Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I cannot imagine a garden without sunflowers.

I love sunflowers. This year I am growing Zohar. They are a lovely, lovely flower. I am glad that I bought a vase for the store. I will take some in. It will make that lovely space even more beautiful. 
Next year I am going to grow Peredovik. It is the choice for seed growers.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fallgold Raspberries seem fine, so I've replanted.

As you know I've had a wicked time with my raspberry bed. Root Rot. I put a baby Fallgold in where the red raspberries died, as my test subject. It seems fine, so I dug up two larger pieces and put them in. I cannot wait to have some gold raspberries. They are different than red, but maybe even better tasting. And next year should be amazing!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Oh yayyyy, garlic harvest day.

I love garlic harvest day. I couldn't wait to dig up a couple last night in the fading day. I could see enough to tell they were bigger than last year.

There were a few that were very light and had a brownish look to them. A dry rot of some sort? I have googled it and couldn't quite figure it out. Can anyone help with this?

I got the garlic out and set the Music in one place and the Red Russian in another. I like them to sit and dry a bit before I bundle them up and move them to the shed to cure. 

I was a bit surprised that Allan, aka The Gardener's Assistant, wanted to dig up the onions. I wasn't sure they were ready yet, but I want Allan to enjoy the gardens as much as I do, so I let him dig away. The onions look delicious! He did a great job. Not one slice on an onion.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Erin's big adventure. A day on the water.

Today I went on a little journey. We joined up with friends in Sidney and rode with them to Ladysmith in their boat. It was lovely. It was relaxing. I made new friends and had a joyous day.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A humbling moment in the garden.

I often go outside at sunset. I stroll around. I pull a few weeds, I watch the sunset...I admire my wonderful vegetables. Growing. Tonight the thing that got my attention was the baby Spaghetti Squash. It is growing about an inch a day. It is about five inches long now. I have placed a bed of straw under it so it doesn't rot. The squash's are planted in the most easterly garden. I was standing quietly, just contented and serene really. I have never seen a dragonfly at sunset. I noticed there were two flying over the garden. They began circling the garden and me about ten feet away. Around and around. I could hear the wings making a clickety click sound. I never noticed that dragonfly's wings made noise before. My ever present garden buddy Beamer started making that clucking noise that some cats make when they see a bird. Beamer has never done that before. Never. The dragonfly's started coming closer. Their circle was getting smaller. They were circling Beamer and I, not the garden. Then they would cut across and go over my head. Wow. I've never had them so close. Then they were closer, closer, flying lower. After maybe 30 circles they were flying about six inches over my head. When they cut across their circle they were flying within six inches of my face. I just watched and stood dumbstruck. I could not wipe the smile off my face. Beamer stopped clucking and just watched them too. 

I will never take for granted the beauty I see and awe I feel witnessing our world and it's inhabitants....or my tiny little place in it. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garlic. There is beauty in the hellishly ugly drying period.

There is a beauty in the dry, toppling and dead looking garlic tops. It means you are very close to harvest. I have chosen next Monday for harvest day, I am so excited !!

Dried out garlic waiting to be dug.

We needed a garlic for spaghetti. So, what's a girl to do. Go dig one up. The cloves were really hard to pull apart, but it is delicious. This gardening thing sure pays dividends, doesn't it. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My sister's MONSTER pattypan.

My sister has a green thumb I am so envious of. This spring I gave her a few of my pattypan seeds, so I cannot claim she somehow ended up with superior seed. My plants are about six inches tall right now. This is my sister's plant. It is in a 2x2' planter. Note her 18" ruler.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I didn't know that lavender came in yellow ! I love it.

Saturday I volunteered at the first Victoria Lavender Festival. It was a lot of fun. Fields of lavender and so many beautiful animals. Alan has a horse Brian, sheep, geese, chickens and roosters, border collies, peacocks and white peacocks. I hope I didn't miss any. I love animals so it was a real treat. 
There was a short break in the booth I was manning and I dashed next door to the lavender plant sale. I am not usually one for plants in exotic colours. I like plants to look the way they are 'supposed to'. OMG. It was a yellow lavender. Lavendula Viridis. I could not resist and it is already planted in the garden. I put this one in the flower border. I know the purple lavenders attract bees and pollinators, so I am tucking them around the yard in strategic places. The yellow has been placed simply where I think it will be beautiful. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Well, now I've seen it all.

Something out the window caught my eye first thing this morning. I looked out to the deck and was really surprised to see this big crow sitting in my Waterbell Fountain drinking from the centre bell waterfall. I grabbed my camera and clicked this as fast as I could and then he flew away. I have had this fountain for about 8 years and I've only had bees drink out of it. It really made my day. I dream about crows often so I have a soft spot for them.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A garden in the setting sun.

I often weed the garden late in the day. I find it very zen like. It seems to be the only time my brain just goes quiet. Last night I was weeding. I stepped back and saw the setting sun streaming through the gardens. I literally ran {my broken toe didn't interfere} to the house and grabbed the camera. The pictures don't really express how beautiful it was, but I'm going to share anyway.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A photo tour of what is happening in the garden now.

This is my one and only cherry. I thought I'd get a picture before the birds get the cherry.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Record breaking dill!!!

I planted a new variety of dill this year. A mammoth variety. They are in the same bed I grew them last year with dismal results. They just never grew. This years results are better. They are green this year!! See above. They are however, about the same size. Here is the above plant with my little camera case. They have been in the ground for about two months.

Oh, and sorry about that whole record breaking thing...I just haven't seen full grown dill this small before.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

This small Fall Gold Raspberry is my canary in the coal mine.

I dug out this small runner from my Fall Gold raspberry. As readers of my blog know, I lost all of my Meeker Raspberries last year, and then all of my Tulameen Raspberries this spring. They succumbed to Root Rot. The Fall Gold Raspberries are seemingly immune. They are in the same bed, but down at an end of their own. To be sure, I took this small runner and planted it right in the midst of the dead red raspberries. If it is truly resistant, I will replant the raspberry bed with these incredibly delicious gold berries. 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Alpine Strawberries smell and taste as good as they say.

    Look at the berries along the bed behind the lavender. 

Last year I put in ten Alpine Strawberries. They grew quickly and gave us quite a few berries. I was happy with that. Oh, and they don't send out runners. I was unprepared for the amount of berries you get from a mature plant. Here is a closeup of the berries. I must add, we have eaten a lot already, so you can see how impressive they are.


Saturday, July 06, 2013

The last month of growing garlic. A 'how to'.

                          Last years garlic after cleaning.

This applies to hardneck garlic planted in the fall. Garlic scapes are the curlicues that form at the top of your garlic plant, with a seed pod at the top. Once the scapes have made a double loop, they get cut off the plant. Cut the seed pod off and compost. Take the scapes and cut them up and either cook, freeze or make pesto of them. I vote for pesto. {My super duper Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe follows} At this point stop watering your garlic. When half of the leaves on the plant are dead and brown, it is time to dig up one or two garlics to check them. They should have a nice wrapper and be a nice size. If you leave them too long the cloves start to split apart and they won't keep. So keep in mind, HALF of the leaves should be brown. If they look ready, dig them up!! Hang them in bunches to dry in a cool shady place. 

Garlic Scape Pesto (Delicious)

1 cup of garlic scapes, top flowery part removed, cut into  1/4 inch slices
1/3 cup of walnuts or pinenuts.
3/4 cup of olive oil 
1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese 
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
black pepper to taste 

Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmigiano to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. For 1/2 pound short pasta such as penne, add about 2 tablespoons of pesto to cooked pasta and stir until pasta is well coated.

I freeze my pesto in an ice-cube tray to keep for winter. 

Friday, July 05, 2013

Oh, how I love salad season.

I am so happy it is fresh salad time again. I'm quite lost when I have to eat greens from somewhere other than my own yard. I am so thankful I found the gardener hidden within.

Here is what I foraged for tonight. We had a lovely bed of greens, with warmed goat cheese and ahi. The greens were various lettuce, beet leaves, kale, snowpeas, borage and nasturtium flowers and lots of Sungold tomatoes. The tomatoes are the only hybrid I grow. They are like tomato candy!!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Keeping kale, lettuce and greens fresh for a LONG time.

Neighbour Judy gave me a bunch of her very beautiful kale the other day. Now you know I love kale. I really love kale. I was looking for a bag to put it in the fridge. It just came to me suddenly to put the kale in a container of water like a flower. I put the kale in a water glass in the fridge. Tonight I bought some Lacinato or Dinosaur kale from farmer Dan at the market. I put it in the cup with the two remaining sprigs of Judy's kale. Look how fresh it looks. It has been almost a week. It is firm and crisp. 

You're welcome.