Gardening in Nova Scotia (and some other things)

My Mom’s vegetable garden in rural NS, luckily we can grow our garlic here.
glimpse of our deck, where much of my gardening is taking place

From where I sit, not a single cloud.  The breeze is welcome and gentle while the landscape around us is turning burnt and crisp under the September sky.  No longer the fresh dewy patchwork but golden.  Only the spruce a deep ever green.  Summer is almost over. I’ve taken to stepping away from using social media completely for the last couple of summers. It has been a sacred practice and I can write a bit about the impact and how to in the future if you’re interested.

But for now… our gardens and plants. Life giving things.

I love September.  Even when I was young and going back to school, I loved our county fairs, fresh cheese curds, the smell of cows and the hope that a new school year heralds even though I’d inevitably fall into dread over school work I had 0 interest in (thank you university for changing that). Now, I love it solely for the turn of the wheel – the light cast over the ocean, earlier sunsets, warm afternoons and cool nights and mornings.  The sound of insects, canning, the long exhale after chalk full summers.  Looking toward the dark times with anticipation and gratefulness. 

Oh, but life looks different now.  No longer do I have a large vegetable garden to slowly harvest among the weeds and mosquitoes of Prince Edward Island.  This was the first year I attempted to garden on a deck just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Our space is a portion of our old land but I find the challenge exciting and the ability to be outside under the vast sky without bug spray very liberating >.<  There are a few plants I derive so much pleasure from growing, tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, herbs and an array of flowers.   This first year gardening has me brimming with ideas for next – who needs a lawn anyway? And never let thinking because you don’t have a lot of space stop you from engaging with the natural world via growing your own herbs, fruits, veg or flowers.

Just a portion of our containers harvest! All grown from seed <3

Enabling plants to grow from seed to their death is an integral part of my life. I find a lot of meaning being part of the cycle and process, especially when we can reap the rewards of the plant and use during the dark times of the year. Seeing how happy the bees, insects and birds are is such an added bonus and makes me feel connected to our planet, our universe.

At the end of August, I harvested 100 and some bulbs of garlic that we planted last fall.  Much of which will be kept to plant this fall again.   Being able to drive out to rural Nova Scotia to be with the weather and wilds is special.  It’s comforting to know that if I can’t grow it at our small property, there is a home for our garlic.  That being said, so much can still grow on a small property with deer, osprey (have found a fish) and squirrels. Around our house, I’ve dug and dug new gardens.  Placing stone borders out of the rocky soil.  A garden gnome under a newly planted Japanese Maple, a fairy by the irises.  I like to imagine the childlike spirit walking by spotting the elementals among the plants.  Perhaps they wave and nod to curious onlookers 😊

The grow lights worked magically – no longer were my seedlings stretching out as thin as possible to reach the elusive window sill sun.  Under the light grew strong tomatoes, peppers, statice, strawflower, basil, parsley, geraniums and lavender.  Using the old folk wisdom, the first full moon in June – all of the plants found a home in pots and in the freshly dug gardens.  I let out of sigh of relief when everyone has found a home outdoors.

Container gardening was not without its challenges… there was the constant need for water.  Realizing that my plants were not receiving enough nutrients via the store-bought soil (or could it have been from drowning them with the pressure of a hose?).  Next year, I’ll definitely be making some soil combinations in hopes of preventing bottom rot and white fly infestation.  But for the most part, the tomatoes and peppers have been growing beautifully.  Already, 6 jars of tomato sauce for future pizza, pastas and soups have been canned and find a home in the basement until winter. The ever-lasting flowers (statice and strawflower) grew very well in a garden I cleaned out.  They are so much fun to cut and hang in the kitchen or to give as small bouquet gifts.  I managed to grow an abundance of parsley, basil, chives and mint in pots (the dill failed dreadfully!) so hanging in our kitchen are braids of garlic, herbs and dried flowers.

There are so many banana peppers as well! I may attempt to pickle them because we love pickled peppers on homemade pizza.

Last weekend, we drove from Halifax to Montreal to spend time with my family in St. Hilaire and see HEILUNG play live.  The experience was every possible way of describing magical.  I felt elated and walking down St. Catherines Street in the pouring rain afterwards, empowering!!  Returning, our house was painted black and I can’t help but feel my heart skip a beat seeing the salmon geraniums against the black painted wood panels.  It’s been a dream to have a black painted house and I can not wait to see the garden envelope it next year!

A dream come true : geraniums against a black house

I hope so much that you enjoyed your summer.  It was a beautiful summer here with plenty of time spent outdoors.  Currently, I’m preparing to release the Pangur Ban sweater pattern and about 5 sweaters that are made and ready to go.  The sketches are small doodles to make the pattern a wee bit more visually interesting.  It should be available on September 22nd (equinox time) and I’ll write on here when it’s ready 😊  Only 6 years after I initially designed it – better late than ever, eh?

Many Moon Blessings

Some pictures taken of late of plants and various other things. I hope you enjoy and thank you for being here <3

Herbs on the deck : parsley, mint and basil galore
At my Moms, echinacea around the greenhouse
Doodles
Our small garden outside the deck, growing strawflower and statice
Garlic planted in the fall of 2021, harvest August 2022
Simple sketches to decorate the pattern –
Heilung in Montreal <3
Current projects : The last Pangur Ban sweater and a pair of socks for the winter using Belfast Mini Mills PEI wool
Into the woods every day with Henry girl
Canning our tomatoes for winter sauces
The barn under a beautiful sky in rural NS

7 thoughts on “Gardening in Nova Scotia (and some other things)

  1. What a beautiful harvest – veggies, herbs and flowers! As always, Julia, your post makes me smile and warms my heart. 💚

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