I grew 2 types of parsley last year. They were both a bit slow to start and I was worried they wouldn’t germinate because the seeds were pretty old. With patience, they slowly emerged and once we got some heat, they really took off. However, I learned that this is typical of Parsley.

Parsley is one of my favourite herbs to grow. They just have such a fresh and refreshing smell. I don’t use a ton of it fresh in the summer (since I usually just try to survive the heat), but I do dry a bunch of it for using in the winter.

The types I grew:


‘Plain Leaved’ Parsley (Mr. Fothergill’s Seeds… This pack of seeds I bought in 2013)



‘Champion Moss Curled’ Parsley (McKenzie Seeds… bought in 2014)


Typically, I just pull them out at the end of the year and start fresh every spring, BUT, Parsley is a Biennial. If I let these try and make it through the winter, I could probably collect my own fresh parsley seed. Since I have two little clumps of each kind of parsley, I may move one of each to an area that I probably wont dig up next spring, and see how they make it. As I am trying to get more experience in saving my own seed, I am eagerly waiting to see if these survived the winter. Later in February or March I might start some new parsley to keep up my herb-drying-for-winter hobby.

How I dry my parsley: You can just go traditional and hang a bundle of them upside down in a dry spot in your house. I use my dehydrator to hasten the process though. I typically do small harvest from a bunch of my herbs at once and stick them all in the dehydrator. Over the summer, I get a pretty decent harvest of dried herbs to use all winter. Think of this herb-growing-and-drying-situation as a slow and steady wins the race thing. Parsley probably gives me the biggest bang for my buck.

  1. You can snip off almost all the leaves… just make sure to leave some so the poor plant can survive and make the energy to make new leaves.
  2. Give them a good wash (later in the summer, the flat leaf variety tends to get aphids on them… so make sure you clean them all off… or enjoy the added protein on your dried parsley i guess?).
    1. Quick dry off between paper towels and then to the next step.
  3. Spread them out evenly on your dehydrator tray
  4. Turn it on… I usually turn the heat to 130F and leave the default timer of 10 hours on. Some of the herbs will take longer than others. Some will be done before 10 hours, some will take longer, it just depends on the moisture in the leaves, and also a little bit about the weather you have.
  5. Once the leaves are dry and crispy, I put them into a plastic sandwich bag, roll them over with a small rolling pin to break them apart a bit. I pull the stems out, and put the parsley bits into a mason jar with the previously dried bits.
  6. I label the lid of the mason jar with the herb name and the year.


Sorry for the lack of new photos on this post. I’ll get back into the groove once things are growing again.

My Etsy Shop: Back 40 Woodcraft


2016 Tomato Harvest


This photo is all the tomatoes that I was able to harvest in 2016… with the exception of a few Tiny Tim’s that I ate straight off the plant.

There is a singular Black Cherry there. And I got one or two Yellow Pears. The rest in the photo are all Sub Arctic Plenty.

I sound like a broken record… but the damn squirrels stole all the rest.

If you remember, I had planned to grow a ton of the heirloom varieties I have seed for, to replenish my seed stash. I sowed 17 varieties, with at least 1 plant of each kind. For some varieties, I sowed up to 4. with at least 1 for me, the rest to share with friends. So to only get tomatoes from 4 of those I planted and tended was so disheartening.

Here is the list of tomatoes I grew last year:

  • Orange Wellington
  • Black Russian
  • Black Cherry
  • Beefsteak
  • Pink Brandywine
  • Rutgers
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Yellow Pear
  • Boxcar Willie
  • Golden Cherry
  • Chadwick’s Cherry
  • Principe Borghese
  • Sub-Arctic Plenty
  • Tumbler
  • Tiny Tim
  • Manitoba
  • Green Envy

Even though the squirrels were the main problem, I am also chalking the poor season up to to the weird weather, and the fact that 2016 was the worst year of my life thus far. I also didn’t bother saving any seed.

Thoughts for 2017: I have yet to decide on the varieties for this year. I’m trying to keep my seeds out of sight so I don’t start too many, and too early. I think the tomatoes this year in the yard are going to look far different than in previous years. “Tomato Island” doesn’t quite work. There isn’t as much sun there as in other areas of the yard. And since we finally have the patio started (and will hopefully finish in early spring), I can dot the tomato containers around in the warmer areas on the patio. Other people have had some success spraying with aspirin, so I may try that. It causes a reaction in the tomato that makes it think it is being attacked, so the plant becomes stronger thinking that it was attacked, when it is really fine. However, in my plan to simplify things, I may just cut down on the amount of tomatoes and just provide them with what they need rather than getting in over my head with all the extra things that don’t NEED to happen. Time will only tell what ends up happening in the garden this year

Do you have any suggestions on what tomatoes to try?



Community Garden Plot- Update 5

I haven’t been having a great summer. Family members are having health problems; I’m fighting some health problems; I’ve begun to really hate my job; my very best friend and catcher of all of my tears and listener to all my problems died in my arms; and a thousand other little less significant things that just add up to bad times. It’s been rough.

And obviously, my community garden plot kind of fell out of care. I even got an email asking me to take care of the weeds on the path surrounding my plot. Extra disheartening but fair enough.

So I finally went and cleaned the thing up. And it honestly wasn’t that bad. The pathway was the only place there was really any weeds. None the less, I harvested all my remaining potatoes and carrots. I gave up on the beets and beans ever doing anything more than they were doing. Frosts are looming and I don’t have the energy to keep up with the backyard garden AND this plot on the other side of town.

I dug over all the soil, cleaned up the weeds in the paths and gave the empty ground a good drink so it doesn’t turn to dust and just blow away.

I will be going back once or twice before the garden closes for the winter to keep any weeds in check, but for now it is put to bed, awaiting next spring.

So now any possible updates on the plot will be about plans for the spring.

My crop of carrots was absolutely fantastic, and I think I will put at least 2 rows in next year.

The beets could have been better given more time and no decimating hail. Same with the beans and onions. The ‘Purple Caribe’ potatoes were fantastic as always. They have a tiny bit of scab, but nothing troubling.

So I have more plans for next year, and as always, plans to thwart the hail if at all possible. Do you have any ideas on what I should try and grow here next year? As this year, I want to keep it minimal care. Anything a little sensitive, I keep at home where I stand a chance at keeping it alive through some of the weather that Ma’ Nature throws at us here. Depending on how ambitious I get this winter, I may build some kind of brassica cage to keep the damn butterflies away and then I may stick some cabbage out there. So many Ideas… so many months ahead to ponder them.

Here are the this years updates on this garden: 1, 2, 3 & 4

Also, while I’m linking things… Don’t forget to check out my new Etsy shop Iceberg Empire. There is also a little sneaky page about the whole thing at the top menu bar. I’ll update that as exciting things happen over there.

First Harvest of 2016!

While I was back home visiting my parents yesterday, ripping apart their yard (post coming soon) and checking on my leaf mold piles, I made my first harvest of this year! In freaking April! Usually we are just breaking out of winters grasp at this time of year, so to be able to harvest something is a big deal.

Rhubarb! And not pidly little stalks either! Bright pink, and huge! After I took all the leaves off, I had 2 large freezer bags of “fruit”. One for me, and one for my rhubarb loving best friend.

I think I’ll be making rhubarb and apple crisp. And harvesting more rhubarb next time I go home. (Not to mention the 3 crowns I have in my own yard that should produce very well this year)

I also chopped up all the leaves and stem ends and brought them back home with me to put into my composter.

Do you have any suggestions of what to do with the glut of rhubarb I think I will be blessed with this year?

Grow Your Own – Italian Seasoning (Completed)

You may have thought I forgot all about my project last year of growing my own Italian Seasoning… But I didn’t. At least not completely. I did get all the herbs dried and put away in individual bags. I just never got around to adding them all together into a seasoning mix. Or writing a post about drying the herbs here. So here we are, finally, with a wrap up on the Italian Seasoning I grew all by myself! (everything in the photo above came out of my garden!)

Continue reading “Grow Your Own – Italian Seasoning (Completed)”