seed packages

3 02 2009

OH it’s like Christmas in February when your seeds arrive! And mine have, so HAPPY day! Once again, I ordered my seeds with no real plan as to how I’m going to fit them all into the garden. This will probably mean another garden bed added this year… and maybe sticking a dozen or so tomato plants in my mom’s garden when she’s not looking – shhh.

So now it’s on to setting up a seed-starting schedule. And if my little bundle of joy decides to come late, then I should be able to get some eggplants and hot peppers started before the end of the month. If not, it’s anyone’s guess what seed schedule I will keep!


last lesson… how does your garden grow?

20 11 2008

Wow. It’s a good thing I dug my carrots out this past weekend, because the upcoming one looks downright FRIGID. A low of -16˚C is coming in for Sunday. Even for Ottawa, that’s unusually chilly this time of year.

I think that means I won’t get another harvest out of my Swiss chard patch. I had harvested some ten days ago and I thought maybe, just maybe I might get some more. But unless it turns out to be superhero Swiss chard, I think it will succumb to the low temperature.

Superhero or not, I’ve been amazed by my Swiss chard this year. I knew I LIKED Swiss chard, but I didn’t know I LOVED it. Lightly sautéed with a bit of garlic and butter… OH so yummy. I plan to grow Swiss chard again and again and again in the years to come. I love it and it loves me. Which brings me to this week’s last lesson… grow what works in your garden. I gave up on plants like cabbage and broccoli, with leaves that turned to lace almost overnight (who knew earwigs liked to make lace?!?). But it sure didn’t take me long to learn what grows well in my garden. Hmm, maybe I should rethink my lesson on beets

lesson learned #2

18 11 2008

So what else did I learn this year? Well, I learned that there are times when I should LISTEN to the experts. I’ll explain this in just a second, but first take a look at these cute little baby carrots.

I’ve been munching on these sweet little things for a few days now. Most of them are about an inch long and they taste great. So what’s the problem, you ask? Well, I should start by telling you that I planted my carrot seeds sometime in April or May… and these are the results that I harvested in mid-November. Do you see the problem???

I don’t know for sure what I did wrong but I can certainly hazard a guess. It might have started when I tsk-tsked at the planting instructions which told me to space the carrot seeds eight inches apart. I thought two inches seemed much more reasonable. OR it could have been that I decided to plant my carrots in between my tall tomato plants. Sure, they wouldn’t get much light there, but I figured plants would find a way to adapt and besides, I was running out of room in the garden bed. None of this sat well with the carrots.

So there you have it. Another lesson learned. Plants have particular growing conditions that I need to respect. Note for next year: don’t be so bull-headed when planting!

growing by leaps and bounds

21 07 2008

Wow. I have been remiss on the posting front this month. In addition to back surprises, I had a vacation surprise (more on that to come), and a whole lot of life to catch up on! Well, what have I got to catch up here on HPD? Definitely a lot, and I’m going to start with an update that is ridiculously long overdue. The garden!

I think the last time I wrote about it, my beloved had just built an extra bed and I was kicking my tomato seedlings out of the house and into the garden. I was also secretly wondering if I was really ready to take on all the gardening I had planned.

Well, my wondering was misplaced. I have barely lifted a finger to take care of this garden, and it has THRIVED without me. I know we’ve been incredibly lucky in the Ottawa area with great rain and warm weather this summer. But it’s more than just the rain and the good weather, my garden grows without me.

And this month especially, that has been such a blessing.

the great garlic scape!

26 06 2008

garlic scape

PEOPLE! It is garlic scape season!!!! WOO HOOO! If you haven’t tried garlic scapes yet, then make this YOUR YEAR to do so. They have the lovely pungent taste of garlic without the stinky breath after-effects.

Garlic scapes are like the scallions of an onion (or so I’m told…). They’re the part that goes all curly and gets a little flowery bud on the tip (you can see the ones in the photo had just started to curl – they will often be curlier). Chop off the bud and the rest is yours to play with in the kitchen. Chop them up in a salad, mix them in with a cream cheese dip, throw them in a stir fry, or get even more creative! I’d say garlic scapes can handle almost any recipe you throw at them.

If you’re not sure where to start, try this recipe. It can be served fresh or put in the freezer for a rainy day.

Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 1 cup garlic scapes, flowery tops removed
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nuts (you can use any kind… walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, etc)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan

Put the scapes in a blender and pulse until they are almost mushy. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse briefly until the mixture is even. Serve and enjoy! (If you plan to freeze the pesto, add the nuts and cheese AFTER you unfreeze it. All pestos freeze best without those two added.)

P.S. For anyone who is growing garlic, and shy to cut the scape lest the bulb be affected… well have no fear! I spoke to one of the farmers at the market last weekend and he said cutting the scape is actually good for the bulb. He said depending on the type of garlic, removing the scape can up-to-double the size of the garlic bulb. You’d be a fool not to!

the garden path

14 05 2008

One of the reasons for my truant behaviour of late is – of course! – the garden. Not quite the ‘dog ate my homework kind of excuse’ but not a fair one either if you stop to think about why I started this blog. So here is an update on some of my gardening activities of late – actually OUR gardening activities of late because I would still be labouring over these tasks were it not for my beloved…

Here’s my advice for anyone interested in doing the same:

Start with some cedar from taken from and sawed in the in-laws’ backyard. (Preferably while they are on vacation.)

Next, add some half-baked instructions and a dedicated partnership…

Third, read the FINE PRINT.

Lastly, dig in!