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Soon to start gardening in Calgary

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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby gibbos1 » Nov 01, 2008 4:42 am

Just to say a big thank you to all those that posted positive post and thanks for all the advice.

many thanks to Jade and B BQ. I haven't got raised beds here in UK, but have been really considering them. Will have to have a good look into building them. Can you get railway sleepers in Calgary (we use second hand wooden sleepers here, they make ideal walls to your raised beds.)

Any more advice about what to grow, buying the equipment etc, would be most welcome.

Big thank you again,
regards,
Carl
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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby B_BQ » Nov 01, 2008 8:40 am

Hi gibbos1:
Think positive - that's the way!
Gardening can, and often is, a challenge in so many places, not only Canada.
We've got people on this forum who garden in Zones 1 and 2! Now, that's a challenge.
There are all sorts of methods for making raised beds, from railroad ties, (although this is perhaps not the best as the preservative could possibly leach out into the soil - not good for veggies), to other sorts of reclaimed materials. If you get a chance, go into a Canadian site, http://www.leevalley.com. They have many different kinds of fasteners which assist in making a raised bed. I got my fasteners from them.
Once you're settled in Calgary and know where you want to put your veggie garden, come back to this forum and start asking questions. The folks here have abundant knowledge, wisdom, kindness, and are more than willing to share their experiences.
These are my raised beds - I would love more, but it's not in the cards! I grow mostly potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and cukes, these days, but I always have 8 or 10 very large black pots, (used to contain trees), on the go as well. I grow lettuce, more toms and even potatoes, in them. That could also be something you might try. That way you could put them in a good protected area, and baby them.
I have a sister who lives in Banbury, UK, and she's never had much luck with gardening - too much water, too little water, too much heat, not enough heat, etc. and she became discouraged and stopped veggie gardening. I persuaded her to try container gardening this year. She's been converted. She's so excited that she grew tomatoes and potatoes in pots, that she almost can't wait to start all over again!
BBQ(akaBrendaBayofQuinteinSouth/EastOntario)


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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby Grannygardener » Nov 01, 2008 8:52 am

Brenda, what lush gardens you have. How tall are those beds and how do you turn over the soil in the spring? I'm going to print this picture and show my family that this is how I would like to garden. Edie
I've spent most of my time in the garden,the rest I've wasted. Edie Zone4A, Ont.
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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby B_BQ » Nov 01, 2008 10:11 am

Thanks Edie:
They're absolutely a dream to have!
My two children and husband built these for me in Spring 2006.
We got the fasteners at Lee Valley. Very easy to put together, if you have some strong helpers. I can't remember whether we used 20" or 24" paving stones, I think 20".
Once they were built I lined them with landscape fabric to prevent the soil leaching out. We had lots of heavy cardboard boxes from our move, so I put down a thick layer of cardboard right over the lawn, and I had saved a few bags of leaves from the previous Fall. I emptied the leaves on top of the cardboard. Then filled with soil, which we had delivered by the truckload, (good job the children had strong backs!). Since then I've been adding compost, more leaves, well composted, (and no seeds), sheep manure.
I believe they're around 6' wide, so it's easy to reach into the middle.
I've had two back surgeries, and have to be careful. These have been a godsend.
With just a small step I can actually get up, stand in the bed, and turn the soil over with a fork.
Also, at this time of year, I dig deep holes in the bed, and as my kitchen composter gets full I just empty it into a hole. By the Spring all the kitchen scraps have composted.
~BBQ
Zone 5b
South/Central Ontario

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day
~ Author Unknown
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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby Laura » Nov 01, 2008 10:39 am

These are really great.You have a perfect set up there.I'd like to make a couple of these.Thanks for the pictures . . . I can show hubby.
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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby Jade » Nov 01, 2008 12:05 pm

You certainly will enjoy the brigth blue skies of Alberta! What time of year are you arriving? The CalHort society has a big 3 day garden show in the spring - usually in April. If you are here then you should definitely plan on going, guest speakers, master gardener Q & A , lots of booths and displays from local growers, etc. The society has published 2 very good books on Calgary gardening, one is more basic, the other gets into more advanced or other topics such as landscape design, etc. There are always workshops, open gardens, plant shares, etc on weekends throughout the year also. The Calgary Zoo also has a Hort. Education program, and Olds College is an agricultural school not far from Calgary that has extension programs in town too. Several of the bigger garden centres have staff with lots of enthusiasm and info. Lee Valley has a store in Calgary, and they also put on a variety of gardening workshops of various topics. Welcome to Calgary.
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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby gibbos1 » Nov 01, 2008 5:55 pm

WOW brilliant information and kindness, many thanks to you all.

BBQ,
beds look fab, this is what I fancy doing. It's amazing what you can grow in them. Before we moving to our house(been here 9 years now) I had an allotment. Just loved it, growing your own, then picking it and taking it home and cooking or just serving it to the family, good honest, no preservative, grub that the kids just loved. Then when we moved into house, I put half the garden over as my veg garden, put some canes in, goosberriy bushes, and had beans, peas, carrot, beetroot, etc and had a few smallish pots for growing me spuds. Nothing better than digging up small new potatoes and steam cook them, than add knob of butter and some fresh mint and put them on the table, ooowwwww grand.But with the kids growing and needing more space, veg garden got smaller and I had less time to look after it. Still got the canes though, just had the last of the raspberries off them. I'm really into cooking, storing, preserves, home made wines, etc and if it's home grown, more the better.

Have you tried growing beetroot and parsnips?
How about any fruit, raspberries, any currents?
Just shown my wife(Tracey) you great beds and said this would be ideal. Good idea about the slabs, cheaper and long lasting.
Many thanks for the advice and info, hope to speak again.

Hi Jade,

really can't wait to get there and start our new life. We know it's not going to be perfect, but we are willing to work towards a better life style and I think growing your own is a good start. Also the kids are starting to take more interest in where their food comes from and want to start their own garden.
We are planning(hoping) on landing, middle of January, so will have plenty of time to settle and plan a trip to that show, sounds great. Interesting you saying that the Calgary Zoo has Hort club, we had a visit there in April. Where about's are you in Calgary?
Thank you for your welcome and all the info, hope to speak to you again.
Cheers for now, regards to all,
Carl :lol:
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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby B_BQ » Nov 01, 2008 7:26 pm

Hi Carl:
I can feel your excitement and enthusiasm.
Beetroot, (they're called just Beets here!), is very easy to grow, and so many varieties. The same with Parsnip.
Next year I'm giving my raised beds a 'rest' from spuds and tommytoes, (I will grow both in the large plastic pots though), and will be growing carrots, beets, parsnips, and whatever takes my fancy.
This forum is a gem of a place. We have some very knowledgeable, and even professional, people here.
MareE gardens in an allotment, (lovelingly called the Plotlands), and grows a wide variety of veggies. What she can't use herself she donates to a Food Bank.
We have our very own resident organic farmer, Inge. She has her own website, (http://www.cloverroads.com), and produces an amazing array of veggies, including the wondrous Lemon Cucumber, Heritage, (Heirloom), Tomatoes, plus tons of other veg. Seeds are available from her.
We have Ron who also grows a lot of his own veg and tomatoes. He's a true tree lover, and has trees on his property which shouldn't be growing here, but they do for him! He's also a great cook, and loves to experiment with food. (He and I submit our 'Supper Tonight' and we learn a lot from each other). We have photographers, both professional and amateur, who post the most amazing pictures of birds, flowers and other flora and fauna. We have a plant biologist who lives on the west coast who helps out with IDs.
We have members from coast-to-coast, (which means Newfoundland to BC), and we all learn from each other.
We also have a member from the Isle of Lewis, (I think), in the Hebrides, although we haven't heard from him for a while.
Between us all we grow blackberries, blueberries, chokecherries, plums, damsons, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, and many other fruits; some of us make wine, some of us just drink it!
Good luck, and keep in touch.
~BBQ
Zone 5b
South/Central Ontario

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day
~ Author Unknown
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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby gibbos1 » Nov 01, 2008 7:34 pm

just wondering if you have Sloes and Elderberries?? or if anyone grows their own? Any round Calgary area?

Thanks for reply, great! Will reply in more detail tomorrow. cheers
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Re: Soon to start gardening in Calgary

Postby B_BQ » Nov 01, 2008 7:41 pm

Unfortunately no Sloes! I did cheat one year and make wild blueberry, (in place of Sloes), gin. It was good! :lol:
Certainly here in Ontario Elderberry are very prolific, and many people make their own Elderberry wine.
~BBQ
Zone 5b
South/Central Ontario

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day
~ Author Unknown
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