Welcome to Adam’s workshop! Goodbye to the days of Adam and his chop saw on the sidewalk in front our tiny Toronto home. This is a dream come true for him – in fact, I may never see him in the house again!
The requirements for the space: lots of room to work, storage for tools and lumber, room for ‘clean’ projects as well as messy ones with lots of light, air flow and a heat source for the winter. We plan to re-use our existing kitchen cabinets for storage but since we aren’t quite ready to tackle that project, the shop interior is still a work in progress. But hey, isn’t every space? (However, the bones are done! Insulation, roof ventilation, six windows and two new doors make the shop super comfortable.)
Here are a few more interior pics!
The overall look of the structure – the board and batten, dark stain, and cottage feel sets the tone for what we want our backyard to be; a relaxing retreat, a place where dreaming is highly encouraged, naps are mandatory and living alongside nature is more than just a big city dream.
I can already tell this will be Adam’s happy place, to create, relax, play and dream. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what this artist gets up to next! xo
A friend came over the other day and as I was sending him home with some produce from the garden, he commented on how I should sell these beauties. Well, I’m not sure I have enough produce to get into urban farming (something to think about) but I thought I’d share the idea with you! The next time you visit a friend, forget about traditional hostess gifts and bring them a salad bouquet. If you have a garden, this time of year you will have plenty of fresh produce to share. Any kind of green (kale, swiss chard, collards, spinach), fresh herbs, garlic, onions and peppers work well. Presentation is key (and easy) try something like this!
Be sure to include your favourite, simple recipe, or use mine, below. Adjust all quantities to taste – I love lots of garlic! xo
How can something so beautiful be so destructive to a veggie garden? A black walnut tree two yards away has destroyed my veggie garden in a matter of days. I figured I learned the hard way and maybe can spare a few folks some heartache by sharing a bit of info about black walnut trees.
The trees produce a substance called juglone which many plants can’t tolerate being around. Its secreted through all parts of the tree; the roots, the nuts, the leaves and even the rain that falls off of its canopy. Because the canopy and roots can be pretty extensive, it is best to plant veggies and other susceptible plants at least 50 feet away. Be sure to pick up leaves and any nuts that may have fallen into your garden (or been brought by squirrels!)
- susceptible to juglone: tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, raspberries, pears, potatoes, asparagus, cabbage :(
- plant these instead: beans, onions, carrots, beets, corn, squash, melons and move your other veggies as far from the tree as you can
- we seem to be having luck with: kale, swiss chard, basil, thyme, parsley, lavender, chives, camomile, garlic and fennel
We are already planning for next year and hope London is ready for some front-yard veggie gardens! xo
The exterior of the shop is finished and looks amazing! We are undecided about whether to seal or stain the rough pine. I like the natural look but also think it could be stunning in a dark, opaque stain. Will you help us decide? Here are a few options we are considering.
- keep it natural and simply use a matte clear coat
- stain option #1: Westcott Navy
- stain option #2: Ashland Slate
- stain option #3: Black
Rationale behind choosing a solid stain over a translucent one: the yellow of the pine adds a not so lovely greenish hue to a translucent stain, and because the wood has been installed in stages, some areas are much lighter in colour than others and would stain differently.
Once stained/sealed we are moving onto the interior shop completion! xo
Part of being in love with a garden is paying attention to the details and enjoying each new bud, flower and leaf. If you peeked in the garden today you might find what I found this morning; the first zucchini flower, a long chile pepper, the first green tomatoes and curly garlic scapes.
Oh, how my baby has grown! May and June pics below. xo
For many, the May long weekend signals the start of the veggie garden! Even though we Londoners had a few flurries the weekend before, it was gorgeously warm and we were able to plant one of our garden beds. We look forward to watching a variety of tomatoes, peppers and herbs grow over the summer. Salsa anyone?
Although we have plans to rebuild the veggie beds in the future (the wood is beginning to rot) we decided to use the existing ones for now. Adam cleaned up the fencing to make it a bit more functional and aesthetically pleasing. He even added a gate for me so I don’t have to climb over the rabbit fence anymore. What a sweetheart!
A little mulch and a maybe a couple more basil plants (can you really have too many?) then we start the second veggie bed!
When I get a little overwhelmed by the size of the yard, I look back at the before pics and see the steady progress. Slowly and with a lot of love, this garden is flourishing. Have I mentioned how much I love this place? xo
It is challenging to work indoors when I hear the garden calling my name. Gardening is such a labour of love for me and one of the most compelling reasons we left our little Toronto property behind. Our postage sized yard with no grass did not prepare us for this! Needless to say, we have a lot to learn about maintaining our new gardens and lawns. There are so many plants coming up right now, some familiar and some that will remain a mystery until in full bloom. This is what the garden looks like (once Adam got his hands on a few more tools and we did a bit of garden clean up). We have plans, BIG plans that will take a few years to implement but isn’t it just gorgeous right now?
We connected with Becky and Sean from Earth Magic Permaculture to create a garden plan that will work for this space and help with plant identification and selection. I highly recommend their garden consultations, which are informative, earth-friendly, detailed and affordable. After they left I felt more confident and immediately got to work removing all of the mustard garlic (invasive), a dead lilac bush and planted our paper birch tree in precisely the right place. What do you think of their veggie garden plan? So sweet!
Being in nature is renewing, healing and such an important part of my life. Gardening gives me a sense of connection with my Italian grandparents. By carrying on the tradition, I feel it honours them and in some way keeps them close. It’s one more reason I am grateful to live here, with mother earth, the trees, flowers, birds and bunnies (and of course, Adam). xo