Find below our yearly gardening update. Wishing you all the best this growing season!
The gardens at the farm and the abbey were a real contrast in 2015. At the abbey, we got off to a cool wet start which, combined with the heavy soil, gave a good but slow start to the early crops. However, the peas suffered a lot of dear damage and moisture damage at harvest time so we got a poor seed crop. The wheats grew very well and produced abundantly but had disease damage. By contrast, we grew six oat cultivars (all new for us) which did very well and gave lovely high quality seed. Carrots and beets did very well, both for seed and eating, although too many carrots split, and some rotted in the ground.
The farm was drier but had much better pea seed production. The wheats did not come up well (drier, lighter soil) and produced a smaller crop, but of high quality. The carrot crop for eating was small due to poor germination because of the dry conditions, however, the carrot seed production did well. We had strange experiences with the other biennial root crops for seed though. The mangels we replanted didn’t even go to seed, they just grew wonderful leafy greens. And the beet and turnip we had planted for seed simply didn’t ever take off. Beans did well but, with the slow spring, had trouble maturing. The crop of melons was wonderful! We had an abundant crop of winter squash, (way more than we can eat!) but two of the four varieties are not keeping as well as usual. This is probably due to not being fully mature or sufficiently cured when they were put in storage (room temperature in boxes not too deep).
Rachelle is so grateful to have had Jody Dumais, a good friend, work as a seed saving intern with her all summer, thanks to a grant from The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security. The two lived together and were an incredible team throughout all their adventures of gardening, seed growing, wild flower walks, and in general moving back to the farm. A special thanks goes out to her and an additional thanks to all the friends and WWOOFer volunteers who worked with us this past summer.
With family and friends as neighbours, Rachelle’s transition to the farm continues in April when she will be there again for another growing season. She even hopes to be living there in the winter of 2016/17. This means a lot of figuring out logistics with the operation of our winter work and more but that all remains to be seen. Thanks AGAIN to my (Rachelle’s) wonderful neighbours out at the farm (Judy, Tom, Johnny, Betty, Janice, Shawn, Christopher, Rowan, Robin, and all the animals!) who are an immense support in many ways, not the least of which is simply being good company!
All the best to you in the 2016 growing season!
Looking forward to serving you,
Rachelle and Jim
2015 Letter from the Garden
2014 Letter from the Garden
2013 Letter from the Garden