Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Last year, after moving into my condo, I had big plans to have a pretty little garden on my itsy-bitsy balcony. Inadvertently summer had come and gone before I got around to making my dream a reality. Sigh.

Sometimes perfect action is better than inaction.

This year I was determined! Sometimes perfect action is better than inaction. So, I set to it and bought a beautiful bounty of fresh herbs and plants from the local Parkdale Market on a sunny late-spring day. I eventually bought resin containers from Loblaws, keeping in mind that once the season comes to an end, I want to easily store them in my storage-locker until next spring. The idea of heavy, breakable planters did not seem viable for my current living situation. This is something you may want to keep in mind.

Edible Delights

I kept my garden theme quite simple - everything is edible: a plethora of herbs; curly-leaf kale; rainbow Swiss chard; and violas.

I wanted to grow kale and chard because I use these ingredients rather frequently whether or in juice, in salads, or as vegetable side-dishes. An awesome characteristic of growing kale and chard: it keeps growing and growing. Some lettuce, for example, is a one shot plant. You plant it and pick-it. And, it's done. With kale and chard, you pluck/harvest the outer leaves and the plant will grow more nutritious leaves. Kale has a long life and will grow through frost even - through to November in some cases. More yummy details on how to grow and harvest kale found here!

Herbs are full of antioxidant-rich and chlorophyll- rich sources making them a joy to use wherever and whenever possible. There truly is something magical about using homegrown herbs in cooking... Everything just tastes astronomically better.

The reason for which I chose violas is because they, like pansies, are full of colour and edible and they are cold-tolerant making them awesome from early-spring through to late fall. It's not often that I use ice in drinks, but when I do, I enjoy making decorative ice. Place half an ice-cube tray full of water with a single viola or pansy. Let it freeze and add more water. The viola or pansy will be frozen in the centre of the ice-cube. When I was a about nine years old, my mom taught me to do this and it has a way of always brings me back to childhood summers. This ice looks particularly beautiful in a pitcher of water that could be infused with garden basil and/or mint, cucumber, and lemon for a refreshing and aesthetically pleasing glass of water! The violas make a beautiful garnish on summer salads also. 

Perhaps you too are determined to have a plot of flowers and or veggies. If you have considered having a garden - big or small - there is still time this season. Most garden centres will taper their season before the beginning of July. Check with your local nurseries as they may have a prolonged season. This past weekend marked Summer Solstice with the longest day of the year... I trust that this infers that the sun and warmth are more decided on sticking around for a while; rather than repeatedly teasing us. So, why not make a go of it and treat yourself to the beauty of something that will grow and taste marvellous?

Next year: I will aspire to grow my veggies from organic, non-GMO seeds... 

Be good to you.

W xo