Game on: Garden season 2019 starts early


The short version:

It’s a mild winter here in Vancouver and I’ve already planted my fava beans. I’ve given up valuable gardening space for a passion project.

The long version:

The mild winter and the recent sunshine pulled me outdoors all week. I’ve pruned the boxwoods and lavender, cut back the dead foliage from the lily, crocosmia and black-eyed susans, and have cleaned up all the piles of rotting leaves and needles that have accumulated in unexpected corners.

The mild winter meant that we’ve enjoyed kale and mustard greens including arugula, pac choi and mizuna. With the recent sunshine, the chives and parsley are starting to grow and the first garlic sprouts are peeking out. Two weeks ago I replanted last summer’s surviving golden Swiss Chard: it was growing in a very dense row so I dug up and pulled apart the plants and spaced them more evenly. Already popular with the slugs/birds/rodents, the green foliage is being eaten as fast as it unfolds, leaving behind spiky yellow stems.

Today I planted an entire bed with fava beans. These seeds I saved from last year, and were the ones left on the plants for too long and dried naturally in the pods. This is an early planting record as I usually don’t plant these until late February. According to West Coast Seeds you can plant fava beans in October but in my experience the October favas never survive the winter. Hopefully the warmish weather will continue and they will all germinate.

I am starting to plan everything else that I want to grow. Space is limited this spring as two beds are already completely full, but the favas and garlic will be finished by summer in time to plant fall/winter crops. The other two beds will  somehow magically accommodate peas-potatoes-cucumber-zucchini-squash-pumpkins-nasturtiums-calendula-lettuce-lettuce-lettuce-arugula; I might have to go vertical. Planting space is down this year because I traded away my usual fava territory to Jan (complex real estate negotiations) in exchange for the space where he used to grow his tomatoes.

Next blog: The passion project.


About Chrystal

This blog is my online journal to keep track of what is going on in different parts of the garden, different times of the year.
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7 Responses to Game on: Garden season 2019 starts early

  1. Carol Waldmann says:

    Great to hear you are out in the garden. Do you to come and do mine now?? Please….

  2. Chrystal says:

    Thanks CW! Hope you have a good week…..

  3. tonytomeo says:

    How mild can it be? Our climate is famously mild (near San Jose), but it seems that so many in other regions are way ahead of us. We are please with all the rain we will be getting this week, but prior to this, our winter was a bit cooler than it is normally.

    • Chrystal says:

      Okay Mr. San Jose, you do have a famously and enviable mild climate! For us “mild winter” means not very much snow….

      • tonytomeo says:

        We got about half an inch of snow in February of 1976. Snow would be disastrous here. The difficulty with a mild winter though, is that plants that need significant chill do not do well here, or will not even survive here. Peonies do well in some spots, but I would not risk them. We grow a few cultivars of apples, but not like in other regions. I think that plants that prefer chill might be happy this year. It does not always work out that way. I happen to like the climate, but I do not think I would envy it if I was accustomed to another more variable climate.

  4. patsquared2 says:

    Wow! Your weather is so much nicer than mine!! We are in the teens and low 20’s during the day and nighttime is just a bit cooler. That said, I do have my seeds in house already and I am planning my garden layout which requires imagination as the garden is currently blanketed with snow. Love what you do and love your spirit. Thanks for sharing Chrystal!

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