The Start of Gardening Season

Last night was the start of gardening season. It may be -22C with windchill outside, and snow deep on the ground, but it is time to get ready for the spring and summer growing season.

This year we are starting quite a range inside, even vegetables you traditionally directly seed into the garden, in an attempt to get some vegetables early.

The list of what we planted is as follows: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage, lettuce, cilantro, basil, spinach, chard and kale. We also planted seeds for marigolds and calendula. Little bits of a large range of vegetables to hopefully get a head start on our 2017 garden.

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Garden to Table

Vegetable growing in watering troughs.

Vegetable growing in watering troughs.

Eating local is a hot topic nowadays. Buying organic, buying from Farmer’s Markets, and buying from local producers. However one of the easiest ways is to grow your own food. You know exactly how it has been grown, it couldn’t be fresher and it is conveniently located right out your door.

carrots and beets

carrots and beets

This is our first year growing in watering troughs and it has been a huge success. We have been able to turn an underused sidewalk into a garden. The three troughs are home to beets, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, onions, chard, and kale.

We have netted off the troughs as we have a healthy deer and squirrel population that have become quite brave.

blog veg beds 2

kale and chard

Last night we again incorporated the food we have grown into dinner. We were able to use chard, beet greens, onions and garlic (from another bed) all grown at home.

beets

beets

I have been  wanting to try filo wraps so last night we picked some ingredients from the garden, added in some mushrooms, and gave it a try.

blog filo 1The filling was sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic, chard and beet greens seasoned with Worcestershire Sauce. My youngest was a trooper and cleaned a whole pack of mushrooms as I chopped. Our kids love helping in the kitchen.

blog filo 2We rolled up the filo parcels,

blog filo 3used an egg wash on top and sprinkled the filo rolls with sesame seeds.

blog filo 4Into the oven they went for about 20 minutes,

blog filo 5and out they came.

blog filo mushroom roll_5359The rolls were a great success. Everyone loved them and ate them up. Another vegetarian meal to add to our list of family meals, and another great way we can use the veggies we grow.

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Photography by Debra Hunter

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Indoor Gardening – The March 25th Edition

March 25th and it is STILL -16C outside with windchill. Winter is definitely dragging. At least our indoor gardening project gives us a little virtual escape from all the ice and snow outside. Here is how our growing is going:

lettuceThis was our lettuce on March 3rd.

lettuce march 25 2014This is our lettuce on March 25th. There is still quite a bit of growing to be done before we have salad, but it looks promising.

radishes march 3 2014These were the radishes on March 3rd.

radishes march 25 2014

 

radishes march 25 2014

Now the radishes have really grown. Let’s hope the radishes form under the soil. Time will tell.

peas

 

The peas had just barely sprouted on March 3rd.

peas March 25 2014They are doing nicely now after a few setbacks due to altercations with a three-year old. I popped a few more seeds into the pot this week to try to increase our chances of peas to eat.

chives & basil?Meanwhile the chives did basically nothing except a little weed at the side of the pot. I did add in some basil seeds that also seem to have done nothing. I am racking the failure up to one of two things: I may have two lots of bad seeds, or “someone” may have dropped the pot throwing dirt and seeds onto the floor. Evidently this “someone” doesn’t live in our house but I keep finding oddly placed piles of soil in the family room. Hmmmmmm……………did I mention I have a three-year old?

Indoor Gardening Experiment Update

We are finally seeing a little activity on our indoor gardening experiment. Each day I move the planters into the sun by our south-facing window. Every evening I move the planters to a warmer spot; it has been so cold our windows are icing up at night so I don’t want to risk the seedlings freezing (while inside the house!).

radishes

radishes

So far the radishes look the most promising. This is exactly what I expected as they have such a short time frame until they mature. Hopefully we will end up with some nice homegrown radishes in about a month’s time.

lettuce

lettuce

The lettuce is trying it’s best. We have a few sprouts. This planter was planted “creatively” by my daughter so I am not quite sure where all the seeds ended up. I guess the surprise is part of the fun.

peas

Our peas only started poking through yesterday. We have one good sprout and about four teeny ones just barely visible. I am really interested to see if this planter will grow as fresh peas are just so tasty.

chives

The last bucket is chives. Nothing happening yet. It could be old seeds or it might be a waiting game. I guess time will tell.

This has been a pretty fun experiment so far. The younger children love watching the plants grow and see more pop up each day. It has been a great experience for everyone.

Carrots, Snowfall & Parsnips

“Carrots, Snowfall & Parsnips”, now there is a title you don’t see every day, but it sums up today. We awoke to a weather change. Snow.

snow october 27 2013

Coronation Park, Red Deer, Alberta

This is what it looked like just around the corner from home…….

snow october 27 2013

Waskasoo Creek, Red Deer, Alberta

….and this.

And once I had recovered from the depressing realization that winter is upon us I thought “Oh, no, the carrots and parsnips!”.

snow on garden october 27 2013

Carrots and parsnips all covered with snow.

Now I know I do push the growing season a little. I planted the seeds in the ground WAY before May long weekend, and I always leave the carrots in the ground until the last possible moment. Having what seems to be a 30 second growing season in Alberta, one has to make the most of it.

One year I even tried to grow carrots in our basement under a grow light in winter (true story!). It was a disaster. My husband also had some reservations saying “People probably don’t think you are growing carrots with that grow light being on all the time. Maybe this isn’t a good idea!”

But back to today¬†.Today was definitely “Time To Pick the Veggies Day”. So with shovel in hand out popped the carrots and parsnips out of the dirt.

fresh picked

With a bit of washing they ended up looking really yummy.

parsnips carrots

They will be even better tomorrow when we roast them with a little rosemary and olive oil. One of my daughters loves parsnips so she is pretty excited about what came out of the ground.

We also unearthed one little surprise…………….

carsnip

it appears to be something half carrot and half parsnip…………..does that make it a “carsnip” or a “parrot”? I don’t dare show the kids it or they will fight over it and I will have to slice the poor little veggie into five EQUAL pieces.

That’s the end of “Alberta” gardening for the year, but I still have beets, carrots and radishes in the ground out on the coast………plus one more tree to plant (an apple!).