Tuesday, December 25, 2012

All is calm...All is bright

What a wonder this time of year is. Family, friends, food, and all things miraculous. Have a wonderful Christmas and a glorious New Year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Compost bins 1, 2 and 3. Now labelled as I'm totally OCD.

My neighbors and my husband and I all use my compost bins. The inevitable question "which bin?" has always answered with 'first bin on the left'. Over time has been shortened to 'bin 1'. So I went out and bought these lovely brass house numbers and now the guess work is over. It's the same as labelling the herbs. I do that mostly for my husband but on occassion my neighbors ask for herbs too. I love sharing anything I grow, so it gives me great pleasure when they ask.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Getting the grow lights up!!

Baby lettuce's under grow lights
Me...a total vision. Nuff said.
Back in the house with my cold feet.
Greenhouse bed with lettuce. Flattened by water.
Swear to God, the whole back yard glows.
Looks like the mother-ship has landed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Foraging for salad. Success.

At first glance it looks like there is nothing really growing that I could make a salad with. I noticed that a few of the lettuce's in the garden were quite a decent size. I grabbed my bucket and picked some leaves. I noticed that the French Sorrel had some baby leaves coming up so I picked a few of those for punch. Went into the greenhouse and found several leaves that while tiny, were big enough to pick. I returned outside and meandered. I noticed that there were still several Chilean Guavas on the bush and they were turning whitish. They are at their sweetest when they start to have a white blush. So I added those to the bucket. Neighbor Judy had given me a few beets and I grated one up and added that. I then threw some pumpkin seeds on and Raspberry Lime dressing. It was awesome. I have really missed fresh salad.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Summer Salad. Remember when we ate like this every day !

We had a family barbecue this summer and this was the salad I made. I had forgotten how pretty they are. The days will be getting longer very soon.
On the topic of summer, I received my Westcoast Seed Catalogue today. I know what I'll be reading this weekend.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The microwave oven is leaving. Yayyy.

I have heard too many horror stories about microwave ovens. I just think they are a bad idea. It took me a while to gently get my husband on board. He has discovered that food tastes better oven warmed. Almost killed myself getting it down off a highish shelf that sits at about six feet. I was at the house alone and no ladder. Wow. That was close. Got the job done though, no worries. That gave me another shelf in this very small kitchen. A place to put the glass containers I've been switching everything over to. Isn't that wonderful. I think it looks really cool.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Meyer Lemon tree. How beautiful can a lemon be!!

I am in love with my Meyer Lemon. We had our first lemon last week. You can indeed taste the orange in it's background. I can see why they think it was originally bred with a mandarin orange. They are delicious. Everyone should have one.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Tree...what an incredibly satisfying chore.

Bare Tree
Sorry about some of the pictures. I'm not sure what I did differently. I'm usually pretty good a tree pictures. I'll get a better after tomorrow.
Some ornaments on.

Some of the 300 glass icicles on

If you look close you can see the little 'ice balls' that lay on the branches.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Making lots of vanilla

Close up of vanilla beans.
I am making a large amount of vanilla. I saw a blog that someone just made it right in the vodka bottle. Sounded like a good idea to me!! Done and put away to age for six months or so.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Growing greens in flats. Making vanilla.

The post has nothing to do with my batch of vanilla, but isn't it pretty?
I keep seeing greens planted in flats in book, blogs...everywhere. I have decided to give it a try. They are often grown in the house under lights. I have plant eating cats, so it would never survive. I have decided to try it in the greenhouse. I won't use the lights unless I think I need them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wow....organic horse poop.

When I got home from a very long day at the store, Allan said, 'you need to get your boots on and get the flashlight. Go check the green recycle cans'. I put on my boots, grabbed the flashlight and went around to the cans. Opened them up....horse poop. Organic horse poop from much loved horses. I was really touched. Thank you husband.

Monday, November 05, 2012

A veritable maple leaf frenzy

My neighbours maple. About forty feet across?
Here is a pictorial of what I spent three to four hours doing yesterday. About twenty wheelbarrows worth. For the first time since last year, I worked so hard and bent over so much....I woke up with a VERY sore back. Neck's not that great either. But, I got the job done, and last nights wind storm didn't blow too many of them away.
A quarter done
Very clay soil bed before

After. With about a foot of leaves piled on top. First I dug the whole bed down about a foot. Huge, wet heavy clay hunks. I took some veg scraps and lots of leaves, layered it on the bed and started putting the clay back in place. I broke the clay up and mixed leaves as much as I could. I took the last leaves and laid them on the ground where I'm going to kill grass next year around dwarf apples. What doesn't break down in the bed over winter, will get raked over onto the lawn.

Some under the holly

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Check out my garden. Still pretty awesome.

Rosemary bundled up for winter
Asparagus fern. Looks like a female to me.
Callicarpa / Beauty Berry

These fuchsias are about 3.5 inches across
Calendula...found a seed pod by a fence last year and this grew!!
Cymbidium orchid. Third year.
Aunt Helen's Ontario 'lawn strawberries'
Sungold tomato
Chilean Guava

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A full weekend of gardening. Almost done for winter.

Taken today...it 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.