Our yard has had two large raised beds in it for the past few years but our job commitments had kept us away from putting much effort into preparing them for use. The last time we did anything to them was adding soil and compost. In fact, we were using one of the beds just for composting before picking up an actual composter and we will be adding more. We have put a lot of kitchen scraps into that compost bin during the warmer months and hope it has produced something good as a result.
Because winters are so long, or hold on so long around this part of British Columbia, it isn’t easy to grow in our environment. However, we are much more optimistic knowing we will have a collection of composters doing most of the hard work. We have done a fair bit of research on composting and are very careful in what we add to the mixture we are trying to create. In fact that’s one of the things George tends to remind me of each week when he collects the household garbage to take to the curb.
We barely fill a complete garbage bag with trash. I recycle as much of the tin, paper/cardboard packaging as possible as well as add to the composting. All that is left is just the things we can’t recycle or compost. For a couple in their late 50’s in a tiny little house, we do pretty well when it comes to being as environmentally conscious as we can with our waste and the products we buy. We tend to read the labels a lot more and pay attention to ingredients.
One of the things I want to do this year with those raised beds is to grow something. Many of my customers quiz me about the contents of my JamBusters! products and we use as much locally-grown produce as possible. The organically grown produce we pick up elsewhere in the valley creates a great deal of interest and that has had a lot to do with our desire to start growing some of our own ingredients for my home canning business.
I had a surprisingly good result last year with heritage tomatoes I let grow in pots on our back deck. The sun hit them steady and I ended up with enough tomatoes to produce a good sized batch of green salsa. That took very little effort on my part other than frequently watering them and covering them each night to keep away the deer. The salsa turned out great and customers were impressed that the green colour was from heritage tomatoes and not something I added to get that colour.
The summer of 2017 will be an exciting one for us as we will be using some of the best compost tumblers available to amp up the quality of the soil in our raised beds. However, with deer frequenting our yard daily, we will need to fence off the section we will be using with the raised beds. The beds will be getting direct sun for the entire day, which we planned for years ago when we first put them in.
As our vending schedule is already filling up, with monthly events locally and others starting up nearby, now is the time for us to start planning our garden. We will have to be organized if we expect to get anything planted this year. Thankfully we already have the raised beds, some compost, an ongoing cycle of creating compost and a plan to grow some of our own ingredients for the JamBusters! product line. It should be an awesome year for us.