Baggie Propagation

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This morning we started germination on our sweet and hot peppers using the baggie method.  Simply put, the baggie method consists of placing your seeds between damp paper towels, in baggies.  Since pepper seeds require heat to germinate, we will be placing the baggies on a heat mat until they sprout.

Pepper varieties this year:
Orange Sun Sweet Bells
California Wonder Sweet Bells
Sweet Chocolate Bells
Romanian Sweet Reds
Mixed Habanero Hots

Testing Seed Viability

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Following up from our last post, the sunflower seeds, donated for our junior kinder planting lesson, are viable!  We used a seed sprouter so that we could easily monitor their progress.  These seeds sprouted in only a few days.

Testing testing

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This week we are testing the viability of a bag of sunflower seeds, which was donated to us for our planting lesson with a Junior Kindergarten class.

Spring is Coming

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It may have been -31C when I dropped our child off at school, but when I checked the mailbox and discovered that my new seeds had arrived, I felt a little warm and fuzzy. Spring is coming people!  Are you ready?

A Green Christmas

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Ok so it wasn’t quite a green Christmas, but the rain did melt the snow enough that our snowman’s head fell off and landed in grass.  Poor fellow lost all of his parts in the process.  His parts were a gift from my mother-in-law, and were hand made.  It’s such a unique gift that it doesn’t risk being a duplicate.

Given that I am an avid gardener (and everyone knows it), I have an ongoing wish list at Lee Valley.  And my entire family shops off of that list.  So every year I get at least one duplicate garden related gift for Christmas.  This year’s duplicate was the CobraHead Weeder and Cultivator.  I have been wanting one for over a year, and was gifted two from my family.  While I *could* use this opportunity to become twice as efficient at weeding, I’m rather looking forward to returning the other one to pick out some mucking gloves and a book I’ve been wanting on vertical vegetable gardening.  My brother felt bad that I received two, but I assured him that he gave me the gift of shopping at Lee Valley (again).

Other garden related gifts received today:  a wash basket, a book (Building Projects for Backyard Farmers and Home Gardeners), a tiered vase for rooting plants, and a soil scoop with serrated edges.  Does my family know me well or what?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Snow!

 

Spinach and other greens keeping warm under the dome.

Spinach and other greens keeping warm under the dome.

Late season greens are protected from the snow by a thin layer of plastic.

Late season greens are protected from the snow by a thin layer of plastic.

Embrace the Lazy

Fresh spinach, lettuce, arugula, chicory, and chard covered for those cold autumn nights.

Fresh spinach, lettuce, arugula, chicory, and chard covered for those cold autumn nights.

Around this time every year, I rush to get the garden taken apart before Halloween.  Why?  Because where we live, it’s completely realistic to see snow before you see the kids in costumes.  The problem is, shortly after that I see my friend’s posts of how well their garden is doing.  It makes me feel as empty as my garden.

So this year I’m trying something new.  This year, I’m waiting.

The greens are covered in plastic, the tomatoes and hot peppers are still producing, and I have a surprising number of nasturtiums blooming where the beans used to reside.  I’m going to see how long I can keep things alive before (and after) the frost hits.  At least, that’s how I’m justifying my laziness.

Leaving the garden alone in the fall doesn’t hurt anything.  In a natural setting, the environment allows everything to rot and return to the earth.  Natural compost.  I’m not going quite that far – I do plan on taking things out as they die because, sadly, I do not have the room to allow nature to take its course.  But this year will be a lesson for me, to be patient and get the most our of my small suburban space.

Heat in October

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October doesn’t have to mean the end!  These habaneros are still heating thing up in the garden.

Autumn is Here

Autumn is here and with it comes the crisp, cool air that so often threatens winter.  As I stare out into the garden, still alive and somewhat kicking, I think back to the freshness of spring; that feeling of wonder as I watched my little seedlings sprouting under their lamps, the gritty texture of fresh compost running through my fingers, and the scent of growth emanating from our little indoor greenhouse.

Fall brings a feeling of sadness.  All of our hard work, our vines of beans and our patches of greens, are getting ready to be stuffed into yard bags and sent away.  The petals have long fallen from the sunflowers, leaving their bare heads above the garden, watching everything slow and wilt.  All is not finished, though – seeds are being collected, final fruits are being harvested.  Yet still, where spring turns me green, fall makes me blue.

Every year around this time, I have to force myself to look forward and to remember that winter is not a barren period of non-gardening, that it is an opportunity.  A chance to start fresh, to go over our plans for next year, to streamline our efficiency.  A chance to put together our spring planting schedule, prepare for seed swaps, and finalize our new layout.  All is not lost, the garden is not dead.  It is simply resting, decomposing, preparing for its new tenants.

Dracaena Survival

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I recently chopped down a 7 foot tall Dracaena because it was getting too tall and spindly for its space.  The cutting was placed in a jar to root, while the original plant pot was set outside temporarily, until I was able to dump it into the composter.  Well I went outside to do some pre-fall tidying around the yard, and wouldn’t you know it, that dracaena is fighting to survive!  These are some of my favourite plants, so robust and beautiful, I will happily welcome this budding old plant back into my home.