Monday, 17 July 2017

Harvest Monday: July 17, 2017

Wow, it's been 3 weeks since I've had any new harvests to share which is a solid indicator of my garden this year.  The constant rains and little sunshine have wrought havoc on many plants. Anything I have still in containers (whether temporarily for transplants or permanent such as potatoes) is suffering from too much water and I'm constantly tilting over containers to remove excess water.  That's one reason why I have harvested 2/3 of the garlic crop as shown above - it just seems too wet and I didn't want to risk any rot.  I've left the smallest of them in for another couple of weeks.

So far, I have harvested only 8 kg of food, with more than half of that rhubarb (and mostly frozen, not eaten).  And the garlic scapes make a large proportion of the rest.

But I have finally had my first (small as it is) harvest of greens.  

Lettuce, arugula and spinach seem to be suffering the most with the rain and lack of sunshine.  My entire harvest from yesterday has a bit more variety, but somewhat embarrassing in quantity.  And quality ... the cherry tomatoes in the upper left-hand corner are destined for the compost bin - they are  stunted and too tough to eat.

A few tomatoes, potatoes, berries and hot peppers

But the squash plants (both summer and winter) are looking well as are the carrots and a few other crops, so I still have faith in this gardening season!  In the meantime, some parting shots of the bunnies and wild turkeys who lurk about my yard when I'm not actively outside.

One of two adult bunnies ... which means there may be many more!

Two adults and five babies this year

I look forward to checking out Harvest Monday posts at Our Happy Acres to see what other gardeners around the world are doing this week!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Harvest Monday: June 26, 2017

This is how desperate I am to show something I've harvested - a handful of wild strawberries. Ha!  Wild strawberries grow everywhere in my yard.  And I mean everywhere.  I cannot be bothered to harvest any due to the effort involved.  The biggest one shown above is still smaller than my smallest fingernail.  And I can't eat the ones that grow throughout my lawn as I don't like the idea of the contamination of gas from the mower.

But what the heck - I was hanging about the greenhouse yesterday and noticed many plants surrounding the edges of the greenhouse and thought I'd grab a few.  Amazing flavour, by the way, but still not quite worth it for me.  Besides, if I leave the wild strawberries to the bunny living in my yard, he/she might just keep away from the goodies in my garden.

Not a great pic, but shows how big it is!

And I'm happy to say that garlic scapes are now available.  I've harvested less than half (shown below) and will leave the rest for a week or so as they were a bit smaller.

And I'm not entirely sure how to deal with the Egyptian walking onions.  They seemed to be leaning in the wrong direction with the new clusters (the flowers??).  So I pulled a few to clean them up and pushed them towards the area I wanted the new growth to go - will see how it goes.  In the meantime, I think I just use them as I would spring onions and the bulbs to be treated like regular onions, just a bit smaller?  Looking for advice here.

Overall, the spring has been a bit difficult here with lots of rain and not much sunshine.  I have not had any greens at all yet, despite several seedings, but expect some pretty soon.  As always, I look forward to seeing what other gardeners are doing around the world by checking in at Harvest Monday hosted by Our Happy Acres.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Greenhouse Peppers and Tomatoes

This seems like a good time to share an update on my pepper and tomato plants, because check it out - I have a single ripe tomato already!  OK, it's an anomaly ... mostly I just have flowers and a few very immature fruit on the vines. 

This one is Andrina.  I admit I was suspicious of the description of an "extremely dwarf" tomato plant reaching to only 6" high.  But here they are in full bloom.  In fact, these plants are so short, it is a challenge to remove enough lower leaves so they aren't touching the soil (to avoid rot when watering). 

 I have several of these in the greenhouse, along with many other plants.  They fit in well for now, but in a few months it will be a bit crowded and I will need to use a fan to move the air around a bit.

Another dwarf tomato plant I am growing, though not quite so short, is Hahms Gelbe with yellow cherry tomatoes.

All other tomato plants that I am growing this year are planted outside (Sophie's Choice, Mountain Princess, Forme de Couer and the only indeterminate tomato this year ... Gregori's Altai).  I also have about 15 pepper plants outside of the greenbouse, but here is a quick look at some inside:

Ancho pepper plant

Sweet red pimiento and jalapeno peppers

Feher Ozon - paprika pepper

Hungarian Hot Wax

Hungarian Hot Wax are always the first of the season to develop fruit.  I have at least one of each of the following pepper plants in the greenhouse but also 2-3 of each outside in either hay bales or a dug garden space:

- Ancho
- Hungarian Hot Wax
- Super Red Pimiento
- Feher Ozon
- King of the North
- Jalapeno
- Gypsy
- Corno di Toro

It is looking promising so far, but weather is such a huge factor with peppers and tomatoes. Today is a great hot day to kick start some of the plants outside as they were planted a bit late.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Harvest Monday: June 12, 2017

I've just returned from a Mediterranean Cruise and I am looking forward to get back into the swing of things here. It was challenging to be away during the time when I would normally be putting most of the garden in place and I had to pot up most of my tomato and pepper seedlings into larger pots just before I left. Most are now in their final spot with a few remaining to take care of this week.

I ate a lot of amazing meals while I was away but heavy on the seafood and meat ... and was very much looking forward to some fresh greens when I got home. Unfortunately, the weather here was not so great with a lot of rain, and the greens aren't ready for a cutting yet.

I am happy that I was able to get a bit more asparagus although most of that season passed while I was gone (a friend popped by once or twice to pick what was available so it wouldn't all go to waste).  And all of that rhubarb in the main picture went straight into the freezer.

I pulled the last of the Easter egg radishes as they were starting to bolt and I now need the space in the greenhouse for my pepper plants.

Once I am caught up on my yard work, I will share an update on the peppers and tomatoes that I'm growing this year.  And I will be popping over to Our Happy Acres to see what everyone else has going on in their gardens on this Harvest Monday.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Harvest Monday: April 16, 2017

Mmm, pretty pastel-coloured soft-boiled eggs from Sunday brunch - Happy Easter Monday!

I dug up these parsnips when cleaning out one of the raised beds on Saturday - I had totally forgotten about them.  I gave half away, and roasted the remainder.  Delicious!  But I do remember leaving in some rutabaga as an overwintering trial, and that didn't go well.  There isn't anything left of them other than a couple of tops sticking out.  Ah well, I'm still learning what can be overwintered and what can't.  I did have a spinach plant in the greenhouse come back to life after I thought it was long dead, so I'll definitely plant some in the fall again.

Meanwhile, I've got plenty of tomatoes and pepper seedlings (many of these will also be given away) and I had them out for a couple of hours hardening off over the weekend.  I should get them out for another hour or two today and take advantage of the few periods of no rain this weekend!

This little guy (or girl) was out and about quite a bit yesterday as I was working in the yard. I noticed the chipmunk disappeared right before the daylilies and popped its head out just as I discovered the hole in the ground.  Cute, but can be a nuisance now and then.  And more on the sort-of "critter" front ... when I had new fascia installed on the house, the contractors removed dozens and dozens of wasp nests.  I'm hoping that will improve my usual wasp challenges this year.

And I will be popping over to Our Happy Acres on this Easter Harvest Monday to see what other gardener's are doing this week.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

2017 Garden Plans Part 3

I have started some greens now, so it seems a good time to share my plans.  The arugula shown in the picture above, as well as the Bon Vivant lettuce, are sitting in the 3-season porch area which is plenty warm already.  This used to be just a screened-in porch but I had windows and a proper door installed in the fall after having the foundation cemented in.  Not sure what to call it yet - "three-season porch area" is too many words to use but it isn't quite finished enough to be called a sunroom yet ... hmm.  I guess just "the porch". 

I've also got French Breakfast radish in a container.  More radish (easter egg) have been started in the greenhouse.  After reading Dave's April Greenhouse Tour post earlier this morning, I went out and planted a salad box of the Parris Island Cos lettuce. His greenhouse tour is always an inspiration to me as mine is a similar size but I'm still working out how to make the most use of it this early in the season.  But soon enough it will be filled with flower starts and the tomato/pepper seedlings can be moved in from the house.

In the ground, I've started kohlrabi, mixed kale and mustard along with Iceberg Lettuce, Kindle Lettuce (a butterhead variety) and King of Denmark spinach.  The Red Callaloo was seeded into a flower garden as I thought it would look pretty there. And I planted scarlet curly kale in another flower garden.

So this is the full list of greens I plan to grow this year, mostly just more varieties of the same but it's nice to have options (the kale, kohlrabi and mustard varieties were listed in my earlier post on brassica plans).

My next post on garden plans should be about root vegetables - I've already got some beets and carrots in the ground.  And how are your garden plans coming along?

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Around the Yard: April 9

I used this picture for the main photo as it was the only bright photo I took this week - Balsamic Strawberry and Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars I made earlier.  And I still have some of each left in the freezer which should be sufficient to last until I have fresh rhubarb of my own.  The remaining photos are from out and about in the yard today and it can take a while for the green grass and bright flowers of spring to arrive in this part of Ontario.

Despite the dreary look, it's a beautiful day today.  As I'm writing this, it is 15 degrees C according to my new backyard AcuRite Weather Station (which is now the weather link on my blog sidebar).  I picked it up on sale over the winter and I'm still trying to understand all of the readings.

The one part I can read perfectly well though is the amount of rain I've had in my yard - 95 millimetres in the past week.  As you can imagine, I've got a few temporary ponds here and there.  I've used a bucket and put some of this water into the rain barrel to use for watering the greenhouse and the nearby garden (where I expect the squash will end up this year).

But I also still have plenty of snow. This will take at least another month to melt due to the trees blocking much of the sun at this time of the year.

I've been turning over some of the main garden area and have put out some of the leftover hay bales from last year that had been stored in the garage over the winter. I still have another six to put out once I decide where they'll go.

Everything is just so brown at this time of year

And I'll leave off on a brighter note - the tomato and pepper seedlings are happy to see some natural light, albeit through the windows from inside the house.  Here are just a couple of the varieties I have underway:

Jalapeno and Hungarian Hot Wax

Corno di Toro peppers

Sunday, 26 March 2017

2017 Garden Plans Part 2

The picture above is an update on my tomato seedlings - looking pretty good at Day 22. I shared the list of tomatoes and peppers that I was planning to grow in my first Garden Plans post here.

Today I started some of the brassicas, and this is a MUCH smaller list this year.  I have not been super successful with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. and did not really want to continue but had so many darn seeds left!  Luckily, a friend is hosting a seed swap at a nearby library so I was able to get rid of the seeds while still putting them to good use (that's me in the picture trying to look casual for the photo, ha!).  But I did keep back one variety of broccoli and the few remaining cabbage seeds that seemed to work well for me last year (hoping you can see this, my screenshots aren't always visible!):

I should probably start some kohlrabi indoors soon ... this year is my last kick at the can for those as they aren't doing too well either (and I don't love it enough to keep trying).  But I definitely LOVE all of the kale varieties.  The mustard greens kept bolting last year, so I'll try to find a cooler spot this time around.

It is looking decidedly not spring-like around here and I don't think the greenhouse is ready even for greens that can handle some cooler temperatures.  But the forecast is looking positive and I will share another post on the year's plans when I get some greens underway.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

March Full On Lion


What happened to March going out like a lamb?  How many of you woke up to something similar to this today? I had more snow yesterday (just a week before the first day of spring) than any other storm this past winter.  Ugh.