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A Few Wins Along The Way: June 2019 Garden Tour


Last time I wrote about the state of my garden, almost everything seemed like a huge struggle. We were experiencing the driest Spring on record, and all the plants were struggling big time. Now that we’ve finally gotten some rain, things are turning around and hopefully the rest of the season will go much smoother!

For today’s garden tour, I want to share with you some of my successes, as I’ve conquered growing two vegetables that previously alluded me. And our yard is really starting to take shape!! After four years of working on it, it’s exciting to see it finally come together. So grab a coffee, sit back, and come and see my garden. . .

Vegetables Of Success


Two years ago I grew one (yes only one) successful head of broccoli. And I forgot to take a picture of it!! This year, my broccoli game is looking strong. I started these from seed, and made this cover with hoola hoops to keep the bugs and the birds away. For once I’ve also gotten my act together and put mulch around my vegetables. It seems to be making a difference.

Broccoli with mulch under a row cover.  This actually keeps out the birds and the bugs so you can grow the best broccoli in your vegetable garden. #vegetablegarden #broccoli #bugs #birds #pests

Row covers are one of those simple, but impossible-seeming gardening tasks. Where do you get row covers? What if they don’t exactly fit my plants? My row cover DIY fixes all that. Here’s how to make it.

A DIY row cover made from hoola hoops and white cloth to keep out the birds, in a raised bed garden.


I have never been able to grow a successful radish. They always bolted, or I would pick them and there would be just a tiny root. Here are my radishes this year:

My first crop of radishes!

They’re not crazy big, but they look like an actual radish and I’ll call it a win. I have a few more that I didn’t pick yet, so hopefully those will be bigger.


This watermelon was a serious struggle-melon. My Mother-in-law gave me a pack of seeds that a friend of hers had saved. She trusted me to start some for us and be successful with them.

I started 12, only 3 came up, one died immediately, and it was down to 2. With much trepidation I started hardening them off. Only this one made it.

Yellow watermelon seedling in a zone 3 garden in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Hopefully I’ve kept all the squash far enough away from it so it doesn’t cross. Last year I accidentally crossed a watermelon and a butternut squash. It’s still in my kitchen, but I don’t have the heart to eat it.


Spinach is another crop that I’ve grown, maybe gotten a few leaves off of, and then it bolted. I never had enough for a salad. Not this year!!

Spinach with marigolds.

The trick? Covering it.

I had to cover it with white garden fabric because the birds would have eaten everything. But that plus a cool spring made for a successful harvest.


I can not get over these peppers. I will probably be bragging about these peppers for seasons to come (unless something horrible happens before they ripen). I’ve never had peppers this big in June ever. They’re actually so loaded that they’re falling over and I have to stake them.

A huge pepper grown in zone 3 in Saskatoon Saskatchewan in the middle of June! #peppers #vegetablegarden

Square Foot Gardening & Companion Planting

Last year I made the switch to square foot gardening and I haven’t looked back. I’m particularly proud of how this bed turned out.

A square foot gardening plan that actually works in real life!  Cosmos, peppers, marigolds, beets, spinach, and nasturtiums make a lovely pairing in this raised bed vegetable garden in zone 3. #raisedbed #squarefootgarden #vegetables

One of my goals this year was to incorporate more flowers with my vegetables and it’s been really successful. I love how it looks and hopefully the plants are being helped too. I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in the amount of bees in our yard. Here’s a list of flowers to plant to help encourage the bees in your yard.

Tomatoes and basil are good companion plants, and I’ve finally managed to grow some nice tomatoes, mulch them, and add a layer of basil around the edge. I started some herbs from seed and planted them outdoors, and I’m pleased to say they are actually working!!

Tomatoes grown with mulch and basil around them.  Good companion planting! #tomatoes #vegetable #garden

Finally, a Beautiful Backyard

Folks, my backyard is finally looking like a place you want to hang out in. First, there’s the patio container vegetable garden. . .

A patio container vegetable garden decorated with blue and white accents. #backyard #patio

Find out how to get the look here.

Then there’s this perennial bed that is finally looking like something that isn’t completely weed riddled and is actually intentional (and with mulch!!). . .

This more established perennial garden is full of fuchsia peonies, delphiniums, lilies, liatris, and annual cosmos for added colour. #flowers #perennials

Then there’s, dare I say it, and actual vignette?!?

Struggling with birds eating all your strawberries?  Putting them in a bird cage is both beautiful and practical. #strawberries #whimsical #gardenart

Don’t laugh too hard at that one. My gardens have always been pretty utilitarian, so doing something decorative, like my Mom, or Joanna from Gingham Gardens would do, feels a bit foreign.

But I really like it. And I can not wait to share this strawberry growing hack with you. So far it’s working well and I’m starting to win the constant war with the birds.

Also, can we talk about these yellow irises!?!?

Gorgeous yellow irises grown in my backyard perennial bed in zone 3. #iris #perennials #flowers

I got these irises in exchange for some ferns, and I feel like I got the better end of the deal. I don’t remember the name of the reader who traded me, but I hope your ferns are doing as well as these irises, and I absolutely love them!!

Finally, the Hermit has built me a trellis and it really adds to the main garden space. I still have to paint it blue, but I think it will be beautiful–especially when the scarlet runner beans come up and take over!

A raised bed garden with a trellis for beans.

What was your favourite part of the tour? How are your vegetables doing this year?

Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!