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.
Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens wants to help you grow your own local and organic food. Imagine a ripe, juicy tomato fresh from your very own garden, or snap beans that really snap, or any other fresh food that you love. Imagine the food traveling distance measured in feet, not miles. Imagine this food grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, by you.
If you need help……
Starting seeds: we have seedlings for sale in the spring.
On December 20, Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens will be at the Bailey’s Local Foods pickup, selling some gifty-type items for the holiday season. Here’s the list:
- bag of organic composted cow manure, for that special someone
- Grow Your Own Sprouts Kit
- handmade stained-glass beehive with dangling bee – for your window
- veggie earrings, because we all love our veggies
- pretty but tough garden aprons
- gift certificates
Hope to see you there!
Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens
Grow food. Eat fresh. Share the garden love.
Living in the city, I often ask myself how much more I can grow. I have a large garden by most city standards, at around 25′x80′. Huge, I know. You’d think I’d be growing enough to feed a small village. Sadly, though, that is not the case. Long rows of plants leave lots of extra space around them, and this extra space needs to be weeded. Add to that the fact that all the nutrition I mixed into the soil is equally blended across good growing space and pathways. Not very efficient.
The reason I like this All New Square Foot Gardening book so much is that it deals with the inefficiencies and presents a better way. Sure, if you live in the country and you’ve got space to spare and want to grow food for all your neighbors, this may not make a whole lot of sense for you. But city folk, who are increasingly becoming more and more interested in growing their own food, do not have the luxury (or burden?) of space.
Mel Bartholomew, who wrote this book, suggests that 80% of the space in a traditional garden is wasted. He popularized 4′x4′ garden boxes that are marked with a square foot grid. Some plants will take a whole square foot, such as tomato or pepper plants. These each get their own square. Smaller plants like radishes don’t need that much space, so they get planted 16 to a square foot. Lettuce will grow 4 to a square foot. Essentially, in the whole garden box you are not wasting any space. And because it’s 4′x4′, you can reach to the middle of the garden without stepping in it.
This is key – don’t compact the soil. Start with amazing soil – not soil dug out of the ground, but a nice potting soil plus composted manure and other blends of compost. If it stays nice and fluffy, the roots of the plants will have the three things they need – air, water, and nutrition – and will grow very well. If you are not gardening in raised boxes but do have a garden, try to designate areas that are ‘no-walk zones’ – never ever step in them. When you add nutrition, add it only there, and not in the pathways.
Other reasons for gardening in smaller and more intensive space include saving water and growing what you can eat. Large gardens with long rows of cabbage just might produce more cabbage than an average city family can eat. And who needs 10-20 zucchini plants? One is usually more than enough, as those with gardening friends can tell you.
I like this idea so much that I’m basing my product line on this reasoning. I will have 4′x4′ garden kits for sale, as well as smaller 4′x1′ planters with bottoms for those growing food on balconies.
If you’d like to read more about Square Foot Gardening, you can check out the official website. I will also be posting more about this in the future.
There’s nothing like 1,000 feet of altitude. It re-energizes and puts life in perspective in a way that a big thanksgiving dinner can’t. I love dinner, but flying in a wee airplane would be my choice if I had to choose between the two. My brother-in-law took up family members, a few at a time, for a bit of a spin in the Cessna 172 (4 seater) before dinner yesterday. What a treat – it’s been at least 9/10 years since I’ve been up in a plane that small!
The fall leaves were out in force, and many fields were cleared of crops and boasted perfectly straight lines – from disking or ploughing or seeding winter wheat? Not sure what. It was beautiful, though. We also flew over the local golf course, since he was going golfing the next morning and wanted to get the lay of the land beforehand. Such handy things, airplanes.
Airplanes also brought my hubby home safely from the DR Congo recently – so I guess airplanes are near the top of my thankful list this year. Also on the list are family and friends and all the usual suspects, but I’m feeling particularly thankful for the times I’ve spent with family and friends, not just the fact that I have them. Below is a photo of my girls and I, taken by my sister when we took our kids out for a hike at a favourite childhood conservation area – Mud Lake in Port Colborne. It was a fantastic time of exploring nature and being with family; another re-energizing experience.
We’ve spent time camping with friends this summer, which the whole family enjoyed, and we’ve worked on projects together. The greenhouse was a big one that I’m very thankful for – so many family members pitched in on that one.
I’m also thankful for the people in my life who have helped me decide to just give’er and do this “Sarah’s Kitchen Gardens” thing – and cut out all the extraneous miscellaneous superfluous jobs. I’m feeling more at peace with my direction in life, now that I’m following my passion for growing food and helping others grow food too.
And thanks to you who read this blog – I know somebody’s reading because it’s in the stats – even though there aren’t a lot of comments I know you’re out there. I appreciate you stopping by.
For about 40 years, my grandma (on the left) has been tending these grapevines in her backyard. They are concord grapes, that make the best jelly ever, and they are growing wildly out of control. On the left, out of the picture, is a large maple tree that is supporting the wire from one end of the grape trellis. You can see grapevines that look like they’re hanging in the air – they’re climbing the wire to the tree. I jokingly told my grandma that next year they’ll be up the tree, but it might actually happen, given how prolific these vines are.
This tree holds many memories for me – I used to spend hours and hours up in the top of it, daydreaming and carving sweet nothings in the bark. Grandma would come out and talk to me and the neighbors thought she was a crazy old lady talking to herself. Well, she may be crazy but she’s not old – only 87 this year!! – still going strong, with 4 great-grandchildren.
Grandma planted the grapevines herself, and used to make all her own jelly. Unfortunately she doesn’t do that anymore, but she will call me and my sister to come and pick them so we can make jelly – so all is not lost. On this trip, my sister and I weeded them and then tied up the vines that were dragging on the ground. This will keep the fruit safe from moisture that might cause it to rot, and from the lawnmower of the person who cuts Grandma’s lawn.
The fruit has set:
Now it just needs to ripen!
And here is what a 40-year old grapevine ‘trunk’ looks like:
Thanks to my favourite sister who took the pic of Grandma and me.