Still Alive

Okay, it has been well over a month since I posted ANYTHING here. I am sorry about it, since it is kind of the time of year where I have tons of things growing and all the gardening enthusiasm forever. However… I’ve been going pretty non-stop with making things which keeps me away from gardening. (You can check out the Etsy Shop here to see some of the things!) This was a benefit a little earlier, when I didn’t allow myself to start sowing a million seeds. It’s all fine when they are seeds but then they grow and need potting up and then take up triple the space. Space that I do not have. Plus my creative brain gets to be happy and just do as it pleases.

But it meant that I severely neglected my blog. I tried to think of a schedule that I could try and follow for posts here… but I know myself better than that, and would end up apologizing infinitely for not meeting promises of posts because I got distracted. So instead, I’m just going to do what I kind of already do, and just write when the mood strikes. That might mean I write 4 posts in a day and then schedule them, or it might mean (unfortunately) going weeks between posts. I will try to keep it regular, but sometimes it can’t be helped, and me apologising every few weeks is pretty lame.

I wanted to pop in and show you that I legit do have things going on in the garden. So here are some photos:


Rhubarb is taking off! I hope to use more of it this year.


I rescued some raspberries from a garden that was getting a complete makeover. I wish I had grabbed more of them, as I have room for at least 4 more plants. I’m hopeful these fruit on old wood, and I’ll get a harvest this year from them.


Strawberries are looking good. I still need to figure out how to keep the squirrels off of them.


The Sweet Williams that I sowed last year survived winter and I cannot wait to see them this year. They are for my grandpa.


I bought myself a rose for my Birthday. Partly because it is white and I love white roses, and partly because of its name: “Iceberg”. As you can also see, the delphiniums are growing like crazy too. I even divided them and you can hardly tell I took away anything.


Spring onion patch. These just keep coming back so I leave them. I get fresh Spring onion, the bees get a flower they like, and I get fresh seed. Behind them I sowed the Garlic I had left from my crop last year. They are just starting to poke their heads up now. In the back corner of the photo, in front of the orange bag (full of leaves im going to use for mulch and the compost like), are poppies that survived winter! I’m pretty excited for them and hope they are as beautiful as I’ve imagined in my head.


Both my Taragon and Sage survived winter (in ground-not containers)! Possibly the Thyme, and Oregano too, but I’ll wait til June to decide if they legit survived or not.


I sowed this Lupin from seed! I’m glad to see it survived because my big beautiful one was completely destroyed by aphids last year. A second one also survived as well!


And I started digging everything and getting it ready for planting! AND as you can see in the top left, one hollyhock survived the winter, so keep your fingers crossed for me that the flowers are as beautiful as I remember my grandma’s being.

Ps. My clematis died, so if I still have clematis dreams I’ll have to get yet another new plant.

How to get FREE Strawberry Plants

One of my long term gardening goals is to grow enough strawberries to make a whole batch of jam.

This means I need to step up the number of plants I have.

Part of that involves growing some from seed. Which involves waiting for seeds to germinate, if they ever do, and then waiting for a year until the plants go into full production, and also keeping fingers crossed that they survive whatever kind of winter we get.

However, Strawberry plants send out runners to take over the ground they are in. Infact, most of the plants I currently have are from runners that I dug out of all the weeds when I took back my garden beds in the spring. 

You can just let the runners root themselves in the garden soil, letting nature have its way. However, I want to move these plants for next year, and I want them to grow where I put them, so that is how I will be showing you today.

Step 1: You need small containers, potting soil, some rocks and you will also need to have strawberry plants that are sending out runners.

Step 2: Find where the runner is starting to grow a plant, and dig a hole the size of the container you are using. 

Step 3: Place the runner onto the potting soil in the container, and use a rock to hold the runner down so it can root.

Step 4: Keep the soil watered and in about 6-8 weeks, we can cut the cord from the mother plant.

   
            

Early April Growing Update (2015) {outside}

I just wanted to drop in to share a quick update with you on how everything outside has been growing.

Delphiniums

I moved these a few weeks ago, as the patio will be going where they were growing. The long range forcast was looking very good so I went for it, and was relieved last week when I saw them putting on more growth in their new homes. Their new home is a little less sunny, but I think they will still do good. These plants have survived being in the baking sun, and also being flooded.

Lupin(s)

The seeds I sowed last year, survived (and should flower this year with any luck)! As did a bunch of self-seeded plants from my big Lupin that is a deep red. The seedlings were easily moved. The big plant will hopefully survive. I have read differing views on transplanting established Lupins, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I left enough of the tap roots that it can thrive in it’s new home.

Rhubarb

I divided this and only left two small crowns in the fall. AND I moved them to a less desirable new home. They won’t get as much sun in their new home, but I wanted their (former) sunny place for more favourable plants (like the Brussels sprouts). Both crowns are starting to sprout! I won’t harvest from them this year, and just let them build up new roots so they should have a great harvest NEXT spring.

Strawberries

My single surviving strawberry plant from last year, sent out a bunch of hidden runners, and they were all healthy plants. So I moved them to their new home once it was ready, and they seem to be liking the new location. In the house, I have some plants  grown from seed, and a few crowns, so they will go out once it is a little warmer outside. At some point, I would like to have an actual strawberry harvest I can do something with, rather than just have a small snack.

Hollyhocks

I sowed hollyhocks last year, not expecting much. Infact, I thought all the grass that took over my flowerbed had choked them out. But this spring, they poked their heads out and I moved them to their new home to take advantage of their Spring growth. They survived their move, and I should have some gorgeous flowers this summer if everything works out. I will also be sowing some more seed later this spring, for next years flowers.

Chives

These are one of my favourites. Their flowers are amazing. The bees thinks so too, so I am looking to spread more Chive clumps around the yard this year. Even if you don’t really like the flavour of chives (like myself), grow them for their flowers. Grow them for their perseverance! They survive (in an unprotected plastic pot!) the crappiest winters, the hottest summers, and even a terrible flood (just Google 2013 in Alberta and you can read all about our flood). Even terrible hail doesn’t take these things out!

 

That is all for now. I’ll put together an update on all the seedlings very soon! And show you the progress of the backyard. I’ve been taking less pictures than I normally would, because my hands are usually covered in dirt and mud.

 

 

March 22/2014 Garden Update

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It was feeling a lot like Spring around here. Gophers have started to wake up and are chirping away out in the fields. The Geese are making their pit stops here, en masse. The snowbank/drift in our back yard from the storms at the beginning of December was down to about 3 feet tall at its highest point… We could see our patio again. And at work… MUD… So much mud! Then the first day of Spring happened and Mother Nature decided we were getting too used to this “Spring” thing, and hammered us with a winter storm again. Lucky for me, I have Spring in my windowsill. Everything is doing amazing. Now if Mother Nature would co-operate, I can start putting the plants for the Greenhouse garden out there. (We are hopefully getting our soil preparations done later next week over there)

But, without anymore chatter, Here is the updates on my little seedlings. (Tomorrow I’ll cover the Herbs and flowers, just like last week)

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TOMATOES

I may have developed an inability to control myself around seeds. I bought more. But only because I saw the Yellow Pear ones that looked so amazing on the many gardening blogs I read, and I just really wanted them. Right next to them in the display were some Marglobe ones that are an Heirloom determinate variety that I think would be great for my mom. Right next to those were some “Green Envy” cherry tomatoes, and I said to myself “why not”. There may have also been an heirloom pepper in there too, but we’ll cover that in the Pepper section. Then I may have allowed myself to trade some Heirloom seeds… “Boxcar Willie”, “Golden Cherry” and “Black Russian” should be here any day now.  I can stop anytime, I swear (she said unconvincingly).

It took 5 days for the Yellow Pear and Marglobe to start sprouting. Pretty excited for both of these. Green Envy should be up by Monday. 5 days seems to be the general length of time it takes for my tomatoes to sprout.

The Cherry Tomatoes (Hybrid Mix of yellow, orange and red) took a little longer to sprout than I expected (more than 7 days), but once they broke through the soil, they took off! They are very leggy, but I can just plant them deeper when they get potted up.

The Pink and Red Brandywine’s I sowed last weekend, Sprouted on March 20. The Pink ones were a day earlier. Black Krim and Bonny Best are also sprouted. The Black Krim had some spotty germination, but I have 4 solid little seedlings out of the 6 that I sowed.

The Rainbow blend and Roma’s that I had potted up last week, are doing AMAZING. I am experimenting a little with using 1L containers that the coffee cream comes in, so my seedlings can have a very developed deep root system, but I’ll tell you more about that later in its very own post. Also… the Rainbow blend may not be just Brandywine tomatoes… Some have standard leaves and not potato leaves. Weird.

Needless to say I am very-much looking forward to my tomatoes this year!

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Tomato seedlings

PEPPERS

My Cayenne Peppers are doing amazing. They all look like little pepper plants now. I should have a great crop of peppers from them if I do everything right, since I have about 10 plants… AFTER thinning and downsizing to only the healthiest ones.

My Jalapenos are a little slower than the Cayenne, but still great. They were started a little after the Cayenne’s so they have that excuse. I have 4 still in the peat pellet starters and I will be potting them up this weekend.

And since I have minimal self control around a seed display, I have some heirloom Hungarian Wax hot peppers. I started 2x 3″ pots of these on March 20th. Since its been a little colder around the window because of the snow, I wont be too surprised if these take a little longer to germinate.

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Cayenne Peppers in 4″ pots

LEEKS

Amazing as ever! I may need to think about thinning them again soon… REALLY need to not sow the entire package of seeds next year.

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Leeks – almost need thinning again

STRAWBERRIES

Super slow. Not much new to report from last week. The few that have true leaves are getting stronger though. I will be sowing more of these in the Fall, so that they are stronger healthy plants by the time Spring comes around.

EGGPLANT

Did I tell you I found some Italian Eggplant? “Violetta Lunga di Napoli” is sprouting!

My Asian Eggplant “Ping Tung Long” has sprouted and is slowly moving along. I’m down to 4 of those rather than 6. Two of them couldn’t break out of their seed shell and were not looking good, so I put them out of their misery.

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“Violetta Lunga di Napoli” Eggplant sprouting

GROUND CHERRIES

These are working on their true leaves. I am looking forward to them. They are definitely not something you can find in the grocery store around here.

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Cayenne on Left x3
Ground Cherries on Right x6

SWEET POTATO

The sweet potato experiment from last year, is getting a do-over this year. I have a sprouting potato on my fridge, so I should get some good slips from it. The question will be whether I can keep them warm and happy enough to produce some potatoes.

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Sweet Potato producing slips

POTATOES

I waited too long to order my Pink Fir Apples. We went to place the order and they were sold out… So sad. Next year I won’t wait so long. Now the potato plan will probably just be regular varieties you can buy at the garden center. My Pink Fir Apple dreams will have to wait until next year I guess. I will console myself with more tomato plants.

ICEBERG LETTUCE

I had an old packet of Iceberg lettuce, and I thought I would challenge myself to try and get an actual head of lettuce from it. We’ll see how it goes. At the very least, I will end up with something green to eat. They have all sprouted. Soon, I’ll try and pinch out a few to grow on and hope for heads. The others I’ll just have as salad leaves.

Check back here tomorrow for the update on all my Herbs and Flowers.

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Left – “Ping Tung Long” Eggplant
Right – Jalapeno Peppers

 

 

March 15/2014 Garden Update

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By the looks of my windowsill currently, you wouldn’t guess that it has only been a week since I last updated you. It has been ever changing as I shuffle things around to place them in a more optimum place. It has even changed since I took that poor picture.

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New thermometer and leggy herbs

I “splurged” on a little digital thermometer to tell me the Max and Min. temps of the day, which can be indoor or outdoor. I was concerned about how cold it was close to the windows at night… and then how hot it was during the day with full sun shinning in. So far the lowest it has dipped (inside my house, right by the window) is 10C (and our furnace is set at a minimum of 18C… so if it goes below that it kicks on)… so at least 8 degrees different at night. On the hottest days so far this month, it has been 44C in the window. Huge range. I may go pick up another one of these thermometers for my little “greenhouse” shelving unit thing I have in my backyard. If it isn’t getting below 5C in there at night, I may start putting the hardier things out there and free up some precious windowsill space. (Also… by “splurge” I mean that the one I found was like $5)

I also added more wire shelves to gain as much room as possible in my little window. Now I just need to find some square seed trays and I would be a happy little penguin. The long trays just stick out a little too far for the higher shelves.

But without further ado, here is Part one of my update… (Part 2 will be tomorrow and will just cover the herbs and flowers)

TOMATOES:

I potted up the 4 earliest Rainbow Brandywine tomatoes that were starting their second set of true leaves… The next round will be potted up in a few days time… along with the Roma tomatoes. Just wanting them to put some more leaves on.

I sowed some Cherry Tomato Mix seeds (F1 Hybrids… Red-Ladybug; Yellow-Bumblebee; Orange-Monarch) So I’m kind of excited to see which ones I end up with (fingers crossed that I get at least one of each). They haven’t made their appearance, but they were only sown on March 12.

I sowed some more tomatoes this morning: Bonny Best, Black Krim, Brandywine Red and Brandywine Pink. I would also like to find a few more varieties, but if I don’t, I can wait until next year… I’m not even sure where I am going to put all of the ones that I am growing this year!

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PEPPERS

My Cayenne peppers are finally looking like plants and working on their true leaves! So excited!

My first sowing of Jalapenos went into 3″ peat pots today also. They weren’t quite ready, but I really needed the little tray they were in for new seeds, so they got bumped. The second sowing is still working on sprouting… so it will be a little bit before they are all ready.

Also, maybe next year, I will try and grow some sweet peppers too, instead of just spicy ones.

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Cayenne Peppers working on their true leaves

LEEKS

I lightly thinned them on the 12th. Note to self not to put the entire seed packet in next time. These are going to just hang out until its time to put them out.

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EGGPLANT

The Asian (Ping Tung Long) Eggplant I sowed on March 5 is just sprouting now.

I found some Italian Eggplant (Violetta Lunga di Napoli) seeds and sowed them today… So this little Eggplant section will be a little more exciting next time I update.

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Asian Eggplant sprouting

STRAWBERRIES

Some seeds are still sprouting, but others are working on their true leaves. This is a long process, but I can’t wait for these to be real plants.

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Tiny strawberries working on their true leaves

GROUND CHERRIES

I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but I broke down and got some Ground Cherry seeds. They have sprouted!

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“Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries” sprouting
(I’ll thin them once they get a little bigger)

ONIONS

I picked up some Annual Bunching Onions and thought I would give some of them a little head start. Then I thought I should try some of my own onion seed from the flower I had last year. Its all an experiment, but they are starting to sprout and it has only been a couple days!

I waited too long today to get a picture of the little onion shoots, and now the light is all gone. Maybe next update they will be less camera shy.

 

Tomorrow… Herb and Flowers update!

Last week’s update.