Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Planted flats of seeds and a French Sorrel.

I removed the lettuce from the greenhouse bed. I turned the soil over and I'm going to put some of my magical alpaca manure in there. The lettuce has already some up in the garden, so hopefully we will have more in a month or so. It's going to be hard not having super fresh greens.
The kale was starting to bolt. It became very bitter so I took that out too. I now have Cavolo Nero kale as well as curly kale in flats in the greenhouse. I also planted Brussels Sprouts and Bok Choi.
I dug a hole over by the fence along back of the shade area. I put the French Sorrel there. It seems much happier in the shade. It never did well in the sun. I'm going to use my patented technique "weed whacker as landscaping tool"®, to remove the grass back there. I see the whole back yard being mulch. Lawn just bothers me now. There seems to be no reason for it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mystery Iris. I think I've solved it.

Of all places to find the name of a mystery plant. Pinterest. My obsession. I did a google search and it looks the same. So until I hear otherwise....

"Edith Wolford".

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Do spiders creep you out? I thought this was pretty cool.

Working in the greenhouse today. Relocating my min/max thermometer I spotted a fuzzy blob off to the side. I scooted up closer and saw this. How cool is that? Fuzzy little blob is actually spider babies.

Tomatoes and peppers planted in the greenhouse. Will red plastic make a difference?

This afternoon I prepared the garden bed in the greenhouse for the tomatoes and peppers. Of course I deployed my secret weapon. Alpaca poop. Laying the red plastic was a fiasco. I was actually muttering curse words on several occasions. Here is a chronology of the process.
Laid a sheet of red plastic on bed. Cut a hole for the tomato and started excavating. A much as I dug, the soil just kept falling from the sides into the hole. After spending about 15 minutes digging, I gave up. Peeled the plastic back. Cut it into strips and started anew. Finally, red strips and clothes pins saved the day.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A full day in the sun and the garden.

It was glorious. Lots of sun. And warmth. Allan set up the deck umbrella and we washed off a couple of chairs. I was actually hot working in the yard, so I did take a few breaks in between the working. Had a visit with neighbor Judy.
I spread out a bag of alpaca manure to dry it off. I want to spread it in the flower bed which is full of flowers, so I need it lighter and less...clumpy. The last bag is going in the raised bed in the greenhouse. That is where the tomatoes and peppers will be going.
Seeded Cavolo Nero kale. I keep hearing about this kale and how delicious it is. A real treasure. I can't wait to try it. I love the curly kale in salad. It is awesome. My salads are now more than half kale.

I started over.....let's try Kombucha made with green tea

I was surprised to find out that my sisters co-worker Dirk makes his own Kombucha. I have not been able to get mine fizzy and it seemed really strong. Both in colour and flavour. Dirk said that he uses green tea rather than black. He said he would start over again with green. I did. I chose the lightest coloured Scoby and began anew. I will keep you posted. Isn't it lovely. I must now close it up and not touch for a week. Good night Kombucha.

Update. May 5th. Brought the Kombucha down to check on the progress. Mold. Yup, I had to throw out the batch and the Scoby. I will have to start from scratch.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I am exhausted...but so happy to have the seeding done.

Yesterday I planted in the sun and the pouring rain. Allan helped me get the Ambrosia Apple tree in. I made a mixture of compost, alpaca manure and bone meal for the planting mixture. I planted it between the two dwarf apple trees which are tied up to rebar. I am going to string some strong wire between the rebar and espalier the Ambrosia type Apple tree.
Then I moved on to the raised beds. I planted carrots, beets, radishes and sunflowers. I planted some kale in flats in the greenhouse.

Notice the height of the garlic compared to my shovel. I LOVE garlic. In the background are the newly planted beds. It was gloriously beautiful out today.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

OMG I have an Ambrosia Apple Tree. Thank you Favorite Farmer!!

I am in heaven. Ambrosia Apples are like candy to me. I buy them almost every week. I looked for a tree from every conceivable place. I was like a tree searching machine. I had all but given up, when I got an email from my favorite farmer. He had a shipment of Ambrosia type trees coming for his orchard in the spring and he may have a spare. I got the call Thursday. He came through for me. We picked it up today and I will get it in the ground this weekend. It is a true dwarf tree so will need staking.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Making Butternut Squash Soup

One of my favorite tastes is Butternut Squash Soup. My neighbor Lance gave me a taste of his soup. It is perfect. He shared his recipe with me. Here is a link to his recipe. It is located on my food blog. I post my favorite healthy recipes on there. The large knife in the picture was a gift from my brother...mmmm, sometime in the 70s. It was my first serious knife. Still love it. Thank you Steven.

Getting ready to plant. I love setting up for gardening.

I enjoy setting things up for gardening. I love unlocking the shed and getting out what I need. Going into the greenhouse to grab my gloves and pruners. There is a real satisfaction for me in the zen of gardening.

Took the day off to rest. Yeah right...planting to be done.

I took today off to rest.
I kept looking around the yard and seeing things that needed doing. So I took the coolest bed and prepared the bed. Smoothed the manure and spread a layer of compost on top. This was to make a smooth planting surface. I planted lettuce. Erin's famous seed blend. (All of my lettuce seeds mixed together in a mason jar) spinach and some Asian Radishes. Then I put some bird netting over the bed. This is to keep the cats out until the plants get big enough to handle the abuse.

How to seed rows in lumpy alpaca manure? Problem solved.

You know I am in love with alpaca manure. It is spread thickly all over the gardens. I am going to stir it in a bit but not really deeply. This is going to leave a very lumpy surface. How do you make a trough 1/4 inch deep to seed. It's lumps. I spotted the raincheck I had for 12 bags of organic compost on the fridge....TA DA!! Problem solved. We went and picked up the compost. I am going to put a layer over each bed in which to seed.

Iris about to bloom. In April!!??

Can you believe this?! This iris is covered with buds already. This has been the most amazing spring we have had in the 35 years we have lived on the island. We did not get a single snowflake this year. First time ever. It has been so mild that many annuals from last year are blooming. My calendula has bloomed all winter. I have spring fever. I have it bad!

And a day later...FLOWERS!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Woodland strawberries.

This is a close up of my Aunt Helen's Muskoka strawberries. They were in her lawn. I think they are called Woodland Strawberries. Can anyone confirm that?
I added some of my magical alpaca poop to them and they are already bigger than they got all of last year. Here's a close up. Whether its a close up of the strawberry or the poop...your call.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tomatoes are beginning to flower.

I cannot believe that my tomatoes have begun to set little flower buds. They are still tiny and under the grow lights. I have also decided to break with tradition. I am going to leave the side branches on the Sungold's this year. I pruned them all off last year and got very few tomatoes. So this year, I'll leave them.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Zucchini, spaghetti squash and cauliflower have sprouted!!

I love this time of year. I went to the greenhouse tonight and found the zucchini, spaghetti squash and cauliflower are all up. The basil has just barely sprouted. If you look closely you can see them.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

My black currant has flower buds. I am so excited.

This winter I finally figured out where to put the red and black currants. Today I strolled around to see what has happened in the past 24 hours. My daily ritual. I noticed that the black currant has small flower buds. I am so excited. I've never tasted a currant before!!

My sister brought her solo blueberry over for mating. I think I'll play Barry White for them.

As you know, my sister Jess gardens on her terrace. She only has room for one blueberry. Her blueberry is thickly covered with buds. Mine...barely any buds. But no doubt enough to pollinate her plant.
I blamed lack of water on my blueberries lack of performance last year. They look so scrawny next to Jess's, I now believe that it was the same lack of nutrients that did in 90% of my garden last year. So, I piled on the alpaca manure. Literally. Last year when Jess and I went to the blueberry farm to pick, each plant was piled deeply with bark mulch, so I know that the stalks can take the extra deep manure piling.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Moving the cranberry already. A lovely potted Fall Gold Raspberry for my sister.

Last month I planted a cranberry right beside the greenhouse door. I realized within three weeks that the placement was a mistake. I have a large patch of snowberries in that area. I was watching as all the new snowberry shoots were coming up all around the cranberry. It would eventually be swallowed up by the snowberries. I grabbed the freshly planted cranberry, now drenched from the pouring rain, wiggled it until it came loose. I planted it in one of the raised beds, at least for now.

I dug out the nice big juicy Fall Gold Raspberry runner that is outside the area allocated for best growth of a raspberry. I am impressed that in one season it has roamed so far. Last year I lost all of my raspberries in that bed. I give 100% credit to the alpaca manure. I dug up the fattest runner and planted it in a one gallon pot for my sister Jess. She has a terrace that is south facing and super hot in the summer. I mean super hot. I will be giving her two tomato plants and a pepper or two. They should do super well there.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Every now and then a plant just can't make it. Even a herb?

I have several mint plants. All in really large pots. I have a spearmint, chocolate mint and pineapple mint. It is the pineapple mint that just can't make it. It has been limping along since year one. I am throwing in the towel. I give up.

Chocolate Mint
Pineapple Mint

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mavis loves bark mulch even more than I do.

Mavis Butterfield loves bark mulch as much as I do. Probably more. Check out how she has spread it all around the garden beds and greenhouse. I am doing it in my much smaller yard as you can see in the picture up at the top of my blog. I love the idea of no grass anywhere near the gardens. It just seems a more natural way to garden. Mavis is a rock star of a blogger. She is one of the funniest bloggers out there. You should really check her out at One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

I didn't expect to see rhubarb this big until summer.

My rhubarb has gone crazy. This is my third garden season. Year one, I planted a rhubarb that limped along for the first season and then never reappeared in the spring of year two. Year two I bought a nice healthy large rhubarb plant. It did REALLY well compared to the previous year. I fed it now and again. In the winter I put straw on the rhubarb and loaded on the alpaca manure.

The rhubarb is now about three feet across. The stalks are growing so fast that I should be able to start taking stalks in a week or two. Wow.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Finding zen in the garden...doing very hard work.

I spent the day dodging the pouring rain and spreading alpaca manure. I would make a decision about the manure placement. Start shoveling. It would start to pour. I would dash into the greenhouse. Close the door. And breathe the nice, warm, moist air. Have a look at the eight little cauliflowers that have popped through the surface of the soil under the lights. And marvel at the beauty and magnificence of nature. A little seed. I put it in dirt. It not only turns into a plant...it provides me with food. And then the rain would stop. I snap out of it, and head back out to shovel {let's just call a spade a spade} shit. And then the miracle that is alpaca poop astounds me. I put this beautiful poop on my soil, it feeds my plants and they immediately become lush and abundant. Then the miracle....they feed and nourish us.
And there are people who don't see gardening as the ultimate zen experience? Pity.

Alpaca Beans all over the strawberry bed.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Pulling up bluebells. No worries, I couldn't get them all if I tried.

I have pulled out all the the bluebells I could find in the flower border. I have a friend that I am going to send the bulbs to. They sort of take over and I snapped a lot of the plants off leaving some of the bulbs in the garden. So no danger that they will be completely gone any time soon!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Narcissis Tahiti

I am in love with Tahiti Narcissis. They are so bright and beautiful.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Transplanted tomatoes.

I took the tomatoes out of the tray and potted them up in one gallon pots. It is nice to only have 15 to pot. Last year I went a little overboard.
Then I put in some cauliflower, zucchini and spaghetti squash.
I cannot wait to EAT THEM!!