Monday, 18 March 2013

Seedy Saturday Adventures

A note: I am getting back into the discipline of writing a blog; I wrote this shortly after attending the Seedy Saturday event, pressed "save" intending to read it over later, and left it for several weeks. Oops.
Anyhow, better late than never:

On Saturday March 3, I scrambled my stuff together after sleeping late, and drove out to the Britannia Beach Ron Kolbus building to attend a seed exchange and sale called Seedy Saturday. I'd heard about it a few weeks beforehand and decided to go; it wasn't until I told my mother of my plans that I realized the double (and thoroughly unintended) meaning of "seedy". Needless to say, she had a good laugh at that (and at me).

I drove up to the building, noting that I had the correct address, and turned into the adjacent parking lot.
It was full. Several cars had already made the circuit, and were heading back out, so I followed them to a slightly further parking lot, only three quarters full. Neither were small parkinglots.

So, no Mom, the event was not just attended by a few old geezers. And the only seediness involved was that of embryonic plants.

Entered the building to find a small room buzzing with chatter. Display tables for different food-related organizations lined its perimeter, and, closest to the door, a seed exchange table was set up where gardeners could drop off their extra saved seed and pick what they wanted from what others had brought.

It was an organized chaos of every imaginable type of seed envelope, with varieties ranging from cucumbers to wildflowers to squash and tomatoes.
Since I had not managed to collect a large excess of seed from the plants I saved seed from - cosmos, chives, and peas, added to the fact that I'd slept late and rushed out the door, I opted to make a donation (the alternative option to trading).

Leaving the exchange table, I ventured into a gymnasium brimming with people who clustered around the  tables set up by local food vendors, small seed sellers, and various food-justice organizations.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Lessons From Last Year

The first thing any gardener does when faced with the prospect of a new growing season is to look at the previous year: the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

As I recall last year featured a nigh perpetual battle betwixt gardener and squirrels, and several other bugs/diseases. Mostly the damn squirrels. They are a little acknowledged (by the internet) source of urban gardening woes, at least for those of us with a walnut tree in their back yard.

Maybe I exaggerate. Maybe I don't.

Chicken manure pellets seemed to help there a little, but I'm not exactly sure where to obtain more of them (my supply came from an elusive stall in the Ottawa farmer's market the name of which I can't quite recall).
So the search begins.

And then of course there are the veggie variety lessons... 
With great reluctance, I must admit that I cannot grow winter squash in my yard. Reasons:

Friday, 8 June 2012

Things I want to do

As always, my horizons keep on expanding, as I learn more (I've been doing a lot of reading). It is exciting.

I've started a list of things I want to do someday:
  • keeping chickens
  • keeping bees
  • making cheese
  • growing most of my own veggies, and preserving them for the winter
  • growing stuff in a greenhouse for the better part of the year
  • living out in the country
Also, of things that I want to do this year:

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Harvest calculator & Seasonal Food

You could use paper and math and lots of tricky calculations with dates and months, etc.
Or you could just throw your seeds into the ground and figure they're ready when they're reading.
Or you could give this a go: my Harvest Date Calculator.

First save it to your computer, so you have your own copy of it. Click "file" go to "download as" and select "Excell", then save it to where you want it in your computer.
After that, it's pretty straightforward: simply type in your planting date, and the days to harvest (usually found on the seed pack), and there you go!

It's May long weekend - in Ontario, the traditional weekend for putting plants in the ground.
Which means that if you go anywhere in the vicinity of a grocery store, much less a garden centre, you will probably be crushed.
It also means that for a lot of people it's planting time! Woo!

I actually jumped the gun on tradition and had things in the ground last week -

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Serendipitous straw and copious compost

May is here, and with it beautiful, sunny shorts and T-shirt weather, a reduced schoolwork load for me (yay!!) ...... and 6 cubic yards of compost (+ 3 of mulch.) That is a lot of wheelbarrow loads.

There are different glimpses of things around me that have stuck in my memory - things that speak loudly of spring:

the subtle but stunning iridescent colour of a starling's wing -

the pink waterfalls of apple blossoms shrouding an the boughs of a gnarled tree -

the tiny sky-blue flowers coming out on the forget-me-nots -

the buzzing bumblebee hanging upside down from a bleeding heart -

the pervasive calm and stillness of a clear evening.

My mom, my brother, and I have been working all weekend to get the compost spread over our garden beds, and to get the garden cleaned up and ready to grow.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Of basement garden adventures and too much kale

Due to the all-consuming monster that is the English exam, I haven't written anything for over a week.
The downside to this is that I now have all sorts of unarticulated & partially formed ideas floating around in my head, jostling each other for space, and making my mind feel about as lucid as a muddy puddle.

So, to get back into things, I'll make this a simple update post: what's going on in my garden?

Yesterday I awoke to see white out my window - fortunately spring flowers are designed to take the cold, and they're still going as strong as ever! My mom noticed the beautiful contrast between the snow and the bright flowers and went out to take pictures.

Over the last few days, I've been busy in the basement:

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Second planting & seedling updates

My seedlings have been up for about a week now and I'm starting to see their first true leaves.

On Tuesday, I replanted my lettuce (since my germination was lousy - 3 our of 9 cells the first go round) and I filled in the kale seedlings that didn't come up (this time I double planted to make sure I got something).

I also planted cosmos, globe amaranth, and poppies. I probably won't obsess so much about these, as I already have my other "babies" to watch.