Reader’s Digest has quite a few articles about growing food this month! I was pleasantly surprised to see a page about edible flowers, one of my favourite things. It often comes as a surprise to people that they can eat the violets that grow in their lawn (if they are lucky enough to have such a thing). Pansies are also edible, and Johnny Jump-Ups, which is why I’m growing them, along with Nasturtiums and Sunflowers and Calendula and Bergamot.
Something I didn’t know, that the article taught me, is that the older rugosa varieties of roses are more tasty than the newer hybrids. I’ve been wondering about rosehips, too, and I have a feeling that if the older types are better tasting they probably also have better rosehips. So I’ll be checking out rugosa varieties, if it ever comes to the point where I’m planting a rosebush!
Because landscaping should be as edible as possible.
In another article Sara Alway writes about ‘Soil Mates’, beneficial pairings of veggies and herbs. I’d heard of growing Tomatoes and Basil together, but it wasn’t actually mentioned here. Some odder pairings were mentioned, like Spinach and Pepper, Brussels Sprouts and Thyme, and, in keeping with the edible flowers theme, Zucchini and Nasturtiums.
The article is actually condensed from her book, which looks like a fun and informative read. I might have to get me a copy, or see if the library has it.
It’s definitely starting to get way more exciting around here, with all the seedlings taking over the place and ruling my life! Today is moving day for quite a few of them. More peppers have sprouted, so I need to make space under the grow lights upstairs, so the seedlings that have finished germinating and are more hardy will be moved out to the greenhouse. I’m sure I’ll be taking photos, for those who love the baby pics.
Happy sunny day today!
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.
The Seed Starting Kit is new, too. It will hopefully be ready in the next few weeks.
Here’s the general idea: I want to provide a great start to a backyard garden. Maybe I should call them “Garden Starting Kits”. So the kit has a seedling tray, soil, seeds, tags, some dried chamomile flowers, and an instruction manual.
The seedling tray is a smaller size, and the seed amounts are also small – only enough to plant the tray for this year. With a few extras just in case. Usually seed packets have way too many seeds for the average home gardener, so I thought I’d help solve the problem of excess seeds by reducing the amount in the packages.
The dried chamomile flowers are included so that you can brew your own disease preventative. There’s a fungal disease called ‘damping off’ that kills tiny seedlings very easily. Spraying with chamomile tea helps prevent this.
Here’s a list of seeds included:
-green to red pepper (can harvest at green or red stage)
-green bunching onions
-pumpkin (2 seeds)
-zucchini (2 seeds)
Outdoor starting seeds:
The instruction manual will be fully loaded with clear instructions and information about the plants. I say ‘will be’ because I haven’t written it yet.
If anyone has any suggestions for this kit, please let me know! There’s still time to affect what the final product will offer.
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!
I think I’m almost done figuring out what seeds I’m going to buy! What a process. A few weeks ago I thought I was almost done too, but then discovered that I needed to source a good chunk of the seeds from somewhere other than a certain seed store, in order to be certified organic.
Back to the seed planning spreadsheet. And the catalogues. And the online catalogues too!
It’s been fun but long.
I’m almost ready to order….. I just want to be sure that I haven’t missed anything, so I’m going to sleep on it.
Some days I feel more certifiable than others – and yesterday was definitely one of those days! I spoke with a rep from the EcoCert group, and he told me that if I had everything in order I could be certified organic by May!
After hearing from others about how many years they had to go through inspections and deal with soil issues, I was expecting that it would be a long and onerous process. What I didn’t realize is that being a greenhouse grower, using potting soil, makes the process a whole lot easier.
Still difficult and time-consuming, but quicker and comparatively easier.
Here I go.
I need to rethink a bunch of my seed purchasing plans, because I’ve been told that some of my suppliers are not as reputable and may not be accepted by the certification body due to the potential for contamination. Even though the seeds are labelled untreated and GMO-free. Doesn’t that sound interesting.
I spent a lot of time last night searching through seed catalogues again and trying to find replacements. I haven’t yet updated my own online catalogue, but I’m hoping to get to that soon. In the meantime, if you’re looking through it and are particularly interested in a certain variety and wonder if it’s one of those that need to be swapped, just send me a quick email (or post it here so everyone else will know too) and I will let you know.
Thank you for your patience as I go through yet another set of growing pains in this wee business! I think it will be for the best, though.
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.
It’s pretty hopeless. In my house there will always be various random plates of seeds drying out after being saved and washed. In the photo at left, there are spinach seeds, garlic bulbils and date seeds, squash seeds, apple seeds, and bean seeds.
Most of them are saved by me – all, in fact, except for the apple seeds. My daughter wants her own apple trees, despite the fact that we have two in the front yard that are doing their best to hurry up and produce fruit. Two more years, and hopefully we will have the best Gala apples ever from our own yard!
She’s also saved pepper seeds and grown her own peppers, and for a few years we faithfully saved seeds from the pumpkins we grew and planted them the next year. It can be risky, because there’s no guarantee that the seeds didn’t cross with something else, but it’s an adventure. We also like to save seeds from oranges and other random veggies and fruits – it’s fun!
I actually started some grapefruit seedlings one year, and had them growing in my house until they died from either a major accident or forgetfulness, I forget which. Sprouting grapefruit seeds was something I picked up from my grandma, who regularly finds seeds in her grapefruit that have already sprouted a bit. When she does, she puts them in soil. Her plants got much bigger than mine, and inspired me to do it myself.
The next time you’re preparing food and come across some seeds, save a few for spring or sprout them right now just to see what happens. It’s a free and fun adventure worth having. Especially if you have kids in your household.
If you don’t have soil, stuff a jar with paper towel and slide the seed between the paper towel and the glass. This way you can see the root develop too! Cover the outside of the jar with black or dark construction paper so the roots don’t get confused. You can take it off to check on the progress of the roots as your seedling develops. Keep it moist but not soaking – if it sits in water with no access to air, it can rot.
Have fun! If you try this let me know, I’d love to hear about it.
And if you take pics, post them on the SKG Facebook Page!
A friend once commented, in response to my question about what people wanted to read about on this blog, that she would like to know what she can do now in preparation for spring. All these winter months – what are they good for?
Well, this is when I start thinking about what varieties of seeds I want to grow. So, I thought I would share some links to the companies where I’ll be buying seeds, so you can check them out for yourself.
I will be providing the option for people to choose what particular varieties of veggie seedlings they’d like me to grow into seedlings, so I thought maybe I should just mention that now instead of in January when you’d have less time to ponder the possibilities.
Here we go:
Let me know what you want and I’ll grow it for you. Within reason, of course. No banana trees here.
Please share this page with friends who garden and might be interested in choosing their own special seedlings without having to grow them from seed!
I will have a listing on Google Maps soon! I applied online, and part of the process is confirming the address, which means they need to send something to the address. Namely, a certain PIN that I could then enter online to reassure them that I am who I say I am.
Now I just wait to see when it goes up!
In other news, I found this plastic-wrapped bean in with all the bean seeds when I was planting them (as an experiment) 2 weeks ago:
It made me laugh out loud in the middle of my planting. The girls were away at school so I couldn’t ask them right away, but they have since confessed. It was an ‘invention’. No real purpose. Its official title is “The Wrapped Bean”.
I’m still chuckling.