Monday, April 30, 2012

Gardening injury.

This lovely pallet tipped over as I was moving it, resulting in:


Potting up bedding plants...

Newly potted peppers with lettuce in greenhouse.
I began the day with a trip to Buckerfield's. I got a 10 kg bag of bone meal. It is 2.50 per pound in bulk, or 23.99 for 10 kg or 22 lbs which is $1.09 per pound. Buying large bags is really the only way to go. I also got quite a few black nursery type pots. They were .99 each for both the one and two gallon size. I didn't have enough for all that I needed to pot.
See how pale they are.
I began by potting up the tomatoes that I want to grow myself. I was really surprised to see the Sungold plants have flower buds already. I have enough tomatoes for all of us, but about half are still in flats. I didn't have enough room in the greenhouse. I think I may have left them in the flats a bit too long. They were getting yellow. I also potted the peppers into two gallon pots and the Galeux pumpkins, or peanut pumpkins as they are nicknamed are potted.
Cucumbers...can't wait to try the Lemon Cucumbers!
I used my new potting bench even though it isn't quite done, but is totally functional. Picture to follow shortly.
Meyer Lemon flowering. The scent is heavenly.
The Meyer Lemon is blooming. So much so, you can smell the sweet blossoms outside of the greenhouse. The lettuce is providing us with large salads every day now. Very delicious. I am still really surprised how much stronger tasting home grown lettuce is compared to store bought. Incredible.
Aunt Helen's wild strawberries
I moved Aunt Helen's wild strawberries from Ontario out of the greenhouse onto the deck. In six days they went from completely squished flat in my suitcase, to growing and sending out new leaves. I put them on the deck under a table. I am not sure where I am going to put them, but...
Fall Gold raspberry
Berry patch with raspberries and alpine strawberries
Did a walkabout in the yard trying to figure out where to put the currants and yellow raspberry. I may just take a chance and put the yellow raspberry in the bed with the red. My worry is that I won't like the yellow and they may take root and I could have trouble getting the roots out from the red.
***As you can see by the picture, I just bit the bullet and planted it in the berry bed.
Currants still not planted...Note buttercup killing in progress.
It ain't pretty.
The currants are still a puzzle. They were an impulse buy. I've never had a currant in my life. I'm in love with the idea of currant jelly. But did I really need and red and a black? Well, yes I guess I did. I'll get back to that tomorrow.
Just what the Dr. beds. Thank you Allan.
I have had a couple of stressful and emotional weeks. Today was just what I needed.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Goodbye Dad....

My Grandmother, grandfather and Father
I've just returned from Ontario. I was there for my father's funeral. My father had Alzheimer's, but his death was unexpected. My Dad was really funny and a lover of slapstick. I come by that very honestly. It's a recurring theme in this blog. Everyone who spoke of him, during the funeral and after the services, said what a gentle, kind man he was. It was really nice to hear. The funeral was beautiful. The reverend gave the most touching and beautiful service. It was comforting. My Dad's brother, my Uncle Harvey, passed away in the fall. I like to think that they are together somewhere talking about gardening and politics.

The services took place over three days. The final day was the burial. We drove up to The Muskoka area where another service occured and my father was lowered. I noticed a man in coveralls off to the side. I assumed correctly that he was the man who owned the tractor that would push the soil back in. I noticed him looking at me. Someone mentioned to me that the man's coveralls had the name F. Schell on them. When he was done with the tractor, I approached him and pointed at my Grandmothers headstone, and asked him if he was related to my Grandmother (the most beautiful person to ever live on the planet) Mary Schell. He said yes, she was his grandfathers sister. Floyd is my cousin. Floyd also knew my father. It was, again, so comforting. Floyd started to tell me about the family tree and was pointing at stones. I had been to the cemetery before to visit my Grandmothers grave and noticed that we had a lot of family buried there. What I didn't know, was that over 100 years ago, Floyd's grandad (or great grandfather?) sliced a piece off of his farm and gave it to the family for a private family cemetery. I am related to everyone in the cemetery. Floyd told me that he knew when he saw me that I was family. Apparently I look exactly like his mother. Floyd was then pointing at the surrounding bush (forest if you aren't from Ontario) and telling me which land belonged to which family member. The whole area is being farmed by my family.
Cousin Floyd's tractor

My cousin Floyd
All of a sudden I get the gardening, the urban farming urge, the love of tractors, the canning.... I feel so connected. I come from real sturdy farm stock. I knew my grandparents farmed, but wow, there are...I don't even know how many family members farming there. Well that sure explains me tearing my yard up for veggies and making pickled beets and jam last fall.
Old family photo, not sure who. But aren't
the horses beautiful.
My sister Jess and I went to my Aunt Helen's place in Muskoka on our last day. Aunt Helen is moving on Friday. She is a professional gardener. She took us on one last tour of her yard. I believe it's about 50 acres. My cousin Brad joined us on the tour. He was pointing out little wild strawberries that grow all over the property including the lawn. Brad said that they are small but have the flavour of ten normal strawberries. I don't know if they'll grow on the coast, but Helen dug a dozen out of the lawn for me. Then she dug out two clumps of what look exactly like miniature daffs, but of course they are narcissi. They grow all over Orillia just like the Stella day lilies. I had to squish all of it completely flat in my suitcase. Today they look poofed out and much better.

Well Dad. Goodbye. We loved you and will miss you. God speed....And say hi to Grandma for me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This is one of those plants I'll keep forever...

This is a primrose. The original little baby was given to my by my gardening friend Alan when we worked together at Canada Post. I left Canada Post in 1988. So I've had it for a while. It blooms here in Sidney in February to April. What makes it so special? If you look at the picture you can see it. Closely. Squint. I'm going to give you a hint.
Here is a previous (from about a month ago) picture of my cauliflower:
And here is the primrose:
For some reason I don't understand...this primrose is immune to slugs. In our rainy season the lower island is crawling with them. This plant...a true treasure.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter Monday...I'm of why

Created a new area for shade lovers and newly transplanted etc.
The lettuce is getting nice and big.
The rhubarb is amazing.
I went with Jess and Amanda to Marigold and Meadow Oak nurseries. We were there for hours. I just HAD to get a Fall Gold Everbearing Raspberry. Every time I would see them they would call out to me.
I dug out all but one of the herbs to get them away from the buttercups while I use cardboard to kill them. I am not sure they are totally out of the roots, so I still may need to replace some herbs. Darn. I was SO thankful for the potting shed today. I also repotted a Gingko Tree to send home with my sister.
The herb patch after herb removal.
Some of the cardboard that will be necessary for buttercup killing.
While at Marigold, I almost missed these incredible double Polyanthus. I have never seen anything like it. So it's here on the new shady shelf for now.
Last but not least. The French Sorrel freshly dug out of herb garden. It looks pretty sad. They were calling for rain today. In fact it was HOT and this poor thing wilted. It is on the new shady shelf as well. Good luck my pretty.

**Tuesday update: The French Sorrel looks a lot perkier today.

Thinning tomatoes. Only time will tell how well I did.

I cannot believe that I forgot, yet again, to take a before picture. But look at this great 'after'.
It was getting a little crowded under the grow lights. I was unsure exactly when to thin out the tomatoes, but decided it was simply getting too crowded. I will be glad when I have a few years gardening under my belt and learn to just trust myself to do the right thing. I got a great piece of advice from Erica at Northwest Edible Life. She uses scissors to snip off the inferior plants so she's not disturbing roots. I would have pulled them out...thank you Erica.

Easter gardening.

Easter weekend involved a lot of gardening and food. My first project was planting some more seeds. I planted basil, White Custard Pattypan squash (thank you Brenda), Speckles lettuce and Frijol beans. It was so easy with the new setup in the shed. Wow.

Then I got out the huge green pot that was involved in this story, and cleaned it up. I got the Meyer Lemon out of the greenhouse and dragged two large bags of potting soil out of the shed. It took almost the whole two bags. Wow. I hope the lemon will be very happy in its new home. I took it back to the greenhouse.
My next project for today was planting the six new strawberry plants. I tucked a little bit of compost around each plant. It was the first time I've ever used my own compost. It was wonderful. Compost is good.
After two hours in the yard, I put on some bright Easter colours and headed to my sister's place for dinner. As usual they truly outdid themselves. They are amazing cooks. Thank you Jess and Pat. Happy Easter everyone.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Feeding seedlings in soilless mix?

Can any of my blogging friends or readers tell me what you would recommend to feed your seedlings in soilless mix. Keep in mind I'm an organic gardener. I'm thinking of a watered down version of liquid fish or kelp? Would that be too 'hot'?

Monday, April 02, 2012

Fruit trees are planted right in the front yard. No one does that anymore. Why?

Newly planted Negronne Fig.
It was supposed to rain all afternoon. It didn't. It was so sunny that the greenhouse was heated up to 28 degrees. I took off my coat and just soaked it up. I told Amanda that we should go get our bathing suits on and pretend we are in Hawaii.
Allan and I grabbed fruit trees, shovels, manure, bone meal and other assorted paraphernalia and moved it to the front yard. Placement of the fruit trees was tricky. There is an old birch tree front and centre in the front yard. It provides us with privacy in the summer. But it is old and probably reaching the end of its life. So whether to plant the fruit where it won't be shaded by this birch, or plant it somewhat optimally knowing the birch will soon be gone. I actually considered just cutting the birch down. I would have liked to put the apple right in that spot, but I am an environmentalist as well. I take the cutting down of trees very seriously and should only be done as a last resort. So the birch will somewhat shade the apple. I would consider topping the birch if the apple doesn't thrive. But...I have a feeling all will be well.
Newly planted Jonagold Apple. Isn't that just such
a cute little house. We've been here since 1979.
The apple is planted in a central location away from our driveway, the street parking and neighbour Barb's driveway. None of us need apples cracking our windshields. Then the Negronne fig went over closer to the driveway. If a fig hits a windshield, you'd have a mushy blob. It is near the spot that we had the half dead ornamental plum. The spot has seemed a bit bare since we removed it. It is good to have something there again.
Here are two lovely shots of me after gardening. Okay, not me exactly, but my dirty denim shirt and my dirty nails. I always say that I love dirt under my nails. Here's the proof. Look at those dry cuticles, the dirt, the nails cut super short. Yup, I'm a gardener.
Dirty shirt.
Even dirtier nails
I have a soft spot for cactus and succulents.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

No April Fools jokes, just garden & greenhouse pictures!

Mostly tomatoes under lights here.
Three trays. Newly planted cucumbers and pumpkins.
The light setup, with fan and stuff not moved to shed yet.

I thought you might like a long shot of the greenhouse.

Finally an in focus of the plum.

The rhubarb is already about 14 inches across. Yayy.
An asparagus spear. Oh big Yayyyyy.
Jonagold apple, going in the front yard.
My precious Meyer Lemon in flower. Lots
more teeny buds are forming.