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seed catalogue time!

I love seeds. I love poring over seed catalogues and imagining my beautiful future garden teeming with lush vegetable plants and completely free of weeds.

Of course that’s not reality – weeds are ever-present and sometimes I forget to water – BUT now is the time to dream and drool over seed catalogues. Here’s my pile:

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If you are also dreaming of your garden, and possibly wondering when to plant everything for optimum growth, check out my planting time calculator for more information.

Happy Dreaming!!

growing sweet potato in a pot

sweet potatoesTo be honest, I didn’t expect much from the sprouty sweet potato that I planted this spring. They grow nice vines, which is why I planted the tuber instead of composting it. Confining it to a container didn’t seem to be the best idea for actually producing anything edible. However, the spud had other ideas. Look at these cute little sweet potatoes!

Ornamental, Edible Vine: Sweet Potato

So the takeaway here is: plant your sprouty sweet potatoes!

They have a long season, which means earlier in spring is better than later. Mine were growing in my greenhouse for a bit before they were outside in their containers. If you don’t have any sprouty sweet potatoes, I would recommend buying organic if you want them to actually grow. Often the conventional ones will be sprayed to prevent them from sprouting. (link)

Even if they’re not sprayed, though, keeping them at cooler temperatures before you try to grow them will also slow down germination (see above link, a comment on the post by another researcher). So keep them warm when you bring them home from the store! And buy them in January for sprouting in March/April. Just leave them out on the counter/shelf somewhere warm in the house, they will likely sprout on their own before you plant them.

They will sprout stems/leaves from one end, and roots from the other, generally, but the tuber is flexible. In my case, the end sprouted, so I chopped off the top 2 inches and planted that. As you can see, it grew lots of roots from the amount of tuber I left it. So you could probably chop it in half and plant both halves and it will give you two plants.

If you grow the vine in a container, give it a deep container with lots of room and healthy, nutritious soil. Keep it watered but not soaking wet – make sure you have drainage holes in the bottom of the container so the roots don’t rot. It likes sunshine, 6-8 hours or so per day.

Next year I think I’ll try growing it in the ground, see if I get bigger sweet potatoes! This was such a nice surprise, I’m hoping that maybe I can grow even more next year. Let me know if you have any experience with these, I’d like to know if there are any tips or tricks that will help.

~Sarah

freeschool

andrew leading workshop selection

Our family had a great time this morning at the Freeschool event in Erin, run by the Transition Erin group. They are a chapter of the larger Transition Town movement that emphasizes local food and an independence from fossil fuel as much as possible. I presented an ‘organic gardening overview’ as part of the virtual space workshops event. More on virtual space here.
 
I’m putting my whole workshop online, for those who missed it and for those who might want to refer back to it.
 
Here’s the slideshow from the workshop:
 
OGO freeschool ppt
 
And here’s a white paper, 1 page PDF that contains all the same information plus more detail about the topics in the slideshow:
 
OGO notes
 
Enjoy! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. There’s a contact form here on the website, which sends your questions and comments right to my email.
 
AND – please join the Kitchen Garden Club – by SKG facebook page for more community support! There are lots of experienced gardeners and people who are willing to help out with questions and who will celebrate with you about anything related to gardening. Please join us!

 

spring scavenger hunt

walking onions

Today is the first day of spring! I took pics of what’s coming up in my garden, so this post will be full of them. Above are ‘walking onions’, also known as winter onions because they can be planted in the fall like garlic. Yet another name for them is ‘Egyptian onions’. They are cool because they form heads of little onion bulbs on a stiff middle stalk. And sometimes from there you get more stalks growing more bulbs… and so on…. they are fun to watch.

chives

This is probably a familiar sight, although a little early this year: chives are quite tall already!

oregano

Oregano. This is not the only clump. It’s taking over my front garden.

sorrel

Sorrel. Tangy sour leaves that I still haven’t exactly figured out what to do with. I’ve been told it’s great in soup. I guess I’ll have to try that soon! The leaves taste best when they’re young.

rhubarb

Tiny little rhubarb leaf! I can’t imagine having a yard without a patch of rhubarb in it. It’s not my favourite food, and I really don’t do much with it, but it just needs to be there. It’s like the stuffed animals I have. They stick around for sentimental reasons, not practical ones. Plus it’s fun to watch the kids taste it again every spring!

thyme

Thyme, coming along. Quickly, I hope. I’m almost out of the dried thyme I saved last fall! This is a super easy one to save for winter, if you want to try drying your own but are unsure of the process. It’s a plant that is already almost dry! In the fall just bundle stems together and hang upside down to dry. It’s that easy. Not all herbs can handle that kind of drying, but thyme does well with it.

lavender

Lavender grown from seeds pinched from my Grandma’s lavender plant. Grandma isn’t with us anymore but she left her gardening legacy in her grandkids. She is the same grandma from this previous post.

horseradish

Horseradish. You can tell by the dead stalks around the shoots that these leaves will be HUGE when they are full size. They are massive leafy plants that send up flower stalks that are so delicate it almost seems like they don’t match. Plus, the scent of the flowers is so beautiful! You’d never know it was horseradish if you just had a stem of flowers in a vase.

 

 Happy spring! I hope you get to enjoy the sunshine.

share the garden love

share the garden loveThis is what I’m all about. I want everybody to feel the joy of growing food just like I do. Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens is really more a hobby that helps pay for itself than a business.

When I had these t-shirts printed for myself and a few friends who were helping out with the business, I got lots of comments about how sweet they were and people wondering if I was going to sell them.

So I’m throwing this out there, wondering how many would order one. I would charge $20 per shirt. You can email me to let me know your size and I will make sure you get what you need.

Let me know!

sarahskitchengardens @ gmail . com

 

a new look for the blog

oh snap

I’m freshening up the blog a bit – please bear with me as I change things around a bit and hopefully make it a bit more useful in terms of finding content!

It’s all still here, but I want to alter some category names and adjust pages etc….

In the meantime, if you came looking for something please ask me about it if you can’t find it.

-Sarah

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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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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trouble in paradise

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve taken down my seedlings catalogue for now. It seems it’s been giving scary warning messages, so I want to find out what’s wrong before I put it back online.

Sorry for any inconvenience, if you were planning to look through it. But if there’s something seriously wrong, I don’t want to be spreading viruses or anything….

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potato lasagna (grain-free!)

potato lasagna

According to hubby, it’s “an experiment worth repeating”. This is a compliment, in case you missed it. It means he liked it, which makes me happy. The girls liked it too and want it in their lunches tomorrow – yay!

Would you like the recipe? Here it is:

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Potato Lasagna (Grain-Free!)

It’s the love child of scalloped potatoes and lasagna. Measurements are approximate; everyone likes their lasagna a bit different so don’t be afraid to change it up, add spinach, that sort of thing. Make it yours!

Ingredients

6-8 medium or large waxy potatoes, like Yukon Gold

1 can of spaghetti sauce (or make your own!)

1 large tub of cottage cheese

2 eggs

300-400 g shredded mozzarella (1/2-3/4 of a large block)

1 pound ground beef (or so. your tastes may vary)

Instructions

Peel, then slice the potatoes very thin. I used a mandolin slicer set at 1.5 mm, but you could go thinner.

Rinse them under cold running water to remove any excess starch. Let drip dry while you prepare everything else.

Cook the ground beef.

Add the 2 eggs to the container of cottage cheese and mix well.

Layer the ingredients in a 9×13 pan, starting with the spaghetti sauce and moving on to the cottage cheese mixture, meat, mozzarella, more sauce, and a single layer of sliced potatoes. Repeat until the pan is full or you run out of ingredients. The very top should be a good layer of mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees, covered in foil, for at least 1.5 hours, taking the foil off for the last half hour of baking. If you have a pan with a lid you could also use that.

It will seem like the potatoes never cook; they will still feel a bit crunchy if you poke them with a fork. I found I actually had to taste them in order to determine readiness.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and eating.

Enjoy!

Here’s the printable version:

Potato Lasagna (Grain-Free!) SKG

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