Story of Our Garden

It had been a decade since I’d had a garden. An avid gardener since 1997, I felt the absence of a garden strongly. So when I bought a condo in 2016 and had the opportunity to rent a plot through the condo community garden project, the little 4′ X 10′ piece of land became my summer baby.

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My son Michael during the early days of the garden. Shown here left to right, top to bottom are grape tomatoes, Swiss chard, carrots, and yellow beans.

Many people have gardens–better gardens. But with everything that happened to me in the last decade, I consider myself fortunate to have this little piece of land to play on. I never thought I’d have a garden again.

Consequently, my “baby” became a major topic of discussion. Photographs were taken, growth of the plants was documented, and, of course, the first harvest and resulting meal were a big deal.

The story of my son’s and my garden was so well received that I thought I’d share it here.

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First harvest: grape tomatoes, red and green Swiss chard, carrots, yellow beans. A nutritious lunch with eggs for protein. Carrot soup with fresh ginger and basil at top right.

Garden food has substantially more nutrition than anything we can buy. The effect on health and energy is noticeable.

When one eats this food–organic but also fresh and unstored–cravings go away. One feels light and energetic but satisfied. There are no adverse effects such as heartburn or bloating.

Everything used here was pure food, fresh from the garden and served within 30 minutes of harvesting to retain the maximum amount of nutrients. Purchased items for seasoning included sea salt and Himalayan salt, fresh ground pepper, fresh garlic, fresh basil, and European cultured butter. Free-run brown eggs added protein and nutrients found in the yolk. This was a balanced meal that made me feel full of vitality and health.

We had many such meals throughout the summer. Earlier in the season, we also had radishes, but after two rounds of crops, we didn’t plant more.

This year, winter came early. On Saturday, October 1, it poured rain, so no gardening. I also had the Words in the Park event. On Monday, October 3, it was +15°C (59°F), but I worked all week, and it was dark by the time I came home.

I’m considering setting up a light next year for the dark evenings later in the season. Fall mornings are cold and the surface of the ground can be frozen. By October, the sun doesn’t rise until eight o’clock.

Daylight June 20 (summer solstice 2016)
First light 4:12 a.m.
Sunrise 5:05 a.m.
Sunset 10:08 a.m.
Last light 11:01 p.m.

Daylight October 12
First light 7:22 a.m.
Sunrise 7:57 a.m.
Sunset 6:45 p.m.
Last light 7:20 p.m.

On Friday, October 7, snow began to fall and covered the garden throughout the Thanksgiving weekend with temperatures hovering mostly below freezing. (If you haven’t yet noticed, I’m a weather geek. Been one all my life.)

On October 12, I got very fortunate, since I worked later in the day and all the elements lined up. It was +6°C (43°F)–a strikingly beautiful fall day with sun and the scent of dry leaves that made it feel wonderful just to be alive–when enough snow had melted that I could dig up the dead plants, turn the soil, and pull the quackgrass roots.

My little garden is now put to bed for the winter, and I can heave a huge sigh of relief.

garden3-piccollage-2016-10-15-10_23_02

Snow on Thanksgiving in early October. Final harvest on Oct. 12: Swiss chard that had survived -5°C and snow. Garden put to bed for the winter. Lasagna made with the last of the chard.

In light of what happened next, I am still counting my blessings, even days later, that I had the one day outside to clean up the mess from the first snow.

CBC News Edmonton released this article on October 14: ‘From sweat to slush’: Alberta getting hit by winter snow storm.

Related: Harbinger of Winter Does Not Stop Festival City (includes temperature records and photos for Edmonton).

About Eva Blaskovic

I am a multi-genre author of literary fiction and fantasy, and writer of non-fiction articles on parenting, writing, education, health, and travel. My background encompasses both the sciences and the arts. I teach at a specialized clinic for learning difficulties and mentor young authors. In addition to writing and teaching, my passions are weather, Indian food, gardening, and music. I have played eight musical instruments and spent many years immersed in taekwondo and karate. In my youth, I was an avid canoeist. I was born in Prague, Czech Republic, grew up in Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where I raised four children.
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6 Responses to Story of Our Garden

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