This year, I don’t have this problem. Past years, though, the garden would fill with Swiss Chard as my husband and children watched in trepidation. Since I’m the only Chard lover in this house, I didn’t plant much this year. Then what little I did have was eaten by rabbits. So, I won’t get to try this recipe this season. I thought I’d pass it on, though, in case someone else was blessed with an overabundance of Swiss Chard. If you try it, please let me know how it goes!
You’ll want to use older larger leaves for this recipe, about 2 cups of them when roughly chopped. Put them in a blender with hot water to fill the blender, and whizz away. Strain out the leafy bits and put them around the base of your plants. Then wait for the liquid to cool and use that to water any plants that look like they could use a pick-me-up.
This recipe is adapted from ‘Great Garden Formulas’, a super awesome book that is available at the Kitchener Public Library for anyone who is interested in more concoctions for the garden.
p.s. Thanks Akilah for the Chard photo above!!
The first ripe tomatoes – Sungold. These are a hybrid variety, so they will likely be taken off the list for next year since I want to focus on the heirloom varieties.
Here you can see three different plant types mixing together: watermelon (the really lobed ones), blue pumpkin (the largest ones), and cantaloupe (the in-betweenies).
A small watermelon! EEP! Can’t wait.
The beginnings of a blue pumpkin.
I found three cantaloupes under all those leaves! Crossing every possible digit that these babies make it ok. We love cantaloupe.
Volunteer plants are so much fun. I noticed a squash vine growing in my garden where none was planted, and thought I’d let it grow and see what it was. Looks like it will be a pumpkin! Also notice another volunteer in the background – this is purslane, an edible weed. Yum!
The zucchini has given up the ghost. Not a great year for zucchini. Too little rain.
My two tomatillo plants are sprawling and loaded with fruit. I can hardly believe it, after thinking when I planted them out that they were so small and wondering if they had enough time to catch up!
Another volunteer/edible weed: lamb’s quarters.
Chinese ornamental hot pepper. So many flowers! I can’t wait to see this when all the peppers are red.
Super chili hot peppers! They’re larger than I expected them to be.
Well. That’s it for now. How is your garden growing?
Last week, it was time to take the mesh covers off of my selected tomato plants. As you can see in the photo, many plants were becoming cramped under the light fabric. I felt it was important to cover them, though, in order to prevent any accidental cross-pollination of the tomatoes I wanted to save for seed.
In reading more about tomato plants and saving their seeds, I discovered that the idea of tomatoes cross-pollinating is controversial. Or has been, at least. People’s experiences vary, depending on the type of tomatoes they grow. Basically, the likelihood of crossing has to do with the length of the style. The style is the female part of the plant: it accepts the pollen. If it’s long and extends out past the male parts of the same flower, then it’s more likely to be cross-pollinated. If it’s shorter than the male anthers, it’s not very likely that any pollen other than its own will do the job.
In order to determine whether your tomatoes are more or less likely to cross-pollinate, you’ll need a magnifying glass to investigate the physical properties of the flowers. Or, you could do as I did and just cover the plants to be sure. Or, grow only one kind of heirloom or open pollinated tomato. <gasp!>
I noticed last week that tomatoes were forming under the covers, so I took off the mesh and marked the tomatoes that were formed so I would know later which ones to save the seeds from.
I am so looking forward to harvesting these seeds. Almost as much as I’m looking forward to trying all 22 varieties of tomato in my garden!!!
When the time comes, you can expect another post about the various methods of saving tomato seeds – there’s some wonderful controversy about that, too.
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.
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
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!
There are a few things peeking out of the soil already in my garden! I thought I’d give you a bit of a tour.
Above: parsley that grew last year is coming back again this year. Parsley is a biennial, which means it grows roots and leaves the first year, and will go to seed in the second year. I will still plant more this year, because when the plant produces seeds it has less resources to give to the leaves, so the harvest of yummy parsley leaves is way less. I want to collect seeds and also save a lot of leaves and dry them for winter, so I’ll need first year and second year parsley.
Can you see the wee garlic shoot poking out of the soil? Right in the centre of the photo. I planted roughly 30 cloves last fall, and there are about 5 that I can see coming out of the soil already on this first day of spring. I can’t wait for scapes, they’re so tasty in a stir-fry.
This is sorrel – french sorrel to be precise. It has a sour flavour, so it’s hard to eat too much of it at once, but it’s nice to add a little bit of unique flavour to a larger salad. It’s also used in soups, where the flavour blends with everything else and it’s not too overpowering at all. It sends out a tall flowering shoot in the summertime, which often gets so heavy it just falls over. I haven’t yet saved seeds from it. They’re so tiny, and by the time they’re dry enough they’ve fallen out of the pods! I think I’ll try again this year, though. I’ll have to keep an eye on it.
The walking onions that I planted last fall are also growing green leaves! For more information about these unusual veggies, see this older post.
Last but not least, you can see the oregano growing too, under the leaves. I still need to clean up the garden, but I’m going to wait a bit. The leaves and other detritus provides a bit of protection for the young plants, and the nights are still cold.
Thanks for joining the tour! I’d love to hear about what’s growing in your garden – leave a comment to share.
March 12 is the first workshop, called Planning Your Garden. It will cover the basics of where to put a garden, what to grow in the location you have available, and how much you can possibly squeeze into whatever space you have, among other things. It’s coming up quick, so please register by emailing me at:
sarahskitchengardens at gmail dot com
The next workshop after that is called Garden Potions. This will take place in April at Little City Farm, so you can register through them. If that one fills up there’s potential for opening another of the same workshop at my place.
Please visit my workshops page to read about other workshops I’ll be offering, including a honeybee workshop and a seed saving workshop.
And as always, I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for me.
There’s a great event happening this Saturday, February 19, from 930 am to 230 pm. Seedy Saturday! There are many of these events all over the place, and this one happens right here in Kitchener at the Country Hills Library (at St. Mary’s High School).
I’m super excited to be giving a seminar too, titled “Organic Gardening Overview: Seed to Harvest”. It will be a very brief overview, since I only have 35 minutes to cover a very broad topic, but I am so looking forward to meeting new people.
The workshops, mine and others, are all free. There will be seed vendors and other local business related to gardening. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions, and there’s a seed swap! You can bring along seeds to exchange with others if you have extra.
Please come, and spread the word about this event!