Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mmmmm.....I Love Onions

Remember that Turtles Chocolates commercial from the early 1980's with the jingle that goes “mmmmm….I love Turtles”?  I have a feeling this may have been a Canadian commercial, so if you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can see it HERE.  Yes, I know – it’s horrible – but the tune stuck with you – back then, anyhow!

The jingle was based on a song that was called – you guessed it – “I Love Onions”.  And the song did in fact go – “Mmmmmm, I love onions” – and just in case you don’t believe me, take a gander at THIS.

How do I even know about this obscure (or so I thought) onion song, you may ask?  Because my Dad was a BIG fan of thrift shop records back in the day and one of his “finds” had the “I Love Onions” song on it.  I still can’t believe that both of these songs are on You Tube.  Is there anything that ISN’T on You Tube these days?  Apparently not.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Harvest Monday - May 26, 2014

My 1st harvest Monday – Hip hip hurray!

After a very cold & drawn out winter, things are starting to pick up in the garden.  Not too much to report yet, but I’m super happy with what I do have.  It has been a long time coming!

First we have the spinach.  I have only harvested a small amount so far, but it was delicious!  Definitely worth it, even with all the issues I had starting the seeds.  I would say that "Monstrueux de Viroflay" is a keeper for sure.  Of course, since this is my first time growing spinach, I would probably say that about any variety at this point ;)

“Monstrueux de Viroflay” Spinach - My first EVER spinach harvest

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Keeping Rabbits Out

The fence is finally up!  And it's quite the improvement over the make-shift fence that I slapped together last year:

The Old Fence This Spring, Just After the Snow Melted
I'm not blaming the winter for this fences didn't look much better last fall

When I built the fence last year, it was all about putting up something as quickly as possible before the rabbits did any more damage.  I wasn't really sure what I was doing & had never worked with chicken wire before.  I also didn't want to spend a lot of money on what would be a temporary measure as I knew that I would be expanding the garden this year.  It worked out pretty well, actually, because I used last year as a dry run for the larger fence that I put up this year.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lessons Learned & Hardening Off

We just came off of the Victoria Day long weekend, here in Canada. This is also known as the May two-four weekend because May 24th usually falls around this time.  This year, however, because of how the days fall, the holiday is particularly early.  Traditionally, this is THE gardening weekend - the time when it is generally considered safe to plant frost tender plants outdoors.  And garden centres are just PACKED with people that are getting a move on with their garden.

I’m not a huge fan of crowds, so I generally avoid going to garden centers and nurseries over the long weekend.  Well, I try to avoid it anyway.  My children’s school is having a garage sale and I am in charge of collecting discarded pots so that we can pot-up plant donations.  Since I was driving right by a large nursery on my way home on the holiday Monday, I figured I would stop by to pick up the pots.  Did I say these places were packed?  I counted no less than 6 (that’s SIX!) employees directing traffic in the parking lot of the nursery.  This isn’t a mall parking lot with other stores, or anything.  This is a nursery out in the country, so you can imagine the number of people.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sowing More Spinach & My Carrot Saga

I started some “Galilee” spinach seeds two days ago.  My spring sown spinach is still tiny & it looks like I have a ways to go before harvesting.  But if getting this new set of seeds to germinate is anything like the last time, I knew that I had better start now if I wanted to have transplants ready for July.  Spinach in July?  Well, Galilee is supposed to be an extremely heat tolerant spinach from, as its name implies, Israel.  So I figure, why not give it a try as a summer crop & see how it goes.

When I opened the packet of seeds, I was a bit surprised.  They looked very different from “regular” spinach seeds - they were beige & triangular instead of black and round.  I even went online, just in case this was not “real” spinach, like Malabar spinach, which is not actually spinach (i.e. from the Spinacia oleracea family) but is simply a spinach-like plant.  What I found out was that Galilee was, in fact, spinach.

"Galilee" Spinach Seeds

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cucumbers Sown, Peppers Beheaded & Sunflower Update

I’m almost 2 weeks behind in starting my cucumber transplants, so I finally got cracking this past week.

Cucumbers are supposed to be very sensitive to root disturbance – this tells me that I should use a larger pot than a typical cell pack to start the seeds.  But larger pots take up much more space than cell packs, not to mention the extra seed starting mix needed to fill them, so I only use them when necessary.  Now, I suppose I could wait and sow the seeds outside instead of bothering with transplants.  But our growing season is already too short for my liking - if I can get a longer harvest period by using transplants, then that is what I usually do.

The question is – IS it necessary to use larger pots when starting cucumber seeds?  I decided that I was going to find out.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Potting Up Tomatoes

Last Saturday, it was time to pot up all of the tomatoes, which were definitely outgrowing their little cell packs.  My rule of thumb is to pot them up when most of them have 2 sets of true leaves.  Just as with the peppers, to make it easier on myself, I do all the tomatoes at once, even if a few are still on the small side.

Tomatoes Before Repotting

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sowing the Peas and a Spinach Update

Peas are one of the crops that did very well last year.  I suppose this isn’t surprising considering the very cool start to the summer we had – we didn’t end up getting summer like temperatures until July.  All the cool weather crops were in heaven while the warm weather crops just sat there, shivering.

Last Years Sugar Snaps
I am growing 3 different varieties of pea this spring, all of which are sugar snap peas.  I have “Sugar Snap” (Cottage Gardener – this is the one I grew last year) and “Super Sugar Snap” (William Dam), which are both climbers. I am also planting a bush type sugar snap called Cascadia” (Pinetree).

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just Planting in the Rain...

As I mentioned in my last post, the weather is not being very cooperative & the new raised beds are taking much longer to build as a result.  I currently have several veggies that are long overdue to be transplanted outside – specifically rapini, onions, shallots, collards and spinach.  My lettuce was also due to be planted outdoors last week & I am just starting to harden it off now.  I’ve been getting worried that my little transplants may not hang on much longer, so I have decided to change things up in order to get them into their raised beds sooner rather than later.