Thursday, December 31, 2009

Long time no post

I have been on a bit of a blogging break lately. For the past two and a half weeks we have been doing a lot of exploring with the camera which means lots of garden and blog neglect. Today I am breaking the cycle with an overall update of the winter crops. Some doing well and others not so much.

Bright Lights Chard, the older leaves have flopped but the inner ones are looking alright

Leeks, looking rather floppy. Will be interesting to see if they are any bigger by April.

The wee Tatsoi, it is growing more leaves but not necessarily getting any bigger.

Scallions, not looking very nice but still harvestable.

'Little Gem' Romaine, looks like we will be getting our New Years salad.

Mizuna, doing very well. Not much has been eaten yet though.

'Sugar Loaf" Chicory, it is taking the cold well but not producing like it should.
It is supposed to form a tall narrow head, It was started much to late I think.

Wong Bok (ie napa cabbage), again like above doing well but
not producing like it should. It needs an earlier start as well.

Red Celery, Most of it was harvested 2 weeks ago. What's left is still
doing really well though. We have had a few really cold nights, about
-15c(5f) before windchill and they have taken it well.

Spinach, this needs to be harvest soon. Lots of big leaves in their prime.

Mache, This also needs to be harvest soon. I am hoping
to make some nice winter salads over the next few days.

Lastly, here is the covered oak barrel. It contains four full heart batavian and
an assortment of over wintering herbs. Everything is looking rather freeze dried,
I think I need to get my water can out.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the night before Christmas

when all through the house

barely a creature was stirring, and definitely not a mouse!

just a manic veggie gardener raising a clatter

of spilling seeds on the counter

his wondering eyes gazed upon early season trades

with hopeful thoughts of the season hereafter

True Red Cranberry beans & Soldier beans from Kath @ Veg Heaven

Borlotto Lingua Di Fuoco beans & Victorian Climbing peas from Gary @ Reads Allotment Retreat

Cascadia Sugar Snap peas from Laura @ The Modern Victory Garden

Tail of Tears beans, Bright Lights chard & Red Tropea onions from Daphne @ Daphne's Dandelions

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Garden Visitors

Now that the weather has turned cold I have started to put out the feeders. I hung the feeder with black oil sunflower seeds which quickly attracted visitors. I also put out the Log Suet Feeder but the only thing that attracted was squirrels that ate the wood too. I will wait a little longer to put out suet until the squirrels are hibernating more. Below are some photos I have taken over the last couple weeks. All were take from the living room, either on the couch or by the window. Got to love lazy photography!


Sparrow, male & female House Finch, Chickadee

Downy Woodpecker


White Breasted Nuthatch


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pickled Chioggia Beets

I was browsing over @ Diggin' the Dirt and came across her beautiful pickled chioggia beets. It was then that I recalled I had some garden chioggia beets in the fridge still so I made a batch.

The recipe can be found at the following link. The only thing I change is in place of pickling spice I used, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries & 1 teaspoon whole cloves. In the end mine turned out pretty red, not the nice blush pink like her jars. I will hope for paler chioggia's next season. They will be ready for a taste test mid Jan, can't wait.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 Veggie Patch Plan, Preliminary

With the season winding down plans for next seasons garden have been whirling in my mind. My main though was everything needs to be rotated because of this seasons blight problem. Last week I decided to do a preliminary plan on Paint to get all my thoughts on a hard copy before I forgot them. The plans below are basically how the garden will be laid out next year although I am sure a few things will change before spring planting. I may also do a raised triangular bed at the lower part of garden. This would tap out every available spot and would mean a few things will be moved around.

Lowest Beds

Lowest Beds Plan

Middle Beds

Middle Beds Plan

Top Beds

Top Beds Plan

New Bed Ideas

Above is a crude rendition of my new bed ideas for next season.
  • The square one in the top right is going to be a stone edged, amended native soil bed. It will happen next spring and will be used to grow about 16 potato plants. The little stone circle will stay, there is an existing 'Valentine' Rhubarb plant growing there.
  • The triangular-ish bed is a thought I have had since last season. This area receives good light from spring - mid summer but when the sun lowers it is almost 100% shade from the hedge. I have not decide if I will do this bed yet but the added space would be nice. The main draw is restricted access really, I will have to string it out first to see how intrusive it is. If it is installed, it will be a raised bed like the others, with triple mix to the depth of 16-18 inches.
You may also notice we have some white stuff on the ground. It came yesterday night and was our third dusting of the season. This snow should stick, our day time highs will below freeze for awhile. At least I don't have to clear it, yet....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Garden Blogger Bloom Day

Thought I would venture out to see if I have anything for GBBD and was pleasantly surprised. With our mild November things have really hung in there and are still showing colour, even a few blooms!
Forsythia, is it spring already?

Primula, again timing is a little off

Climbing New Dawn Rose Hip

Rose hip with spider

Next year's Japanese Maple bud


Astrantia, variegated


Hakone grass

Buddleia, dwarf white



Ligularia dentata, seed head

Pee Gee Hydrangea, Standard form

Monday, December 14, 2009

Harvest Monday

Saturday our frigid weather parted ways so I ventured out to see if anything was harvestable after the thaw. I was pleasantly surprised that everything came through alright. I guess the tunnels are worth while after all, although I am not sure how many freezes the crops could take before turning to mush.

I brought in 90% of the red celery as it looked the worse during the freeze. It unthawed well and was still crisp. The celery will be cleaned, chopped and froze for use in stock, soup & stew over the winter months.

I left some newer growth on the red celery to see how it does as an over wintered crop. I am not holding out much hope but it would be nice if it continues growth once the weather improves in march.

I also picked a small bunch of bright lights chard. The chard also came through the freeze alright but was a little floppy still. The chard went into chicken soup and was excellent. I will be picking more in the coming weeks for steaming, risotto and what ever else strikes my fancy. The seed for the chard was shared by Daphne who also hosts Harvest Monday.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The late crops made it

Today the temp went above freezing and everything rebounded pretty well. Here are some after shots:

Cold frame overview, the spinach & mache came through unscaved.

The red celery perked up. I did harvest 90% today though, it
will be prepped and froze for soups & stews this winter. I hope
what is left will survive the winter for a nice spring harvest.

Cedar poly tunnel overview. Everything else in the tunnel seemed
to handle the freeze well. Crops other then the celery are napa cabbage,
sugar loaf chicory, mizuna, romaine & green onions, all immature.

The chard came through so so. I harvested some today and will harvest
the rest before we get another cold snap. I will leave the plants in to over
winter though.

The leeks came through fine asides from a little floppiness. I hope
they are worth harvesting by late spring when they make way for peppers.

The half barrel crops are still alive as well. In the barrel is
oregano, parsley, thyme, sage & four full heart batavian.

It will be interesting to monitor the progress of these winter crops. Although the cold weather that just passed was very cold for this time of year it is pretty mild compared to what comes in Jan & Feb.