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

laura-closing-blog-sign

 

Advertisements

Doves ~ A Love Story

Well folks it was snowing again today…The tiny flakes of snow gently fell all afternoon, but fortunately it was warm enough for the snow to melt as soon as it touched the ground. Waiting these last few weeks before I can plant out in my permaculture beds is torture for me.

The beds are all prepped and waiting for me to sow a few seeds. The next two days we still have the chill to the days and evenings. But, after Tuesday the temps will be getting back to the higher single digits.. That might not sound good to you where it may be warmer, but for us here anything higher than minus numbers is springtime.. Just have to be weary about the frost at night.

My radishes and peas are all happy little plants inside of my covered garden trug, and the birds are out in force today after the heavy rain we had yesterday. Below, is a little treat for you .. Thank you for watching my YouTube video.. hugs

line-break-image-022

laura-closing-blog-sign

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

9742360521688aa7069d

laura-closing-blog-sign

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..

line-break-image-022

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

winter-001-on-beige-background

line-break-image-022

laura-closing-blog-sign

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…

snail-eating-carrot-on-bg-resized-80

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.

september-21st-2016-001

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.

september-21st-2016-005

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…

september-21st-2016-004

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.

september-21st-2016-003

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…

 

38368-mountain-bluebird

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…

july-25th-2016-002

line break image - 023

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

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.

May 24th - 004 - resized 30

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

March 10 2015 - 001

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.

Little Miss Muffet drawing for blog

 

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.

copperbox

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…

5570_content_158_1

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.

Micro Veg-14

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.

5 Stars cooking - 002 - resized 70

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.

1-12-font-b-Dollhouse-b-font-mini-font-b-kitchen-b-font-font-b-furniture

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.

line break image - 023

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

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~

line break image - 018

chicken-little 001

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

38368-Mountain-Bluebird

Until next time

~Laura~