Archives: garden

plan b

We don’t always, but when we can we try and by local and/or organic.

This winter we decided to buy a winter share with Plan B Organic Farms. It’s the second time we’ve ordered a share with Plan B. What I like about it is that it cuts down on trips to the grocery store, and it helps us decide what meals to make for the week.

With Plan B you have the option of buying entirely local, or with a mix of international and local organics goods. You can get a weekly or bi-weekly share, and you can order a small or large box. They can deliver directly to your home or you can check to see where they do free local drop-offs in your neighbourhood.

We opted for a small bi-weekly box for 10 weeks (we added on an order of coffee and eggs too), which we pick up at a local store a short walk from our house.

Plan B has been perfect for this winter stretch, as it’s helped to tide us over until things get hopping at the local farmer’s markets for spring and until our summer garden gets into full-swing.

We make a lot of soups and enjoy having fresh pea sprouts on our lunchtime sandwiches and garnished on salads.

fiesta forever…

I would say that we’re no traditionalists when it comes to baby showers and other such celebrations.  So when my sister and friend offered to plan a “baby shower” they made sure it would be as unorthodox of a shower as you could get.  We went with the theme of a fiesta! I couldn’t have thought of a more fun and colourful way to celebrate.

Collaboratively we gathered up, bought and made fiesta decorations for the house and yard which were fabulously vibrant.  Everything looked so beautiful! The weather cooperated and it was proper summer hot and breezy.

Setting up pre-fiesta, with morning sun shining in.

frida kahlo drink coasters, fiesta wedding, fiesta baby shower

Loved the Frida Kahlo drink coasters!

Lavender, mint lemonade with lemon ice pucks.

We had a tub of cold cerveza, Mexican pop, and sangria. And of course a party would also not be complete without… tequila!

Since we already had our friends and family in attendance, and since there was great food, drinks, and lovely decorations up -Steve and I had thought to ourselves why not combine this baby-fiesta with non other than a SURPRISE WEDDING!! And that’s just what we did.

It was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done.  I loved seeing the expressions of shock on everyone’s faces, followed by tears, exclamations, and hooting and hollering.  We had such a fabulous day celebrating AND not to mention I felt content having escaped the pressures and stress that all come when you plan an unsurprise wedding.  There were people that of course we would’ve liked to have invited and would’ve travelled from a far to celebrate with us but this surprise wedding really made everything so simple and brought it back down to the basic crux of the matter -we got married and we had so much fun doing it!!

fiesta wedding, surprise wedding

 

summer strawberries

On one of those super hot days last week I went strawberry picking with my lovely friend Robyn. The past few years we’ve been making a tradition of going strawberry picking together at Lindley’s Farm in Ancaster.  The thing that I love about strawberry picking (besides getting some delicious strawberries) is that Lindley’s strawberries are pesticide free! Even though I know that I can get California-store-bought strawberries for half the price, there’s just something amazing about picking local strawberries hot off the strawberry bush -so juicy-fresh and chemical free!

In addition to strawberries Lindley's also has pick-your-own beets.

There’s a mini farm market on-site that sells some local produce grown at Lindley’s (if you don’t feel like picking your own).  They also sell a stock of other local Ontario produce from around the area.

The sun was hot but there was a beautiful warm summer breeze that made it all bearable.  The strawberries were so ripe, huge and amazing. Regardless of the summer heat and lest I forget being nearly 7 months pregnant, it was still worth it to pick-our-own berries.  Now I have berries to last well into the fall for smoothies, and baking.

Before we left Lindley’s one of the farmers was telling us that there was just a short window of good strawberry picking days left -only about 4 days to go from today!  Raspberries were also in season to be picked and the black raspberries should be ready to go in about another week or so. If you have a berry hankering, the time for picking is now!

*Lindley’s Farm, 900 Fiddler’s Green Road, Ancaster, 905.648.4212

 

 

a long one

We planted clover in the backyard last year so that we didn’t have to stare at dirt anymore, and so that we never had to cut grass again.  Sometimes, however the clover gets a little long as you can see here.

Steve recently found a variety of seed that grows short clovers at Tregunno Seeds on Catharine Street North.  We’ll have to try it out since some of the clovers in our backyard are just so super long.  I’m gunning for integrating Irish or Scotch moss into the mix, but I think that might just be wishful thinking and potentially impossible.

seedy saturday

On Saturday we attended Seedy Saturday!  This is where we’ve been happily getting our seeds for our vegetable garden for the past three springs.

This year there were seed vendors, give aways, door prizes, seed swaps and a lot of families and like-minded garden enthusiasts.

The best part about the day is the seed swap, where you can exchange and/or pick-up free seeds. I find it a little hard not to be greedy or over ambitious with garden plans when there’s such a variety of free seeds right in front of you -it really is like being a kid in a candy store.

The most unique find of the day were these purple Jerusalem artichoke tubers.  I’m interested to see how these will look like once they’re in the ground and blooming.

There was a sweet stack of vintage garden catalogues and books that you could give a small donation for and take home for further perusal.

 

Seedy Saturday is put on by the Hamilton Community Garden Network.  This year it was held at Ryerson United Church at 842 Main St. east.

 

crimson and clover

During early September we decided that for next spring we didn’t want to have a barren dirt backyard, and so we thought we would try out a 100% clover ground cover.  It’s actually clover and another plant with little yellow flowers, I forget what it’s called but it doesn’t matter because the clover is basically dominating anyway.  Within a few short days of seeding, tiny clovers started shooting up and within a few weeks we had a full on clover patch!

As the cold and frost are settling in I’m happy to see that the clovers are toughing up.  For a while we avoided stepping on them thinking we’d totally destroy them in their delicate state, but now I think they can withhold a good trampling and will likely last through the winter and develop into some nice plush ground cover come spring.  We may have to add some grass to the mix because I think that 100% clover is hard to maintain.  I was just hoping that we could grow something that wouldn’t ever need mowing.

clover, ground clover, lawn alternative, clover patch

With our new found growth of lush clover, Steve’s art installation from his Zoo exhibit found their way into the patch for a mini photo shoot.

Steve Newberry, art installation, rabbits, clover

in the nick of time (i hope)

I know that garlic is supposed to be planted in mid October but since the weather has been so mild I hope that it’s alright that I just planted our garlic last weekend!  Last fall when we went to Tregunno Seeds for some bulbs, garden supplies and garlic. Unfortunately we saw the last bunch of garlic walk right out the door 2 minutes before we had a chance to buy any.  It took me a little while to figure out that you can buy any good sized organic garlic from the farmer’s market and just plant that.

So last year was my first time planting garlic.  By the time I had my garlic ready to go it was so late into the fall that the ground was frozen.  I had to do some serious soil thawing and maneuvering to get the cloves in the ground.  As a result this year we harvested tiny miniature garlics (but man they were potent!).

Lesson learned garlic goes in the ground before the ground freezes!  I hope that I was still in time for a better garlic harvest for next year.  Can’t wait for the garden again in spring!

whole garlic, ready to plant, planting garlic, mid fall, November

cloves of garlic, ready to plant, planting garlic, mid fall, November

cloves of garlic, plant 2 inches from the top, planting garlic, mid fall, November

cloves of garlic, ready to plant, planting garlic, mid fall, November

planting garlic mid fall, garlic stick marker for garden

summer sandwich

When some wonderful and lovely friends came over for lunch on the weekend, I thought a feast of grilled veggie sandwiches, with meats and cheeses on ciabatta bread would be a nice, refreshing, summery treat that would suit everyone’s lunch time pallet.

grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, spinach, raspberry cheddar cheese

spicy salami, grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, raspberry cheddar, & baby spinach

For some garden fresh sides I threw together some lightly steamed green beans tossed with fresh chopped mint from the garden, reduced balsamic, olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.

grilled veggies & smoked gruyere

homegrown tomaotes, mini bocconcini, basil, balsamic & olive oil

The other side dish consisted of  tomatoes from the garden with basil, and mini bocconcini cheese, olive oil and balsamic.  Simple food but super delicious!

 grilled veggie & meat sandwich on ciabatta bread

beefy tomatoes

Beef eater? Beef cake?  Beefsteak? It doesn’t matter what the name is of these tomatoes because one thing is for sure, they are definitely beefy.

beefsteak tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes, backyard vegetable garden, raised beds

We used an old pair of jeans cut into rags to tie up our massively growing tomato plant.

homegrown, beefsteak tomatoes, backyard garden

I swear some of these beefsteak tomatoes from our garden are the size of 5 pin bowling balls. They are huge, delicious, fresh and juicy.

beefsteak tomatoes, sunday morning breakfast

Fresh cut garden tomatoes go perfect with a Sunday morning breakfast.

 

 

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