Saturday, 23 February 2013

In the greenhouse today...

... a couple of weeks ago I started some seeds indoors and today I took them out to the greenhouse to transplant them.
The artichokes and...
...the leggy leeks.  I've always sown my leeks directly in the ground and the results have not been consistant; last year we had a cold wet spring and my leeks didn t amount to much.  I inherited my love of gardening from my grandfather and I remembered he started his leeks indoors (much to to the protests of my grandmother) then transplanted them out.  I was quite young when we left Scotland so my memory of his gardening tips are somewhat faded.  I do believe he dipped the seedlings in water  before transplanting...
 ...the theory is this minimizes the soil that gets trapped inside the leeks.
 Next I poked a small opening in the soil, put in the leek...
...then poured water in the hole instead of pushing the dirt into the leek.  We'll see if this method makes a difference (to be honest, after a while I became cold and bored so only half my leeks were transplanted like this).  The seedlings are now in the polytunnel under some growing fabric waiting for spring.



Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Day in the Garden

Today was an unexpectantly warm day and as I wandered around the garden I found the first signs that spring is just around the corner.
A couple of weeks ago I started some seeds indoors.  I planted artichokes, leeks, and a couple of different onions.  I have never started onions from seed but I'm hopeful it will all work out; to be honest I have never really had great luck with my onion crops.  If the weather remains mild I might soon be able to put them seedlings in the greenhouse.

 And ofcourse Nellie (Nervous Nellie is our rescue dog)  had to get right into the action.
This is the first time I've ventured into the polly tunnel since I dumped some gardening stuff in it last fall. Time to tidy it up for spring.
Always willing to help, 4 month old Titus was right in the middle of all the action. 
Do not be fooled by the angelic puppy face.  If you look closely you will see the dirt on his nose.  And sure enough when I investigated I found that he was helping me harvest my garlic, unfortunately quite a few months ahead of time.
A quick make shift fence should keep him out of the garlic bed for now.  Sigh, puppies are not as adorable as one would think.
Back in the polly tunnel...I added some organic composted manure,  curtesy of our three horses, and sewed some raddishes, spinaches, arrugula and lettuce.  Fingers crossed we will be eating our veg in early spring.  And after a hard days work in the garden, what is better that a few minutes sitting in the rare sunshine...
with a cuppa and a trashy book.  And yes that is a bottle of nail polish, time to do the toe nails, although it will be several months yet before summer sandals.






Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Canning last Fall
I know it's a little late to talk about canning, but as I plan my garden for spring, I also plan how I'm going to preserve all my fruits and veg, that is if my garden florishes, which is not always the case.
Last spring was cold and not a great year for my garden, but I did get a bumper crop of apples, although they were a little smaller than normal...

... too many for just the two of us to eat, so I canned most of them.   I don't have an apple peeler and corer (on my wish list) so I was doing it all by hand...

...then I had an idea; what if I didn't peel the apples then put them through the potato thingy ? I did.  The amazing thing was that the skins were trapped in the masher thing and the skins gave the cooked apples a pink tinge... can see the difference between the peeled apples with the jar on the right.
Much less work and an unexpected result, although I am still in the market for an old fashioned peeler and  corer.

While I had all my canning equipment out I pitted and canned cherries I got from our friends in the  Okanagan.  I added a little brandy to each jar and they are fantastic over ice cream.

The jars on the right are apricot jam I made from apricots we got from the same friends.

This year I plan to buy a pressure canner so that I can can soups, veggies, stalk - now I just have to plan the veggie garden.....