Sunday, 13 March 2016

Garden Planted 2016

Climate change has shifted us a bit. Spring arrived 2 weeks early this year, but we seem to have less rain so far (and we had less snow this winter too). Therefore, I planted my garden early (tomato transplants May 13th with blankets, the rest direct-seeded May 24th). I don't know which tomatoes are which though! I have "42 day Tomato", "Bush beefsteak" and "starfire improved"... I think.
I also planted 4 "Butternut" squash, 3 "Miniature White" cucumber, 6 "Marketmore" cucumber, and 15 "Styrian Hulless" Pumpkins.
I also planted "Bloomingdale"? spinach, kale (can't remember what kind, but it's heirloom), "Purple Dragon" carrots, "Scarlet Nantes" carrots, "Danvers Half-Long" carrots, "Improved Golden Wax" beans, "Royalty Purple Pod" beans, "Black Seeded Simpson" lettuce, and that's it for the main garden.
My husband planted about 75 hills of potatoes and 30 onions. Our rhubarb and 5 strawberry plants are looking great, as are our 4 raspberry canes. There hasn't been a late frost, so hopefully the wild saskatoons do good this year. We haven't had saskatoons 2 years running, and are desperate for them!
Some things we did NOT plant this year are peas, corn, and herbs. Strange, I know, but I'm pregnant again and wanted veggies that were not only easy-to-care-for, but ones that my family would eat, that were easy to preserve, and some that could be turned into baby food.

2015 Total Harvest

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz... and I just realized I never posted my total harvest count for last year! So here are the numbers. My husband took a more active role in gardening, which you can see evidence of in our potatoes. That's all he wanted, so we ended up planting nearly 90 hills of potatoes. We planted half our garden in corn, but it didn't seem to germinate, so we re-planted, and then it ALL came up! However corn never yields very good here, combined with the overcrowding and it was not impressive. So that's the third and last attempt at corn.

We have his sister living with us this year, so we'll have extra garden labour, however I'm working part-time and also pregnant, so that will be a hindrance to weeding and harvesting. Our oldest daughter is 5 now, so she will have her own little plot. She's decided on spinach, lettuce and carrots, plus there are already a couple strawberry plants in her bed so I'm sure she'll have fun tending it.

I planted several bulbs of garlic in the fall, so we'll see if they sprout. I already have one gentleman from the community who has said he'll take as many as i want to get rid of. There is also a couple that said they'd like to try some of the tapped maple syrup, which should be starting in the next couple days.

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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Apple Picking and Processing

It's that time of year again! I love picking apples, but since I don't have my own tree, I rely upon the generosity of others. This year I had a lady from my parents' church let me pick from her tree (cooking apples) and on Friday we will be picking at the same house as last year (crabapples). We've already picked about 150 lbs of apples, which surpassed last year's amount and we're not even done yet!

I count myself blessed for several reasons: First, because we have my teenage sister-in-law living with us and she's going to sell apple pies at the farmer's market to afford new sneakers. Secondly, because I believe the economic situation is heading in a downward spiral (already groceries are getting quite expensive), so anything we can get for free from nature helps us out. We are making only pies from the cooking apples and will make juice from the crabapples. My 4-year old loves juice!

Due to a late frost this year, there were ZERO saskatoons, which I literally cried about. However, it didn't kill the chokecherries, so we had a couple picks and made pancake syrup from them. I didn't make jelly/jam this year because my husband got sick of it. I made so much jam last year that he was up to his eyeballs, so, no jam this year...

Here is a picture of my pie-making - I usually can my apple pie filling, but since my husband was kind enough to make me crusts, I'll use em!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Garden Status August 2015

Just so everyone realizes, when you read a mostly-gardening blog, expect very few posts during the height of gardening season!

My garden is doing quitte well this year despite ALL my broccoli bolting and a terrible storm flattening my corn. But the silver lining is that I can save my broccoli seeds and the corn stood itself up again with no stalks lost/uprooted.

So far I have picked 5 raspberries (I have only 2 canes and this is their first year of production), 3 zucchini, lots of peas and a whole grocery bag of green beans. My beets, carrots and rutabaga look like they are doing well (because I actually remembered to thin them) and we plan on having more potatoes than we can shake a stick at.

Of course I have been gifted zucchini from several people and hope someone will offer apples again this year. Sadly though, there were no saskatoons at the lake due to a late frost, but it didn't hinder the chokecherries, which I picked 24 cups of.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Veggies for Zones 2-3

I live smack dab in the middle of the Canadian prairies - it's an agriculture dream with the endless seas of wheat, canola and flax all around. Vegetables do wonderful in our rich topsoil, but the climate is a big challenge. Typically in my area of Manitoba our last frost date is May 28th and our first frost date is at the beginning of September, meaning I always aim for veggies that can be harvested within 60-75 days.

In our zone, potatoes win over corn every time. There is either not enough sun or not enough heat during any given summer to have corn grow well. Sure, it'll grow, but not to its full potential. Potatoes, however, grow in even the worst conditions. Plus, if you eat nothing but potatoes all day (and drink milk) you'll get all your nutritional requirements. They may be starchy, but they've got a little bit of every vitamin and mineral in them.

The next most wonderful vegetable here is beans. They're easy to plant, easy to harvest, and easy to store. I prefer bush beans because pole beans tend to grow taller than me and I don't have fancy trellises for them. If you're practical like me, bush beans are the way to go.

If you have enough space, I want to sing praises for pumpkins as well. Just four pumpkins kept our family in pies for the whole winter (but that's only because I didn't tell my husband how many I'd made, otherwise they would've just lasted a month!). Plus, pumpkin seeds are very high in iron, which is handy for pregnant, nursing, or menstruating women, or for anyone who donates blood regularly.

Although it's not a veggie, I also want to mention rhubarb and raspberries. These perennial fruits are absolutely essential for any northern garden. They require very little care and produce heartily. Oh, and they taste great!

I hope I've given you some ideas about what you should plant in your garden, but you're not limited to this list. I find tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers (which all love heat) are difficult, but not impossible, to grow here, but you must start them indoors and keep them there until all threat of frost has passed. Good luck!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Pattern Review: McCalls 9635

Yet another jammies pattern! With summer coming (and my little girl addicted to dresses), I decided to make her another nightgown. Honestly, I chose this pattern because it looked easy, and I was not disappointed! I think apart from the cutting, it took me half an hour maximum.

The pattern instructions were easy to follow, the pattern itself was a dream, and although there aren't too many style options, it's a great straightforward pattern to have in your repetoire. I felt it could teach a beginner the best construction methods to use with other clothing items. I definitely recommend it! Now here are some pictures of the finished product:

Friday, 8 May 2015

Recovering

I recently had my gallbladder removed, so I'm taking the time to fully recover. I plan on re-doing all the sections on the right-hand side to include information found in my posts and new links as well. Thanks for your patience!