Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Diversity in the Garden is Important

Monoculture is risky.  If I grew, let’s say, only lettuce I’d be in big trouble right now.  Why?  The lettuce seeds we sowed a month ago didn’t germinate, not one seed.  I’m totally baffled by this.  Perhaps the soil was tired?  Perhaps the seeds were blocked by the taller lettuce plants which had bolted?  I really don’t know.  This means it’s time to move on and get planting elsewhere.  I’m thinking the little greenhouse so when the seeds do germinate, it’ll be nice and warm picking in there out of the freezing fall rains and wind – ah yes there is a silver lining to every situation.  Also good is, as the previous lettuces bolted, I now have thousands, if not millions (slight exaggeration) of seeds to sow. 

Oddly enough the Salad Greens planted at the same time as the lettuces did germinate, which is what we’ve all been eating for the past couple of weeks, complemented with various other greens and herbs growing here such as chard, lamb’s quarters, lovage, strawberry spinach, celery, parsley, dill, sorrel, goutweed, orach, mustard and some edible flower petals.

But tomatoes and peppers are the key words around here these days.  We pick between 30 and 40 pounds of tomatoes a week.  If you wonder if I’m worried about the low temperatures coming up – you bet I am.  When the night time low predicted is 12C, it’s 9C in the morning here.  Tonight they’re saying 6C, so yes I am worried sick about this. 

I can't resist showing you how big some of the Marconi Sweet Peppers grew.  This plant from where this particular pepper came was in the Greenhouse with the Hot Peppers, by mistake.  That's one happy plant.  

Amazingly, I delivered over 11 pounds of Hot Peppers to Wilf & Ada's Scratch Diner 
in Ottawa yesterday.  This is on top of the 5 or so pounds delivered to them each 
week for the past couple of months.  The tiny ones are Thai peppers and the others are a mix 
of Hot Portugal (each about 10") and Hungarian Hot Wax.

This morning, we picked as many ripe tomatoes and peppers as we could, we’ll make sauces and stash the rest in the garage.  We covered the ones remaining outside with frost blanket or row cover and will hope for the best.  It’s not so much the lows but that the Nightshade Garden is in the north field where “the winds sure blow cold way out there”.   The upswing on this cold is the kale will most likely lose its bug following and begin looking beautiful again, with less holes and the carrots will be sweeter after a cold snap. 

And getting back to lettuce, it is a cold weather crop which means we’ll be enjoying salad greens for a long while now.  I’ll be growing micro-greens and shoots indoors this winter.  I, and I know you as well, dislike not having fresh greens for several months of the year.  I’ll keep basil and rosemary going indoors too.  As for the herbs outside, well they’re herbs and they just keep growing like I said last week, ridiculously. 

I like to offer tidbits of information when I can.  Do you know you can freeze Peppers?  Choose between gutting and freezing in halves OR freezing entirely whole with seeds inside OR chopping and freezing.  Put them in the freezer on trays not touching each other like when you freeze berries.  When they are completely frozen, toss them into a plastic bag and then into the freezer.  You can take out the amount you need whenever you like.  I usually freeze jalapenos whole and I cut sweet peppers in half and remove the seeds. 

I offer to you this week:
Carrots   $3/bunch
Celery  $2/bundle
Chard  $3/bag
Garlic  $3 and $2 each  depending on the size – please specify when ordering - thanks  
Herbs:  Basil, Citrus Thyme, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Sage, Savory, Sorrel, Thyme  $2/bunch or $5/mixed bag
Mustard Greens  $3/bag
Onions, white, yellow  $2.50/pound  
Peppers, Alma Paprika  $4/pound  if they survive the next couple of cold nights
Peppers, Sweet  $4/pound  if they survive the next couple of cold nights
Radicchio  $2/head
SALAD GREENS  (washed and table-ready)  $5/bag
Shallots  $6/pound
Tomatoes  $3 pound  if they survive the next couple of cold nights
Tomatoes, cherry  $4 pound  if they survive the next couple of cold nights
Turnips  Purple Top White Globe, really large  $3/pound

Tomato Sauce  $6 500/mL jar, made fresh this week:  Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, Sweet Peppers, Cayenne Pepper, Basil and/or Parsley and/or Oregano all grown here and  Sea Salt not grown here.  The sauce is sealed in jars and will keep for a year on the shelf, but why would it be on your shelf for a year? 
Day Brighteners is a non-certified organic farm, where we practice sustainability and environmentally-friendly farming.  We use non-GMO seeds and products and take pride in all we do.  You are very welcome to drop by most days, but if it’s picking/packing/delivery day you take your chances on the tour.  Calling or emailing first is a good idea.  We do appreciate your business very much and would like to hear from you with any comments you have.  

If you'd like to purchase any of the above items, I'd be happy to provide them if available after our regular customers have ordered.  Perhaps you might like to be added to our Weekly Delivery List.  I send my email out every Wednesday, collect orders Thursdays and deliver Fridays (or another day convenient to us and you if you're not too close to home).  See Contact information and email or call me.  Thanks.
Until next post, have a great every day.  

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