Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Independence Days Week 6 - Spring in Full Bloom!

It seems like I get later each week posting my updates but I had a legitimate (at least in my mind) excuse for not getting to it this past weekend- it was my birthday on Sunday! The weather continued to cooperate so we had balmy temps all weekend and it was so nice to wear pretty spring things! I was also blessed with lovely gifts and my favourite is the magical bracelet pictured above. It's an intricate pattern of painted flowers and bugs, all glimmering with rhinestones- if you look closely there's ladybugs, butterflies, and even dragonflies! The Russian did good on this one- I adore it!

The summer like temperatures ( we're expecting another high of 26 C tomorrow- in March!) are sending things into overdrive and I've been busy with things I normally wouldn't even think of till late April. The gardens are starting without me- all the garlic is well up, the forsythia is in full bloom and I'm thinking of starting some greens this weekend because the soil is already warm and I may miss out on cold weather crops altogether if I don't start now!

Plant something: Almost every tomato seed I started in plastic bags germinated- even the Scotia Cross seeds that are 9 years old! I've been busy potting them up and if this weather holds I may have them outside as soon as they have a good set of true leaves. The volunteer tomato seedlings I potted up a few weeks ago have already had a few minutes of full sun here and there and seem better for it!

Harvest Something: Snow pea sprouts and a lone carrot that missed being harvested and wintered over in the garden. More spring onions and some green garlic as well!

Preserve Something: Led a canning class yesterday at a community centre- we made red onion jam and it was a big hit with the mostly South East Asian group.

Waste Not: I rescued all these slightly blemished potatoes and bruised fruit from being composted. It seems people reject less than perfect produce in their Good Food Box and while most of it gets diverted to our kitchen, some goes straight to compost. I have no such issues and happily take home 'compost food' as the Russian calls it. Thankfully he'll eat pretty much anything and we think free food tastes even sweeter!

Want Not: Still working on the greenhouse shelving unit. As I mentioned in the previous comments the black plastic melted in the sun so I recycled some black fabric from a photography backdrop and stapled it to the old door that acts as a privacy screen from the neighbour's wall. This time of year, that side of the deck gets lots of sun almost all day but once the trees fill in it will be almost full shade. The idea is to use it as a solar heated greenhouse for seedlings in the spring and just extra shelves come summer. We're still looking at options for the cover, either plastic or glass and I have a recycled fluorescent light fixture that I plan to install along the top.

Eat the Food: Every Tuesday evening we get together with friends for an evening we call Home on the Range. One of several chef friends, including our roommate, take turns cooking up some fantastic meals from ingredients provided by the non chefs. The highlight of last night's multi course meal was this amazing grilled local pork shoulder crusted with wild leek pesto, and pearl barley risotto with mushrooms on a bed of pureed cauliflower ad sides of roasted beets and rapini. Stupendous!

Build community: Our FoodShare neighbourhood community project kicked off last week with the delivery of 230 jars to all the residences and store fronts on our street. The jars contained seeds, a survey and a list of upcoming events we'll be hosting!

Skill Up- another tip from the lovely ladies at Harvest Kitchen sisters, this time for a technique for starting sweet potato slips- we have dozens of them emerging from the 3 currently living on top of the fridge in my office! They look a bit like aliens right now but I'm excited to see them leaf out.

All in all, a pretty successful week!


  1. Awesome! I love that you share picks for each "category" of the challenge! Not sure why I forgot about potatoes and sweet potatoes this year...wonder how far mine would get in four months? Probably not far enough. The canning project to your neighborhood is a great idea too.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Hope this works, blogger never lets me comment!

    Happy Birthday!! And congrats on the 9 year old tomato seed!

  3. Happy birthday to you.
    Just found your blog via the Independence Days link. Looks great.

  4. Thanks for the birthday wishes!
    Carolyn, I never have any luck growing potatoes so I thought I'd give sweet potatoes a try this year- no idea how long they'll take but I have read that they need a long growing season.

    Daisy- FarmGal has mentioned that blogger often doesn't let her comment either- I went and played around with the settings- I can't see any obvious problems but I removed the word verification in any case. Let me know if that helps!

    Hi Tracy, and welcome!

  5. Belated Happy Birthday!

    That meal looks incredible!

    And is it just me, or does the potato on the far left look like he's holding up all the other potatoes?? Okay, it's just me... ;)

  6. Another belated birthday greeting! That Tuesday dinner was to die for. I'm going to have pureed cauliflower on the brain until I try it ... mmmm. And the bracelet is perfect!

  7. I just started a lot of my plants. I think I will buy the tomato plants. I have plants stuck all over my house....

  8. In the fall, I took my last sweet potato, which was insisting that it really, really wanted to grow, and stuck it in dirt. We then put it in the bathroom. Well, even though we cut it back many times over the winter, we have supplied my favourite farmer with dozens and dozens of slips, gave a huge bag full of slips to an elderly gardener at our church, and I still can't get the thing to stop growing! It's just one potato, but I could fill a garden with the slips that have come off it.