Sunday, 6 September 2015


Well Last year I bought 4 "gourmet" fingerling potatoes to try. This year, I regrew from my own seed stock 2 of them.  Ratte and Pink fir apple. If you ask which one I prefer, its probably Ratte. I grow them in 2x2 foot double stacked wood boxes. This allows me to just lay the potatoes down, then add soil as they grow. This year, Ratte gave me some potato seeds, which I have to try next year. Perhaps this give me some gene diversity.

What is amazing about potatoes is just how prolific they are. No wonder they rapidly became the staple crop of most of Europe.  From a single 2 x 2 foot potato box, I got nearly a full bucket full of Ratte this year, and a 3/4 for Pink Fir. With 4 boxes planted, that's more than enough potatoes for me most likely all year. Given the squash I being growing.

Speaking of squash, I already thinking of my next years crop. Suggestions anyone. My South African Gem squash was extremely did very well this year, but my others did not do that well. For the most part though, my garden suffered from Duck feeding. The little monsters ate every thing from squash leaves to Pepper leaves. Never mind lettuce etc.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Romance Series Cherries
Ok the pictures were taken around then, even if it took me a week to get this posted. Its being a cooler and wetter than usual spring and the ducks have done more damage than I ever imagined. Still some things are coming along.

No longer am I cherry starved, as my Romance series cherry bushes have after 3 years started to produce. Not a huge crop, but tasty treat that is most definitely worth having a few. The bushes got their first prune and are most are now chest height. They are suckering a bit, but my intent was to create a hedge dividing my vegetable garden from my lawn and smaller garden. They flower, fruit and offer colour. why would one not want a few?

Forgotten Seedless grape
Another first is my seedless grapes. The muscat varieties on my trellis seemed to not have set, but the seedless grapes look like I will get a bunch or two this year. These I planted 3 years ago as well now. I bought them from a retired gentleman in orangeville than traded scions. These seedless being a recommendation on and afterthought.

Purple Peacock Broccoli
Although I am fairly strict on only buying heirloom vegetables, preferring their taste for one. That said, I will buy open pollinated like this purple peacock broccoli I tried this year. As you can see, some gardener has being eaten it raw, giving it little chance to flourish. Having had little luck with regular Broccoli (lots of leaf and little head), this may be a keeper.

Squash Trellis
Another thing that is new this year is my squash Trellis concept. I actually built a few of these. Just 2 feet by 2 feet and 5 feet high, my hope is than I can grow a vineing squash in as little as 4 square feet. since I have a few I am trying this year, and its part of my "extend into winter plan" plan, I have high hopes for it. I side benefit seems to be the ducks stay out!

Last years success on gourmet finger potatoes, is something I am keen to continue. The pink fir and ratte being my favourite, were stored in the bottom of the fridge to see if year 2 would produce. One the ducks have taken to eating, but the other is looking good.


This years cabbage for my sauerkraut and Kim-chi has being mixed bag. The Chinese cabbage did  very well, but got eaten by the slugs and earwigs in the damp. The red cabbage has also not done well. These thick leaved varieties though are looking good. (except for the one the ducks somehow managed to get to). Lettuce and pak choy I have none, after the brake in. I also had a lot of Zucchini and bush bean damage.

I have planted a few flats including a new batch of cabbage to plant out in the next couple weeks. My second season crop.

So far, I am not starving, but the ducks are making life a little more difficult. Especially since I got them to eat the bugs and not the veggies. That said, they come running when I arrive home, hoping for a worm or some other treat, "ducking" their heads and making offering quiet the applause. I also had a egg from DD almost every day since March.

Monday, 29 June 2015

June Update

Its amaizing how fast things get going once they going. That said, I sick of rapini and turnip tops and looking forward to some tomatoes and peppers

Sunday, 31 May 2015

New additions

Well, the Ghetto incubator worked like a rockstar. 4 our 4 eggs and I now have some grandchildren. Even not walking properly, they can make a mess of water in seconds. I think from the back Scramble, Sunny, Benedict and Easy. But then I could be wrong.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Season Started

Romance Series Bush Cherries
Well we had a amazing warm week this week with temps in 20's every day and upper 20's this weekend. Consequently the garden has undergone the miraculous spring change.I am pretty sure I will be living off it  by the 15th of May. A full 2 weeks earlier than last year.

One of the things I have missed these last two summers is fresh cherries. My own Saskatoon bush cherries taking some time to grow to maturity. This year they are in full bloom and I am hoping I will have my first crop.

My idea for these was to grow them into a hedge - a really attractive and fruitful one.
Happy Haskap

Of the 8 haskaps I planted, only two bushes look really happy and 2 seemed to have died down to the ground, but are now showing some fresh signs of growth. I am not sure these two bushes got pollinated even. I hope the remaining 6 put in the growth they need and are happier this summer.

Unknown hard neck garlic
The straw from the duck house and then compost on top seems to have made my garlic very happy this year. My French grey shallots less so. I really do go through a good 50 bulbs of garlic in a year, and have not bought any now in 3 years. One crop that I really use all year around and had some success since buying these bulbs at a local farmers market. The farmer had no idea what it was called, but said his parents had grown it before him. The expensive shipped garlic named varieties really did not have the same success.

Some of my squash seeds have not sprouted and I am starting to get concerned. Perhaps they need a bit more heat?!

Everywhere you go though it is spring. My Asian pear tree has some of my favourite  flowers off all fruit trees and is showing its stuff

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Early Spring bulbs

Having Grown up in the southern hemisphere and the subtropics, bulbs were not common (for that matter seasons were not that defined)

But every year I scout out my neighbours snow drops, as I am yet to find some for my garden. The true harbinger of spring when you see these, you know there is no stopping it.

The second small bulb that I love is blue bells. These add a early dash of dainty colour when one is truly tiered of white. Dainty and small, they singularly they don’t make that much of an impact, but together they can be quiet striking.

By the time one starts seeing crocus, you really know things are happening. I tried a few times now to plant these in my lawn, but they dont seem to be happy there. Yet in flower beds and other garden borders they flower a week earlier than the earliest daffodils for me.

These were taken 3 weeks before last frost date for my area.

Yolk Attack

So I trying to get a little more early spring gardening in, now that the neighbours cut down the trees bordering the fence. When I notice Yolk has taken to chasing birds and other animals in the garden.  Territorial man that he is and all.

But every time I turned around he seems to be right behind me and get a fright.  So I got the video camera out, and held it over my shoulder as I walked away. From head down charge to his fright when I turn around to face him.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Ghetto Incubator take 2

Well, as mentioned, my initial design put the heat store near the heat source.
I soon discovered its better to leave the heating bulb without the heat store, and move the heat store to under the eggs and add a small fan to circulate the air,

Now I have 2 bricks on the one side, with a glass dish sitting on top of this heat store. In the dish I have some shavings and eggs. On the other side  the light bulb, fan and container of water to keep up the humidity. The fan blowing on the bulb and distributing the heat. Once the bricks heated up, this became far more stable temperature zone, and varies no more than .2 degrees Celsius of the 37-38 degrees zone. Mostly sticking right in the 1 degree range.

The Ghetto 2 - Eggs are in a glass dish with some padding, on top of 2 bricks. Left bottom is the PC fan, some water to keep the humidity up, and the light bulb connected to the temperature controller set to switch on at 37 and off at 38 degrees celcius.

I am looking forward to some grandchildren. It should be the first week of May. I will then have news on the effectiveness of the new design.

Ramping Ramps

Looks like my Ramps survived the transplant.  A 2or3" up already and looking really healthy in the front yard. I hope the ones in the back under the oaks establish themselves as well, but there is more shade there. Like asparagus, I am sure I am a few years from harvesting my first.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Planting time!

Well yesterday I planted out some onions and leeks. Yes I know I am a week ahead of my calendar, but we just had 2 days that were in the double digits, the birds were out and weather great. There was nothing colder than -2 Celsius  in the forecast, and lots of rain. The onions looked a little crowded, and so I broke the clump in half and planted half out in the garden.

With my neighbour cutting down the huge spruce trees, my garden looks sparse.  I am also expecting that this was done in prelude to them adding a second story, which will then grant then a superb view of my garden. I planted some new asparagus roots, and moved a few things to along the fence were the large trees were. How many years will it take for the yews to be tall enough to block their view and I now have to work something in to block the noise from the park.

This year, I went out and picked up 2 cubic yards of Mushroom Compost. I have no proof that’s its organic, but this early, in the season, its last years and well aged. That does not mean it does not still smell like horse manure. The straw from the ducks house is in the beds now, with a layer of mushroom compost covering it. I am hoping it will compost quiet rapidly.

I pruned the grapes and did my best on the fruit trees. (This is something I think requires some more practice on my part). Then with aching body, went to bed quiet early.

This is what I woke to this morning.....

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Up and Comming

The seasons in full swing. Peppers mostly up, brassicas up and some eggplant and tomatoes in. I started a week later this year after my triple light bank I put in last year made everything grow much faster. Maybe a few too many cabbages. But the ducks cleaned me out last year :-) The break in the weather this week just makes it all the more exhilarating, but the snow has not yet melted.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

2014 Review

2014 garden got planted and then I changed jobs. The commute took up much of the time I would have used to posted here. The few hours of light left, was spent nurturing and eating my crop. As usual at this time of year, (about when that groundhog signals its mid winter), I start getting garden antsy.

So today I spent a number of hours researching and buying seeds. I tend to go way overboard, but then it would not be mid winter if I did not. I tried two new seed sources this year, Hawthorn Farm and Solana Seeds. They seemed to offer some nice open pollinated and less often found variety. For my more common open pollinated seeds I bought from Weston Seeds. They have a lot of Italian (and other) heirlooms and I have had great success with their more than generous packets of seed. I am sure I will do a few more still. I love going to William dam seeds and would love to make a purchase from kitazawa seed co, but the shipping seems a extreme to Canada.

So what did I really love last year, well Japanese turnips must be high on my list of discoveries. The  Hakurei Turnip I are raw it tasted so good. Second great discovery that made its way into my every year plan is Aji Lemon hot peppers. I ate those every day. Kale and Rappini got used a lot along with pretty much all my tomatoes. (ducks ate much of my cabbage and pack choy)

What did not work was my mushroom logs. Not a single mushroom from them. Too hot, too dry? also did not not have much luck with winter squash, but that may be the year. It was not that hot and lots of rain later.

So this year, my focus landed on cabbage and squash although I really am looking for fresh eating non-cooked veggies. These I found I took for lunch or snacks and ate everywhere. But my attempts last year to make sauerkraut and Kimchi, keeps jumping to mind. Here is my 2015 seeds I added

Its time to set up my indoor lights again, find the timer and start growing. feeling that sense of indoor gardening in expectation of summer. another year, another promise. My Zero food mile pledge. With ducks laying, I may have a crop abundance this year.