Monday, May 27, 2013

Squeezing juice out of lemons. What a cool tool this is.

I cannot believe how much lemon juice I got out of my lemons. Just short of two cups. And look at the deep beautiful yellow. It filled my two ice cube trays.

I am going to top up the pot with some of my secret weapon. Alpaca manure. I want to really increase the yield next year. That must be the curse of vegetable gardening. One is always trying to improve the yield, so you're never quite satisfied. 

The cool yellow tool in this picture is an amazing lemon juicer. You can see by the empty lemon peel, how it squeezes every last drop of juice out of the lemon. It's a keeper. 

The lemon juice in ice cube tray.

Here are the finished lemon cubes. Aren't they absolutely beautiful. 

They are damp and a titch slushy, but I think it'll work. Can't wait to try it!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

In spite of the rain, it was an awesome day in the garden. Lemons are picked. Juicing to follow.

The lemons have been picked and will be juiced tonight. Aren't they gorgeous. It is an old ice cream bucket for scale. 

This is my lettuce and spinach bed. On the right is a row of Chinese Radishes. They are red inside and white around the outside. They aren't ready yet, but I will show you when they are. These are about a foot across. Last year I planted these. They grew to about three inches and stayed a pale yellow for months. Never grew more than a root. This year, the alpaca manure has totally changed the gardening experience. 

A close up of the Chinese Radishes. 

I picked three bunches of Greek Oregano to dry. I couldn't figure out where to put them, so I hung them on the cat toy retrieval tool. If you think it looks suspiciously like a fishing rod, you are right!! We keep a fishing rod in the kitchen to get the little spongy cat balls out from under the stove. Today, I have a Herb Drying rod!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I still have lots of lemons and the blueberry walk is progressing nicely.

The Meyer Lemon from behind the greenhouse. You can see how many lemons I still have. I am going to juice them and put it into ice cube trays, so I have nice fresh, local organic lemon juice to use in recipes. 

This is the newest member of the blueberry walk. I bought two more large bushes this week and I will put in two smaller bushes between them. Stay tuned. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A full long day of hard work. A tour of the garden. Nothing better!!

My White Rabbit statue with my favourite Japanese Maple.

I worked in the garden for about six hours today. I planted all of the bedding plants. Lacinato Kale, Curly Kale, Bok Choy, Brussels Sprouts and a new row of lettuce. I buy a few packages of my favourite lettuce varieties and mix them up in a little mason jar. This year it's, Salad Bowl, Freckles and Rouge D'Hiver. 

Bedding plants put into the gardens. They are a little floppy. I didn't use the fan on them this year. I am now convinced that it works to toughen up the stems of plants. So next year, I will use the fan again. 

As of today, my garlic is 46" tall. I cannot believe how big the plants are so early on. Wow.

My first row of lettuce is coming along nicely.

Last falls parsnips are getting HUGE. This greenery is about 2.5 feet tall.

I LOVE chive blossoms in I am very happy to see this!

I put the alpaca manure on top of my weed cloth between my strawberries. I had to excavate it out of there today. There was a bit of grass that came in in the first batch of manure and rooted through the cloth. It was impossible to get out. So now the cloth is out and I can dig a bit when I need to. I like a weed free garden.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My half assed row cover....

I've been a bit worried about the night temperature. Looks like it might get a bit lowish the next couple nights. I planted out my spaghetti squash already. So I MacGyver'd a row cover. I started with some translucent pails I have. I wanted to just pop them over the five plants, but I didn't have enough. So upturned pails, frost cloth and granite chunks will have to do. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Planted a Niagara Grape.

In the greenhouse I still have a cutting of a lovely grape that Karen gave me. It is growing nicely, but I did worry that I wasn't seeing roots on the pot bottom. Sometimes woody cutting give one the impression that they are rooting and growing when in fact they are just sending out leaves or flowers like forcing forsythia flowers. So just to hedge my bets, I bought a Niagara Grape. I had one, wow, it must be 25 years ago. But I gave up on the clay gardening and I took it out before I got any grapes. So when I saw one, I grabbed it. I was at the Muse Winery last week and I saw that I did indeed have room for two grapes. So today I planted the Niagara Grape. Later I went to the greenhouse and flipped the rooting grape over to have a look. Of looks like little roots coming out the bottom of the pot. I'm going to have two grape vine espaliers!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Now I'm just showing off. Check out the rhubarb.

Here is yet another picture of my rhubarb. I stuck my foot in the picture so you can see the size. The leaf beside my foot is about two feet long by two feet wide. For scale, my shoe size is about 9.5. I just cannot get over how a little bit of fertilizer/manure can turn a non producing sad little bunch of veggies into a lush and abundant garden. 

Here is a wheel barrow of alpaca manure. This is the magic stuff!!

And the blueberry walk is under way.

It poured off and on today. I thought "well, no better time to plant." I had a large Dixi Blueberry in a pot. Since spreading the alpaca manure in the potted plant it is lush and beautiful. I made it the central plant in the new Blueberry Walk. I will put two more on either side of the central Dixi. 
Neighbor Judy brought me a division of her parsley. I think the only annual herb I will grow is cilantro and maybe Italian Parsley. Oh, and dill!! 

This bottom picture was taken in the same place I was standing last year, asking myself where I s going to plant the Dixi Blueberry. Obviously the border read full and this was an impulse buy. I have read Carolyn Herriot's book Zero Mile Diet many times over. She has the most incredible Berry Walk. It suddenly hit me that with some excavation and grass and clay removal we could have blueberries down the greenhouse side of the path. My own Blueberry Path. Thank you for the inspiration Carolyn.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kombucha and mold.

The last two batches of Kombucha that I've made got mold. I was super careful this last time. Washed everything well. Rinsed everything including myself with vinegar. This is what I found this morning. I am pretty devastated that this batch also got mold. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Rhubarb and Strawberries. An Ontario classic.

When I was a little girl in Ontario I remember everyone making and loving Rhubarb and Strawberry pie. I have rhubarb stalks almost two inches across and leaves that are two feet by two feet and hundreds of strawberry flowers. I see a pie and maybe preserves in our future. Yummmm.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A short photo essay of the garden as it looks today.

The Okinawan Sweet Potato. I am going to try to grow this!!

The Okinawan Sweet Potato. My Allan is obsessed with all things Hawaiian. Our last trip we had some of these very sweet and delicious purple sweet potatoes. The other day we were passing a market and he said, 'lets see if they have Okinawa potatoes.' We parked and straight in front of us was a sign that said Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes. So we bought quite a few. Some to eat. Some to plant. Tonight I suspended them in water with toothpicks. Yes, they really are this purple. Delicious and beautiful.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Red blueberry leaves.

This is the third year for my blueberries. Last year the leaves were a reddish colour and the plants had very few leaves really. No berries to speak of, but they had only been in a year. I decided that I hadn't given them enough water early on, and I needed to correct that. This year I was all over the water and monitored the blueberries very closely. They seemed to be growing exactly like last year. Very few leaves growing, reddish and just sort of pathetic. It wasn't the water. I read everything I could about red leaves. The consensus seems to be the sun turns them. I was not sure. I loaded a bunch of alpaca manure on them and now about three weeks later, we have the first green leaves I've seen since I put them in about two years ago. Live and learn.

'The Blueberry Walk' is half done.

This is what I spent much of yesterday doing. This was much higher and grassy. I excavated and weed wacked the remaining lawn that I will kill with vinegar and put in another strip of blueberries. We will call it, get this for a stroke of genius, 'The Blueberry Walk.'

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Finally, a stone border for the front garden.

Allan waited about two years after removing the wood border in the front garden to start the stone one. Quite a bit of grass was growing into the bed without the barrier. You can see that it looks pretty ratty right now. I am going to weed wack and use my vinegar solution to kill it before mulching. So you are seeing this in its most raw state.
This bed is considerably larger than it was. I am trying to figure out what I could put in here that would be edible, but look pretty in the front yard. Ideas anyone?

Friday, May 03, 2013

My first real apple blossoms. Aren't they beautiful.

Jonagold apple blossoms. Nuff said.

The greenhouse at night from the bedroom.

I stop every evening and look out the window. This is what I look at. It's like I can't bear the sun going down and being inside.
{sorry about the fuzzy image...very hard to photograph}

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The finished greenhouse. I think it looks so beautiful.

The new Bearss Lime is at the back with the Meyer Lemon. The tomatoes are planted in the bed with the peppers. The potted tomatoes are staked and ready to go to their homes. My mom and sister have dibs on three plants. I will most likely sell the rest.
The greenhouse is such a source of joy. I worked at the Post Office in the late 70's. I worked overtime every day in November and December to buy it. It was so worth it.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

And now we have a Bearss Lime.

I received a notice that the citrus trees are in. They have so many. It's awesome to see dozens of citrus all together. I bought the large size. It is the same size that my Meyer Lemon was when I bought it a year ago. I am really surprised how much it's grown in a year. The pictures are of the lemon and lime together and a close up of the little limes. I chose Bearss because of the taste and the amount of fruit they carry.

An incredible day in the garden. We built our first potato tower.

I think it cost about $25.00 for the wire to build our first potato tower. It's one of those crazy things. Could we even grow enough potatoes in the ring to ever pay for the wire? Probably not. But, I enjoy it so much. I want to try to grow everything!! Here is a close up of the tower and a view of the area it's in. Look how many things are growing in the yard now. Oh I'm happy.