Savory – Winter & Summer – What is the difference?

Over the years, I have become especially fond of growing herbs. Especially herbs that are a little harder to find in stores. Like savory for example.

Savory is one that is a little harder to find in the store. And its not typically differentiated on which one you are buying, its just labelled as ‘Savory’. I have also had a hard time finding “winter savory’ as seed from the big available-in-most-stores, or as started plants from garden centres.

Finally, I found some seeds for Winter Savory. I actually found them from a few different Canadian seed companies, but chose to buy them from “Wildrose Heritage Seed Company” because they are a local Alberta company.

While this will be my first year growing Winter Savoy, I have grown Summer Savory a few years now. I wanted to take this time in the winter while I’m using all my will power to not start my seeds too early, to write down some differences between the two. We can all learn together, and I will try to be on-top of writing here this whole year, and I plan on documenting the differences.

  • Latin Names
    • Winter: “Satureja montana”
    • Summer: “Satureja hortensis”
  • Life Span
    • Winter: Perennial (I’ve read that it is perennial to zone 4, so I’m right on the cusp. It may not survive if we have a really long harsh winter here)
    • Summer: Annual

I can’t speak on the difference in growth or flavour of the different kinds yet, but I really hope to document my experience with them this year. If I’m on the ball, I’ll come back and link to the updates I do get done later this year. For now, all I have photo-wise is the one at the bottom of this post of the seed packets.

Here is the Winter savory I’ll be growing this year. They also sent me a free sample (with the rest of my seed order) of their Midget Summer Savory too, so I’ll be growing that as well. I also still have a pack of old Summer Savory seed from McKenzie seeds, that I bought in 2014. As I was going through my seed collection, I found a new pack of Summer Savory seed from West Coast Seed. I forgot I bought it last year, so that this year I would have some new seed… Thanks past self.

I’ll be starting these in the next few days. By the time the little seedlings need more room for their roots, it should be warm enough outside for them. If you have any experience with the difference between Winter and Summer Savory, share them in the comments below.


‘Brookgold’ Plum

After I started writing the little profile for the ‘Crimson Passion’ Cherry, I wanted to write something similar for each of the new fruit trees. So here we are with the Brookgold Plum.

It has smaller, yellow fruit and I am really looking forward to it doing well. So keep your fingers crossed with me that I have some fruit to show for this tree. It does need a pollinator though, so if you are looking into getting this tree, know that you will need another plant to pollinate it.. and a second Brookgold Plum won’t do it. You need something with different genes that will bloom around the same time. They need to bloom around the same time, because otherwise the pollen wont be there to pollinate, and you won’t get fruit. Luckily for me, the Nanking Cherry is a pollinator for this Brookgold Plum, and we planted a handful of them. Quick note, if you are not sure whether or not your fruit tree needs a separate pollinator, do a quick google search, or find a knowledgeable person at your local nursery/greenhouse/garden centre (that isn’t a big-box store) to talk to and help you make the right choice for you.

Some quick notes about the ‘Brookgold’ Plum:

  • Cold Hardiness: Zone 3
  • Height: 10-15 feet (Spread is about the same)
  • Ripens: August
  • Japanese Plum Group, and was developed in Brooks, Alberta
  • Latin: Prunus salicina ‘Brookgold’

I don’t have a picture of this one after we planted it, so You’ll have to use your imagination.. Or wait until I can get some of it growing this  year.

I’m looking quite forward to this one because I never really imagined I could grow plums here…. On this same note.. I REALLY want a Mount Royal Plum also, because they are a bluey-purple (so nice contrast to this gold one); and It is self fertile!!


Lastly, make sure you check out my Etsy shop: Back 40 Woodcraft

‘Red Beard’ Onions


I wrote about these onions last year, but I never ended up hitting “Publish” on it, so I wanted to share it now. Last year I got a late start to the seed sowing, and I had started these on April 4, BUT they didn’t get much of a chance to really take off. They grew, and I left them in the ground to see if they survive the winter.  So because of last year’s slow start, I started these on January 24th this year. This should give them enough of a head start that I can get something worth harvesting this year.

There isn’t a big  write-up about them on the seed packet (which, as you can see in the photo above is from McKenzie seeds. This is what the packet write-up says: “This easy-to-grow bunching onion produces tender and flavourful red stalks. Plants produce stalks 12cm x 1.5cm (4.7″ x 0.5″) in diameter.”

Because I have been so intrigued by this variety, I did a bit of googleing. Originally from wild alliums from China and Kazakhstan, it was brought to Europe around the middle ages, and to England in the 1600’s. Like other bunching or spring onions, they are perennial, but are typically grown as an annual. And of course, the reason why I wanted to try them, is that they have red-purple stalks combined with bright green foliage.

While Onions are not my most favourite veg. I quite likegrowing them. They stand up to a bit of cold, which is an ideal thing around here, where mother nature has a habit of bipolar mood swings. Also the flowers. Bees love them, and they are different compared to most of the flowers I grow.

‘Crimson Passion’ Cherry Tree

Since I’m trying to write here again, and a lot of really cool progress happened last year, I wanted to talk to you about my ‘Crimson Passion’ Cherry Tree.

The poor little thing was a rescue. It got knocked over in a storm, and had another larger tree fall on it, so was quite bent over (but not damaged). And I say little thing, because it is. It also had big scab of sap, as a response to drought because we were having watering issues during the hot summer at work. Before I went on a week long vacation, we had put it on sale for 75% off. I really wanted it, but I figured I would wait til I got back if nobody else rescued it first. When I got back, it was still there, like a sad little puppy, so I bought it, and brought it to my parents house and my dad and I planted it there.

crimson passion cherry 2018


It flourished in the awesome soil and we used a large bamboo cane to help support it until it can grow stronger . That is the only photo I have of the tree, right after we planted it. Look at that gorgeous soil.

I can’t wait to see how it grows this year. The trick will really be to keep the animals off it to be able to get the cherries.  If I can’t get photos of it myself, I’ll share some that my mom sends me 😉 I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing the blooms in the spring.

‘Crimson Passion’, along with ‘Romeo’ is the sweetest of the sour cherries available. Sweet Cherries, like the ones you can buy in the store that come from the Okanagan and other parts of BC (Or other warmer parts of the world), don’t grow here (there may be some special cases, but generally, they don’t handle the cold, and particularly the chinook winds and weather fluctuations we get in this area).

The Romance Series of cherries were developed at the U of S. There is tons of info out there on them, so if you want to learn more about this, and the other types, a quick google search will help return a ton of info. I’ll share whatever I can about this particular one.  One last note, these come in either tree or shrub form. The shrub form will be the more cost-effective choice, as less work has gone into the plant… but they are the same plant, one has just been pruned to have one main trunk.

Some quick info on this ‘Crimson Passion’ Cherry Tree:

  • Cold Hardiness: Zone 3
  • Self-Fertile (this means I don’t need a pollinator to get fruit, Although we have also planted a handful of Nanking Cherries, and have native Choke Cherries and a Brookgold Plum nearby.)
  • Mature height of this tree will be around 8 feet. So it is a great option if you want something edible, but don’t have a ton of space.
  • Fruit should mature in August… This is key, as we can start getting frost in August.
  • Latin: Prunus x kerrasis ‘Crimson Passion’

I’ll update later in the year on how this one is doing. I am going to try and do some more tree related content rather than just tomatoes and general gardening.

One last plug… Check out my Etsy shop – Back 40 Woodcraft.

Lets talk about 2018

2018… It was a year. That is about all I can say. After the 2 years previous, it is nice to say 2018 was just a year. This is going to be a bit rambly… kind of a stream of consciousness, and I may or may not add in photos, but here it goes…

I just kind of let go of writing here in the Summer. I minimised anything that was causing me any kind of stress. I just needed less things that I needed to do. I couldn’t write what I wanted to write in the way I wanted to write it and it was stressing me out. So I let it go for a bit.

My garden grew really well, and I harvested and dried TONS of herbs that I have been loving using in the kitchen this winter.

My tomatoes grew wonderful… but in September, I should have harvested them all when we had a heavy frost in the forecast. I didn’t, I just covered the plants and lost much of my harvest.  Obviously, I had tomatoes one by one throughout the summer, but I was really hoping the weather would hold off and I could harvest and process the tomatoes all at once.

The last post here was about lettuce and greens. They didn’t make it. I let them dry out and just didn’t take good care of them.

My herbs were definitely the star of the show. Every few days, I could harvest some of the herbs and put them in the dehydrator.

Raspberries were also very prolific, although none of them made it into the house. I did get to eat a few of my strawberries, but as usual, the slugs and squirrels beat me to most of them.

My clematis that I planted as a teeny tiny stick a few years ago, bloomed like crazy, but didn’t produce a ton of foliage. Fingers crossed it makes it through this winter, and I can baby it a bit more in the spring in hopes of a really great growing season for it.

I learned a new way to try and combat the delphinium caterpillars that I’ve been plagued with the last few years. And it doesn’t involve squishing individual caterpillars… I’ll share that in the spring when I’m doing it.

We planted a bunch of fruit trees and bushes at my parents house. So fingers crossed I will have a bunch of fruit this summer and the coming years.

I got really into learning to propagate plants. So I want to share some of that this year.

Right around Halloween, I took some seeds from an organic orchard-run Gala Apple. Cold stratified on wet paper towel in a plastic bag in the fridge…And they germinated… So around Christmas, I potted them up into red solo cups. And they sprouted on January 5th. Which would’ve been my grandma’s 91st Birthday.  It will be interesting to see what becomes of them, the little bit I’ve googled about Apple genetics has been fascinating.

I have a few other kinds of potential future trees in my fridge right now.

So 2019 will be… maybe just another plain year, maybe it will be awesome.

And HUCKLEBERRIES! I fell in love with huckleberries in 2018.