my new life

9 04 2009

Wow. There is a lot about motherhood that nobody told me – a WHOLE LOT. Like breastfeeding. I’d had visions of feeding my lovely Josephine every couple of hours, and in between I would fit in a run or yoga class, maybe plant some seeds, or write a blog post. HA. Yes – HA HAHAHAHAHHHAHAAA!!! Now, you certainly know that I haven’t been writing blog posts (soooo sorry), and I laugh at the idea of having enough time to go to a yoga class. But I can tell you that in the ten free minutes I usually get between when one feed ends and another begins, I have at least managed to plant some seeds. Woo hooooo! And as you experienced gardeners already know, it is JUST as exciting watching them poke their heads through the soil this year as it was last year. I just have a whole lot less time to watch them!



trading post

9 01 2009

Is it time to order seeds yet? IS IT?!? It’s gotta be.

I remember this from last year, feeling like it was forever before it was finally time to order them. Last year I chalked it up to it being my first year as a GARDENER and wanting to get a jump on things. This year? Hmm. All I know is that I am ITCHING to order seeds. I can’t stop surfing seed sites like these…

I’m also hoping to do some seed trades this year… I’m not quite sure how that is done but I’ve heard that there are websites… secret websites perhaps… where one can go to do some seed trading. If you know the secret handshake and the meeting place, count me in. I’ll make it worth your while.

reflecting on the season

16 11 2008

Slowly, I have been putting my garden to rest for the season. I know, I know – I’m about a month later than most folks in the Ottawa area. But better late than never… This has been my first real crack at vegetable gardening and I’ve kept track of many of my ups and downs here on HPD.

Today I did some final chores, and as I worked my frozen fingers through the dirt, I thought about what I’ve learned this year. I think I’m going to reflect on this topic for the rest of the week, because I don’t feel like I’m quite done with it yet. I’ll start by sharing one of the most important lessons I’ve learned. This is something I hope to remember next year and all future years, and something that I think you all can benefit from:

There are only so many beets one person can eat.

Yes. I may have been a little overzealous with the beet seeds last spring. And now, I am overrun with beets. Sure, I could make pickled beets, beet relish, or more yummy beet soup, but I risk starting to turn purple at this rate. So my first lesson – and a BIG one – is knowing when to stop. Note for next year: I do NOT need a gazillion beets. Even IF Armageddon comes – as my fear seemed to be when it was seeding time last spring – beets will not save me.

the magical fruit…

26 09 2008

The first frost has come and gone, but I am still harvesting. These beautiful black turtle beans grew tall in my beds this summer, crying out to passers-by, “Notice me! Notice me!” But I knew better and ignored them in their green glory. I let them bake in the summer sun until their husks had dried out into papery packages. Finally, as the nights got cooler, I invited them inside. Now they sit in a clear glass jar in my pantry and wait patiently for dinner.

escape artists

15 09 2008

You KNOW it’s time to harvest your beets when they start pushing themselves out of your garden bed. This weekend I found several beets trying to make a break for it, but I’m pretty sure I corralled them all. And I’m so glad I did! I had meant to use a recipe for beet soup from Canadian Living magazine (they have awesome recipes on that site!). But when I got myself all set up in the kitchen , I realized that I was missing half the ingredients. And so I got creative. The result, I’m proud to say, was FANTASTIC. If you have any escape artists in your bed, I recommend you give this a try:

Gillian’s Beet Soup

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 medium-sized onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4-5 large beets with ends removed
  • 1 potato
  • 5 cups of water – maybe slightly more
  • ½ Tbsp ground coriander
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • sour cream

Heat the butter – yes, I cook with butter! – to medium in a large saucepan. Chop the onions finely and fry them in the butter until softened. Mince the garlic and add to onions. Add coriander. Chop the beets and potato into smallish pieces. Add beets, potato and water. Cook until beets and potato are soft… probably about 15 minutes. Take half of the soup and blend it – if you’re not using a handheld blender, be very careful!! Hot soups can blow the lid off a blender if you try to blend too much at once. Don’t learn this lesson the way I did!!! Return the puree to the saucepan. Stir in vinegar and chopped parsley. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream in each bowl.


if at first you don’t succeed…

17 04 2008

And – once again – WE HAVE LIFTOFF!

Keep your fingers crossed this time.

seedling S.O.S.

8 04 2008

Just LOOK at this beautiful picture! Doesn’t it just make you want to grow everything from seed? These seedlings looked so full of hope and promise when I photographed them on Sunday. Yes, past tense: looked. They were the first of my Roma tomato seeds. But when I got home on Monday night, several of them had started to droop, and by this morning half of them were shriveled up. The two hot pepper seedlings are also looking questionable at this point. I don’t know what happened. Was it something I said?

It’s bringing back flashbacks – I think this has happened to me before but that I’ve tried to suppress it. No, no, no!! Little seedlings, what is it you want from me?

At least the magic pots are holding their own.