Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Food Inc screening in Ridgeville!

Hey all you Pelham-ites, and beyond! Are you interested in the food you eat, where it comes from and how it is produced?
Next Wednesday night, March 3, 2010, Ecological Farmers of Ontario (EFAO) is holding a screening of Food Inc to answer these questions and more. This event will be held at the Old Town Hall in Ridgeville, on Canborough Rd. Show time is 7pm, with a Q and A afterwards with a local farmer (or two).
I am the local farmer and have invited Liz Black from Goshen Farm here in Wainfleet to accompany me. I am hoping she can, but also know she is at the mercy of her lambs during lambing time.
Admission is $5. Please spread the word about this important event! See you there!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Heirloom Beets Rock!

I have heard many people say that beets are not one of their favourite veggies because of their earthy taste, which is one thing I LOVE about them. But beets pulled fresh from your garden are so much more than that. They are sweet, tender and delectable, plus they are all edible leaves included. It is like getting more bang for your buck- two veggies in one.
I have some really nice seeds for beets this year.
Albino is a beautiful white heirloom beet, sweet and mild flavoured and really nice if you are creating a dish and don't want the purple staining of red beets. I think it is the mildest flavoured beet, followed closely by Burpees Golden, a gorgeous golden beet which has consistently been my top selling beet at the market and to restaurants. Again, it is mild and sweet and is really yummy baked.
Bulls Blood beet is often grown primarily for it's beautiful greens which are a deep crimson colour and make a great addition to salad mixes when cut small. Early Tall Top is going to be the first beet you'll get in your garden, and is well know for it's beautiful greens that you can use for cooking. Or perhaps my favourite, Cylindra a cylindrical shaped beet that can get huge. Many people prefer these for pickling, because they are easy to slice, but they are just all around good.
Then the popular Chioggia beet, a gorgeous Italian heirloom, also referred to as candy striped because of it's concentric rings of purple and white flesh. Good too!
When saving seeds for beets, pulls up good specimens in the fall and store over the winter. I find that they store extremely well in barrels in my garage when layered in straw.
In the spring, replant as soon as the soil can be worked, and watch the magic happen. The beets will send up a seed stalk with clusters of seed on it, and when these seeds are brown on the plant, harvest,and store in a cool, dry and dark location until needed for planting.
Try some different beets this year, and enjoy a treat!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Heirloom Beans and Beans and Beans!!

What gardener doesn't love beans??
But did you know how many thousands and thousands of fabulous beans are out there?
We have bush, pole, runner. Beans to eat fresh, shell beans and dry beans.
There are beans that are yellow and green or purple. But also beans that are striped, curly, super short, super long (yard long).
And they are easy to love because they are easy to grow and a tasty part of any meal in their various forms.
This year I offering a good number of bean seeds for sale, and I love them all.

A few I would like to highlight are Dragon Tongue, a fabulous Dutch heirloom and Bobis Albenga, an Italian charmer.
Dragon Tongue,(aka Dragon Langerie) is a creamy yellow flat bush bean about 6" long , with purple striping. The purple striping becomes more pronounced the more sun the beans are exposed to, so planting the beans a bit further apart than usual to prevent crowding will give you more vividly coloured beans.
This bean is absolutely delicious at any size, and is so juicy and mildly flavoured that it is great just to eat raw. Sadly, it also falls into the category I like to call "magic beans", whereby when cooked it loses it's purple striping, just as purple beans, when cooked, turn green.
Bobis Albenga (Bobis D'Albenga) is a bean I purchased seed for many years ago, and then -ZAP- the seed company was gone and so was the bean! It is very difficult to find seed anywhere for this wonderful bean.
But I did have the instinct to save the seed from it that first year because it was so wonderful. It is a lovely slim bush bean that is green with purple mottling, with just a wonderful green beany flavour. But alas, another magic bean we have here, unless you saute it very lightly for a few minutes, retaining some of the crunch and colour.
Want to see more of the wonderful bean varieties I offer? Please check out my website at I have grown them all-they are all recommended!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Jolly Jester" marigold

I am a pretty practical woman. I pretty much just buy what I need (yes, I NEED all the seeds I buy!), I dress comfortably and grow far more vegetables than flowers, because, after all, most flowers you can't eat.
But I always smile when I see the happy Jolly Jester Marigold in my garden. I find it so cute!
I was introduced to this marigold years ago, at least 10, and have offered it ever since in the Seeds of Diversity seed exchange, under it's other name, Pinwheel marigold. And this year I am selling the seed for it as well.
As with all marigolds, it is extremely carefree. I generally plant the seeds for it indoors, about 4-6 weeks before the last frost, from April 1 and on here in the banana belt of Southern Ontario, (ie Wainfleet!) Then, when all risk of frost has passed, I plant it in my garden, generally popping it in amongst the veggies for a splash of colour.
It does stand taller than many other marigold varieties, often growing to 3 or so feet, and is covered in cheerful blossoms for most of the growing season.
Saving the seed couldn't be easier. Simply let the flower heads dry on the plant, collect them, and you will have these happy little flowers for years to come. Store your seeds over the winter in a cool, dry spot and excess seeds can last for years. Or bring them along to your nearby Seedy saturday, and let others experience them as well!