Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010 I finished planting the Square Foot Garden

Well everything is in the ground now if I can stop whatever it is that is eating my brasicas I'll be a happy gardener.

This is my first year with the Square Foot Gardening method and I must so far I really like it. It is amazing how much more you can plant in a small space using this method. I can see that it will be much easier to keep the garden weeded too. Just like everthing else weeds need space to grow so the more space taken up by vegetables the less space there is for weeds.

Today was cool and cloudy so that was ideal for transplanting looks like the weather is going to be good for the rest of the week so I'm expecting to see beans up and growing soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Victoria Day in the Square Foot Garden

It's Victoria day so it's a rule all Canadian Gardeners must work in the garden. What a day it has been we had a little fog early this morning but then it cleared and has been sunny and hot all day. I didn't get around to checking the temperature but it must have been close to 30 it is almost 25 right now at 8 PM.

I worked all day in the square foot gardens. I'm trying to get the last of the seedlings from the light garden transplanted so today I did tomatoes, chili peppers, ground cherries, parsley and some more lettuce. I also built and installed the last of the trellises this one for the cucumbers to grow on. I decided not to build one of the tomatoes I'm going to grow them on the steel spirals that I have used for years now. The heirloom varieties are all indeterminate and would grow tall on a trellis if I lived in a different climate. With our short season I will have to stop the top growth at 3 to 4 feet as soon as there are a couple of trusses of tomatoes, if I don't they will never ripen.

For my last project of the day I started transplanting the left over seedlings in large pots full of compost from my composter.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Transplanting squash and pumpkin May 21, 2010

A lot of work but the squash and pumpkins have been transplanted, now to hope we don't have any late frosts. It will be fun to watch this squash patch to see what grows out of it. They are all heirloom varieties that came in a seed packet from the Yahoo Heirloom Gardening group labeled, “Fun with winter squash”. I added some buttercup and blue Hubbard and pumpkin seed but I have no idea what the other seeds are. Hopefully I will get to try some varieties that I haven't had before.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rain Gauge 1.75 inches of rain May 20,2010

After almost 24 hours of non stop rain my new rain gauge say we got just a bit over 1.75 inches of rain.

I lifted the row cover to check things out and there is good news and bad news. Several of the brassica plants have been chewed on and one of the kale is gone except for the ribs of the leaves. I suspect slugs but I can find any in the bed. I went to Machais anyway and bought some organic slug bait to sprinkle around.

The good news is the beets are doing fine. Seed packets and gardening book always say not to start beets early in the house because they don't transplant well. Evidently that is another book that my beets haven't read. They are all doing fine and I don't even see one that has wilted. Fingers crossed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Transplanting in the square foot garden and greenhouse

Well the things that I transplanted into the square foot garden and greenhouse are doing well so today I decided to fill another bed and put it under row cover too. I transplanted three varieties of beets, two varieties of lettuce as well as fennel and Swiss chard. I had a problem with the row cover the other day, after I put it on the the raised beds we had a few light rain showers and water started to pool on the a surface which was making it press down on the newly transplanted seedlings. To solve this problem I put a bamboo cain in the center of the bed tented the row cover over it and I did the same today with the second bed.

In the greenhouse everything is looking good so I finished planting it today. I planted a grow bag of Red China Eggplant and one of Ground Cherries. I have several of each of these left to plant in the garden next week but they are both heat loving plants so I though they would do well in the greenhouse.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Planting Brassicas in the Square Foot Garden

A cool damp morning so I decided it would be a good day to plant the brassica vegetables in the square foot garden under floating row cover. I have four different varieties growing in the light garden kale, broccoli, savoy cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Due to the size of the plants at maturity you can only put one plant in each square foot cell. So I filled one of my four foot square raised beds with these wonderful green leafy vegetables which are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Four each of broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage and three of the kale. The sixteenth square was already planted with calendula flowers.

Once everything was planted I covered it with floating row cover to protect them from any late frosts, we are still two weeks from our last frost date, and to keep pests like the cabbage moth from laying their eggs on the tender young plants.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pasta with smoked salmon and creme fresh

I had this dish three times while I was in France this winter. The first time Pru made it while we were walking together in southern France, it was so good I even had leftovers for breakfast. After that I made it for myself when I was walking alone after Pru went back home and at the end of my trip I found it on the menu of a restaurant in Paris all three times I thoroughly enjoyed it ad I think it is one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had.

This version of it is a bit different, being a vegetarian, I've added some mushrooms and peas to the dish,but it still has the same great flavor.

The ingredients:

250 g of your favorite pasta
250 ml crème Fresh
85 g wild smokes salmon
2 cloves garlic
3 or 4 mushrooms
250 ml frozen peas
olive oil, salt and pepper

If you can't find crème fresh,like me, it's easy to make your own. To 250ml heavy cream add one table spoon of a good quality plain white yogurt mix it together cover and keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days until it cultures and turns thick, that's all crème fresh is just a cultured cream.

While the pasta is cooking in salted water saute mushrooms, garlic and peas in olive oil. When the pasta is ready add to the saute pan along with a little of the pasta water and the crème fresh reduce over high heat for a couple of minutes add the smoked salmon and cook for another minute. That's it ready to eat, add cheese if you want but no Italian would ever use cheese with fish.

Square foot garden behind rabbit fence.

A great day in the garden yesterday I spent the day moving from project to project.. Built another trellis and installed it in the square foot garden , I have two more to build but I'm glad to say they will not be going in the section of the garden that is behind the three foot rabbit fence. Not a lot of fun trying to get these things over the fence.

My plan had been to plant Cannellini Pole beans on this trellis but when I opened the packages of seeds that I had received from the Yahoo Heirloom Gardening group there were only five beans in the package and I question whether or not they are actually Cannellini beans they look too big to me, anyway not enough seed so I planted more Tall Telephone peas along with the five bean seeds.

In the afternoon I discovered that my grow bags had arrived at the Co-op garden center. My next door neighbor trucked them home for me. My tomato seedlings are still small but I decided to transplant some into the greenhouse. I have had three in a pop-up greenhouse out in the square foot garden for a week now and they are doing fine, so I'm sure there will be some benefit from getting them established early in the greenhouse. I also planted two Greenhouse Cucumber Seeds variety Carmen. These have to be direct seeded as they do not like to be transplanted. Very expensive seed $8.65 for five seed, but the yield off each plant is amazing all blossoms are female so every blossom produces a cucumber.

Grow Bags

I also planed three tubs of potatoes in straight compost from my composter. The potatoes are some that were left over the winter in the basement and have grown foot long sprouts, I'll be interested to see how they do in compost it sure looked dark and rich.

Potatoes in compost

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Construction in the Square Foot Garden

A beautiful day and I got several projects started and some finished.

I ordered lumber a couple of days ago to build trellises for the square foot garden and a wheelbarrow to replace my old garden cart that finally gave up the ghost last fall. This was delivered in the morning so I set to work putting the barrow together and building the first trellis. The barrow is a bit smaller then I had though it would be but that is a good thing this way I won't be lifting heavy loads I have enough back, knee and hip pain now I don't need to add any more. The first trellis is built and installed ready for the peas to start climbing which won't be long now, they are up and growing fast. The trellis is very tall and I can't imagine any thing growing to the top of it but at least the space is there if it is needed. I will be building three more for my cucumbers, tomatoes and pole beans.

My mystery tree is in full bloom again this year. It was a Siberian Apricot when planted years ago but that died and the current tree came up from the roots so I suspect it is what ever the apricot was grafted on. I think it might be a plum but I'm not sure. It had lots of blooms last year but no fruit so I just placed a branch of peach and plum blossoms, from my neighbors trees, in a glass of water taped to the tree to see if cross pollination will give me a little fruit this summer.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Square Foot Garden May 7, 2010

At last I guess I'm over the cold that I've had since I got back home and I feel like working in the gardens again. I got a fair amount done today. First I prepared another of my square foot raised beds by marking it off into square foot cells. Once that was done I prepared three of the cells for tomato seedlings that I picked up in St. Stephen yesterday, mine are just starting to get their second set of leaves and are too small to transplant. I bought one each of three different varieties just to try something different. In preparing the cells I added a good amount of Seafood Compost and some organic fertilizer to each. The compost is very important with tomato plants as it contains a lot of calcium which helps to prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes. I planting these tomatoes in my garden several weeks before our last official frost date. Once they were planted I put my pop-up greenhouse over them. I bought this last year from a company in England and it was just large enough to cover the three plants, I nailed it down to the wood on two sides and secured it with tent pegs on the other sides so hopefully it won't get blown away.

That little job done I planted one cell of Radish a variety called French Breakfast. I have bought this variety in France but I don't know where it gets it's name, I have never seen anyone in France eating Radish for breakfast.

I have searched for years to find a Canada Lilly and last summer I mentioned this to one of my Internet friends a young man from New Brunswick who used to run a very successful garden center in northern NB. He sold the business a few years ago and has been traveling the world ever since working in gardens both private and public in Australia, New Zeland France, Spain and currently he is working at Kew Gardens in London. He said I should be able to get it in Quebec from Horticlub a mail order company run by one of his friends. Sure enough they had it in stock and I would be sent one this spring. The timing was perfect it was delivered to me yesterday just as I was starting to plant the Lavender that I planned to grow in the same bed with the Lilly. A good healthy looking plant. My original plan had been to plant it in one of my fields in the landscape since it is a native Canadian wildflower but my friend said there would only be one problem with that, it would not stay wherever I plant it. Most Lilly grow next years bulb directly below this years but not the Canada Lilly it moves a few feet sideways to grow next years bulb. So I decided to plant it in a large , eight foot square, raised bed. It should be fun watching Lilly fuse-ball as it bounces around inside the bed from year to year. The lavender is still small but should grow nicely in this bed. I mulched everything with red cedar bark mulch and I think the end result isn't half bad.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Garden Tour

This is a video response to a request from a youTube friend, jihadacadien. He posted a video of his property and asked to see the property and gardens of his friends.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Peas are coming up in the Square Foot Garden May 2, 2010

Both varieties of peas broke through the soil so that's the first crop direct sown in the garden to start growing.

We are about three week away from our traditional last frost date so I've decided that today would be a good day to plant squash, pumpkins and cucumbers in the light garden. Many gardening books and seed packets don't recommend starting squash indoors due to the difficulty in transplanting them. Maybe this will be the year that I have a problem with them but I have done this many years in the past without and losses due to transplanting. To the contrary I have problems when I direct seed them in the garden. The tender plants that have just emerged from the ground are very susceptible to slug and other insect attacks, but transplants with several sets of leaves stand a much better chance of survival. A list of the varieties that I planted today:

Fun With Winter Squash – A mixture of heirloom squash varieties saved by members of the Yahoo Group Heirloom Gardening.
East Elite Winter Squash
Blue Hubbard Squash
White Wonder Cucumber
Lemon Cucumber
Boothby's Blonde Cucumber
Big Max Pumpkin

I will also be planting Carmen the English Greenhouse Cucumber but I prefer to direct seed that one into a grow bag in the greenhouse, it really does not like to be transplanted.

The squash and pumpkins will not actually be in the square foot garden. I have a large raised bed, 7 by 13 feet, which doesn't make it appropriate for square foot gardening so I plan to plant it full of squash and pumpkins. Squash is one of my favorite vegetables so it will be fun to try all of the different varieties that will hopefully result from this planting.