Garden Update – September 

Oh blogging friends, I’ve missed you. I’ve been neglectful to my blog but am still here! September has been a very busy month with starting a new program in university among other things.

My garden has been quite pitiful this month I’m afraid. There were many tomatoes in the early month until late BLIGHT(I believe) hit and essentially killed all 7 plants. I was devastated. Here are some photos so you can see what it looked like. It sort of seems like the tomatoes are rotting from the inside out.

Has anyone seen this?

I did however get hundreds of tomatoes, I just felt awful for all the ones that never got to ripen. Food waste is my equivalent to nails on a chalkboard – I just can’t handle it. I ended up ripping out all 7 plants and attempting to save any green fruits. With the non blighted tomatoes I decided to use my dehydrator again and make sundried tomatoes. It was fun to experiment with the different varieties of tomatoes.

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In other news, that garden skunk I mentioned turns out to be a family of very busy, very enthusiastic squirrels. I used to enjoy watching squirrels run around and frolic…now I want to spray them with my hose’s jet setting. I made some sort of homemade squirrel deterrent using vinegar chopped garlic and black pepper…it didn’t work unfortunately.

I have just planted some winter seeds including: spinach, carrots, beets and bokchoy. Here’s hoping squirrel doesn’t decide to dig them up and have a nibble.

Does ANYONE know how to avoid this horrible blight? Or is it just part of gardening? I should probably move on and get over it 🍅And has anyone had a squirrel digging up their garden? What has worked for you? I’m excited to hear some tips and certainly excited to hear all about your fall and winter gardens!!🌱🌱

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. 🌎

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🌱🍄

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!

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 😄🌱🍴

Tomato Time!

Tomatoes! 🍅 One of the main reasons I wanted to start a garden this year. Delicious little gems that often grow bountiful yields. My mom planted three plants last year and got literally thousands of little cherry tomatoes…I was inspired.

This year I’ve chosen 5 varieties of tomatoes. Each one is a test, as I don’t have a clue what will do well in my garden.

1) Early Cascade
2) Cherry Yellow Pear
3) Red Grape
4) Money Maker(larger)
5) Sweet Million

My gardener friend gave me 2 mystery tomato plants which will no doubt produce some fruits as well. I will be spacing my planting dates apart so they don’t start producing tomatoes all at once. Thus far I’ve planted my Early Cascade and 1 mystery plant. Later this week I’ll plant the rest. I have been cutting off the lower stems and burying 2/3 of the plant, this is supposed to help the plant grow stronger.

Have you planted any of these tomato plants? Did you have success? Happy growing 🍅🌱

My garden

It’s been awhile, friends. And I’ve started a vegetable garden. This is something I’ve always dreamed of doing; so I’m extra excited to show you what I’m doing and how the garden is coming along. Questions and comments are welcome as I’m learning and eager to see what others are creating in their green spaces.

This is my garden yesterday. My next posts will be about what I’ve planted and how I did it. 🌱🌱🌱

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Dehydrator: sundried tomato recipe

Sundried tomatoes are one of my all time favorite foods. I’ve put them in all sorts of dishes and I will often be caught eating them strait from the jar. But they’re so expensive…even at costco a jar costs upwards of $9.

Anyway as a few of you know I’ve been searching for a new hobby. I knew I love food and cooking and the other day I had some salmon jerky…and ka-ching! I want to try making dehydrated foods.

I opted to buy a new machine since I got paid and it’s 2016 so why not treat myself right? I spent $64 at Canadian Tire for a Salton Food Dehydrator.
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Firstly I knew I wanted to experiment since this is a new hobby and I want to have fun. Therefore I tried the tomatoes three different ways: 1) I cut them lengthwise in half 2) I cut them in half, not lengthwise and 3) I quartered them. With this I’ve created my own (very basic) recipe. Here it is:

Ingredients:
Tomatoes: I used cherry tomatoes because I love them
Optional: salt, pepper, basil, olive oil

Instructions:
Cut tomatoes, put in a bowl, toss in a small amount of olive oil, a pinch or two of salt, pepper, basil as desired. Next lay them in your dehydrator with the skin of the tomato down so the wet seedy part is facing upwards.

Very simple, I know.

They turned out wonderfully. However I did learn that the best cut of tomato is horizontally…quarters were much too small. Good luck!

Have you ever dehydrated food? Looking forward to hearing from you all.