Monthly Archives: April 2011

to market to market

trailer in progress

At this time next week, I will have had my first market day – Thursday May 5 – and I will be planning for my next one – Saturday May 7 – and hopefully will be paying off some bills! Hubby is working to get the trailer ready for the babies. I can’t wait to see it, because it’s going to look like a little mini-greenhouse on wheels!

Speaking of mini-greenhouse, how are your seedlings (if you’ve started some)? This grey weather has slowed the progress of mine considerably. I’m really hoping May is a very very very sunny month. There are a few that I will be seeding today, for more batches, and I will also be taking cuttings from my mint in the front herb garden. Another crossing-fingers moment for me, because normally I would already have them rooted! This year has been so grey that things are really slow. I’m hoping a stint in the greenhouse will speed up the mint, though. At least enough to generate a good root system for each of them.

In other news, I’m also getting ready for a workshop I’ll be presenting at Little City Farm tomorrow, about ‘Garden Potions’. All about concoctions you can mix up at home to help your babies along. And the larger ones in the garden, too! I’m really looking forward to the workshop.

So much going on! I love to be busy with this kind of work. It’s great meeting new people and sharing knowledge. If you ever have a question, please don’t hesitate to introduce yourself and ask.

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answers

Well, it was a long day today, especially since I was up until 2 am last night finishing up preparations for Bloomin Earth!! It was so worth it though. What a great time. More to come, but for now I think I need to sleep some more.

Since I promised crossword answers, though, I thought I better post them.

Here they are:

bee crossword answers

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honeybee crossword puzzle

crossword pic

I’m getting ready for the Bloomin Earth Eco-Fair that happens tomorrow, here at Kitchener City Hall. It will be indoors, since rain is threatening. Just in case that was making you nervous.

But back to my preparations. I’ve polished up a crossword puzzle that I created for my honeybee workshops last year. I’ve spruced it up a bit and put my SKG website on it. It’s still the same great puzzle, though, and I thought maybe those of you who are not able to attend might like to try it out. Especially if you have kids – mine are working on the puzzle right now, as you can see from the photo above.

Here’s the puzzle:

bee crossword

I’ll post answers for you tomorrow. Enjoy!!

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bloomin earth this saturday

eat flowers pin

I made a new pin for the occasion – because maybe I’m a geek that way. I’ll be doing a whole series of mini-workshops, casually, throughout the day under my tent at Kitchener City Hall. One of them is about edible flowers, so I made a new pin just because I’m pretty much addicted to getting pins printed and I will use any excuse.

Here’s the event page, for your perusal. Please come!!

I’m planning to run the Edible Flowers mini-workshop at 10am, and give away pins to everyone who attends.

Other mini-workshops (and times) under my tent include:

11 am – All About Honeybees

12 Noon – Seedling Tips

1 pm – Veggie Growing Tips

2 pm – Compost Advice

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There will also be garden aprons and Seed Starting Kits for sale, and maybe a few other things.

I’m really looking forward to this event, it will be a fun day.

Hope to see you there!

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growing garlic

seed garlic

Mm garlic. Whole bulbs drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven. Grow your own deliciousness, starting this fall. Garlic is planted in the fall, comes up on its own in the spring, grows throughout the summer, and is harvested the following fall.

 

Growing Garlic SKG

growing tomatoes

tomato harvest

Tomatoes are the essence of summer; juicy sweet and tart and warm from the garden, that’s how I like them. Add a bit of Lemon Basil and some Goat Feta and it’s a tomato salad fit for a king. Or queen. A gardening queen.

 

Growing Tomatoes SKG

love apples

love apple

Tomatoes were not always as well-loved as they are today; for a time they were considered poison. They were grown as a conversation piece in a garden, but not for eating. Oh the waste!! What a fantastic fruit. I’ve been reading The Tomato Handbook by Jennifer Bennett, so much of the information in this post can be attributed to her. Historical information, that sort of thing.

I learned that the Latin scientific name, Lycopersicon esculentum, can be translated literally as ‘wolf peach edible’. Apples were called wolf peaches in the time when they were thought to be poisonous, because they are in the same family as deadly nightshade and other poisonous plants. One of these is called monkshood, which they sometimes called wolfsbane because it was so deadly it killed even the strongest and most vilified predator they knew. So that’s where the ‘wolf’ handle came from. It’s pretty obvious that the shape would give it the ‘peach’ portion of the name. And ‘edible’ is to reassure people that tomatoes are, in fact, not going to kill them. Contrary to everything they had been taught.

Fascinating stuff.

And the name ‘love apples’? Well, apparently tomatoes were thought to be an aphrodisiac. Hm…. well, I do have a hubby who cooks a mean pasta sauce… but is it the tomatoes that turn me on, or the fact that he’s cooking supper? Hard to tell. Jury’s still out on that one.

So, what about the useful information for today’s gardens?

Well, there are some basic qualities you should be aware of when you’re picking out love apples for your edible garden.

1. Hybrid vs. Open Pollinated

If you grow open pollinated tomato plants, you will be able to save the seeds and rest assured that you will get daughter plants that are like their parent. The tomato will breed with itself to produce the same kind of tomato. If you grow a hybrid, though, you will likely not get the same type of daughter plant from the seeds you may collect from the fruit. This is because a hybrid is a cross between two specific kinds of tomato in order to produce a tomato with exacting qualities. The genetics are a jumble, so you don’t know what you’ll get when you plant the seeds. There are many good qualities to recommend hybrid tomatoes. AND being hybrid does NOT mean the tomato is GMO. You can make your own hybrid with two varieties in your backyard if you want. However, if you want reliable seeds for saving you’ll want to make sure you’re growing open pollinated tomatoes.

2. Determinate vs. Indeterminate

Generally speaking, indeterminate tomatoes grow on the large, gangly plants that keep producing tomatoes a few at a time all throughout the summer until frost kills them. They need to be staked, and sometimes pruned. They are used in greenhouse production because they can be strung on twine and grow to 20 feet tall, and keep producing tomatoes. Determinate tomato plants tend to be small and bushy and compact. They flower and produce all their fruit at once, and then they’re done.  They don’t need pruning; in fact, you should not prune them because they need all their leaves for energy production. What type you get will depend on how much room you have in your garden, and how you want your plants to grow. Do you want to stake them? Do you want them to ripen all at once? That’s a great quality in a paste tomato used for preserving sauce, but maybe not so much for a salad tomato. Or, maybe you want both. Totally up to you. There are lots of good varieties on both sides.

3. Disease resistance

If you’re looking through catalogues you’ll often see letters in the descriptions of tomato plants, that stand for various diseases that those tomatoes have bred resistance to. This is another useful thing to consider, especially if you have a part-shade garden. Most diseases can grab hold more easily when tomatoes are grown in more damp conditions. So, if you have a less-than-ideal garden situation, consider the tomatoes with more letters after their name.

4. Days to Maturity

You might want to grow a few different kinds of tomatoes, but you don’t want them all ripe at once. Take a look at the days to maturity, and choose varieties that have longer and shorter seasons so it spreads out the harvest a bit.

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Best of luck with your tomatoes! Do you have any favourite varieties already? Have you found some new ones this year that you’re going to try? I’d love to hear about them, and it would be great to share with other readers too. Thanks!

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