Sunday, 17 November 2013

2014 Garlic and FG Shallots Planted

17 November garden.
Well, I have to say I kind of dropped the ball on my blog these last couple months. My peppers seemed to be attacked - possibly pepper weevil although I also had a lot of earwigs, thanks to the very moist  and cool summer. My Tomatoes this year also did not have very good yields. I need to space them a little further I think.
Tuscan or as I prefer Dino Kale Still producing

Well first hard frost last week and things are mostly done. I moved a few things into my cold frame, and I hope they last there a little longer, possibly mature. (lettuce, a few herbs, some pak choy and some chard. The Tuscan (dino) kale is still doing wonderfully, and its now fining its ways into my fall stews, along with the parsnips, leeks and turnips. I must plant more turnips for fall next year, as they add a nice flavour to a good stew.

With most of the rest finished, I had room to plant my French Grey Shallots (year 2). They say plant smaller French Grey shallots and eat the larger. Last year, I bought a a bit over a pound from a farmers market, and planted them all in 3 rows of 4 feet. They did not grow as tall as I thought, and so the first row was badly shaded. This year, they in the front of the bed, and I planted 4 rows x 4 for 16 square foot. The first row with smallest and the second row with the largest of my seed stock. lets see if the smaller ones really do grow as well.
3rd attempt at Brussels Sprouts and I think I have some. 

My garlic (also Year 2) My garlic is become a little mixed, a local variety (from farmers market, music and my neighbors variety she has being growing for years. I can no longer tell them apart. I simply pick the nicer large bulbs to replant, with the idea that they are the ones that like my environment best. I planted a little less this year, 5 per foot in 16 squares foot as well\. 16 x 5 would be 80 bulbs if they all grow well.

Monday, 23 September 2013

End Of Summer - Success!

Well My 3 months no Fruit or Vegetable air-mile challenge was a success. Well mostly. I took a weeks vacation in Cuba and did not take my own veggies. Probably blew my air miles I saved as well. This is the first time I missed my veggies on a all inclusive though. I came back with a cold and so a little behind in the garden. Sooo, what did I learn

1) Early Summer is the hardest and no surprise late spring was known as the hungry months. Fruit wise strawberries, haskaps  are helpful. Vegetables are tougher as the "meaty" veggies have not had enough time. Peas rapidly became my staple with lettuce an other greens, kale (from last year) and radishes. Green onions this year I flopped on, but got to eat my Egyptian walking onions.

2) Mid summer is bounty. Fruit includes gooseberries, mulberries, currents etc Vegetables became another zucchini.  I way overdid zuchnini's this year, but found that only the very sunny spots produced. 3 plants should be enough, especially with hybrids. Tomatoes this year where late and I waited too long to plant my bush beans which could have gone in earlier. They kicked in late summer with huge impact. I have still had little luck with cauliflower and Broccoli and Brussels sprouts. I did get some leaf broccoli and kohlrabi, and even cabbage. I do need to find the right seeds for the others thought. Cucumbers this year where small but plentiful. I forget to eat them too often though. Dont lets forget onions. shallots and garlic!

3) Late Summer I was a little sparse on fruit. My apples, and pears being too small. Blackberries did kick in nicely and I still got some strawberries. Tomatoes were not huge success this year, but I still had an abundance. Black cherry still being my favourite snack. With the eggplant kicking in, I was back to an abundance and grilled they are spectacular. I need more varieties. Okra was slow. My late planted fillet climbing beans kicked in and even my South African Gem squash. Okra was late planted and slow, due to slugs. I have not had much of a harvest yet, but they loaded with flowers. Then there was peppers. early eating green peppers rock, especially liked my alma paprika, not really sweat or hot. Jalopenos in abundance 1 bush is all you need and onions still being eaten.

Next year, eggplant (more variety) and Okra must be seed planted earlier. New cucumbers (edible skin) and new broccoli / cauliflower/ Brussels Sweat onions rules, and wala wala buy the hundreds, but I need to get in some early green or other onions. Beans in the ground earlier and try for at least 3 crops of bush beans.

What I missed - Cherries and Mushrooms. Next year my cherry bushes may still be a bit small, but I may get a few. I need to get the mushroom log working! Thornless Blackberries have spread like crazy and all my fruit trees grown. on that front I think I am good.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

2 Months - Zero Food Mile update

2 months (little over) of not buying any fruits or vegetables. I must say I am a little boarded of my diet. Its just TOO healthy. Eating grilled and fresh veggies every day, is leaving me with powerful cravings for junk food.

Still missing the mushrooms and the cherries and perhaps plumbs. Romance series cherries are growing well (except one I lost), and I think I may have cherries next year. Mushrooms may take more effort and my fruit choices will increase as the pears and apples trees mature.

A friend sent me this article on pesticides. Maybe that's what my body is craving. Or perhaps its the embalming ingredients in hour processed food. Its good to see that many of my favourites in my garden are on this list!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Mid Season update

 Well the beds are pretty bare with my new seedlings for the second crop just in. Some of the full seasons though are kicking in nicely and I thought I do an update. I purchased some hops from a far in BC and in its second year its gone crazy on the old washing line pole. I can see the hops buds, but have no idea when I am suppose to pick them. Anyone?

 My Poona Kheera cucumbers are producing heavily. In fact, I missed a few and cant seem to keep up. Seems many are a little turned off by their yellow / brown colour, yet they do taste very crisp clean when eaten.
My family lived in South Africa for 400+ years before I immigrated to Canada. A very common squash there is a Gem Cucurbita pepo. Common in that it is every store and eaten all year. I have no idea why, given its apparent heritage its so common there. Well I obtained a few seeds and last year, the cucumber beetles killed the vine after 1. This year it seems to be doing well and I have a couple edible sized ones on the vine already. I holding off as I want to use the seeds for next year.
 Yes my pictures are not as good as most the bloggers, mainly since I snap them with my phone in bad light. But my purple climbing beans are starting to produce. Not sure I like these more than Kentucky wonder I grew last year, but they are far more delicate and beautiful.

 Well I had almost given up on my Ocra, it was so slow to get going and seemed a real magnet for slugs. It seems I have 3 plants (out of 8 seedlings) that have survived and they have tiny little fruits on them now. We going to have a hot week this week, so I expect I be eating the red burgundy Ocra this week. A very attractive plant with the red stems and red veined leaves, and bright red fruits.
 Another that was superbly slow this year was my Ping Tung Long eggplant. Also extremely attractive plant with more purple tones. Looks like its eventually fruiting although the plants are also pretty stunted.
I pulled out 4 Zucchini plants, I simply could not eat them as fast as they producing and even giving them away has become problematic. How does one miss a zucchini that size. The straight-neck I left, to turn to seed. Never tried to keep these styled seeds, but thats what I doing, learning.

Lastly I picked my Aronia and Elderberries and  plan on making a juice. Elderberry has proven effective against flu and Aronia is apparently the highest antioxidant. how I going to make this, I have no idea yet, I need to do a little google. let you know how it works out.

Beneficial's (I hope)

This year I wanted to try get balance back into my garden. This was mostly around putting in the small water source and trying to make sure I have a flowering plant to feed wasps and other beneficial's in bloom at all times. This plant I was given by the my polish neighbor after I noticed just how many wasps it attracted (can you see them?). Its a self seeding annual that blooms from now till frost. Sage is my other favourite and seems to attract more bees.
My roses and grapes are still being eaten by Japanese Beatles, but otherwise, I seem to have had less problems than my first year (last year) with pests. Slugs and earwigs still, but little in the line of caterpillars so far. One idea I read about was making a mason bee nest, and so I took a cutoff from a 6 x 6 and drilled holes in it and attached it to the side of the shed.  I was very pleasantly surprised to see that most of the holes had an occupant. and mud and straw seems to have being stuffed in many of the holes. I have a second one of these near the composter, for crawlie animals. Hoping they can hide there in winter. Now if only could find a Japanese beetle predator.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Mr Zucchini!

So the kids (early school age) that moved in across the road came from an town house with no garden. Earlier in spring they were amazed at the garden, and so I let them both pick a lettuce and take home. In response I was apparently names Mr Lettuce in their home. Now Mr Lettuce is just so... - plain.
Daily harvest
Well I am drowning in Zucchini. Whats worse, is that half my plants where planted much later and are only starting to flower. I have given away 2 or 3 zucchini every day. My Italian neighbor made zucchini lasagna (with no dough) for me in return. I ate the spooning straight-neck squash. That was good! But if I keep giving neighbours zucchini will I get a new nick name?

My older zuchini plants have started with the powdery mildew that killed my plants last year. I cut off leaves, and tried to keep it under control. The last of my garlic is out and my Jimmy Nardello and early Jalapeno are now producing. Tomato's this year are still pretty slim pickings. A small Black Krim (at least I think so since this plant label is lost), and a couple of cherry (sun gold and Black) wrapped up my dinner picking.

The Romano 2 beans, must be some of the most productive things I have every grown. Low bush beans (my first) hung heavy with large green flat beans. This weekend, I pulled the 4 feet square garden for 2 colanders full of beans and planted 3 feet of new plants. This was after picking from the bushes for dinner every night for last 2-3 weeks. I tend to forget things in the fridge, with so much in the garden now though so perhaps I freeze them.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Must Plan Better

As July comes to a close, I have harvested most of the garlic and earlier summer crops. The heat from a couple weeks ago put most of my lettuce etc into seed mode and so this weekend was spent pulling out and preparing the beds for second season planting. In the interim, the beds are pretty sparse and empty. Ideally I should have planted a few seed trays about 4 weeks ago and transplanted them in to the the beds now.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Candy vs. Walla Walla - Onion taste tests

Candy and Walla Walla
Last year I grew regular shallots, leeks, green onions and bunching onions. This year I wanted to try the larger sweet onions. Candy is pretty common hybrid variety to grow, with additional disease resistance, and said to be the sweetest. Walla Walla is a heirloom and often said to mildest and sweetest. So I grew both, slightly leaning towards the heirloom.

Zero Fruit and Veg Mile - 1st Month

I said I would grow everything and buy only meat, bread and diary for the entire summer. This is not a long after-all.  Proving that there is no need for the food miles if everyone just grew a "victory" garden. Well, today I made 1 month ,and I have not bought a single fruit or vegetable from the store.  I was supplementing my veggies before and I am sure I will be after the 3 months.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Garlic and Shallot Drying

French Grey and Garlic Ready for storage
Well we having a HOT dry week. Dry in no rain, hot in that its been 33 degrees every day, with humidex in 40-43. Worse is its that temperature by 8:00am to 9:00pm with no wind, and nigh-time low drops gradually to only about 24. Sitting, doing nothing even in the shade involves sweating and physical labour outdoors is very rough.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

First Tomato

Today I got to eat 3 cherry tomatoes. Sungold hybrid cherry, my only hybrid tomato. I bought seeds after reading about them on some of the garden blogs I follow in the hope that they would produce for a few weeks before others did.  Its a crazy spring, and I cant say for sure, but it looks like Krim and black cherry are not far behind.  Both heirlooms. The taste of the home grown tomato is divine, but I take a black cherry over the Sungold. That could just be my mind playing tricks and I will need to do a taste test together.

The Black cherry, Krim, Purple Cherokee, yellow pear and Belgium giant are starting to add loads of green tomatoes, currently more so than the Sungold. 

Saturday, 13 July 2013


First garlic harvest
Well, I planted garlic last year in 3 plantings, 2 weeks apart. The result was over 100 garlic plants.  I bought the garlic from the local farmers market and although some was music (or advertised as), I did not know the name of some of the others. I was keen to have a local strain and see what grew well for me as well as see when was the best time to really plant. I had heard everything from end of October to end of November and now I know.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Second Flood this Season
Mid June, my calculations put us 53% more rain in spring than last year. Here in Toronto we get a average 74.4 millimeters (roughly 3 inches) a month. Usually relying on supplementary watering during the heat of summer. Monday evening in a space of 2 hours we got  126 mm (5 inches) recorded at the airport, not 10 km from my house. A nearby weather station put it just of 130mm for the day.  A all time record for the most rain ever in a day for the city of Toronto, breaking a 1950's hurricane record. During the storm the entire city lost power, and it took 20 hours to get the power back on due to the flash flooding damage. Luckily my basement held up, many of my neighbors were not so lucky with puddles to feet of water running into their homes.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

First Zucchini

Mini Cauliflower
I planted 4 foot of Envy and another 4 feet of Bounty Edamame soy beans where my shallots came out. Last year, the label’s washed off. One I loved and the other was... OK. This year I put a large label cut from an old aluminium blind.

5 foot Krim Tomato Plant
I seem to be having no luck with cauliflower, another one in the garden (not beds) flowered with all of a 1 inch head. Is this due to too much nitrogen or bad seed? If you look back at my shallot harvest, the broccoli and spigarello are HUGE monsters. The Broccoli is 4 feet high and showing no head.

French Grey Shallots Harvest

First French Grey Shallot harvest
Well after searching for a couple years for a source of French Grey Shallots, as I had read so much about the "true Shallot. I posted on a discussion board in desperation, and to most wonderful girls, Prapti and Fanny from a local organic farm, Au Bon Hectare dropped me a email saying they have and selling them at local farmers market, Withrow Park. (Ironically, close to where I used to live in concrete city, before moving out to the "burbs".) I ran over, bought some at a ridiculously good price (considering what they would costs online) and planted them in 6 sq feet in the fall.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Do me a Fava

Well summer is here and its Canada Day Long weekend. With the heat here, it was time to do a little more focus on summer crops.  As my neighbour said, things are starting to fill in. The red plant in front isorach, which I cant say I have eaten more than 2 leaves.

30 June

Friday, 28 June 2013

Good things happen

2 days after heat hit
Well 3-4 days in the 30's and good things suddenly start happening. I actually have growth in my eggplant and peppers and squash have nearly doubled in size.

Lets start with Strawberries. My patch this year has given me 3-6 strawberries a day for last 2 weeks. 2 days of heat and this was my day's pickings. It seems there was a lot of latent potential, just waiting for a few warm days. They where rinsed and eaten by me and 3 neighbours. Home grown strawberries do taste better.

Monday, 24 June 2013


Elderberry Starting to bloom
Well yesterday we suddenly jumped from in the 20's to  36.5c and a "feels like 41". I had a small 4 foot bed I wanted to dig over, and drenched myself in swat in seconds. By 3pm, some of my plants looked a little wilted - shock I am sure. I gave up, found some shade and read.

But here is how things look (picture heavy) . Since Friday was Midsummer's night, Litha,summer solace or first day of summer. Elderberry is usually at its peak blooms and I am sure part of why the world over, it was associated with protecting and enhancing spirit relations. This year, I was have the first couple flowers open, no-where near full bloom.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Rain again

This spring will be the spring of rain and has offered some unique gardening experience. According to we have had 53% more rain in the last 3 months than we did last year. A whopping 268mm.  I woke up again this morning to often heavy rainfall.

With the cooler temperatures and all this rain, some plants are loving it, but others are suffering. My peppers and squash look a little nitrogen deficient and rather small, yellow tinged leaves. The lettuce on the other hand is taking over the world and my shallots look great.  My first year growing cauliflower and its seems a bit loose, unless I mixed it up with something else (Lost tags issues). I still need to source more fish for my pond. wait a second, whats that slouching away? Stop thief!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The "Pond"

Well much of what permiculture and other ideas are around trying to find balance between nature again. providing all the aspects you would in the wild. Although I have a river 1km away from my house, I really dont know of any closer natural water (not a pool) that is permanently there. So I wanted a very small pond. Deep enough to always have water, but small enough to not have huge maintenance. So I bought a large rubber planter, sunk it into the ground and added a solar pump. Then added a few feeder fish to eat any mosquitoes. Well the midnight monsters of mayhem (MMM for short) ate the fish and removed everything they could. So after a bit of research, I put a cinder block in the pond, giving fish a place to hide and set it to the right height so that birds could stand on it, in the water. Then added a few dinner plates to cascade a bit.
The "Pond"
The alligator purchased at Dollarama was supposed to "spit" the water into the plates, but on trying to drill a hole for the tube, it started disintegrating and I think I will need a hardier item. The lime green thorny shrub to protect birds and hopefully keep MMM away. Now all I need is more fish.

The number of Birds in my garden has increased dramatically. So much so that the neighbors commented about it. While out there, they seem to be willing to stop off for a quick drink along with a furry tailed rat or 2. Funny how the furry tailed rats lie prone to lap water. While looking from the house window, there is some major bathing going on. I am not sure on the insects I was hoping to attract as of yet. Its funny how with water, you get both the desirable's and undesirables, and one hopes only that it finds some point of balance.

Another project on balance was my desire to keep blooming flowers in the garden at all times to ensure a food source for beneficial insects. Something I did not try for last year. So far, I have been able to keep at least a few blooms flowers or shrubs at all times. Peony's and Clematis though are more for show. My purple chives are really showing as well

Friday, 31 May 2013

Robbing Robins

Well with all the heavy flash rain 2 days ago causing the DVP highway to turn into a river and then suddenly 30 degree days and 18 degree nights, we have high humidity and accelerated growing time.  Its also causing some plants to bolt early. I am excited about the mustard bolting as it is something I really want seeds from.

As I ate my bagel this morning, I watched as 5 robins did the rounds of my back yard. In the 5 minutes while I chewed no less than 3 worms were caught,stretched, chewed and swallowed. Usually shared with the mate or baby following a few feet behind the colorful male. Under the wood-chips there always seems to be a worm, but at that rate, I hope I dont run out!

30 May
Garlic Scapes
Now I planted some early garlic in mid October and some late garlic in mid November. The early garlic is smaller and already growing scapes. I also lost a few and so they are far wider spaced. My new garlic plant date - mid November as those plants are looking like trees.

looks like a cauliflower
Under shelter of my Ikea net curtain row cover, some of my lost labeled basilicas are starting to flower. Why does it look like I have 5 or 6 cauliflowers, did my dice role up all mostly cauliflower or will they look different when they grow up? (I planted cauliflower, sprouting broccoli, Romanesque broccoli, leaf broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale and then lost the labels)

I have plenty of cilantro, lettuce, mustard and pak choy. My walking onions (next year must remember green onions early) to eat. Its not squash, zucchini, peppers and tomato yet and asparagus is tiny after the pest problem of last year. But I can still make a oversize salad BBQ with a couple pork chops, some mince and a french loaf.

Mom, promise I am not starving!

Monday, 20 May 2013

27 Degrees Baby!

Well a hot weekend with temperatures reaching up to 27 degrees.  So how are things growing in 20 days? Lets look

30 April
20 May
My tomatoes that I put in the ground much larger than the potted and seem to look like the ready to start flowering. Peppers are not growing anywhere near the same speed.
Tomatoes 20 May
Finally I had my bird buddy do a comparison on "back to Eden woodchip bed vs mels mix raised bed brasillica
Raised Bed

Wood Chipped Bed

Friday, 17 May 2013

May 2/4

Well this weekend is May 2/4 long weekend. The "official" opening of cottages, planting and start of summer. Just about everything except my  Belgium giant tomato, Okra and some squash are in the ground so not much left for me to plant.  11 Tomatoes and 33 peppers plants so far.  Tomatoes only have 1 foot of trellis, but 18 inches root area. I will need to do a lot of training and pruning.

I can pretty much pull together a small salad every day already from outside leaves of lettuce, pak choy and mustard. Chives since I forgot to plant spring onions. The mustard is now my big find, I love it. In the garden its deeper purple and is  hotter tasting than the cold frame. I will let some go to seed. In my "mostly" mels mix raised beds, the basilicas are huge, while my back to eden wood-chip bed, they tiny. I did only put the chips down this year though and they should have gone  on in the fall. Perhaps next year I will have my answer on which one is better. 2 tomatoes I planted in the raised beds look like they may be developing flowers. 

I collected those seedlings that I do not have space for,  and some that I lost labels for etc, and put them in a in out front. I offer them to the neighbors just in case they have space and want them. This will be the weekend most will be planting out and I live on a street where most have a vegetable garden.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Pear Blossoms

I forget every year that pears are my favorite blossoms in excitement for the earlier apricot. This year my rather hard pruned asian pear is making a show of it. Whats worse is I don't know if there is a pollinator in the neighborhood.
My Asian Pear

Down the road they have a couple of these in the front yard. I think its a weeping cherry. Spectacular!

Suspected weeping

Monday, 6 May 2013

Floating Row Covers

Well, my floating row cover build turned far more fun than one could imagine. I wanted a modular system and one that could pack down and be stored behind the shed. One that would work in my square foot garden and one that could be used in other beds. Finally I wanted tio potential to cover with plastic as well to extend the fall growing season.

The actual row cover itself was difficult to find.  I could order online at William Dams, or drive there and back in 2 hours. In the end I settled for Ikea net curtain that was on sale for $6, - its very flimsy and tears easily, and not idea how it will handle the sun, but it wont run. Its on my list for purchase next time.

Modular and fitting into my Square foot garden meant, no wood frames. I started off buying the usual electrical PVC piping, that is somewhat UV protected and cheap. $3,80 a 10 foot piece. I added a few rebars and as a tester, a copper plumbing pipe. After a few cuts, decided 8 foot was the right length. I cut the rebar into 2 foot pieces and pushed them into the ground, till only 3 or 4 inches stuck up.I then placed one end of the conduit in it, and bent it over to a inserted it on the rebar on the other end. Cut one of my 2 curtains in half gave me just about 5 x 8 foot and lay it over the "ribs". Now how to fasten it?? I used the broad last 1 inch end of piece of the offcut, that usually joins pipe. I cut twice so it was C shaped and not O and pegged or clipped on the cover. I landed up going back to buy 1 size bigger conduit pipe to cut many clips. Here was the result.

My Row New Covers
 Only time, sun and wind will let me know how these hold up to the elements. They only 4x4 feet  and wide open on the sides, so really dont limit anything. As I understand it it scares off the butterfly/moth more, but that is yet to be seen. I can at least get in there to weed or whatever.

Now if noticed, the middle rib is copper of the first row cover. This was my permanent rib idea. Copper gets a lovely patina and is slug repellant. to much could possibly leek into the soil, but if I moved them every so often it should not happen. bending copper is not easy, nor is the pipe cheep. I used the PVC and a old piece of plywood and along the bend, screwed in a bunch of screws. Then removed the PVC and bent the copper pipe on the "pattern" I had made.
Copper Rib Bender
The copper rib fits nicely over the rebar as well and the thinner conduit made a great peg or clip when cut into a C. It does not necessarily feel that much stronger, but it looks much better and should be US and weather resistant far longer than the PVC. I really like it and may be doing more and just leaving them up when not in use. They not in the way in the square foot garden.

I did not cover all my Brasilicas, I think I will let some get eaten a bit and hopefully encourage natural predators. Over plant if you would.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Planting out (4th May)

Yes - Yes, I know I said the 15 of May and Yes, I may be severely punished for this. But such a beautiful day yesterday and 24 in forecast for today. My neighbour already has his air-conditioner running. Nighttime low above 10 in forecast all week, and soil temperatures in at 15 degrees. I was puttering outside and decide the moment had come.

No small part of this was the realization that I needed to up-pot a lot of things. Second was that tomatoes and peppers in peat pots where much smaller than those in regular terracotta pots. I will not be using peat again and perhaps I should consider plastic pots which hold the water better than terracotta. Less "organic" perhaps.

So added to the beds
8 Ping Tung Eggplants
30 Pepper Plants (mix of sweat and hot)
5 Tomato plants (about half I intend to plant)
8 Squash/zucchini (8 Ball, summer, portofino zuch, another zuch??,  straight-neck, spaghetti squash, butternut)
Cipollini, Candy and Wala Wala onions (2nd Batch)

My Muscat grapes seem to be dead still, no sign of budding, although the seedless one is. Otherwise only my Persimmon is not got leaves or flowers. The asian pear is about to burst.

I also drilled holes in some end peaces of 6 x 6 and screwed them onto the shed and near the compost for insect hideouts. I am not sure they will hide in treated lumbar, but we will see.

4 May
I took this picture while the BBQ was on and I managed my first 100% back yard salad. Mostly from the cold frame as you can see the mustard here is still pretty small. Left is my kohlrabi, mustard, french grey shallots, garlic, then broccoli etc you cant see. Second bed starts on left with Pak choy and way in background up against the trellis is my Tomato's. I have over 100 garlic this year, what was I thinking???

Sitting back on the deck having my BBQ, watching birds chase each other around, I see a pretty white butterfly. All idyllic bliss. Then it hits me, cabbage moth!!!! I dont have row covers up yet. So Today, that is my project, try put up some row covers and hope that the eggs are not already laid.

Saturday, 4 May 2013


With all the promise and hope for spring, I know think I know why May was named May. May it be a wonderful season. My phone camera simply cannot do this picture justice and the white magnolia tree down the road was breath taking (the smell too)
Apricot confetti
Bad drivers in convertibles, people wearing outrageous shorts, patio restaurants and children on bikes everywhere. Mixed in with pleasant tweets and not so pleasant squawks of the animals and wild life. Smells of flowers, stink of manure, fresh mowed lawn and BBQ.

4 Growing degree days and look at it. I put in a couple tomato and peppers, the rest in my  cold frame still, but with the week sitting at 20's and the nights at 10 it is about time, although now we early for my targeted mid May planting. I keep the rest till then. Lettuce, garlic, peas, Fava, onions etc all up and green in the beds. The pear is right on the verge of flowering and the apple is leafing out. Freshly mowed lawn has white apricot blossoms all over.
Greening up
May my harvest this year, be a good one.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

May Day

Well, although I trying to keep a record of the weather each year, a picture says a thousands words. I walked into the back yard and wow, spring really has hit. 22 degrees, popcorn apricot tree, lush grass and leaves and buds everywhere. And I supposed to work at a screen in this weather????

1 May

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

31 April

There is nothing that tastes as good as veggies grown in your own garden. I got to make a salad with the red mustard leaf, pak choy and lettuce, radishes our of the cold frame. Here all my Pepper & tomato plants keeping my cold frame veggies company. On sunny days it gets well into the upper 30 degrees in "the box"
Cold Frame
The beds are currently dominated by garlic and shallots (french grey here in front left). The unknown kale/broccoli on the right and pak choy in the middle section on the left. Peas are up, but taking their time. only 5odd cm

The smell is slowly receding, but having a tough time working it into the soil now.

Little concerned my grape vines look dead, but the first flowers on the apricot are out and my pear looks ready to explode.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

In praise of Lee Valley

So when I bought this house 4 years back, I decided I needed a really good spade and fork, since nothing grew in the yard. Enter Lee Valley . Their stainless steel spade and fork was twice the weight, but oh so sturdy, well shaped and just right length. Although slightly more than big box stores so I bought the pair,64944&ap=1

Last year I snapped the spade in early spring and had a friend try weld it back together but snapped it again soon afterwards. Just planting a couple fruit trees, but it had being VERY well used and abused by this point. in planting, digging, shoveling and making flower beds. I thew it out. This spring, the fork broke - just the pin in the handle falling out, but none the less. I was online, about to order a new set, when I saw - We guarantee these tools fully and will replace any that fail you in use. So I dropped them a email and said, I threw the spade out, but just broke the fork.

Today the postman delivered me a new fork AND the spade. With a request to send back the broken fork and to please hold on to broken ones in future. Lee Valley - YOU ROCK! These where now worth every penny and then some and may I suggest everyone buy a set.

Earthday Challenge

So I may not be the best recycler always, and I don't drive a hybrid car, or live off grid. Sure I try, I use public transit and am aware, but I still leave a far larger carbon footprint and live the usual unsustainable lifestyle of a city dweller.

Some small part of my original goal in learning to grow edibles was desire to be more sustainable, organic and offering homage to the skills and lifestyles of years past. My Victory Garden. So since I am in full swing, here is my goal. Organic sustainable growth of all veggies and hopefully fruits this summer. Well almost (I did have seeds shipped). But forget the 100 mile diet, I going for the 100m diet.

Friday, 19 April 2013


I remember when I lived out in Mennonite farm area, the smell in spring. As things defrosted, and farmers worked the land, the air was filled with the smell of manure for those first 2 weeks of spring.

Meanwhile back at the ranch house, I spread out about 50kg (110 lbs) of chicken manure in my beds last weekend. Its Friday now, and I still choke when I walk outside. Even the kids in the school, park behind my house are staying well away from the fence. A cold front and rain is forecast and I am hoping it wash down that smell.

Yesterday I added to this, with some sulfur spray (yes is not really organic) on my Asian Pear. This served to add a rotten egg smell to stink of manure. Good weather or not, I decided to not BBQ out back for dinner.