It looks like the real thing!

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I have the Best. Boss. Ever.

He let me have not one, but two raised beds built because he knew that I love working in the garden. Of course, beautification of our shop isn’t bad for business. I contracted my neighbour, and he managed to build the beautiful cedar beds for me within 2-3 days. This was in early May.

I guess this is also the time that everyone is working on their gardens, because I contacted a number of soil delivery companies, and nobody was able to deliver immediately. I had really wanted to start seeding and transplanting things before my trip to Utah. I think my boss must have sensed a little bit of my disappointment, and he actually offered to go buy soil. I thought he was joking because based on the math, I needed A LOT of soil to fill these beds. Like 2.63 cubic yards (2,011 litres) of soil. He wasn’t kidding. He asked me where he had to go and what I needed. I sent him to Canadian Tire to pick up 24 bags of 85 litre Pro-Mix Organic Vegetable & Herb Mix ($15.99 per bag).

The story goes something like this. Beav (my boss’ nickname), walks in and tells the guy he needs 24 bags of soil. The guy rolls it all out to Beav’s car, stops, looks at Beav and asks, “are you planning on getting all of this into your vehicle?” Beav of course tells the guy that he’s certainly going to try. Success!

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On top of hauling all this soil, he then filled the beds for me. See, didn’t I say that he was the best boss ever?

On May 7 or 8, I started transplanting the chard, cosmos, and sunflowers. I had purchased a flat of marigolds. I seeded various types of basil, nasturtium, mustard, and pak choi.

I decided to try my hand at square foot gardening. Armed with the power drill, my favourite tool, I inserted hooks under the ledge after measuring everything out.

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Using garden twine, I divided up the two beds and ended up with 42 squares.

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I transplanted all the peppers and tomatoes a few weeks ago in early June, but before that, we had a little scare. Forecasters were predicting frost overnight on May 22. When I left work, the winds were fierce. I ended up with a plan and asked hubs if he could help me. This is what it looked like:

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I simply cut open some of our garbage bags. I was going to use the pile of loose rocks to hold the sheets down, but it was way too windy, so hubs helped me tape it all down with duct tape, and the chef helped carry those concrete bricks I found in the alleyway. Like I said, I had not yet transplanted the tomatoes or peppers, which would not have fit under the tent. The plants all survived.

Today, everything is thriving. The swiss chard that looked very sad when I first transplanted them are huge. They have been attacked by leaf miner, but there are salvageable stalks. But what impresses me the most today are the pak choi. That first photo I posted at the top is grown from seed. Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous?! I am going to cook it up tonight. I’m excited because I have never grown Chinese greens. Actually, I have at FoodShare, but these are ones that I grew myself, so it just feels that much more rewarding. The cosmos have really bushed out, as have the sunflowers. I even have sunflowers in bloom now. I purchased the seeds from West Coast Seeds because this caught my eye:

Normally we think of eating only the petals of sunflowers, but the unopened flower buds of this variety can be sauteed in butter or margarine for a delicious side dish that tastes a bit like artichokes.

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The garden is looking great, and my boss loves it too. He said that customers actually stand here and check it out. The produce delivery guys tease me whenever I’m out there. They claim I’m trying to put them out of business. Hmm, maybe I should start growing onions…

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