Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February Photos

Seedy Sunday set-up in Hamilton

Today's harvest

Mustard flowers

Basil...caught in a cat trap

Spring is coming-choi flowers

Mustard mix

The mice ate the parsley...not the cutting celery

Carry on, chard

Red cabbage "greens"

Perennial leeks

Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 Niagara Seedy Saturday Was a Success!

I spent my morning and early afternoon today out in my hoophouses, slowly and methodically picking my winter greens, leaf by leaf.

There's been a lot to think about now the big event is over, and lots of things to catch up on that sort of got put on the back burner.

Was the event a success? Oh yes, I think it was.
I knew it was because of the enthusiasm, smiles and general all around great feeling of the event. And people came out..that's the big thing. Snow-what snow? Biggest storm in the past five years the day and night before? Ha! There were seeds to trade and buy and people to talk to and listen to who were talking about gardening!

Thank you, thank you to everyone who came out and supported the event this year. Thanks to all who  displayed,  sold, traded seed or just came to soak it all up. You all made it a great event. I know some didn't venture out judging from all the phone and email messages I received when I finally made it home. I'm so sorry you missed it, but planning and event in February is always iffy. Two years in a row the weather has been far from ideal. Much like farming the weather can make it or break it. It was nice it didn't break us.

When I stared planning this event many months ago, I wasn't really event sure the event would happen because a suitable and affordable venue seemed to be alluding me.

But when I went to Glengate Alliance Church to take a look-see I knew we had a home. Marlene, the church secretary could not have been more helpful or accommodating and I am so thankful for her help. She made sure everything was in place, made signs for me and spent the whole day at the event helping out. Thanks Marlene, without you it wouldn't have been as good as it was.

Thanks to my great friends who come as a favour to me every single year to help out. You are amazing friends and I am blessed to have you in my life.

A huge thanks to Penfinancial for donating $250 towards this event and Jean for setting that up for me. You are tremendous. I never know for sure every year that my costs will actually be covered so this was a huge help. And thanks all for donations at the door. I have $418.00 to donate to Project Share . I am thrilled!

Thanks to Gavin for being my tech person all day. Without you those little glitches would have been big problems.

Special thanks to my wonderful speakers, Elva, Tiffany, Theresa, Karen and Kate. Kate drove for 7 hours (!!!) on Friday in that snow to be with us. Amazing. And Karen brought "the fella" with her.

Oh my.

Final thanks go to The Good Earth Cooking SchoolAdriano Marinelli and Terra Teas for your donations. I am very appreciative of your fine products and have no doubt the recipients of your gifts are too.

And just a little note about my daughter Mollie. Mollie raised an incredible $128.00 that she will donate to Niagara Action for Animals. She's spent the last several weeks creating jewelry for this purpose, and I couldn't be prouder. This girl is a force (of good) to be reckoned with.

Thanks everyone.  Love and garden blessings to all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Come Seed With Me-March Workshops!

I confess I love seeds. I have in my basement an entire freezer devoted to seed. But I also have seeds in my garage, kitchen and bedroom. There are no rules about this, are there?
I do sell seed. I also continue to purchase it, trade it and request it through seed exchanges. And save it.
It may be an obsession, that much is clear.
Last week I received a seed order from a self-professed chili-head, who told me of a small pepper seed company I had never heard of.
So last night after Mollie had gone to bed, I pulled out my laptop to have a look-see.

Crap I thought. Here we go. Last year I grew about 110 varieties of peppers, many of them sizzlers.
This year I had already found seed for many of the "new" hottest of the hots, like the Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and other such foolishness. I was already in good shape pepper-wise.

Let's add to the list about 40 more new ones after my "it's a new seed source" frenzy of last night.

It's okay. A girl's gotta have fun. 

Trying new things in the garden keeps life interesting. That's certainly one of the beauties of heirlooms, the seemingly infinite variety. More than 10,000 known varieties of heirloom tomatoes? Oh my goodness. I really DO need a bigger farm wouldn't you say?

This year there are lots of things I'm excited to try in the garden. Last year I grew cotton, rice, sesame seeds and hairy balls, and it was fun, fun, fun.

sesame seed pods
My kind of fun anyways. I'm not a "let's go to the mall" kinda gal, clearly.

This year I am excited to grow some of last year's favourites again like Wheatly Frost Resistant, Oziris, Green Pear (and a gazillion more) tomatoes, Joe's Long Cayenne peppers and Painted Hills multicoloured sweet corn. I had more favourites too, in fact there was very little I disliked. Okay, nothing I disliked. 

But this year is the year of the tomato-pepper-runner bean-garlic-basil-mangel dominated garden.

What about you? What are you excited to try this year?

If you are a newbie to seeds and food growing or would like to learn a few tips, my gardening workshops might fit the bill. I've had questions, so I'll attempt to answer them here.

I am holding my workshops on two days this year, March 16 and then again on March 30 and the cost is $40, time both days is 2-4pm. We'll be in my hoophouse, so let's hope the sun shines.

What you go home with is everything you will need to get a good sized garden underway. I provide trays, seed, growing medium and instruction. We'll actually seed the varieties of tomatoes you would like to grow, as well as peppers, eggplants, lettuces, broccoli and other garden yummies. You will also go home with 10 more seed packs..things like beans, carrots, peas, beets and other things you like that need to direct seed in your garden.

We'll talk about seed, getting your garden ready, growing all the specific crops you have starts and seed for. We will talk about seed saving and I'll answer your questions. Refreshments will be provided.
You just need to come prepared to get a bit dirty and to have a bit of fun. You come with nothing, you leave with a garden. How cool is that? 
People have begun registering now, so drop me an email via my website to indicate your preferred date.
Hope to see you here!

Friday, February 1, 2013

First of February and Gettin' Ready!

My assistant Stella helping pack seeds

Most times when I sit down to write a blog post I have a pretty clear idea of what I will be writing about. Not so much this time. My mind meanders.
It could be, that like many people, my attention and energies are pulled and stretched in many directions. Seems to especially be the case at this time of year.
Organizing Niagara Seedy Saturday has been a big draw on my time.
My hats off to people who organize events on a full time basis. I will never be one of you and my friend Helen is drawing up a paper likely as we speak to ensure that this now large event is never my sole responsibility again. It is time to turn it over to a group and I am hoping, really hoping that a yet to be name horticultural group will pick it up for 2014.
It's tough getting people together.
This year my speakers have been incredible, and I know they will be on the day of the event too. I feel like I had these  fantasy ideas about who I would like to speak, threw these ideas up against the wall to see what would stick, and it all did. Wow. When does that happen?
These people are donating their time, which makes it even more amazing.

I think this will be a great event this year. The weather, so far, says no snow. Ha. Ha. Fell for that last year, didn't we?

I'll be at lots of Seedy Saturdays-and a Sunday this year. I'll see you at Burlington's event-Feb 19 (evening), Kitchener (Feb 23), Hamilton (Feb 24), Brantford's Community Garden event (March 2) and Brampton's inaugural Seedy Saturday event on March 9.

After that I am out of commision. I will be seeding and seeding.

But I have set a few days aside to seed with people who are interested in my workshops. These are the "Planting Seeds for 2013" workshops  on both March 16 and another session on March 30.
These were pretty popular last year, so I did add an extra date.

Expect to leave these workshops with everything you need to get your garden planted. We will seed tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and you will have a bunch of great seeds to direct seed in your garden. I'll equip you with what I hope to be valuable information for having a successful garden. My website has  DETAILS sign up now!

It has been a tough winter to grow, with the incredible temperature ranges. The damp, overcast and warmer temperature can cause some disease and insect problems. These things just don't happen in a normal winter, but I think there is a new normal now and it is unpredictable weather.
 I finished my fall/winter CSA in mid-January, and am taking a bit of a breather from my CSA to get my seeds in order for sales, work on my seedling listing. There are greens in the greenhouse, and I am selling, but it is on a person to person basis. Need veg? Let me know.

The CSA sessions for 2013 are full and I am grateful for that support.
I am working on my tomato seedling listing now, and it is really going to be an unparalleled selection of heirloom seedlings. Honestly I don't know how many I am offering this year, but it is more than ever and there are some VERY COOL tomatoes. Like-cool.
I'll put up a post soon about what my favourite tomatoes were last year. Some new favourites as always!

My intention also is to open in April for cool weather transplant sales and on site seed sales. Times will be posted soon on my website. It's a little heirloom gardener's paradise here this year.

Hope to bump into lots of folks over this year. I love the veggies, I do. But I love people too!