Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Catching up with you

Been busy prepping gardens, planting, up-potting and watering.  

We had an excellent Sunday, April 17th at the Sustainability Fair.  People stopped by to say “Hi”, some who regularly pick up our produce at Heather’s and some to whom I’ve been delivering for years now.  And we have many new additions to our Weekly Delivery List – I’m excited to have you on board.  We sold all pea shoots and sunflower shoots which we brought and most of the Sprouts I had prepared for the Fair. 

A couple of weeks ago now, I fertilized the hundreds of two and three month old peppers and will be starting the hardening off process this week.  The tomatoes are doing quite nicely in the Greenhouse and we’ll be up-potting yet again and again to let them create stronger roots for the up-coming transplant goings-on during those first days of June.  It used to be planting day here was the long weekend in May, but I find there’s still that last risk of frost so I plant out first week of June. 

If you’re interested in buying some of our vegetable plants for your own garden, please let me know and I’ll put your name on them.  If you have the means to harden them off, you’re welcome to take them about mid-May.  Otherwise, I’m happy to do that for you and keep them until end of May or first of June.  I’ll post a list of the varieties I have here on the blog once we’ve established our inventory (meaning once we can count all the survivors and ditch the weak ones).  There will be herbs, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet peppers, and some edible flowers.  I’ll start some cukes.  
I bought some non-GMO Canadian corn seeds at TSC and will be starting some indoors tomorrow – I like a challenge.   
I’m also happy to put together some mixed herb pots and salad pots for you if you order them.  Again, I’ll post a list with prices on the blog in due course.  

I drove to Toronto and back this weekend and listened to several podcasts each way.  I didn’t know what a podcast was a few months ago, nor did I know I could save them on my Ipod to listen and learn while doing stuff like making granola, cleaning the house, driving from town to town, etc.  I picked up some earplugs so I can listen while outside too. 
There’s one called The Urban Farm and another called Farm to Table Talk. There are more but I’ve only reached this stage in my new technical world. Some great discussions and interviews take place and anyone driving beside me might have wondered with whom I was chatting or nodding wholeheartedly or laughing out loud. 
So, bottom line, I’m a little smarter today than I was last week.

Whilst picking Salad Greens I got to thinking there might be two particular things of interest to you:

1. What exactly goes into our Salad Greens mix? 

Our Salad Greens are different every time:  starting with seeds from a lovely mesclun mix which I purchase and grow, then we add more - mizuna, pepper cress and curly cress, spinach, lamb's quarters, dandelion leaves, baby celery leaves, baby carrot tops, more baby kale, lettuce varieties soft and crunchy, arugula, mache, mustards, red orach, parsley, batavian endive, sorrel, frisee, baby chard, tatsoi, various herbs such as lovage, thyme, basil, parsley, chervil, tarragon - pretty much everything green which is edible and which we grow on the property plus edible flowers when ready such as pansies, sundrops, yarrow, bachelor buttons, malva, daisy petals, edible chrysanthemum and flowers of many herbs - and probably more that I’m not remembering right now. 

2. When I say “washed and table-ready” I mean it. 
During these lovely months of picking in the Greenhouse and cool days, there are no bugs.  Well, there’s the odd earthworm which comes up to see what’s going on in its domain.  It just moves along watching us cut until it gets bored and returns under the soil.  Earthworms are very curious. 
We wash your Greens in a two-sink system.  We rinse back and forth from sink to sink until the water is totally clean while examining every leaf for blemishes, yellowing or limpness.  Bugs will be entering our lives soon and leaves with holes in them tell us that those are the plants with the most goodness.  After all, if bugs are eating them they’ve got to be good, right?  We try to remove every teeny tiny little bug that may have chosen to stay on a leaf or two, even through all of our picking.  Sometimes this is twice, thrice or after a rain while growing outside this might be up to five times.  When we’re satisfied all of the greens are clean, we put them in mesh bags and spin them dry in the brand new washing machine which I purchased (on a really good sale) specifically for this reason.  Nothing but greens have been in this machine.  We then bag the greens up for you, again looking for any unpleasant looking leaves we may have missed the first few times, and then they are table-ready. 
You don’t need to wash them, seriously, we’ve done this for you.  Just drop a tiny bit of oil, or dressing of choice, a little pepper maybe, or nothing at all, just enjoy.  Or you can make a complete meal out of the Salad Greens by adding something from each food group: toasted nuts and/or seeds, cheese, croutons, hard boiled eggs, meat, tomatoes, cukes, onion – endless possibilities. 
This is a remarkable week.  Yesterday I removed all of the heat mats from under the trays of seedlings and the extension cords are put away.  So, I’m calling it – no more cold nights allowed, okay? 
Also, the peppers are coming out of the house this weekend.  They are touching the lights on the shelves above them so they’ve got to go.  

The hot peppers will go into the Greenhouse raised beds and the sweet peppers will wait out there for a few more weeks to go into the ground.  Of course, that said, the rows in the new Nightshades Gardens will need to be prepped for that reason.  I’m planning on plunking the peppers and tomatoes into their spots the first weekend in June.  It seems like f o r e v e r away but I’m sure it’ll be like a few days. 
Speaking of vegetables which have to go, I`m selling the lovely Heirloom Romaine lettuce.  Usually I would let it grow bigger but I need the space in the Greenhouse for the Peppers and it`s just too hot for lettuce in there, it`ll go to seed if it stays.  I`ll start new lettuces next week and they will grow to full size over the next month. 

If you can believe it, this Kale was picked bare two weeks ago.  It`s also being evicted before it bolts. 

The brassicas (cabbages, kales, cauliflower, etc.) will be transplanted over the next couple of weeks to join the onions we planted last week.  We pushed some pea and snow pea seeds into rows last week and hope to see those coming up soon.  Those in the greenhouse are doing great. 

We’re starting corn seeds indoors tomorrow to be transplanted in two weeks – experimenting is the thought here. 
So, that's what we've been up to here in the last couple of weeks.  
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Until next post, have a great every day.  

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