Wow - what a season it has been!
With the temperatures approaching freezing and the shortest day of the year just around the corner, our garden is officially all bundled up for the winter (and by bundled up we mean nestled in a couple inches of beautiful compost and wrapped up with a leaf-mulch coat!).
And so with the garden all tucked in, we wanted to share just a few reflections from our first season in business.
Over the past 10 months we’ve had the joy of connecting with thousands of gardeners through our Happy Hour Program with West Coast Seeds (a little more on that later in the post) and are so grateful for all of these connections. Additionally, we received an immeasurable number of messages from gardeners sharing the joy, peacefulness, and restoration that the garden has brought them over the past years. It has been our greatest joy to hear these stories and to facilitate this connection for many newer gardeners — which brings us to our second reflection
At the core of supporting new gardeners' experiences is education and the mental health benefits of gardening. This has been our focus and we are more certain than ever just how critical this will be as we grow in the coming years. Providing new gardeners the ability to learn the ins and outs of gardening has helped so many feel comfortable and confident in getting their hands dirty, and as a result more quickly tap into just how restorative it can be. A key element of this has been our Happy Hours and I’m THRILLED to share that us and the West Coast Seeds team are already ironing out the details for what will be on tap for 2022!
But what I realized through these Happy Hours is that while that education is so key, there might be something even more valuable in them…
As the Happy Hours rolled along, I noticed a sense of camaraderie growing amongst us. Individuals joining from all across Canada for their second, third, fourth happy hours. Greeting one another in the chat and shouting LET’S GROW before I could even ask the prompt! Gardening is such a communal experience, but the isolation of the last few years has made this more difficult to facilitate. Connecting on those Happy Hours to share our successes and flops from the past season was such a joy and sense of connection.
Speaking of those successes and failures…
Garden Highs & Lows
As with every gardener, we too had our highs and lows in the garden this past season - and felt it was only fair to share a few of our favourites!
- Wins: The unseasonably hot June really helped our Garlic have its best season yet, while also providing great early growing conditions for our Tomatoes, Peppers, and Basil. However, all of these were outdone by the Cucumbers that seemingly were producing like a factory on a weekly basis. We used an A-Frame trellis structure that allowed the plant to grow beautifully and we’ll definitely have a video on this structure next season.
- Flops: As always, the number of flops and fails was at least equal to the number of successes. From bolting broccoli, to aphid and cabbage moth takeovers, to tiny strawberries, there were plenty of crops that left us scratching our heads for which variables to tweak and adjust for the coming season.
And with that said, we’re already dreaming of the 2022 season and putting these learnings into action. In early 2022 we are going to share some of the initiatives we have planned for the year ahead and we can’t wait for you to see them. But until then, we wanted to leave you with a few of our favourite questions for reflecting on the past season.
1) Which plants brought me joy/happiness throughout the season?
2) Which plants frustrated me and brought negative energy?
3) What am I curious/fascinated to grow next season?
4) What feels like a chore or work that I want less of next season?
We hope these reflective questions help you cap off your season on a high note. Make sure you give your garden beds — and yourself — a well deserved break to rest and recharge and we’ll catch you in 2022 for the best season yet!
Take a look back at some of our best moments from this past year of growing:
Here are 4 easy steps to close your Annual beds for the winter and begin rejuvenating for their biggest harvest yet!
Get your perennial fruits and vegetables tucked in for the winter with these 3 simple steps.
Take a minute to slow down - maybe it’s time to put the tools away for a few months?
Founder, Mind & Soil