the soil line....

Goat Hello

It was not easy to get a photo of the goats. They are so friendly that they always get too close to the camera. A gate shot definitely wasn't a good...

Nasturtiums

There was a time when edible flowers were all the rage. They were gorgeous, if surprising, in salads and as garnishes. When I lived closer to my mother, each year I'd make a cake for her September birthday and top it with nasturtiums. Absolutely...

A Cautionary Tale

Yes, children, this is what will happen if you don't take care to control your mint. Experienced gardeners are always warning novices about this. Mint is a perennial that does very well in this area and quickly spreads underground. The community garden mint varieties...

Voles Beware

Will it work? We beat the rabbit problem with fences. Now, some sections of the community garden are overrun with voles, who recognize a golden opportunity when they see it. The natural predators haven't caught on, so gardeners are desperately seeking solutions....

Space Available

Succession planting is easy in a grid system. Every time a square comes open, we plant an appropriate crop there. This  way we never have too much of any vegetable ready to harvest at one time. It also reduces the odds of a crop being completely wiped out by...

Pepper House

This little greenhouse, placed horizontally, was just the thing to help the butternut squash get going. They quickly grew to touch both sides. Fortunately, the weather warmed up and we could put the greenhouse right way up for some other use. I considered using it for...

One Week into July

Finally, this is looking like the garden we dreamed of. Some squares of the grid have been harvested already, some are in production, and some are well on their way.  The east side, on the left, shows a hill of butternut squash, one spaghetti squash, the unfinished...

Lamb’s-Quarters

Okay, so everybody has their little hobbies. One of mine just happens to be edible weeds. I know, it's a little weird. But I have good authority for it, no less than Euell Gibbons, beloved guru of the nature-loving sixties, and our thoroughly reliable National Museum...

Hope for the Warm Side

The warm weather vegetables are finally beginning to seem like they will make something of themselves. The one zucchini plant that came up from seed is looking healthy. The two in the foreground are not so vibrant, but I only transplanted them  a week earlier, and I...

Hakurei Turnips

A few days ago I mentioned that I've decided kohlrabi is an inefficient vegetable to grow in limited space (like our 10 x 20 plot). Today I discovered  hakurei turnips, thanks to our resident master gardener, Nancy. How could I not have known about these gems before?...

Overwintered Onions

Our Walla Walla sweet onions are coming along very nicely, but the bulbs are only half the size of these overwintered onions in Diane and Mark's plot. Taking advantage of the colder months takes some thought and planning, but it's a good way to extend the harvest in...

A Beet Feast

These two were the perfect size for dinner last night - one tennis ball-sized beetroot each, plus a healthy serving of greens. With butter and salt they were delicious. I have decided that beets are a much better use of garden space than kohlrabi. Our beets were...

Classic Square Foot

Sheila has created a classic, by-the-book square foot garden. We've often found her at the greenhouse building components with her electric, multi-purpose mitre saw. Just out of the photo is a bed with a trellis across the centre, running north-south. This is a work...

Pea Blossoms

An important day - the peas are in bloom! I'm a little awestruck by how tall, sturdy and healthy these pea vines are. I'm also a little chagrined that the poor beets in their shade are struggling for light. I didn't think that through carefully enough. Nevertheless,...

Picnic Grove

Our picnic area has the appearance of a secluded nook. So many trees growing so close together was an accident, but a happy one in my opinion. It's hard to believe that the Trans-Canada Highway is just beyond that...

A New Addition

Last year I thought the pink flamingos were whimsical, but here's a new touch! One other thing I like about this garden is the two story growing area that you can see in the front left of this photo. The shade underneath the planter shelters tender lettuce during the...

Gated Community

Speaking of beautifully crafted gardens, Jim couldn't get enough of admiring this gorgeous gate....

Lynne and Wendy’s Garden

I was charmed by this raised bed plot. I can imagine how much work it took to get each square so perfect - all that edging. But the lovingly crafted wood signs are what I 'm most taken...

Mystery Vegetables

When we took our stroll through the garden to admire other member's plots, I found two vegetables that I am unfamiliar with and couldn't identify. If you have any idea what either of these is, and how they are used, please leave a comment. We'd really like to...

An Inspirational Idea

How to achieve elegant simplicity. 1 - Grow vegetables that have few pests and won't be bothered by rabbits. 2 - Plant a crop that will be finished by the time the other crop needs the space. 3 - Give your squash a head start with floating row covers, shaped by hoops...

A Small Surprise

We pulled the last of the radishes on the weekend. Apparently we have been...

East Bed Progress

We won't mention the west bed where the warm weather vegetables are planted, because we haven't been having any warm weather. But the growth in the east bed is remarkable. These vegetables are all cold hardy, and are not complaining one bit about the weather. Note to...

Rabbit Report

We had a terrible week of rainy, November-like weather. Did we even see the sun? I wasn't sure if there would be much to photograph at the garden on such a dreary Saturday, but what we saw kept us entertained. At four in the afternoon, plenty of people were tending...

A Bee Enjoying the Lavender

I was glad to see so many bees around the lavender. Without these hard-working pollinators, our food crops would be in big trouble. Fortunately, these particular bees have a very good home in the hives...

But Why Purple?

The community herb garden is a stunning sight right now. The chives and sage are in full bloom and the thyme is just starting to flower. Soon our faithful volunteers will cut back these plants for a new crop of leaves, but for the moment, it's a feast for the eyes. I...

Battered Butternut

After two weeks, the only squash that had sprouted was the single zucchini , so I did exactly what I predicted. I bought a lovely box of butternut squash seedlings that I found at Howard Wong's. It was the last one, and they were the perfect size. What's more, there...