A garden tour

Alive. Thriving and alive is what I see when I look out over my garden. It may be a tad unkept and it may be behind other plots in comparison, but considering it was completely devastated during a storm last July, I only feel gratefulness for what I have this summer.

Let’s take a tour, shall we? It changes so fast. Every time I pay a visit after a particularly hot day I notice the plants pushing higher, reaching further. Buds open after a good overnight rain and the fruit grows even bigger. These photos were taken over a week ago, and already there are changes. Considering we grew most of the garden from these seedlings, it’s a small miracle everything survived and thrived!

The lessons learned from gardening are numerous and change also happens from year to year as we learn from our mistakes.

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites lemon thyme

First there was the raised bed project, where we started with nothing and built our entire garden. They were only finished in August, so I didn’t get much of a harvest before winter set in. I learned it’s important to plan what to grow in your backyard vegetable garden.

The next year I fought with pests, and learned to edge my beds with strong smelling flowers such as nasturtium and marigolds. No more rodents or squirrels in the garden. I also learned about crop selection and much more which I shared in 5 Things I Won’t Do in My Garden Again.

The following summer – last year – disaster struck when a major storm dropped a massive tree on the garden. I learned about recovery and regrowth. About starting over.

This year, the lesson has been humbling. The silver lining from the fallen tree is that my garden has never thrived so well. The willow opened up such a huge block of sky, we’re getting sun like never before. Join me for a visual walk through the four raised beds. If you have any question, ask away in the comments section!

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  bike-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  kale-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites basil-1 A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  pansies-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  peas-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  close up peas-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  garlic-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  tall tomatoes-1A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  green tomatoes-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  lettuce-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  bean flowers-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  zucchini-1

A Garden Tour | Simple Bites  oregano-1

Perhaps you can now guess why the garden is one of my favourite places to slip away to for solace. Be it in the cool of the early morning, the heat of the afternoon or the shadows in the evening, the garden is a welcoming spot. I’m already planning ahead for my fall garden, which will include much more kale, a new crop of carrots and even more lettuce. Growing your own – it’s the best!

What is currently thriving in your garden?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Oh I love this, from the heart of winter your garden is such an inspiration. Ours is ready for a reinvention… cleared out, mostly and muddy – very. Every time we start to get going we have some torrential rain and patience… we really need to wait a couple of weeks, which is never easy!!!

  2. Wow. Just wow.

  3. I don’t have a garden ;[ but would love to grow all of the best (fall) things: kale, carrots, pumpkins!

  4. If you have a small plot and you want to stretch the lettuce – rather than picking the head – just pull off the outer leaves for a salad. The head will keep producing more leaves. Carrots are probably the easiest thing to grow. I always get a carrot crop while others can be hit or miss.

  5. Garden envy. That is all.

  6. since I live in an RV I don’t have a garden, but I do travel with potted plants. Sometimes I even grow lettuce and herbs.

    Growing, whether a garden or yourself is made better from mistakes and challenges.

  7. Aimee, your garden is so lovely and vibrant! Ours doesn’t look nearly as splendid as yours, but we have been enjoying eating from it almost every day for the last month. Especially the greens–this weather has been perfect for our lettuce, mesclun, and kale. I even managed to eat greens from the garden for every meal for a whole week (before I got a little worn out!).

  8. Just lovely! You are doing such good things, and, yes, having that extra light and heat will just make things thrive. For fun, as I have only a small veggie garden, I am reading Jean-Martin Fortier’s ‘The Market Gardener’ (he’s in the Townships) and it’s full of really great ideas that I can replicate on a small scale! Have fun and enjoy your gardening and summer days : )

  9. I am new to this site and love it! I planted my first vegetable garden this year, but I think I choose a section of the yard that does not get enough sun. This post is inspirational for my next attempt. Do you have different beds for your summer/fall vegetable gardens?

    • As some of the spring produce winds down (spinach, peas) I’ll pull them up and plant in their place. These are the only beds I have.

  10. A beautiful, flourishing garden! Completely in love with (and am now stealing the idea for) the wooden step-ladder as a trellis. Pinned and sharing the awesome concept with the world!

    • Lol. Thanks, Heather! Unfortunately, my cucumber plant isn’t doing as well as I’d like. It should be all over that ladder! PS: Ladder was picked up off the side of the street in a garbage pile!

  11. Does anyone have a tip for getting rid of horsetail weed? I just bought a house with a neglected raised bed garden and there are many weeds right now.

  12. I’ve been looking forward to one of these garden updates! Your gardening posts earlier this year inspired me to get a garden planted even though I was pregnant and wasn’t really sure I’d be up to gardening this summer. Now, with a thriving backyard garden, I am more grateful to you for the inspiration than ever. This might be my best year of gardening yet!

    Your garden looks like a backyard dream Aimee!

  13. Beautiful! I love touring vegetable gardens in the summer! Even the virtual ones are nice. We are currently harvesting beets that were planted the first day of spring break. They are delicious! We have eaten peas, but the recent hot weather has toasted them. We have pulled a few small carrots (because we couldn’t wait any longer) lettuce, spinach, and broccoli too. Potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, will come soon. Can’t wait for tomatoes and cucumbers.

  14. So much gorgeous green!! I dream about the day when we can have raised beds but for now I’ll live through your garden. 🙂

    I’m curious about the fall garden- are those frost hardy plants or harvested before the frost?

    • Harvested just before first frost. Actually, you can throw a row cover over the root crops at night and keep them until the ground freezes.

  15. Kimberly says

    What type of flowers are those in the very first photo? I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before, but they are beautiful, and I’m hoping they might work for my climate zone (zone 4-5)

    • If it’s the little peach/pink/yellow clusters of flowers that you’re wondering about, that’s Lantana. It comes in a few color variations, and is sort of self-dead-heading. It doesn’t like frost much, but you could look it up for your area for more info.

  16. Oh how beautiful! I’m a bit envious – no garden for me this year, except the few volunteer tomatoes I hastily threw into pots. Why? Our polar vortex destroyed so much of our old front yard shrubs that I decided to tear it all out this spring and summer. So I’m a bit preoccupied with landscaping in the yard and decided to preserve my sanity and forgo minding veggies too. Next year!

  17. GREEN ENVY! LOL! beautiful, just beautiful. Every year I say “someday I’ll have an amazing garden”… and then it gets away from me. I think I’m going to try large pots on the porch next year. And I LOVE your surrounding flowers and herbs to keep the pests down. Gotta try completely surrounding… will remember 😉

  18. I really adore your garden, with its burst of colours, delicious bounty, cool air and green surroundings – a perfect picture.

  19. I was planning on a garden this year, but now we are putting the house up for sale, but raised beds it is for me at the next place! Do you get enough food from the 4 raised beds to eat and preserve? I always grew up with a huge garden, just curious if you have to also buy from a local market for preserving?

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