Thursday, 29 March 2012

Planting Seeds

I knew before I opened the crisp, pretty white packets that seeds are both nondescript and marvellous.

What I didn't know before was that each type of seed has its own character - each is a little bit different from all the others.

And when you look closely, quite beautiful.

See for yourself:

Tomato seeds are dried versions of the ones what you see in all tomatoes.
They are also tiny. Not quite as bad as carrot seeds, but handling them well requires a certain level of finesse & fine motor skill which I sadly lack.
When my fingers operate on the level of a tomato seed they seem awfully blunt and unwieldy.

Kale seeds are tiny black bouncy balls. They like to hop and bounce about & they just don't want to stay put.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Garden prep - of bleach and dug treasures

With my garden, the things I do aren't usually big and climactic.
Usually they're small. Sometimes rather tough work. But I like it that way.

Over the weekend - on Sunday when I was going through the birth-pangs of finishing my essay, I decided to tackle the rock border to my new front-yard garden.
Because I just could not stand one more minute of editing without self-combusting.

Soon in my digging my shovel hit something hard where there should have been soil.
I stuck it down a few inches over, thinking I'd hit a little rock.

But this one wasn't little.

No this - and the others I found (perhaps 7?) - were quite respectably sized. Hefty, even. Rocks that would hurt if dropped on your toe. In fact they'd probably break your toe. I'm guessing at least 1 square foot, and 2 inches thick.

They were extremely satisfying to dig up one after another.

There must have been a nice rock-border there before the junipers took over the space. I wonder what it looked like 10, 20 years ago. If the old and prickly-snarled junipers that we shed so much sweat wrestling out were ever nice to look at? If there were other plants growing there?
I doubt I'll ever know. But I'm glad to have my rocks, though they still aren't quiet enough for a border.

Here are the products of my hard work:

The other recent gardening adventure of note involved bleach. And holey gloves.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Seeing our place, saving our world - why I garden

For years now, I've plonked in some veggies in the backyard garden when the weather got warm. A bit of basil. Some straggly tomatoes. Lettuces. Or chives.

But like with a lot of things in my life, I am just starting to realize that there is so so much more to growing a garden than I'd ever thought. I get the feeling that I've just skimmed my toes across the surface of a great big sea.
It might be time to take a swim.

We eat every day. (or at least, that's true for most of here in Canada. Not in some other places... but that's another problem for another day.)
If you're like me, you eat vegetables every day.
And you start to take food for granted. It will be there when you want it - from a grocery store or your kitchen shelf. Put it on your shopping list and you get it.

But that's not everything.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Heirloom Seeds - what I'm growing this year

Sometime back in the fall, by serendipity I suppose, I must have discovered for the first time what heirloom veggies are... and decided to plant them.

So what did I learn? I found out that they're old varieties of our common garden vegetables that have been passed down from posterity. Many of them are disappearing, being out-competed by hybrid seeds from big seed companies. Heirlooms have been selected not for shipping or storage potential, but for delicious taste. There are so many beautiful, strange, or colourful varieties. I can't wait to try them!

I've ordered seed packs online from The Cottage Gardener, a local Ontario farm which sells a wide & tantalizing variety of heirlooms.

Here is what I'm growing:
  • Colourful Carrot Mix (purple, yellow, white, and red - how cool is that?)  
  • Cosmonaut Volkov & Jaune Flammee Tomatoes (both varieties are indeterminate - i.e. vining, and the crazy Maddster is trying to grow them in pots, albeit big ones. I forsee vigilant pruning in my future.)
  • Five-colour Silverbeet Swiss Chard (multicoloured stems, need I say more?)

Friday, 23 March 2012

Garden gets going

It is Friday March 23. We're just on the tail end of an unseasonal burst of summery weather.
My garden plans have been incubating in my mind since sometime last fall, and now they're up and sprouting.

I've been hard at work on an English essay (due Monday), and in between productive work time, I have finished loosening the soil in my new garden space with our gardening fork.
Where there have been ugly old junipers growing for years, there is now destined to be a veggie garden.

As a cure for my springtime fever I have been:
Digging in the earth.
Pulling weeds.
Putting together compost.
Reading seed catalogues & gardening websites.
Planning my garden.

Soon I'll be starting my first vegetables: Tomatoes and Kale get the honours. Only they'll have to wait until my essay gets done. Which is just as well, 'cause it's still a good 7 weeks (I think!) until May 11, purportedly out last spring frost date here in Ottawa.

I'm excited for this year.
Coming next: what I'm planting.