Thursday, May 30, 2013

Get It Done

I guess it is a good time of year for me to be pissed off at my children.
Tonight, after a day of digging holes, filling them with compost and planting tomatoes, I managed to get a wee bit upset about something and needed to return to the garden to dig. I had a few emotions I needed to sort out. By hole ten I didn't even realize I was digging because my mind simply wasn't there. I was somewhere else.

240 holes later, sweaty and hot I felt much better.

Don't ever doubt that gardening and it's associated grunt work are good therapy. They are.

When the world throws a little crap at you as it inevitably does, head to the garden. Hoe, dig or just look. It is all so wonderful and helpful.

This time of year there's plenty of therapy to be had, particularly with planting.

After the rain we have had the past few days, the weeds are springing up. But I am really trying to ignore them, because right now the priority is planting.

I have all the eggplants and peppers in. Some cukes, squash, beans, melons, lots of lettuces, chards, brassicas, potatoes and carrots. It could be though that the carrots got washed away in the torrential downpour. No matter. There will be lots more going in. More beets, the different corns in staggered plantings, more, more and more again of nearly everything. I will likely plant for weeks to come, until all my space is filled.

People often ask ..."is it too late?" Perhaps for peas, spinach and radishes time is moving on as we hit the heat. For most other things though, the time is now.

Now though it is the tomatoes that I am focusing on. Maybe 700 in and likely that to go. Or more.
I want to give all the varieties I seeded a good trial, hence the quantity of plants. Plus of course as I tell everyone, you can never have too many tomatoes.

So in the field it is the same routine. Dig into that nice heavy clay, fill the planting hole with a good shovelful of compost mixed with my mineral supplement. Then strip the lower leaves off the tomato plants and sink them deep into the warm compost, covering the stem with the mix.

Again and again.

I hope to finish up in 2 more days and then really enjoy Niagara Vegfest on Sunday (June 2), Market Square St Catharines.
This is such a nice, feel good event and I'm so pleased to be involved. I'll be there through the day with my plants, seed, Steven Biggs (No Guff Gardening, Growing Figs) and a great mineral soil supplement.
I speak later on in the day too,  after some very impressive folks.

Hope to see you there. If not the tomato field!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Get Planting!

Caught me!
Yes, it's true. Since my sale all I have been doing is laying on the couch, watching Oprah and eating bon-bons all day.
Oprah isn't on anymore? Oh.
Well, caught me again.

After a very busy "Tomato Days" weekend, which saw even more kind folks walk up my lane than years previous, I'm in the gardens.

I plant a bit, then someone stops in to buy some plants. So I take a little sales break, then back to the task at hand. (If you still need plants, I have them!)

My earlier plantings look good, but I have to water now after the promised rains have simply not come.
Tonight I hope.
The fabulous dwarf pea, Tom Thumb has blossoms and I am excited. But to tell you the truth, I am even a bit more excited about.....yes, blossoms on my Stupice tomatoes, that wonderful little Czech

I put thirty plants in my small front hoophouse and they have leapt out of the ground. Tomatoes in mid-June will happen!  Eggplants, beans and peppers are performing similarly.

A small little patch of potatoes for personal use is up and growing rapidly. I save my big planting for later..usually the end of June so I miss the cycle of Colorado Potato beetles.

Spinach, beets, fava beans, onions, leeks, celery, kale, sorrel and lots of lovely lettuces have been in for weeks now.  We're eating salads now and there is also enough to sell.

Today was the day I planned on getting in my test garden for Rodale's Organic Gardening magazine.
I have about 58 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers that I'm growing to assess. and admire too!

Interesting to me so far has been the canna lilies I started from seed, Boxwood basil and the miniature geraniums. Some old friends were in the batch of seeds I received from them this year too; Bronze Arrowhead lettuce-(my favourite lettuce), Aunt Molly's ground cherries, Provider and Beurre de Rocquenfort beans and Black Zebra tomato. There are also broccoli varieties, cauliflower, kale, squash, cukes melons, carrots and a very interesting miniature sweet corn, which is purportedly good for containers.

I'm always game for it all. I mean how great is it in the middle of winter to get this big envelope from OG magazine with seeds. Free seeds, my friends. Lots of awesome free seeds for me to grow.
Tomorrow I'll finish it off, rain or shine.

Then it will be days of getting more lettuces in the garden, all the other kales, broccolis and cool weather stuff (ha!), then onto likely a good solid week of tomato planting.

Will I get them all in? I don't know.
Stay tuned!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Guest Post- The Grimsby Grows Seed Library

by Adrienne Charette

The Grimsby Grows Seed Lending Library was launched just under a year ago. When we first started planning the project, we saw a number of similar programs being offered through American public libraries, most notably the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library, and the Fairfield Public Library in Connecticut. There weren't many Canadian seed libraries within public libraries, and the idea seemed like it would be a good fit for the community of Grimsby. We were fortunate to receive funding from the Niagara Community Foundation Mini-grant program to assist with startup costs.

The Grimsby Grows Seed Lending Library is housed at the Information Desk in the Grimsby Public Library. We have an assortment of herb and vegetable seeds, the majority of which were purchased from Tree and Twig, but some which were donated to the Library as well. Members of the Library, as well as the general public, are welcome to come to the Library to check out seeds. Our intention is to make seeds freely available to library users in order to grow their own vegetables and save the seeds - keeping some for the Library, and the rest for themselves. We hope that eventually the Seed Library will be self-sustainable through returned seeds.

In addition to making seeds freely available, we also offer programs at the Library that are of interest to those borrowing seeds. This year, for example, we've offered a vegetable gardening information session and a seed starting drop-in program. In July, Linda will be coming in to speak about seed saving - an essential topic that will encourage people to save and return their seeds in order to make our program sustainable!


The Grimsby Grows Seed Library is a free community seed project that is committed to increasing the people’s ability to grow their own fresh food. This educational project is designed to foster community resilience and healthy eating. Grimsby Grows promotes a culture of sharing as well as Grimsby’s rich agricultural heritage.

If you have any questions about the Grimsby Grows Seed Lending Library, please feel free to get in touch!  The library's website can be viewed at or you can contact us by email at

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Need Heirloom Tomato Seedlings Southern Ontario? Tomato Days 2013-May 18, 19 and 20!

Need some great heirloom tomato seedlings?

I've got lots!
Beginning on May 18 and right through the long Victoria Day weekend, I'll be selling my tomato seedlings. And thereafter until I can sell no more.
The plants will be all laid out on my driveway, and me, my family and friends will all do the best we can to make sure you find exactly what you would like. Be patient with us, especially me. I love to talk tomatoes with people and I'd love to talk them with you too!
I am not a fancy nursery, I am a farmer. The advantage is that I know these tomatoes and other veggies because I grow them all myself.
Consider it a tomato lovers treasure hunt. There are treasures to be had for sure.
There are hundreds and hundreds of varieties and thousands of plants. I won't sell out, I never do. But I definitely do sell out of the most popular varieties.
The fortunate thing is that they are all so good, that even if you do need to buy a substitute for the one you had in mind, you won't go wrong. You may actually find a new favourite. Happens all the time.

As well as the tomatoes, I have a good selection of peppers, both hot (super hot) and sweet, as well as quite a few other things. Ground cherries, cape gooseberries, lots of basils, kales, lettuces, collards, some cool and different cucumbers, zucchini, summer squashes, melons, pumpkins, squash, flowers and I am sure other things as well. My seeds will be available for purchase too.

I'm expecting a few other folks to come and set up tables, so don't be surprised if there are some wonderful creative finds here as well.

Sales are cash or cheque only.

Need directions? Check my website HERE for directions.
Remember I live in Wainfleet, so if using a GPS to find me, don't tack Wellandport onto the address, despite the fact it is my mailing address.
If you get lost a bit, stop in Home Hardware, or the Esso in Wellandport.  They know me and will send you over.

I truly look forward to seeing everyone. Welcome!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hey-It's May!

It's surprising how fast the time goes, I guess even faster now I am getting older.
Seems like just last week I was covering up my little baby tomatoes in the hoophouse and now it is too hot.
Of course that is just how it was.
It's May and things are changing quickly.

My heirloom seedling sale is fast approaching (May 18, 19 and 20) and the plants are cooperating. You can really see them shoot up when the days are as warm as it was today. It was very hot in the hoophouse and the fans were whirring.

I'm happy to have my oldest daughter Emily and her boyfriend here helping out with the tedium of writing the plant tags.

It allows me to focus on getting some things in the the ground. Not all my gardens are dry enough but the heavily composted front gardens sure are. If my soil doesn't crumble when I grab a hand full, it's not ready, and the heavier clay areas have a ways to go.

It's still early here in my neck of the woods, so my focus remains on cool weather crops . Lettuce, kale, broccoli, chard and sorrel transplants went in today.

baby chard plants


 I also did a bit of seeding-spinach, beets and fava beans.  I popped in a few short rows of potatoes and some onion sets too.

The radishes I debated. I've already seen flea beetle damage on the leaves of the early ones I put in, and if the weather remains like this, it may indeed be too late.  If the weather remains like this is the big question.

I have lots of seed and seedlings, so I took a chance and planted some Stupice tomatoes outside in addition to in my smallest hoophouse.

Stupice-my super early favourite

I'll protect the ones that are outside if the temperature dips with my agricultural fabric.  I also planted some of my Dragon Tongue beans inside the small hoophouse.

It's nice to see some things that are in growing along nicely.


Tom Thumb pea

As I stood back and looked at what I did today, I see I have a long, long way to go. I've barely scratched the surface of the area that I'll plant this year.

I've told myself I'll go smaller this year, but that is going to be a tough transition for me. I'm a small grower compared to large vegetable growers, but large for what is generally a one woman operation.

I'll plant enough to fulfill my commitments, feed my family and satisfy my curiosity with varieties that are new to me. Smaller...not sure. Too many cool things to grow!