Garden Update – August

Someone tell me I’m wrong! Can it be mid August already?! I’m in denial. I have seen an abundance of garden posts which makes me so happy – it’s such fun seeing what other people are growing and how it’s doing. 🍅🌱❤

Today I wanted to share with you guys how the garden is looking. It basically looks like one big pile of tomato plants but I reassure you, there’s a bit more going on than just the horrendous tomato mess.DSC_0894

Starting with my tomatoes. My sweet millions are turning red – YAY! The 6 other tomato plants are very green, and I’m worried I’ve done something wrong. Please ripen, I don’t want to fry 300 green tomatoes 😂 It’s been hot – 30°C(86°F) for the past week. I haven’t plant given them “plant food”. Just good soil and water everyday. What should I be doing to help them out? Patience is likely the answer. 

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The edges of the leaves are brown and yellow. Help!

Peas! Those old pea plants did in fact have powdery mildew – yuckuckuck! I pulled them out and said goodbye. I took a chance and planted some pea seeds 3 weeks ago in hopes that they produce some peas before the seasons change.🌱

The beets…they’re sad! As you can see in the photo, someone has been eating away at the leaves. I mean I’m sure they’re tasty but I’d like to see them grow! Any suggestions? Is this normal for the leaves to be snacked on this much? 

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Beet leaves. Another seedling got completely eaten away. 

Lastly, yesterday I planted some Celebration Swiss Chard, the beautiful rainbow variety. I am hopeful it grows well, as the weather will change in September. I learned Chard seeds are much larger than some other types(carrots :o). I really like how they look!

The bokchoy and carrots are coming along well. I harvested my two(lonely and dispondent) onions yesterday which are drying. Maybe next year I’ll have more success with onions 🐜

On a more personal note, today is my last day nannying some kids I’ve been with for over 2 years. Very sad, but it’s been a good run. They have been my best friends – despite the tantrums. I go back to school in September 📚🐝

Well, that’s all for today. Keep sharing your wonderful experiences with me and tell me about your gardens in the comments!! Happy growing, friends. 🌎

Me Before You Series – Jojo Moyes

Boy, people love this series. After seeing hundreds of posts and reviews on it, I knew I had to give it a try. Known for making people weep, Me Before You(#1) kept me hooked until the end. This book is the perfect example of why we should never judge a book by its cover!

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Me Before You #1
Rating: 5/5

If you haven’t read it, or heard of it I’ll give you a quick summary without any spoilers. Lou, gets a job as a caretaker for Will Traynor, a quadraplegic man. Will is understandly stubborn to leave the house and is miserable after his accident. Over the course of Moyes story, Lou’s charisma and realness has an affect on Will. She organizes trips and outings for Will and is determined to make him happier. There’s much more to this book but I don’t want to spoil anything!

This book was intensely fantastic. It’s heart warming and heart crushing all at the same time. Oddly I didn’t cry like many readers say they do, but I certainly was close. This story is extremely thought provoking, dealing with assisted suicide among other topics.

Me Before You reminds me of the movie Intouchables(2012) which has a similar story line(a must see!!!)

After You (#2)
Rating: 3.5/5

Coming into this book I already had bias since I didn’t think Moyes needed a second book. Me Before You#1 was so powerful and emotional I thought it would he difficult to proceed with the story.

And for me, it was. I didn’t love this book unfortunately.

Lou is back, and has joined a support group. She’s also sustained a fairly serious injury due to falling off her roof. Her life seems to be somewhat in shambles. If you tell you the rest I’ll ruin it. Basically Lou’s life changes and everything falls into place(which is nice) but unrealistic. Not a bad book – just tough after you’ve read Me Before You.

Now I’m in a reading rut. I have started a few books but just can’t get into any of them. Boo! What are you reading? Have you read these two books? What are your thoughts? 📚📖😄

Pea problems and winter seeds!

I spoke to soon. In my last post I claimed I had mastered summer gardening…well my peas have turned white and the actual pods seems to be growing MOLD. Help!🚔🚑

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What is going on?!! It’s been very humid over the last few days so I’m guessing it’s from that, perhaps they don’t like hot and humid weather. Has anyone seen this before? Any guesses?

On a happier note, today I ventured out to my garden store and picked up a few packets of seeds for when my tomatoes are gone and the weather becomes a little cooler. Check out what I’ve picked out!

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Green Arrow Peas, Bloomsdale Savoy Spinach and Celebration Swiss Chard!
Have you grown any of these veggies in the winter months, how did they do? Still eager to hear advice and stories of winter gardening. Happy growing, friends!🌱🍄🌞

Winter gardening

I think it’s safe to say I somewhat mastered summer gardening in year one. My plants grew surprisingly well and I got many delicious vegetables including peas, carrots, onions, bokchoy and tomatoes. I’m sure there will be challenges to come but I’m feeling successful and very happy!

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Tending to my garden is a great time for thinking and well, it provides tasty snacks too. What does gardening do you for? Why do you love it so much?🌱🌽

But winter is coming! Where I live is fairly mild, the weather usually doesn’t go below -1C(30 degrees F) We live in hardiness zone 8b if that means anything to you. I don’t know much about planting vegetables in the cooler months so I’m reaching out to all of you! Obviously I can’t grow tomatoes and peppers, but what vegetables am I able to grow successfully in cooler weather? Are there any things I need to know before I jump into winter gardening? Another concern of mine is seeds – I haven’t found anywhere that sells seeds past August…will I need to stock up? Do you order from a website? Save seeds from your harvests?

I’d love to grow broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes and am open to all your suggestions. What success have you had with winter gardening? Which veggies do you grow? I’m really looking forward to hearing from all of you🌱🍄

Harvest Time!

Mid July has turned out to be quite exciting in the garden. We’ve had some interesting developments including a skunk and a ton of small mushrooms that are sprouting up everywhere below the veggies. Have you had mushrooms grow in your soil? Any harm in leaving them there? I don’t dare eat them, so far I’ve just picked them and let them lay on top of the soil.

My carrots actually grew, unbelievable since I didn’t thin them like I was told and certainly didn’t have high hopes. Boy, do carrots take patience! I planted the seeds 80 days ago and finally THEY’RE HERE! Small…a little funny looking…but nevertheless. Carrots! I’ve only harvested half of them since I really want to eat a purple one on my birthday which is next Friday.

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My babies!

Next exiting news is that tomatoes have appeared on 6 out of 7 plants. My “money makers” are growing well, they should turn out to be the size of roma tomatoes. The “sweet million” is also doing well. All are green still but I’m sure thrilled to see them turn red soon. I may have made a fatal mistake with the 1 plant that’s not growing any fruit. I decided to pick off any suckers(they are supposed to suck energy from the plant) and I bloody took off HALF the plant by mistake. Soooo that was a learning moment; go easy when plucking…

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The peas are still producing, although they seem to be slowing down😦 The beet seedlings are doing well, they are a beautiful colour already. The bokchoy seeds I planted about 2 weeks ago seem a bit sad – likely due to the tomatoes that are stealing their sun.

How is your garden? Any recent harvests? Are your tomatoes still green? Any evil skunks or interesting finds in your garden? I’m really looking forward to hearing all about your experiences. And anyone with mushrooms…let’s chat! Happy growing, blog friends🙂

Book Review Monday

As promised, today I’ll be reviewing two riveting books I read in June. Baby Doll by Hollie Overton and My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor. Happy Independence Day to my neighbors to the south! 🌍📚🍷

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton
Rating: 5/5

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Lily, abducted as a teenager, now has a child named Sky. Together they are being held captive…until one day their captor leaves the bolt to the room unlocked.

At the beginning of the book I hadn’t a clue what to expect since the kidnapped was back with her family within the first few chapters. Usually this wouldn’t happen until the end, so I had no idea what filled the book ahead of me.

Throughout this book I kept thinking how good it was, but how bad it could be if the author went in a certain direction. The author does a good job at capturing the struggles and joys in the characters lives. I enjoyed that this book wasn’t strictly about Lily’s years in captivity, like all (?) books dealing with situations like this. Instead it’s about life after she’s freed and building a new life for herself and her daughter, Sky. Yes, there are parts that were unrealistic and I was quite skeptical that things would play out like that in real life but hey, it’s fiction right?

Overall I loved this book and finished it in 2 days.

My Husbands Son by Deborah O’Connor

Rating: 4/5

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Heidi and Jason…a couple who are brought together by the loss of their children. They met at a conference for parents dealing with this loss. Heidi’s daughter was murdered, Jason’s son was abducted and is still missing. One day Heidi sees a boy that looks just like Jason’s missing son. Interesting plot, right?

My Husbands Son was a good book. Due to the fascinating plot and fast paced nature, the author kept me hooked all the way through. I’ve given it 3 stars stars because I don’t actually LIKE any of the characters in this book; Heidi is strange, Jason is an ass face, Tommy is very creepy, Vicky had no brains…just no depth. I would still recommend reading this one though, because the story line is quite captivating. Until the ending, where I just wanted to hit my head against a wall.

Up next I’m reading Room, which I’ve been excited to read since it came out. I’m very interested to hear from you about these books. Would you read either of them? Have you? What are you reading? Happy reading!

Garden Update – July

Somehow it’s already July! For those fellow Canadians out there, Happy Canada Day! For the rest of you…I hope you’re having a great day. The garden has really grown in the past few weeks, I thought I’d share some photos. I would also really love some advice from you, I’m learning but have had some issues…

The peas are fantastic; about 8 feet tall and producing over a handful every day. I planted both snow peas and snap peas, both of which are doing well.

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Snap peas growing rapidly!

I planted about 10 onion bulbs…most of them got rather moldy and limp so I pulled them. I have 3 remaining. This is my largest. I have high hopes but honestly I don’t think it’s doing too well. Have you grown onions? Any tips?

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Next are the 8 tomato plants which have taken off. As you can see they were quite small when I planted them. 7 of my tomatoes are doing well, still have yet to produce a tomato…soon! Grow babies, grow!

1 of the stems has an issue…so tomato planting friends I need some help!!! What has happened to my delightful tomato plant? It looks like something has eaten it out…suggestions?

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The carrots are HUGE, the stems at least. I dug down to see how big the actual vegetable is and it’s about an inch wide(probably less), so they’re tiny still. I’m getting impatient with those carrots! I have a feeling carrots are one of those veggies that’s just not worth growing – a lot of waiting and not a ton of yield. Thoughts on that?

I’ve just planted some more bokchoy since the last batch was so successful and yielded SO many luscious leaves for us to gobble up. We ate bokchoy at every meal for weeks. I also planted a few beet seeds just to see what happens.

I’ve never planted beets, have you had success? How are your vegetables coming along? Have you ever had success/failures with any of these plants? What should I grow next? Happy growing, garden friends!

PS enjoy my calendula plant that FINALLY grew a flower. Bumble bumble bumble, come to my garden, bees!

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Backpacking and Books!

OK I have one question for anyone who enjoys hiking or backpacking…why? Why do we carry 40lbs on our backs to the top of a mountain? Then why do we proceed to pitch a tent in 3 feet of snow and eat freeze dried meals that make you constipated for days on end??

Well friends, I thought I’d try to solve the mystery. This past weekend my partner took me on an overnight trip to Elfin Lakes, which is in British Columbia’s mountains (Canada).

Boy was it…snowy. Since it’s almost July I assumed the trails would be snow free and glistening a nice shade of green. Wrong! A 21km trek to this view…OK it was worth it.

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It’s quite difficult, I got a nasty sunburn from the sun reflecting off the snow, my feet bled and I probably consumed half my weight in freeze dried meals but the view was pretty spectacular wouldn’t you say?

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Best part? Reading my book at the top! 📚📚 I’m currently reading Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter. Have you read this one?

How did you like it? What are you reading? Have you ever hiked? 🌲 I’m planning on reviewing a few books in the coming days so stayed tuned for that!

Must Reads!

What a lovely week of reading I’ve had! This week I’ve had the pleasure of reading not just one amazing book, but two! Thanks to the publishers that have sent me copies of the books, I’m able to tell you lovely people all about them!

My Girl by Jack Jordan
Published: July 4th, 2016
Rating: 4.5/5
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WOAH, WOW. Paige, who lost her daughter and husband is going off the rails with alcohol and drugs. The beginning of the book is filled with Paige’s problems, which would normally annoy me but I felt for Paige and could certainly sympathize. This book gets very intense around the halfway point…you’ll know when you read it. From this point on the book pulls you in and you can’t put it down. I have nothing bad to say about this one! If you’re looking for a dark thriller which is fairly short, this is for you.

After the Lie by Kerry Fisher
Published: April 29th, 2016
Rating: 5/5
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Do you like Liane Moriarty’s books? If so, I’m going to bet you’ll love this one! The premise is Lydia, who’s married with children, has this secret she’s never told a soul…until the the man who was part of this secret comes into her life, and things start falling apart.

This book was delightful. I’ve read many reviews saying Lydia’s secret isn’t big enough, which I thought at first. But shortly after we learn what the secret Lydia is hiding from everyone, I realized that we get to experience it through her, which makes it OK. It’s a realistic book, which I loved- I can certainly imagine parts of it happening in my life or friends lives. Lydia’s humour is great, and the characters are very real…teenagers being obsessed with their cell phones, the dog Mabel destroying shoes. I really did loving this book, and I’m looking forward to more of Kerry Fisher’s books!

What do you think? Are these books appealing to you? Have you read any similar books? What are you reading? Don’t forget that I want to be your friend on Goodreads, so we can talk books 📚📖

A meal from the garden

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Today I made spot prawns with bokchoy and peas from my garden. OK the prawns were from the ocean but you know, the vegetable part was grown by me;)

A few of you have asked me how to use bokchoy (aka: pac choi) so I’m here to tell you!

In this case my bokchoy bolted so I haven’t been eating the stem as its very fibreous, better off for a nice animal with large teeth. Instead I’ve been peeling the leaves off and frying them.

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It’s a lot like spinach in that it shrinks down and goes a bit limp when you heat it. I added some water and soy sauce and fried them up for about 5 minutes. I added my lovely snow peas in at the end.

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This is what the end result looked like!

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I’m generally NOT the type of person to take photos of my food but I don’t buy expensive seafood everyday, and this was my first pea harvest…so I had to!

Are your vegetables harvesting? What’s your favorite meal to cook? What do you make with the food from your garden? Happy eating and growing, blogger friends 😄🌱🍴