Well…it’s May 21st 2017 ~ Pondering over my garden…

I jumped on sowing seeds like a mad woman facing another joyous season for gardening in Northern Ontario, Canada back in January ~ where the growing season can be short and stall out at a moments notice due to sudden frost or the dreaded first snows of the Fall season.

This year I’m trying my hands at something a tad new for me. Using the shortness of the growing season to my advantage, instead of just growing what I please and hope for the best. Tomatoes are on the long list of planting out this season, except I’ve opted for the cherry indeterminate variety, instead of the jumbo mega tomatoes I kept trying to get to harvest before the season changes on me.

As I approach 60 I’ve grown tired of running out at night covering up plants to protect them against frost, so I’ve implemented grow covers which will protect the plants from the chill at night and protect as well from the critters and birds. Usually, I plant a lot of seeds directly into the ground only to have the chipmunks and birds as well as the squirrels coming in for a feast, since in their minds I’ve rang the dinner bell pronouncing a delightful treat for them.

I love watching these critters and birds around my yard, and don’t really mind sharing as long as they don’t rob me of all the little pea seeds I plant out. Oh how I adore steaming the tender beans and pea pods freshly harvested off the vines.

I’m trying artichoke for the first time, since I found a short growing variety that says if the seedlings are taken outside in 10 c weather this will trick the plants that it’s been already one year and marching into the second year of growth as soon at the temperatures warm back up. I had no idea that these plants take two years in the ground before you can harvest them.. So, wish me luck with these and join in my journey learning new tricks for this old dog, so to speak…

I’ve also been harvesting French Breakfast Radishes for the past two weeks out of my homemade garden trug on my deck. In March I scooped up the soil in there from last year and placed it in a large tote to thaw out… Just like meat from a freezer… wink

It only took a little under a week and I was ready to admin the soil and begin sowing the radish seeds, and a few pea pod seeds I found left from last years garden. I watched a gardening channel on you tube and found out that if I used two layers of plastic to cover the garden trug the temp inside could reach 70 f or 21 c … Well, with the snow still on the ground and many more snow storms to come I gave it a go and sowed the seeds. I still had lots of leaves from last Fall to also use as a nice little blanket.

Magic began to happen, the soil regulated its self to these temps and the seeds began to germinate beautifully.. I am now eating freshly grown radishes from the garden trug one full month ahead of other years. I do believe that I shall add lettuce to the planting schedule next year around March, along with the radish seeds. This variety of radish is absolutely heavenly to eat, not too hot at all as some of the radish varieties can taste a bit spicy and not good for my ulcers.

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The sun finally made an appearance

My little homemade garden trug was finally able to be un covered from the two layers of plastic that has been protecting my little radish seedlings. The peas were dancing around inside of there and if vegetables could sing they would have been loud and joyous.

Today I made a trip to my local gardening center to purchase 10 bags of soil to top off my permaculture beds that had a topping of cow and sheep manure mixed with the soil, along with the Fall leaves to over winter. Oh I have great plans for this years garden and I just know it will be marvelous.

There is just something magical about being able to get outside and play around in the dirt again, and in a few months harvest the goodness that grows in a garden. That first bite of a happy orange carrot, freshly plucked from the garden and then steamed for dinner is heavenly.

I’ve been growing lettuce inside over the winter and have been eating salads from it as well as using my oregano after I dried it in sauces and stews. When I take the fresh dried oregano and rub it between my fingers just before dropping the herb into a pot of soup or stew and I can smell the goodness of the herbs as the pot simmers on the stove… There is just something special about it.

All my troubles of the day are magically wiped away and I’m smiling inside and out.  But our winter is not fully over yet, they are calling for snow on Sunday ( 5 cm) Oh well, come on May 24th ~ Our last frost date…

Thank you for watching my YouTube video

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What do you do when your Winter is too long?

Well, folks what did I do you ask? I went nuts and began to ring in the brand New Year with sowing seeds in January. You see I won a seed give a way on YouTube from a gardening friend in the United States. She sent me cotton seeds… Well, I was totally over the moon happy about this and so many other seeds as well.

Being over the moon happy is a state of mind most gardeners have, and it really kicks in as the brand new year of possibilities begin to naw at us, while we page through all of our seed catalogs in the dead of winter, dreaming of a grand garden in the spring. Which for me was 5 months away.

Our last frost day here in Northern Ontario, Canada is the 24th of May, but I’ve seen it snow here in June, too. So, with our short growing season and myself having the neighbors trees to contend with giving me lack of sun it is a real challenge deciding just what I can plant and bring all the way to harvest time in the Fall.

I’ve laid out the foundation of building permaculture beds which worked wonderfully last year during the long drought we experienced, and when it did rain it came down in huge buckets. Which usually beats the living tar right out of my plants in the past. But, last year the way the permaculture beds work is they drain off the water if it rains too much, and it retains the water if we have a long drought.

Our city puts us on water meters last year and now charge for every drop of water, so using my hose was out of the question. I didn’t want to wind up paying more money for homegrown vegetables than I can get at the store , even if homegrown is better for you and taste 100% better. When you have to watch every penny, (Which Canada took out of circulation a few years ago) you have to get creative as a gardener.

As it happened my beloved Birch tree died and needed to be cut down before it took out my neighbors shed or even my own fence. I can’t tell you how sad this occurrence made me for months leading up to the removal of this beautiful tree. It actually was the main reason for buying the home I’m in. Strange but true. I’ve always had a kinship with all trees and this one stole my heart.

Moms beloved Birch Tree

So, when it had to be removed the gentleman who cut it down asked if I wanted it taken away or stacked, I said just leave it where the log sections fell. I’ll take care of it. Well , he looked at my aging face and grey hair and asked again was I sure?

July 16th 2015 - Third Permaculture Bed using logs from Birch Tree

The making of my first Permaculture bed, and my beloved tree is still providing goodness for me.

My beloved tree was now going to be handled for the last time by me and only me. It had given me so much joy in the years I’ve lived here in my home, shortly after my husband passed away from a sudden heart attack at the tender age of 46. I’ve always looked at trees in a certain way, growing up in Florida looking up at all the tall pines that could sway beautifully in the winds and even withstand the gale force winds of a hurricane blowing through.

I knew if I were a tree I’d be as strong as this and be able to weather any storm that blew my way. Thinking in this manner has brought me to the place I am in at the moment, aging but weathering each storm and looking back with hindsight knowing I was correct in becoming fascinated with trees as they would help me along the paths I’d be following …

History lesson of me over, thank you for reading…

I’ve been continually striving to animate and this has also helped me get through the long cold winters here in Canada. I’ve lived up North for over 34 years and never regretted a single moment. So, I’ve animated a little short film here pertaining to cotton, the girl in the video is Wilma, Wilson the coconut ~ Plant manager’s girl friend. If, you’ve seen some of my gardening videos which I also strive to make funny, because we all just need to laugh… Wilson the coconut is my sidekick for my indoor gardening throughout the winter.

Enjoy the animation and the update of my cotton growing inside until we get our spring..

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This little picture is actually snow of course, but doesn’t it look like cotton?

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Wilson The Plant Manager Has an Announcement….

There are days when you just can’t get anything to grow in your garden. Aside from the critters that love to munch on your tender seedlings in the Spring. Why am I mentioning Spring so early, well it appears lots of folks are getting spring like weather all over the globe. It’s even raining here in February, which it never does.. Well, not in the 34 years I’ve lived in Canada.

There’s something strange afloat around here too, I have 5 pineapples that I began growing back in September, after a gardening challenge was made by one of my wonderful YouTube gardening friends. Here’s a look into what my world has been for me this winter, trying to trick pineapple tops to grow in the dead of winter in Canada and have them believe it’s Hawaii..

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Lovely Sweet Potatoes ~ When will you be ready?

I planted one sweet potato in a container one-hundred and twelve days ago. From research they should have been withering up and turning very yellow on the leaves (vines) after one hundred days. So, I eagerly awaited the one hundred days to pass through the spring and summer months.

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I must say I did enjoy watching the white potatoes growing on the deck this season. Throw them into dirt, and cover.. as they grow ~ cover again and so fourth. Until you reach the top of the container.

But…these sweet potatoes were a first for me this year and I was amazed at just how beautiful the plant was as it grew bigger. The undersides of the leaves were a hint of purple and the top a glorious shade of deep green. I removed the chicken wire cage after the one hundred days so I could tell if the vines began to droop. I do however see the inner leaves beginning to change to yellow ~ Just like they are suppose to do. A little late, but with the heat we had this summer I can’t blame this beautiful plant who is growing for me underneath the soil ~Yummy Sweet Potatoes ~ Yams ~ Kumara ~

Did you know?

That cuttings of a sweet potato vine, either edible or ornamental varieties, will rapidly form roots in water and will grow in it, indefinitely, in good lighting with a steady supply of nutrients. For this reason sweet potato vine is ideal for use in home aquariums, trailing out of the water with its roots submerged, as its rapid growth is fueled by toxic ammonia and nitrates, a waste product of aquatic life, which it removes from the water. This improves the living conditions for the fish, which also find refuge in the vast root systems….

This makes me almost want to set up a fish tank and watch the sweet potatoes growing in the water while doing its housecleaning chores… Cleaning up that fishy water ~ well you know… wink…

I really don’t think I’ll get too good a harvest from this small container with the growing sweet potatoes, because I read it can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months to fully grow and then you need to harden off in the sun to make them store-able.  Hum.. my growing season will never be that long…But, I’ve had a lot of joy in the attempt just the same and that’s what gardening is all about for me and my pup….

Here’s a short little video I put up on YouTube, yesterday… Enjoy…

 

 

Thank you for visiting my blog and viewing my little YouTube Video.. I promise I’ll get better at it one day.. wink…

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Until next time

~Laura~

It’s Still Alive ~ I haven’t killed it yet !

I am shocked and amazed as the temperatures begin to drop here. This first week trying to grow a pineapple indoors has been a success. I’ve read that the leaves will look poorly in the first two weeks, but I am going to try to succeed with this little project of mine.

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It appears that the center of the pineapple tops was still intact when I purchased these two pineapples at the grocery store. It sounds like from what I’ve watched on YouTube by the other wonderful gardening folks who are doing this #PineappleChallenge that we need the center to be there and not plucked out by the produce manager.

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Last year I grew dill indoors, along with parsley and basil. All three thrived over the long cold winter indoors. I also began a Jalapeno pepper plant from seed last Fall that is still growing with a nice thick stalk. It gave me enough peppers to make jelly and this summer enough peppers for cooking anything spicy. I cut back the pepper plant to give it a little rest and I’m sure it will thrive yet again over this coming winter.

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So, since indoor gardening on a very small scale helped me get through the very long winter last year I’ve decided to step it up a notch..

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I ordered this amazing grow light kit from Veseys Seeds in Prince Edward Island. It arrived in a very sturdy outer box with another box inside containing this grow light kit. This bulb is massive in size and gives off such great light for my plants. I think my two pineapples, Oahu & Maui will just love being underneath this light. Let’s not tell them they are not in Hawaii, but rather heading into 6 months of Canadian Winter soon.

I made a short little video for YouTube ~ Less than one minute…I tried for the first time using my I-Pad to make the video, so take a look and tell me what you think…

Thanking you all kindly for your support with my Pineapple growing challenge…

Hint…

There may be toques

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In the future for Oahu & Maui

Question

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Until next time

~Laura~

The Pineapple Challenge Hosted by: Mick Watson on YouTube

I was surfing the inter webs the other day and ran across a couple of really interesting YouTube video’s on gardening. Mick Watson has a lovely plot for which to garden and he started this Pineapple Challenge. I quickly followed him and ran into another great video by Graham’s Kitchen Garden.  He has lots of interesting video’s and a funny sense of humor to go along with his talents for gardening and helpful tips.

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I quickly became very excited to join in with this Pineapple Challenge because winter is around the corner and I need a new project to keep me sane. My Jalapeno peppers are still growing strong from their beginning last Fall, and now I have two beautiful heads from pineapples plopped in some dirt for another adventure of Gardening In The Winter Time Here In Northern Ontario Canada…

Here’s a link to my YouTube Video for the Pineapple Challenge.

I hope you enjoy and it’s a short one this time folks, so you won’t need that snack to watch it.. wink…

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Until next time

~Laura~

Grab a Tea or Coffee and settle in for a spell ~ 18 minuets

Along with that coffee or tea you might need a small snack by your side to view this amazing video.. Alright, I can not lie ~ I got long winded with talking all about my Potato trials, but just wait until the Tomato trial comes around the bend.. Wink,

So, if you chose to accept this mission click the link below before it self destructs…

~yes, I love mission impossible~

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You can do it, I have faith in you…. wink….

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Until next time

~Laura~

There’s Lollypops in my Garden…

My little packet of seeds that were gifted to me from my beautiful daughter grew into a wonderful display of mini zinnias.

Mixed Mini Zinnias on background

This morning I woke up to a temperature range of 10 C (50 F) and this marks the time when what’s growing in your garden better hurry up and finish before the frost that’s around the corner for us here arrives. I see in my future covering up my tomatoes or picking them to set on the kitchen counter. Oh my summer flew by much too quickly for this happy gardener.

But, I can visit my YouTube channel and watch this short video of my flowers and that is certainly going to produce a smile or two when I’m outdoors in a jacket wondering if I can wait until Spring arrives again..

Perhaps, there’s crafting in store for those long winter months. I ordered the LED lights for my homemade folding light box and I just have to put them into place. I’ll wait for the Fall to finish that project…

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Until next time

~Laura~

Second Potato Harvest ~ Container Gardening…

This second potato harvest on August 30th 2016 was going to produce a smaller yield than the first harvest where I had planted potatoes in a much larger container. But, since this was a trial with the different sizes of containers used for planting and not using the compost tea like I did last year. So, without further adieu… Drum roll, please…

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This time I used an empty plastic tote to dump the soil into and then my hunt began for spuds

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The thing is when your hunting for those tasty, glorious rounds of potatoes you’re going to run across the parent potato in there too. If, you’re lucky it would have already began to decompose and will have flattened as if a balloon was poked with a pin.. But,……

Oh no this container had other plans for me, which is why on this day I was ever so happy with my latex gloves.. I found one of the parent potatoes all slimy and I wanted to run off screaming to the hills.

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But, since I gave up running ~ unless in case of a fire…I said a big old Southern ~ Yuck!  And continued on looking for my spuds..

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This is a stunt box, not the box the spuds were in.. sadly to say..

Plus I felt the need to play around in photo shop …

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Not as many potatoes in this second container but nice looking spuds just the same and also a handful of fingerling potatoes too.. Next year I’m going for larger yields now that I’ve played around with growing in containers. There’s going to be some woodworking involved for this next years project in the garden growing potatoes.

I’m already sketching out the design I want to use, because it might as well be pretty along with functional…

Any ideas out there? On what I should build for growing my spuds next year…..

If, I use your ideas or incorporate some of your ideas into my design I’ll give you a big heads up on my post with your blog address too.

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Until next time

~Laura~