Arts & Life, Food & Drink

Spill the Beans: What grows

When I moved to the farm after 13 years of living in the city, my grandmother suggested I start small. You know, small garden, only a few chickens, don’t bite off more than you can chew…I didn’t really listen. Maybe I should have. But now, almost three years into my prairie farm life, I think it might be too late to heed her wise advice…

Spill the beans is a weekly column chronicling my attempts at a self-sufficient life on this small prairie farm.


So this time of year can be very exciting or very frustrating for the gardener/farmer. Did I already tell you that I’m running a bit of a market garden this year? I mean, not in the sense that I will be getting up early and packing boat loads of veggies into my mini reefer truck to attend farmer’s markets all over the province. Rather, I’ve got some friends in the community who have paid me to grow their vegetables. This is both exciting and terrifying, as I’m sure you can imagine.

I mean, everything just needs to grow. And if will power was enough to grow veggies, you can be sure I’d have the nicest veggies around. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way.

Right now, the state of garden affairs is middling to good. Everything I seeded is looking pretty good (except for that lettuce I seeded back in April – that stuff looks like crap – only a few seeds germinated and it’s completely pathetic; luckily, I have more seeds and will take care of that in a few days). Of the plants, the tomatoes are slowly turning their adversity into triumph after that frost, but the peppers are looking VERY sad. We’ll see what happens. I know the peppers can make a comeback, but I’m skeptical.

The lettuce that self-seeded randomly in the middle of the garden, nowhere close to where any lettuce was planted last year, is looking lovely and has been harvested by some of my garden partners and I. It is of course more delicious than any lettuce you could ever hope to find in the grocery store. And so easy to grow.

Photo credit: Jamie Dyck

And take a look at these radishes. Funny things. They look so small in the garden, but when you get in there to thin out the rows, you realize that they are actually quite large and should be picked asap otherwise they will get “woody” and go to seed, in basically a nanosecond. So I emailed the garden partners and told them they better come quick!

Photo credit: Jamie Dyck

But the garden isn’t the only place where things have been growing.

Chickens 1
Photo credit: Jamie Dyck

In case you have been wondering, the chicks (or girls, as I have begun calling them) have quite taken to their indoor/outdoor living conditions. They come out of their coop in a tumble every morning and head into the coop as soon as it gets dark-ish at night. Just like good chickens should. And they are basically eating me out of house and home. I think it’s time to switch to their adult food. Of course, I have no idea and am just going on my newly developing “farmer instincts.” Good? Bad? So far it’s working…

Chickens 2
Photo credit: Jamie Dyck


Jamie Dyck is really hoping that it rains in the next couple of days so she doesn’t have to water her garden. Follow her on twitter, @jndyck.