Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hints of Things to Come

The expression April is a cruelest month has never seemed more fitting than this year; not only has the weather been a major tease but this prolonged cold has everything growing slowly as well. Even Easter is late this year although I can't really blame that on the weather! (I'm looking at you, moon)

There's nothing so cruel as longing for the tastes of spring and knowing that local asparagus is still weeks if not months away from hitting the markets. Of course the stores are full of not-so-local asparagus and rhubarb and it's difficult not to succumb; those of you further south of here who post gloating photos of your spring harvests are rubbing salt in my wounds! My rhubarb is barely up, my herbs declined to return this year and aside from a few spring onions I won't be nibbling on anything freshly grown for a long while yet.

My gardens are still looking bleak and mostly barren but a few things are peeping up including this pleasant surprise I know I didn't plant - they just appeared in the grass thicket!

Even my seedling trays are decidely retarded this year and who can blame them? Every time the weather's warmed up enough to consider putting them outside for a bit, Mother Nature goes and sends something dramatic like thunderstorms or snow. Today it's only slightly above freezing, raining and gusting winds, with a chance of snow tonight. Fantastic, thanks for that.

On a more promising note I do have some fun stuff to share! These lovely eggplant seeds arrived in my mailbox last week and are about to be seeded.

They are a gift from the Ottawa Gardener at The Veggie Patch Reimagined and I'm excited to see if they handle my somewhat shady garden.

My bee nesting box is due to arrive next week and I am excited to know I'll be creating a habitat to encourage more pollinators to my gardens this year. Now if only we can convince Shadow not to eat them!

The Canning season is gearing up again and the folks at the West End Food Coop have put together a guide on how to set up a community cannery, similar to the one I taught at last year. It includes details of budgeting, planning, using local produce and a whole lot of recipes that we taught last year. It's available free of charge to non profits and community organizations by emailing

And here's the highlight of my week- remember the tomato plants that accidently sprouted from worm compost and have been growing indoors all winter? I ended up with two distinct varieties- one is a small detirminate - I'm hoping it's a ditmarsher which gave such lovely early cherries last year. The other is obviously NOT a detirminate as it is currently about 5 ft long and wound around a lamp among other things. Against all odds it's thriving indoors and just recently these appeared!

I suspect there's not much of a chance that they will pollinate and even if they do the stem isn't strong enough to support much weight in it's current state. If and when I can get it outside I will have to stake it well and hope for the best

So all is not lost, just delayed. Which is probably a good thing since I haven't had much time to think about gardens recently. As all of my fellow Canucks are aware, we are heading for a federal election in May. As an occasional Elections Canada employee, I'm currently working long hours on the voter's list, making sure everyone who's eligible and wishes to has the opportunity to cast their vote. Recent world events have made it very clear how blessed we are to live in a democracy and I encourage you all to take advantage of that and vote!


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  2. Great stuff! You've got me longing for (actual) Spring!

  3. Not local rhubarb?! Really? Because this is the season for forced Ontario rhubarb. You should double check that. I bet it IS local.

    And yeah, this weather SUCKS. We're supposed to get sn*w tomorrow, here.

  4. Isn't the weather awful? Long, cold spring - I was told that a couple of months ago.

    Mr D and I have already decided how we're voting, our voting cards are on the fridge, and we'll be there May 2!

  5. I did find local rhubarb today! It's a funny pale colour tho, from being forced I guess. All the other stuff I saw was marked US and the asparagus is from Peru...sigh.

  6. If that were my tall, gangly tomato volunteer, I'd take a cutting from it now and root it in water. When it's time, the cutting can be planted out as a backup for the original.

  7. you obviously wrote this before sunday - my god! gardeners all over must have cried... snow, rain, hail, sleet - thank god I bought a cover on friday (just in time!) for some of my outdoor plants, or they would have been destroyed

  8. Helen that is a great idea- the plant has several healthy sucker branches that would be ideal- thank you for reminding me I can do that!

    ellie- I know! Wasn't it crazy yesterday? Thank god my plants are all still safely indoors

  9. Hi Callie

    That tomato plant looks awesome, my indoor tomato plants do grow fruit, but I have been known to do the tiny paint brush helping hand.

    Interesting on the Rhubarb, I am a zone harder, and mine is up and growing, this past easter weekend really helped it, some of them grew at least six inches in the four days.

    Do you ever trade seed by mail? I would be more then willing to share some of my saved seeds if I have anything that would interest you?

    With the vote coming so soon (and thank you again for all you are doing to help make this happen!) I don't know if you were able to take advantage of the long weekend or not, but despite the promised rainy weekend, we didn't get it here, we had four days of between plus 15 to 20 with sun and cloud and a light wind, we got so much done in the garden, we planted 25 pds of five kinds of seed potato's, a hundred or so onion sets, last fall's garlic is up, at last count 126, and we put in another hundred spring, plus moved new rooted Red Current suckers, yeah! five more new bushes, plus I got blackberries canes the same way, its so weird to root them by the tips but it sure works, but the biggest project was another 50 foot row of rashberry canes, and then just lots of odds and ends in the garden, with lots of wheelbarrol loads of compost spread 2 inches thick and then raked in.

    Anyway, I'm babbling now, had a great soaking rain last night which will do good for everything to help settle in their new homes.

    Next weekend is all about putting in a new elderberry hedge row.. Can't wait to see a new update next week on how your garden grows!

    Really interesting about the canning, I will look forward to hearing how that goes this year, always new things to learn.

  10. FarmGal, thanks for all your comments- I was putting the final touches on an update when you posted this so you can see for yourself that my gardens are finally showing some promise!
    I would love to trade seeds with you and any one else who's interested. I can make a list of what I have and I'll write a post and invite people to do the same and we can figure out some trades by mail!

    I'll be happy when the election is over and I can have my gardening time back- we had a busy time of it at the advanced polls(record turnouts whoohoo!) and I'm working right up to and including May 2. It's very exciting to see the country so engaged for a change!