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Hello my friends!
A month ago I was whining on how much snow we had had, and how cold this winter has been. Unfortunately, it is still unusually cold in our garden zone 8-ish, and we cannot do as much as we wish in the garden yet. It has been raining and snowing and then raining and snowing again, even kids are saying we have had enough of winter this year. This would probably disappoint anyone, and we really cannot wait for spring to come. But we are not sitting idle and waiting for mercy from the weather gods. On the opposite, we have been planning, and seeding, and transplanting plants, and seeding again 🙂
We also had a huge pine tree cut down two weekends ago.
Its top had broken in one of the storms a few years ago, as our neighbour told us, and it was also covered with ivy which kept spreading all around. So we had applied for a tree cutting permit and got a guy coming and taking it down. He did a great job! We were first thinking about probably renting a big saw and cutting it on our own, but at the end of the day decided to let professionals do their thing.
The tree was big, and it took him a few good hours to prepare it till he finally could take it down. Here what it looked like when he started removing the ivy:
and here it is all down.
The yard looks so open now!
What a difference it made in terms of the sunlight reaching all these corners! My husband is planning on adding a few more beds there, and we also want to plant a few fruit trees along the fence. We were thinking about an apricot tree (a semi-dwarf variety), two sour cherry trees and possibly a quince tree. I have read so many gardening books this winter and I found Fruit Trees in Small Spaces: Abundant Harvests from Your Own Backyard (<< affiliate link), by Colby Eierman, having a lot of good information on planning a backyard orchard with trees varieties for different garden zones listed. I found it in our local library, but it is definitely one of the few books to buy on my list.
Since our backyard is not very big, and we also need to keep a room for Alan and his friends to play there, we can only plant dwarf and semi-dwarf tree varieties. Though they won’t probably produce tons of fruit, but staggering harvests can hopefully help. Having some early season fruit trees like cherries and apricots, followed by figs in summer and persimmons and quince in late fall, will hopefully allow us to enjoy homegrown fruit for the whole season.
We have already planted one fig tree in the front yard, and are planning on planting another one later in spring. Do you grow persimmons? We love persimmons, as they were very popular in our home country, and you know as they say – your happy child memories will form your preferences for many years (I would say forever :)). But they are very difficult to find here in the Lower Mainland.
Also, my mom and my grandma used to make the best quince jam! I will try to get a recipe from my uncle’s wife and will share it with you one day.
Anyway, we had our friend’s birthday party to go the day the tree was cut, and the party was awesome. However, it was snowing again on our way back home, and there was a “surprise” waiting for us when we got inside.
The house was freezing!
Our furnace stopped working! Can you believe it?! On Sunday morning I was cold and itching to start making phone calls to furnace repair companies. We also called a company that had checked the furnace during the home inspection just a year ago. Can you imagine how frustrated we were, as NOBODY was answering the phone. All these companies advertising themselves as 24/7 – nobody was responding. I was slowly reaching the end of the companies list. I was almost going to hang up the phone after a few rings,
When suddenly a guy PICKED UP THE PHONE!!!
I was both excited and tired, and cold, but he told me: “we can come and check the furnace today, however, if we needed to get the parts replaced, we would not be able to get them for you today, as it is Sunday. So, did you want to book an appointment for tomorrow morning?”
Are you kidding me???
Yes, I get the stores are closed, and I understand that it might not be repaired today, and I understand that another cold night is waiting for us… but if you come today, at least you can find out what the problem is, can’t you??? So, I told him that I can book an appointment, but honestly, if I find someone to come to our place today, I will be calling and canceling it.
So, he agreed to come and see it on Sunday. Phew. When he arrived and looked at the furnace, he said it was 16 years old, and we could try and repair it for $600-700. But, for $3,500 we could get a new energy-efficient and quiet furnace with 10 years warranty installed tomorrow. After a quick discussion, my husband and I decided to go for it. Though, we had to “rob” our line of credit to get that huge (for us at this moment) amount of money, the house is warm now! The guys from the Pacific Coast heating company were at our home next day on time and got the new furnace installed. It did not turn out to be as quiet as I thought it would be, but it for sure more quiet than our older one.
Back to the garden planning 🙂
The house is warm, we are warm, so are the seedlings in our basement! We were worried about them so much, as we could at least wear layers, but what would you do with the plants? But here they are, growing big and happy!
So far we have the following growing under the lights in the basement:
- a few tomato varieties,
- leeks and sweet onions,
- purple and green basil, celeriac,
- sweet potato,
- marigolds and amaranth.
We have cabbages, cauliflower, sprouting broccoli, and Chinese cabbage growing on the windowsill waiting to be transplanted outside. I will provide an overview of the varieties and their performance later in the season.
We have also a few plants growing outside under the hoops, and they so far keep us hopeful and happy 🙂
We also keep on growing microgreens at home (pea shoots and sunflower seeds), and we love them! We have ordered them from Mumm’s Sprouting, and they offer a free shipping (in Canada) for orders over $25.
A note: we are not getting paid for advertising both Pacific Coast heating and Mumm’s Sprouting, it is just a satisfied customer review and reference 🙂
We are planning to bring lots of wood chips to cover the area between the raised beds in the backyard. We also want to completely get rid of the grass in the front yard and cover it with wood chips as well. We will be building a few raised beds in the front yard as well, as it gets plenty of sunshine during the day. We want to plant some peppers and eggplants, along with herbs and flowers there in summer, and various brassicas in the fall and hopefully in winter. I also want to plant a few new things this summer, like okra and possibly Jerusalem artichoke.
Do you feel our excitement?
What are your plans for this gardening season? Are you trying anything new in the garden this year? Please share your ideas 🙂