We're so excited to be sharing a series of garden tours from some of our Incredible Seeds community members!
The next stop on our tour takes us to the Canadian Prairies. Kristin Raney, the inspiring blogger behind Shifting Roots, shares her love of beautifying backyards, small space and square foot gardening, mixing flowers and vegetables, and more. Kristen's garden is proof that you can grow a beautiful, abundant garden in a small space.
May this little walk through her garden inspire you on your own gardening journey!
Gardener: Kristen Raney
Garden Location and Zone: Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Zone 3b
Garden Size: A small city lot, front and back
How long have you been gardening? Technically, I've been gardening ever since I was old enough to plant a seed and pull a weed. I come from a farming family and have gardened my entire life. On my own, I've been gardening for about 17 years. Even when I was renting apartments in University, I had to have at least a few pots in my space.
Why do you garden?
I garden because it soothes my soul. I can often be busy and anxious, but when I'm out in the garden time stands still and I can't get enough. There's no greater pleasure than taking my morning coffee out to the garden and looking at what God and I created. Or feeling the dirt beneath my feet (anyone else a fan of barefoot gardening?) I love providing food for my family, and flowers for my table.
How would you describe your garden?
My garden is a beautiful mix of small space gardening techniques and experiments. I don't have a huge lot, so every space counts. I have four raised beds in the front yard, and six more in the back with trellises for vertical gardening. My deck is one large giant container vegetable gardening experiment, which is actually going very well. I have perennial gardens along the sides of the fence (with a few vegetables in the gaps here and there) and a small-scale cut flower garden in the back of the yard. It's actually amazing that I can cram all of this into my yard, and I couldn't do it if I didn't use square foot gardening techniques. I love that it feels like a secret garden when you visit.
Where do you go for gardening inspiration?
It's always fun to scroll on Pinterest, but a lot of it isn't applicable to my zone. I really enjoy "The Gardener" magazine (which is published out of Saskatoon), walking through my neighbourhood and seeing what other people have planted, and visiting my local greenhouses in the dead of winter. One of my neighbours has this amazing front yard perennial garden that constantly changes and has something blooming the entire season. I feel a bit like a stalker because I always walk past her house to see what's new and blooming.
What are your favorite gardening books or resources?
The three that I love and turn to again and again are: Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden, and Growing Fruit in Northern Gardens by Sarah Williams and Bob Bors.
What’s your biggest gardening challenge?
Weeds and what I like to call nuisance perennials. Our house is 90 years old, and the yard was extremely overgrown when we bought the place. For four years I've been battling purple bell flower, a multitude of ferns (I've easily pulled out 300 in the last 4 years--no exaggeration!) and weeds. There's still a small perennial bed in the yard that I haven't cleaned yet because the overgrowth is so dense. I have more fun things to do in the garden then deal with yet another section of impossible to clean perennial bed. I also had a baby in February who is not a reliable napper, so time is always at a premium.
What’s your biggest garden accomplishment?
Turning my overgrown, blank slate of a yard into a beautiful place that I actually want to be. I really believe in mixing flowers and vegetables and that your gardens should and can be both beautiful and practical. In turn, I've created a place that both people and pollinators love.
Can I also add finally growing decent peppers and broccoli? I've found those vegetables challenging, and I've finally mastered them this year.
What do you most love to grow?
Do I have to pick!?! I love it all, but I think my true loves are cut flowers and tomatoes. Fun fact: I don't like raw tomatoes no matter how many times I've tried them, but I grow a ton of them because I do love tomato sauce!
What are your favourite Incredible Seeds?
My favourites this year are the pineapple tomatoes & crackerjack marigolds. I also like to grow buttercrunch lettuce, bulls blood beets (the round varieties never seem to work out for me), and bright lights swiss chard.
All three of these favourites and more will be available in my Small Space Gardening Collection with Incredible Seeds in Spring 2020. I've picked out the seeds for the collection and I'm so excited to have created something that's pretty enough to grow in your front yard, but practical enough to feed your family.
Can you share one or two of your favorite gardening tips?
Pinch your peppers when they reach the 8-10 leaf stage. It makes such a difference in the plant health and how many peppers you get.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I really want to encourage any beginners reading this to try your hand at gardening, even if you don't feel good enough or like you don't have enough time. There are no perfect gardeners, and everyone occasionally kills plants and is overrun by weeds.
About the Gardener:
Through her blog, Shifting Roots, Kristen helps new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. Find gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Connect with Kristen on. . .
Thank you so much, Kristen, for sharing your garden with us!
If you'd like to share your farm or garden with us this season, please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.