Monday, September 12, 2011


I've moved all the garden posts over to my new blog; hopefully I'll have one every Thursday.

I have finally found some time for the garden at it's looking a little better then it was!

Next year... oooohooo, we're going to have some FUN!! :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Maybe a little, but not forgotten. 
This is SO embarrassing! 

Mmmm... weed soup? 

I've just had no time this year, with the move and all the farm work.

I believe this is a spaghetti squash

And least the garden is producing a little bit of something.

Next year garden, I promise...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Can you save money gardening?

My first year I think I spent less then $20 on seeds & used a shovel I already had, and turned over & double-dug a HUGE patch of sod. 

Yes you can save money your first year of gardening. 

Did I save money my second year when I bought better tools, $100 of seeds (which I have spread out over at least 2 if not 3 years), and put in raised beds from recycled wood? Yes. 

This year I used seeds left over from last year & seeds I saved (but hubby just ran out and bought me $20 in seedlings to supplement what I couldn't start b/c of the move). I think I spent an additional $5 on some seeds I needed (+ broccoli I didn't have last year). Am I going to save again this year? Definitely. 

Then again we also bought a new house to put the garden in so if that counts I'm in trouble... 

A head of lettuce costs me $3-5 at the grocery store (depending on season) at home I can have a salad every night for pennies. I haven't bought lettuce seeds except for new varieties because I always let mine go to seed. Same with beans. 

You don't need fancy gadgets to garden. You need a shovel, and a will to work. I also live out in the country where I don't have to pay $5 a bag of manure, I just go ask the cows.

You can definitely save money gardening, especially when you compare the price of buying all organic food to growing it. But gardening is about more then saving any amount of money. It's about appreciating the beauty of flowers, improving the look of your home, and the sense of accomplishment you get from eating something you grew from a tiny little seed. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The best house-warming present

The vegetables garden that keeps giving!
Perennial installations.

The long row of perennial fruit behind the garden.
Great planning because I could set something sun-loving at the very edge of the garden and still not have the bushes over-shadow it. Plus there is room to drive the mower through there.

I've never really eaten currants so I'm not really sure what I'm going to make with all these plants!!

The grape vine will shadow anything placed right behind it, but only a little, so it's the perfect spot for a lettuce patch! The poor thing did need a really good hair-cut first.

We have a lovely patch of strawberries just coming into fruit! Unfortunately there is also a ton of stinging nettle in there... OUCH! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Farm Report

A good beer at the end of a long day of work is essential to keeping your gardener happy 

I appreciate the principals behind a no-till garden, and the whole bit about killing microbes when you bring them to the surface makes tons of sense to me. Still, I find a garden that has been tilled so much easier to work in, and double-digging the best way to prep the ground & kill the weeds.

We did not till up this garden this year, and it wouldn't be necessary (although would have made planting much faster). I double-dug most of the soil and you can tell when the shovel hits the dirt how soft the soil is, this has been a properly cared for and used garden.

I'm expecting that because it's obviously been used year after year we're going to need some extra organic content; but right now my best plan should be to take a soil sample to the local extension office for testing.

In the mean time, we're all moved into the new place and I've already got all my little seedlings into the ground. Hubby also ran out and grabbed me a bunch more pepper plants, and they put my little stunted started seeds to shame! We'll see if my guys can catch up, but I'd be pretty surprised if they did.

If I had to do it all over again, I would probably have started with a seed starting method that didn't end up mildewing! But I would start & move my seedlings again. It was pretty easy & I still have plants to go in the ground that may need a little help late-summer/early-fall to keep going, but I should get a half-decent harvest from them.

And our giant pumpkin is already pretty large! Here's hoping we've got a good whopper.

For this year we have:
- bush beans (yellow & green)
- lettuce
- cherry & eating tomatoes
- green & yellow peppers
- hopefully 1 jalapeno pepper plant
- cauliflower & broccoli
- zucchini, spaghetti, pumpkins,
(I lost the tags to a few so should be a good surprise!)
- cucumber
- atlantic giant pumpkin!
+ Established plantings I'll blog about later.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Think Globally, act locally.

Yes it's a slogan you hear often these days, but it makes a lot of sense. Just like voting in an election, one vote either way doesn't really have a lot of sway, but it is the cumulative effects of many people acting together that shapes our world. 

And I'm not a nut-ball about these things. Our kids LOVE bananas, we have them almost every day. I would love to be able to grow them at home, but unfortunately I don't have a greenhouse (maybe one day). 

Living a more "green" life is about making choices though, and we choose to eat bananas and apples all winter because they make the most ecological sense to us. Apples are grown in Ontario and stored all winter, so you can still get fresh local apples in January; and bananas are generally shipped by sea not air, which is far more plant-friendly.

That doesn't mean we never have oranges, but I try to get them when the harvest is coming in from Florida so they don't have to travel as long, plus they taste WAY better.

We also buy local meat (VERY local, like next door...) and nothing makes my soul feel better then putting together meals where everything except the salt & pepper are grown/raised and harvested within walking distance. 

With the new "farm", we'll be growing our meat & veggies side by side on our own land! I definitely do not do this every night (I like delivered pizza as much as the next person!), but even one meal a week with all our own food makes me feel grounded and like I'm doing something good for both my family and the earth. 

I don't expect everyone to drop their urban lifestyle and move out to where they can have their own little patch of land, but for us it's about doing what we love, and contributing to saving our children's future. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

What varieties to choose

The first answer should be: What grows well in your area; and the best place to find that out, is at your local nursery.

When it comes to my garden, originally I was after flavour and ease of care (especially being a new gardener) but in the last few years I've really found that most things you grow at home taste a million times better then store bought no matter the variety. 

With a quickly growing family and very long cold winters, now quantity and freezing quality is the most important to me. 

Zucchini does't freeze very well so doesn't taste as good frozen as it does fresh; but I froze a whole bunch and added a little into pasta sauce once a week. Even though I grew piles of the stuff, and was literally begging people to take some from me, I ran out of zucchini mid-winter. Before I grew it this year, I didn't think I liked zucchini, but it was so yummy! 

I also froze beans, peas and peppers and we ate all of those as well. While I won't have the time this year (literally the number of days because of the move) to grow enough in the garden, I'm going to try. For next year I'm aiming to carry us right through the winter with frozen (or canned!) vegetables. 

In a couple cases (like beans) I may grow two different varieties, one for fresh and one for freezing. 

Non-hybrids (true heirlooms or not) are also important to me only because I want to be able to save my seeds from year to year. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hybrids, it just means that you're getting a cross of two different strains of the vegetable, so you won't get consistent plant from the next generation of seed (like a mutt dog).

My criteria for choosing variety:
#1 Number of days to maturity
#2 Freezing quality/taste after freezing
#3 Quantity of produce vs Space/care requirements 
#4 Non-hybrids for seed saving 

Ask at your local nursery, check with other local gardeners and research before you buy. Seed packets are sold on their descriptions, most of which say nothing helpful about the actual plant, and can be down-right misleading at times (depending on where you are buying from).