Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bright pink flowered strawberries.

My sister and I went shopping together for my birthday 'sister day'. We hit two garden centres. She really knows how to show a sister a good time. It was a hoot!! Last year I noticed some strawberries with pink flowers. I thought they were a novelty and probably not good eating, so....
This year, there they were again. I couldn't help myself. I took a little one in a little pot. Sister Jess talked me into taking this one. A larger pot with 4 or 5 plants in it. I thought, what the heck, and put it in my cart. What I didn't know was that she planned to buy my plant choices for me. Isn't she amazing. So last night, the first strawberry turned red. Allan and I decided to pick it and share it for dessert. I cut it in half and we deemed it, a very passable strawberry. It was good. I'm glad, cuz they sure are pretty. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Tomatoes have reached the the glass...

My tomatoes have reached the roof of the greenhouse. I need to get their spots cleaned out. I also have several going to friends and family. They have to take them soon or they will bust out of the greenhouse. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

We aren't allowed chickens in I settled for the next best thing.

At the store I carry a line of concrete garden ornaments. This beautiful chicken is one of them. In Sidney we are not allowed to have chickens, so I had to settle for second best! I think this really adds something to the homestead, don't you?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Owari Satsuma the house!!

Last month's permaculture course was so informative, I feel much better equipped. Over the course of the weekend we gleaned some interesting little tidbits unrelated to permaculture or food forests. One little gem was the Satsuma Mandarin. It was highly recommended. Apparently super sweet, delicious, juicy and prolific. Absolutely loaded with fruit. It took a bit of detective work, but I found one!

Post note: this orange tree has a dull and rippling look to the leaves. Some of them have rolled into tubes. This picture shows it a bit better. I've researched it a bit and it seems to be a too much, or too little water issue. I'm drying it out. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

I made butter!! I made butter!!

So, today I made butter. I will do a full post on how to do it. It is time consuming and a little bit finicky....but oh so satisfying. And worth it.

This is my butter keeper. With butter in it. My mom got it for me for my birthday. I love it. There is about 1/2 cup of beautiful bright yellow, very lightly salted, homemade butter. From organic REAL milk. I feel like a pioneer woman today. 

A full day in the garden, greenhouse and our soon to be house next door. Brutal hard work. And in my spare time, I made 100 non-GMO soy candles for the store. My god I LOVE it. I am going to sleep well tonight. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

The beginning of the orchard overhaul.

It has taken two days to get the orchard area of the garden to this point. I need to remove all the grass and mulch the orchard area. I started with the circle around each of the fruit trees. About three to four feet out. I broke the rule about never digging under a fruit tree as you disturb and cut roots near the surface. Between the lawn, quack grass and buttercups, I simply had no choice. So I dug as shallowly as I could. Used a trowel right near the trunk. And weed whacked a larger circle starting at the drip line. I filled each depression with beautiful horse manure. Then I will use vinegar to kill the grass as it comes back...and then finally a thick layer of mulch.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Confusing hoses...I knew this day would come.

We had a simple little system of plastic levers to control the hoses out to the gardens. Now we have a bit more high tech and easier system. I can tell what's what even without my glasses on. They are leak proof so they don't spray water on me. Thank you Allan. You are a great Gardener's assistant.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

New pictures of the transplanted Japanese Maples

I have had these maples for up to ten years. They were in the back yard. In clay and sun. As you can see by the size they never really grew at all. I bought them this size. That poor tree with the top chopped off, was a very large tree with all the greenery high up. Most of it was dead, but there were little green shoots on the trunk so I just hacked it back to those shoots. Like all the other trees, there was massive die back every year, and they all shrunk in size or thinned out more and more each year. I honestly haven't seen them look this thick and good in many years. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

Garden pictures part 2

Alpine strawberry blossoms.

Rosemary flowers.


Potato bed

Garlic and peas 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Everyone loves garden pictures. And here they are!

Strawberry bed.

Ambrosia Apple blossoms.

Fall Gold Raspberries.

Alice, pansy and glass mushrooms.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

When dryer balls go bad.

A while back I was making dryer balls and there was a mishap. I used fisherman's sweater wool, which met all of the criteria. I was having a bit of trouble with the felting, but decided to just put them in the hot washing machine. I've been making them for a while, so I was pretty confident. This was the result. I worked at the knots for a great many hours. Days really. I hate waste. Especially if it is a quality natural product. I bit the bullet and just tossed it. Wasn't that blue a lovely accent colour.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Is running a fan on your seedlings necessary?

In the spring of 2012 I did everything by the book. I started my seedlings using a heat mat, growlights and a fan. My seedlings were thick and strong. Very successful.

The fan sitting at the end of the seeding bench.
(Oh...look out the greenhouse window!! That is garlic my friend)

Last year I decided that I didn't need to run my fan. I felt that growing from seed was much easier than I originally thought and I wouldn't bother with it. The difference was shattering. By the time I realized there was a problem, the much thinner stalks were leaning and in some cases bending right over and breaking. It was too late.

The difference is huge. The stalks are thick and strong!!

Suffice it to say, I had the fan sitting at the ready. The day those little seeds broke the surface of the soil....a gently breeze was blowing over them. So is it necessary to have a fan running on your seedlings?? I say yes.

This is what real butter looks like. Mmmmmmm.

This is real butter. Real butter made from fresh milk. I actually cannot get a picture that shows how yellow it is. It is the colour of free range, free run, pastured chickens' egg yolks. So beautiful. I had a small amount of cream that made about a tablespoon of butter. Silly to go to the trouble really, but Allan wanted me to try and we did it. It is so fresh and creamy tasting. Wow. We will do this again. 

Monday, May 05, 2014

Tomatoes potted. Started clearing grass out of the orchard.

The tomato flats are now empty and plants that had reached the grow lights, are now in one gallon pots. I ended up disposing of several smaller plants. As usual I seeded more than I needed.

I dug and pulled out the grass that had grown up to the trunk of the plum tree. Once I had cleaned quite far from the trunk, I brought out my favorite landscaping tool...the weed whacker. I put on my eye protection, flipped the weed whacker over and took the grass down to dirt. I keep doing it, and when the ground dries and the sun is bright and hot, I use my vinegar plant killer. It doesn't work properly unless you take the grass down to stubs and the sun needs to burn the sprayed foliage. Done this way it works as well as Roundup. 

Above is tree number one in the orchard of three. What? You don't think that constitutes an orchard. I've made up a rule. If you have more than two fruit trees beside each other, that is an orchard. So, as I was saying, I've done the one. I just need to get the other two done tomorrow hopefully. That will leave three more fruit trees and three fruit bushes. I have my work cut out for me. 

Look!!! Baby plums.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Japanese Maples in their new home.

As you recall, I dug up four very heavy Japanese Maples a few weeks back. They had already leafed out a bit, so I was worried it might get sunny and hot and kill them. It has been cool and rainy, so they are fine. Better than fine actually. They are growing better than they ever did in the back yard.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Meyer Lemon update!!!

Do you remember this picture of the Meyer Lemon? I read about magnesium deficiency and fertilized appropriately. Today I was picking up my Owari Satsuma Mandarin Orange. It popped into my head and I just asked if they knew why my Lemon leaves were almost white? Without a pause... "Spider Mites". They told me to use a mister head on the hose, and really have at the tree especially on the underside of the leaves. 

When I came home from the store Allan said that he found spider mites all over the leaves. He said there were hundreds. Per leaf. So I went out and flipped the leaves over. I couldn't find a single white mite. I took my camera and aimed at the underside of leaves. My camera is great for macro photography. I almost fell over. This is what I saw. 

Before you ask, yes I had my glasses on at the time. I haven't had a new pair of glasses for about 6 or more years. What do you it time to splurge?