I really need to get out of the house and doing the garden is one easy way to do so .. I do not feel afraid in the garden. Can anyone recommend some really easy things to do there? I managed to plant a lot of stuff a couple years ago and some of it is doing well and some isn't. I'd like to do something a bit more productive though .. maybe grow some veg other than tomatoes which did not work very well? (and yes yes, I know that they are fruit not veg). I have tried other veg before but they just don't work for me.
I heard a bird cry, sharp and free. My name is Jordan.
I have little to no experience of veg gardening. But potatoes and other root veg should be OK. For above ground things, what about peas, runner beans and so on? You need canes to support them but that isn't too much effort. I think.
You will learn to hate grubs and slugs, whatever you plant.
Tomatoes are tricky, as they often require pre-growing indoors and a warm southern exposure if you don't have a greenhouse. Oh, and cats tend to nibble them to death.
Flowers such as sweetpea and just generally peas I have found to be quite easy, they just need a stick to grab onto. Pansies are annual, but will often self-seed and you find new ones the following year as a result. Sunflowers, though they can get very heavy and look funny when they bend over. Flower seeds might be a good bet?
Chives are easy to grow and nice to nibble.
An, yes, potatoes if you have the energy for digging a proper bed.
I would suggest that once you know what it is you intend to grow, you will need to plant where you have the most sun and heat in your northerly garden.
I think the biggest problem you will face is your relatively short growing period. This is because of your northerly location and why tomatoes are such a huge burden. There are ways to address this problem, if you have a little 'extra space' in a warm, well-lit place in your garden. A low-cost, low-worry cold frame can be readily cobbled together with an old paned window and little scrap lumber.
But your first order will be turning over soil, removing sod and weeds, and adding amendments. To do this, you will have to determine your best locations for gardening. The best locations on your property for beds. That depends somewhat upon what you want to grow. If you have a sunny wall or fence, you can use that nice warm location for runner crops like peas and beans merely by leaning yardsticks or old trim pieces against the wall or fence. Typically, 'sunny' is the operative term for your premier planting spots.
I'm told that if foodstuffs is your objective, raised beds is the way to go. This means building your soil up, which can be a multi-year project, but you can start with turning over spots, removing the turf, then adding a mulch pile of dug up soil, steer manure, and bonemeal (or, if you've an active compost pile, turn it and add to your raised bed area) and planting crops in these 'piles'. (The classic North American native crop trio was maize, beans, and squash in each hill, so that the tall corn provided climbs for the beans and the big leaves of the squash protected the roots of both the corn and the beans.) Later, you can enclose the 'trimmed' piles and get real raised beds. You can take years doing this, expanding your soil amended spots into bigger raised beds over time. If you like squash, I heartily recommend for this kind of 'compost pile' gardening in to raised beds.
Most food crops tend to be annuals, so you replant them each year. There are some which are perennial, like asparagus. Growing for floral display involves a whole lot of other decisions...It is my main garden product, so I'd be happy to bore you to tears over floral garden decisions.
Your timeline is established by your 'hardiness zone'.
Here in the US, it is overly standardized and I know that I live in zone 8, which has a first frost around November 15 and a last frost around April 15.
That means that any seed planted before April 15 needs to be protected, like with a coldframe, or risk losing it. Sometimes, it's a toss-up and I've been known to play hard-freeze roulette with some notoriously hardy seeds.
I suspect that your growing zone is quite similar to here, except you probably have a shorter growing season because of your more northerly location.
Strawberries are fairly easy as well, though you need to make sure you get the ones that survive year after year.
My father obtained an old wooden barrel, placed it upon a spinning pin on a deck and drilled 2" holes all around it. He filled it with rich, amended soil and plugged strawberry plants in each drilled hole and the top (maybe 50 or 60 plants in the big barrel). One of my adolescent chores was to turn the barrel a quarter turn each day. I didn't object, as it put me first in line when the berries were ripening.
I was looking for an adequate 'ground cover' for my western front slope and I am, at this point in time, experimenting with strawberries in the sunny portion next to the front steps. If last year (the first year), and the subsequent spread, is any indication, I shall be pleased. I'm considering jumping the strawberry ground cover across to the east side of the front steps. They seem to work well with a few iris rhizomes and bulbs interspersed in a naturalized fashion.
In grooming out front, I've noted that I already have opportunistic strawberry runners setting down roots in the moss growing on the steps. I've got to watch that the strawberries don't successfully colonize the front steps.
It looks like my zone is 5b. I don't know if that's good or bad. Plus I don't have a garden.
Surprise, surprise, surprise.....not.
If you happen to have a planter box, it tells you your 'growing season' and when you might reasonably plant seeds....for a few pretty fleurs, perhaps?
I imagine that continental Montreal has a significantly shorter growing season....despite being at the exact same latitude as my location (and thereby pretty much the same amount of sunlight). First frost is earlier and last frost is later...Say early October and mid-May?
I've seen 'wrapped' trees in Toronto, so I assume that tender plantings (like some roses) are wrapped to protect them from crushing cold and desicating winds.
I've had cold snaps here that were a bit too protracted (like beyond one week without rising above freezing) where I lost white roses and some other tender plantings (winter daphne is particularly susceptible).
Interesting detail, I know in Norway (and I presume most countries) the balcony rail boxes hang outside the balcony, in Finland you really only ever see them hanging on the inside of the balcony. One could write a whole socio-psychology thesis about what that that signifies about the mindsets of not wanting to be seen as intruding into common spaces etc.
These days there are glazed balconies where the inside and outside would have a temperature difference, but nothing is usually hung over those edges, as the glass needs a free edge for support. The ones I am talking about are the open-air balconies.
A 'glazed balcony' would, in my mind, be a balcony enclosed by glass, thereby creating an 'indoor space' outdoors...a greenhouse which would trap heat and stay relatively dry. We have glazed porches and screened porches, as well as ordinary open porches.
If you glaze a balcony, there will not be any place to hang things like plant pots, because the window edge will have taken ALL edge to hang planters. If it is glazed, then I would think that indoor pots and trays would be fine, because what you have is a greenhouse. Yabba-dabba. Many would give much for such.
I have what I call a 'balcony' which opens off the back bedroom with French doors. It is really a narrow deck, but it qualifies as a balcony because there is no way down to the back yard (~3-4' down)...no stairs off the deck. (Ivy did not want to be able to descend to 'take care of chores' if they were seen from the balcony.) It has a grill, a runt fridge, a love seat and two plant pots.
Yes, it is taking a clearly "outdoor" space and tuning it into a conservatory-type extension of your home. Well-glazed balconies can stay above freezing all year around, but many are just milder. Besides the cold, it also keeps out snow and dirt.
Newer houses/blocks of flats generally have the balconies designed with glazing in mind:
Older ones are clearly retrofitted and while it works, is less elegant:
When googling the previous images I did find boxes designed for glazed balconies, but it is less common, and the boxes will generally not be as visible from the outside.
That's where I'd start. I'd recommend a mix of winter squash (acorn, butternut) and summer squash (crookneck, zucchini) in hills that you turn over in sunny spots in your 'yard'.
They are impressive to watch as they spread. Big, lush leaves. Includes pumpkins. If you like cucumbers, they should be pretty easy and fun, too. Ground vines, all of them.
Carrots, lettuce and radishes are all easy, if you have weeded soil. They grow fast and should probably be planted in weekly regimes, but you need to have a weeded patch, preferably a raised bed, to do this without a lot of excessive weeding handwork. Your first two, plus, years will be removing unwanted plant life from where you want to grow your food crops. Expect it. Starting with hill crops where you eventually might want to put in raised beds is the way to go, in my estimation.
Decide what you want to start with, figure out when to plant what you want to plant, turn over soil, remove as much of the plant matting and weeds from the soil (my bet, it will be mostly grass roots, which WILL come back), add soil amendments (steer manure and bonemeal is what I recommend). Wait for the last frost to pass and plant your seeds or starts as per directions from the provider.
Note: Pansies are edible. Plant soon.
Please....If you don't understand anything, ask. I suspect I use a lot of lingo that others don't readily follow.
I have found cucumbers to be quite difficult, I think they are rather sensitive to a chill or even a draught, likely also to the soil. But lettuce is easy, it is just difficult to keep it coming as they quickly deteriorate into something very unappealing if not constantly harvested and re-sown.
If you have the space, potatoes can be very satisfying, and require between little and no skill (or work). They will grow in a compost pile if you throw a spud in.
Chives takes little space or bother but is nice to harvest once it comes in.