Saturday, October 27, 2012

A full weekend of gardening. Almost done for winter.

Taken is pouring on the west coast.
We were blessed this weekend to have relatively nice weather. It was cool, and required a coat until I warmed up working, then just my heavy cotton shirt. Hair in a ponytail...good to go.
I know that technically it is not the right time to prune a rose bush. I was looking at the rose leaves that have fallen. Ugly. My one and ony rose bush had rust, mildew big time and black spot. It was a complete mess. The Perdita roses were kind of sad this year. That's how bad the bush was. So, I hacked it. I brought it right down below the leaf line. Ummm, maybe about a foot and a half tall. Then I raked up every leaf I could get. I picked them out of the nooks and crannies with my fingers. It was awesome.
I moved on to asters. I never catch them before they seed and I end up with tens of millions of baby asters in the spring. They had seed heads, but hopefully I caught them on time. If not they are really easy to hoe out in spring.

You can see the eight foot high rosebush is now about
one foot tall. Look at the beautiful leaf mulch.
Then the peony. It has had what looks like black spot for about 15 years. When I cut it back hard in fall I end up with a lot less spot and more flowers. With spot, the flowers just kind of wilt and never really bloom. I noticed that my small Sorbet Peony had some of the same spot on it. I cut them both to the ground and carefully raked up the leaves.
I took all of the flowers and seeds off the lavenders. I have spread them all over the yard for the bees next year. I know the seeds will be a bit of an issue, but I'm all over it!
Allan came out and put the bag on the lawn mower and mulched up leaves that lay in Lance and Judy's yard. They aren't using them this year. Yayyy. I put them in the compost bin and then thought, why don't I put them in the freshly winterized flower bed and let them rot over the winter. I have never fed the plants in any real way. I pulled the leaves out of the bin and spread them in the garden. I also put a layer over the rhubarb.
I stirred up the compost and watered liberally. Put up the front panel on the bin. Put them to bed.
I forgot my camera battery at the store...on the changer. So the pictures will be taken a couple days after this eight hour odyssey.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Non-GMO Project...the best thing to happen to the cause!!

If you haven't found the Non-GMO Project yet, check them out. The food industry is fighting tooth and nail against labeling foods that contain GMOs. Just Google Proposition 37. The Non-GMO Project certifies that products are GMO free and you will see their designation logo on some products now. We own them a HUGE thank you.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Garlic is planted.

Dibber and garlic
Sunday was Canadian Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. What have I got to be thankful for...everything. Family, friends, cats, my garden and yard, a cute house, my store and I get to live on Vancouver Island in Sidney. I am so grateful for my life.
Better safe than sorry

 It was really hot. Really hot. I got out my trusty garden fork and stirred six bags of chicken manure into the garden where the garlic was going in. A lot of work but worth it. I had to move the kale and Brussels Sprouts out of that bed into the lasagna garden. I used a measuring tape to line the garlic up beautifully and evenly six inches apart, and used a dibber for the first time in my life. How on earth does anyone get garlic planted without one? It is now one of my favorite tools. There are ridges cut into the dibber to measure inches. I made the holes two inches deep. Some of the cloves were so huge that I needed to make them about an inch deeper and wider. Some were truly huge. I carefully labeled the rows this year. Last year I didn't keep track at all. I just threw the two or three types that Jim gave me in willy nilly. So while I think what I planted yesterday was Music and Red Russian, I may have two or three types from last year and not just Red Russian. Oh well, as long as it's garlic and grows well, I am truly happy with that.
Finished garlic planting
My first batch of turkey soup. It is more delicious than
it looks in this picture. 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Time to get serious about my diet. Growing food is changing me in more ways than I ever dreamed.

I have high cholesterol, mildly elevated blood pressure and a heart defect. My cardiologist wants both my BP and cholesterol reduced. I gather I will eventually need a valve replacement. Or will I? Doctors are not always right.
My concern about GMO's, our pesticide and herbicide laced food, our treatment of animals and peak oil, have launched me on a frenzy of reading everything I can about all of the above.
I will occasionally share my information with you. I have been interested in natural food for most of my life. I have not been consistently good at practicing what I know. I want to remedy that. I have spent years researching, so if you can use anything I have learned and share...well, that would be wonderful.
What I plan to share with you are the specifics. Not all the how's and why's, rather the substitutes I find for products that we use all the time. I am a foodie. I love food. I love dairy, cream, butter, cheese. You get the picture. I have my grandmother to thank for my 'food love'. God that woman could cook. Suffice it to say, my substitutes need to taste good.
I have begun the project today. I have been shopping, finding the alternate healthy products. I will put them to the test and report back.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Fall cleanup and small harvest

It was absolutely beautiful today. I grabbed a coffee and went out to play. What a lovely full day. I started out just strolling around and checking things out. One thing lead to another and before you know it, four hours have passed. I pulled out plants that looked 'done'. Including all the tomatoes in the greenhouse. Taken down and soil smoothed and watered. Sprinkled with lettuce seeds. I figure our weather is similar to February - March when my lettuce was in its glory. So I am hopeful that we can get lots. I really miss my fresh lettuce. I took down the shade cloth in the greenhouse. Brought the Lemon Verbena and Bay Laurel into the greenhouse for the winter. I picked my dried beans and set the beans out to dry a bit more. I raked up the holly leaves over at Barb the neighbors side of the house...she has beautiful dogs that I don't want stepping on the nasty dry sharp leaves.
I still have a lot to do tomorrow...which would actually be today as its 2:15am right now. Maybe I should get rested for what will hopefully be another lovely day on the west coast.

It WAS another gorgeous day. We moved the Meyer Lemon into the greenhouse. I unwrapped the rigid plastic coiled thing that protected the trunk. Under it was the name label and a tight plastic tie. I'm glad I undid it. The tie was so tight that any growth would have dented the trunk. I potted a French Lavender for Amanda and planted my huge specimen in the lasagna garden where it will bring bees to that side of the yard. I pulled out a squash and took out the Berries Galore. Neighbor Judy brought me my Rainier Strawberries that she started for me. I planted them. I gave her the mystery strawb that my sister gave me the parent of. I gave her five of the six I've started. They are awesome. I think I will call them Jessica Strawberries. I washed pots and little plant labels and put them away. I washed out the water bell fountain and put it in the shed. I did so much work I think even my okole is going to be hurting tomorrow.

Amanda and Noel's cat Hugo found two of these caterpillar guys. Creepy. I killed one the other day thinking it was a tomato hornworm. That really isn't my style, but I panicked. Today I just moved them to the front. Now I read they are quite lovely butterfly's or moths. I'm sorry dude.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Starting fall cleanup already?!

Lettuce seeded
Yesterday I was admiring my beans when I heard a clanking sound. I came around the bean pyramid and knew without a doubt...fall is in the air. Neighbor Lance was dismantling his gazebo to store it for the winter. I'm sure my shoulders sagged about three inches. I went to the shed, brought out the bag and started taking out my solar lights to store for winter. Cut off the sunflowers to dry the seed for the birds, tore out a couple of tomato plants that don't have a hope of growing a decent tomato by first frost and put away the fairy doors. That's a start anyway. I have read that raspberries go in in the fall. I have also read that raspberries go in in the spring. This gardening thing can be really confusing. I made the decision to plant them. It is so awesome to have them in the ground. Raspberries are my favorite food and I was mortified that the originals died.
Fall Gold Raspberries...beyond delicious

Speaking of which, I was talking to my brother Steven tonight. Steven has been gardening for a long time. Unfortunately he lost most of his garden this year to a wicked 45 minute Alberta hail storm that dumped about four inches a large stones on everything. Apparently there was some cursing going on. I digress. Steven was telling me about losing some raspberry plants. It sounded like exactly the same thing that killed mine. He said simply "spider mites, use a soap solution". So I may just do that in the next few days as a preemptive strike. I am wondering if all those little bugs on my dill, that I thought were small aphids, could be spider mites? I'll try to get a close up picture.