Come along with me for a Garden Ramble

It’s time to think about putting the garden to bed for the growing season

Thank you for spending a little time with me in the Garden

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There’s a Snail enjoying my Carrots…

Today was such a nice warm day, but not too hot at all. So, I decided the lawn could use a little mowing with my electric lawnmower. I must say that I love not having to pull on a cord to fire up the mower, or need gas and oil to keep it running.

But, I got side tracked very quickly by the sad state of my storage shed. I noticed I had plastic buckets in there from years ago, piled up almost to the top along with my shovels and spading fork. So, what’s a gal to do? She proceeds to yank out the mower and get down and dirty cleaning out the storage shed. I thought about taking a before and after picture for this post, but no way was anyone else seeing the sad state of affairs it was in.

I mowed the lawn and sat down afterward on the birch stump to rest and look at my permaculture bed for a spell…In need of a cool drink of water I went indoors to fetch my water bottle (The bottle from Hell I call it…) and returned with my camera in tow as well. I clicked a few pictures and returned the camera to the house before continuing.

With everything garden put away in my now newly cleaned storage shed (It’s Rubbermaid and I love it) This shed came with the house I bought in Ohio back in 1999, and it came back with me in February of 2000. Long personal story I’ll not go into….

I went back inside to check out the pictures just in case I needed to make do overs on some. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I noticed one of the carrots in the ground looking odd. Upon, inspection with the zoom in tool in Photo Shop I noticed a small blackish snail just eating away as if there were no tomorrow. Below is a picture of said bandit…

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So, I grabbed my little wicker basket and some gloves to pull out a few carrots and find the snail a new home far from the permaculture bed. Hum…Upon returning the snail had gone or at least I couldn’t see it without a zoom of the camera.. It just all looked like dirt and veggies in there….

I harvested a few carrots and looked at my cherry tomato plants growing in the bed. They have not been affected at all by the drought, massive rains we’ve been getting for two weeks, or the cool down at night into the single digits. I’m amazed at how well this permaculture bed has preformed this year.

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The bed retained enough water during the drought to keep everything growing happily. With the down-pouring of rain as of late it drains off beautifully. The nights have been also getting very cold and the mornings too, but this magical permaculture bed appears to retain the heat from the day to protect the plants roots and stems.

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The warm temps at this time of year is unusual for us here in Northern Ontario, Canada and I’ve never had my tomato plants to last this long into the season with Fall announcing its self today September 22nd…

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I suppose I’ve finally found out how to garden in this climate, and the good thing about the permaculture beds is that they will last 20 years. They are a bit of work in the beginning, but the rewards are so much greater than a day or two of sweating putting it all together, Lasagna Style ~ Layering components…

So, with my carrots in the little basket, I moved on to the other permaculture bed where I have two type of Swiss Chard growing and Green onions.

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I picked some of the Swiss Chard and two huge green onions and went back to the upper level of the deck where the scarlet runner beans climbed like good little beans all the way up to the top railing. (I placed string from the bottom to the top railing hoping to train them up so harvesting would be a breeze..) I harvested a lot of runner beans and placed them into the basket feeling all was well with my day today. I just wish the rest of the world could be at peace too.

I could see Au Gratin in my future, with one sweet potato, a few small white potatoes, Swiss Chard, Green Onions, Cheddar cheese, all layered into a casserole dish. It’s baking right now and it smells amazingly good. I can’t wait for dinner tonight, along with steamed beans and carrots. Life is good, and I am worn out so I bid you all adieu…

 

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Until next time

~Laura~

Dreaming of Carrot seeds ~ A gardeners 2 year journey…

Have you ever been surprised while in your garden in springtime? I think each new gardening season never fails to shock and surprise the dickens outta me. You see I’m the hit or miss gardener of sorts. I know just a little ~ enough to get those seeds in the ground and usually spend most of my time fighting off the critters that appear to think I’ve rang the loudest dinner bell.

For me it’s not always the outcome, but rather the journey to arrive into Fall and the glorious bounty at harvest time  ~ that is if I’m lucky enough to have anything left to eat. I have a short video about my journey with the beautiful carrots that always seem to brighten up any plate at dinner time.

I find it’s always nice to learn about vegetables, critters, and nature at its best. So, pull up a chair and sit a spell as I tell you about my 2 year journey toward the beloved Carrot Seeds…

Thank you so much for watching ~ I am blessed to have you all as WordPress followers and friends…

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Until next time

~Laura~

My Garden was Trending and I didn’t even know it !

This year my garden was a bit of a disappointment for me, while I still enjoyed getting outside and playing around in the dirt. But, the problem stemmed (pardon the pun) from last year after finishing up with building my large permaculture bed.

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

 

After all of the Fall leaves fell last year some went into the compost bin and the rest rested atop the newly made permaculture bed. But, I should have added more soil to the top layer before the snow was predicted to arrive. I think I wore myself out lugging the heavy birch logs into the dug out pit for the bed, then the long days of placing the limbs, sticks, and twigs in place. This took me awhile to prepare as I needed a few days off from laboring and then back to it.

I had a lot of leaves atop the permaculture bed and only three sides up with plastic fencing, the fourth side was to go up in the spring, but didn’t go into place until yesterday. So, without using common sense I covered the bed with a tarp for the long winter months. Hum…smacking myself for that lame move all this past growing season.

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My bed needed the snow cover during the winter and the moisture of the melting snow to slowly provide water to each of the layers for the bed to behave properly. These permaculture beds are really a wonderful way to garden, if you prepare them in the correct fashion. Which I did not, as it turns out.

All of the layers completed ~ Check

Letting the snow add the moisture content to the bed ~ Fail

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I thought I was doing a good thing putting the tarp there since I didn’t have the fourth side up and thought the leaves would blow away in the late Fall when it gets pretty windy here. So, in the spring after everything thawed in my compost bin I added the compost to the top mixing in the leaves like a batter to a cake.

When the permaculture bed is properly constructed it can withstand a drought, which is exactly what we experience here this growing season. I realized my mistake in the spring, but ran a test just the same with only watering it 3 times this season. I wanted to see if the melting snow from the winter around the sides of the bed was enough for the bed to operate somewhat well.

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I planted the carrots very close together, expecting to pull out seedlings as they surfaced the top to space them properly and to munch on the tiny micro seedlings for breakfast. They are amazingly tasty, and the flavor is so much better than the proper sized vegetable. Spring time was going to be a joy eating out of my garden, enjoying all of the micro carrots.

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Full Stop

The best laid plans sometimes don’t work out, if you don’t follow through with them….

Since, I was distraught over my blunder by covering the bed all winter I sort of just left the bed alone knowing the growing carrots, beets, multiplying onions, dill, cilantro, lettuce, cucumber (seeds transplanted unknown from the compost bin) and my planted cherry tomatoes from seeds ~ were going to suffer for my lack of common sense this year. But, I do enjoy the journey just the same and it takes skill to mess up gardening this badly.. So, I suppose that’s something to be proud about. How not to garden should be my motto this year….

I’m not beating myself up with a stick over it ~ actually it makes me smile and laugh over these details for this year, because very soon I would find out I was joining a new trend that’s happening all over in restaurants and chefs far and wide are hungry for what I was growing…

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My plan was to just let these things grow and hope for the best. I should have bought extra soil in the spring to top the bed, but I didn’t want to add any more money into it. Why oh why did I plant my red cored Chantenay carrots in there, I pondered.

All of the seeds for those little carrots came up without fail. Many times the carrots fail due to critters chomping away at them or my soil is not loose enough. I added Coconut coir to the compost I added to the top bed, just not enough for the beets to grow large, I have micro beets out there just like I grew micro potatoes this year.

Remember those fingerlings potatoes that I ranted over in the stores, well it appears that they are really, really tasty. I cooked them twice now from my garden and was amazed by the flavor, texture, and the just darn cuteness of them on the plate. The trick is to serve them on small plates along with the other parts of the evening meal.

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Fingerling Potatoes Texture

I have to report that the texture of these micro potatoes is something you must experience. They are similar to a mash potato, but they are a tiny whole spud when going into your mouth for your taste buds to explode with their flavor and somehow a creaminess to them~ I suppose they have not grown into the larger version to become firm in texture.. Alright , I get the price of these little jewels in the grocery stores and at the fancy restaurants.

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So, when I grow potatoes next year I’ll hope for many fingerlings along with the regular sized potatoes when I finally get to harvest them.

There’s a craze happening for Micro Vegetables I didn’t know about and this is why I didn’t show you my carrots, onions, beets, etc after harvesting them. They were the cutest tiny micro vegetables you’ve ever seen, but I thought not worthy of putting up for display unless in a doll house where the dining room table was set for dinner.

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My son asked, “Mom why are they so small?”

I looked up from underneath my straw gardening hat which all gardening folks should wear..

“Because they’re Micro Vegetables…”

I told him, giggling. Even before I actually knew this was a craze in the fancy establishments for dining out.

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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~

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~

Fact or Fiction? ~ Citrosa, Mosquito Plants

When strolling the isles of my outdoor gardening center around the end of June I noticed something I didn’t know existed…

Citrosa ~ The Mosquito Fighting Plant

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After laughing out loud all by myself I looked around to see if anyone was near by. I do that a lot I’m afraid to say, but if I find something hilarious I don’t care and I laugh…

The closer I came to this plant after squinting to read the label I grabbed two of the sad looking plants that were starving for water. Actually, by mid-June most of the plants are marked down and rarely given any water. Probably, in hopes they would all just die so they could close that section of the center.

The plants smelled just like citronella candles minus the smoke from the wick burning. I was sad to learn that these plants were annuals and not perennials because I thought it might be nice to have these come back each year.

I won’t be bringing these indoors when the frost arrives, because the aroma is very strong and they would have me choking like I do when following someone in the grocery store who sprayed half of their bottle of perfume all over their bodies.

So, I thought I would research these plants to see if the claims were any where near true. Given my detective nature I was off on yet another journey over the inter-webs…

I found out that you must crush the leaves to release the essential oils from the plant and rub this over a small section of your arm for the first time just in case you get a reaction you don’t want from the oils. They said there was a short-term mosquito repelling qualities 30 to 40 percent that of DEET.

But, there are plants with better numbers compared to DEET out there such as:

Lemon Thyme

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Crushed Lemon Thyme will give you 62 percent the protection of DEET.

Lemon Balm

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Crushed Lemon Balm offers a much greater quantity of citronella, 400 times as much as the Citrosa plant.

These two plants are less expensive and easier to grow it also stated.

Here are a number of other plants that can be beneficial for you as bug repellent and good also for your garden plants as a deterrent to those nasty bugs and slugs that eat away our growing vegetables..

Alliums

Take that you cabbage worms, carrot flies, aphids, and the dreaded slugs… I will be planting these flowers next year and they are really tall and beautiful in the garden…

Dill

Run for your life you nasty Tomato hornworms, squash bugs,cabbage loopers, spider mites, and aphids…

Basil

Get outta here! You mosquitoes and house flies!

Chives

Move on out! You Japanese beetles, aphids, and carrot flies…

Fennel

Slugs you better slime away, along with the aphids and snails…

mint

Mosquitoes don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, run for the hills!

Rosemary

Be gone! Vegetable plant bugs, mosquitoes and flies…

Petunia

This beautiful flower packs a big punch! Wham.. you asparagus beetle, tomato hornworms,squash bugs, leafhoppers, and aphids…

Parsley

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Last but not least is the Oregano …

There are many more if you want to research it, but this has been a good start for me and I’ve made a nice list of new plants and old ones to grow next year and the proper placement for them in my garden to try and have a bigger harvest, instead of the bounty I’ve been feeding to the slugs, and other bugs… I want harmony in my garden and food for my belly… wink 🙂

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Until next time,

~Laura~

 

What’s all the fuss about ~ Fingerling Potatoes

I am beginning to love my attempts at growing my own potatoes from the sprouting spuds in the bag bought from the store. When I harvested my first container of spuds this year, along the roots were tiny spuds, actually they are called Fingerling Potatoes.

If you’re in the grocery store looking in the potato section and notice this little bag pictured below and read the name, Fingerling potatoes these are merely the same potatoes that will if you’re lucky grow huge such as baking potato size.

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I had around a half dozen of the tiny spuds called fingerling potatoes after my first harvest. I don’t know why this realization never happened before. I noticed that the small bag of fingerling potatoes in my grocery store cost 3 or 4 times the cost of a 10 pound bag of regular spuds.

Fingerling Potatoes on Wooden Sign

These fingerlings potatoes are finding themselves on dinner plates at fancy restaurants and I’m sure they come to you at a dear cost to your wallet. Same as buying these small bags of fingerling potatoes in your own grocery stores.

On the other side of this silly issue I’m having with fingerling potatoes, I suppose little kids who may not want to eat potatoes ~ They might have a fascination for the tiny spuds on their tiny dinner plates using their tiny hands to hold these small spuds.  I try to see both sides of many things that catch my eye, but why on earth would they charge you so much more for so much less of the simple tasty potato?

Just pondering over here…. So, if you garden and want to grow your own potatoes please do so, because it’s a lot of fun and you’ll wind up with  a handful of those pricey fingerling potatoes in the mix…

What did I do with my home grown fingerling potatoes from container #1? You might be wondering…

I peeled, sliced, boiled them. Drained them in my handy dandy tiny colander, below…

Handy dandy green collander on green background

Isn’t that just the cutest colander you’ve ever seen. Now, I know I didn’t need yet another colander for straining things, but if you think about it it’s just right for strawberries, blueberries, and now my newly grown Fingerling Potatoes. Just small enough and not too big.. This reminds me of the childhood story about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

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I don’t know why this reminded me of that childhood favorite story of mine, except for thinking about the stack of colanders I have in my kitchen or talking with you about children and their tiny hands, but on with what I made with the itty bitty potatoes…

I browned them in olive oil, adding chopped white onions. Letting them brown a little. Then walked out on the patio deck and cut a few Green onions and chives from my homemade garden trug. Broke a few eggs into the pan and cooked these all together, calling my daughter in for a nice brunch served with hot creamy buttered toast and a huge slice of tomato on the side. Yum.. Is all that I can say.. except for get growing next season and add potatoes to your garden…

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Until next time…

~Laura~

A beautiful Gift from Nature

I’ve noticed that the Zinnias will begin to form a flower bud, then the day before the flower opens it will bow half way and stay there, until it opens. I’ve yet to catch it rising back upright and opening since I’d need a time lapse camera. But, what a beautiful gift nature gave me yesterday morning.

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Have a beautiful day

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Until next time

~Laura~