Monday, June 28, 2010

New Photos

-An interesting experiment of mine: the potatoes on the left had fresh comfrey leaves buried in the trench with them at planting time, the ones on the right didn't. The comfrey provides a big boost of nitrogen in early spring at a time when not much is available to growing plants due to the cool soil and slow micro-organism activity.

-Green Oakleaf Lettuce

-Shungiku, an edible chrysanthemum.

-This is an exciting new plant: Chinese Salad Mallow. The young leaves like these are tender and great in salads like lettuce, older leaves even make edible bowls.

-A sea of lettuce

-Spinach going to seed

Of Deer, Greenhouses and Seed Workshops

Finally, some welcome rain and a much needed opportunity for some writing! The garden is growing better than ever this time of year, it seems like every time I look at a plant it's twice the size it was last time. Around here this is the season of weeding and staking, watching things grow and best of all of endless salads. Life in the yurt has been fantastic (I still promise that construction write-up soon!), although it seems to have had the unintended consequence of deterring the deer from the upper field only to drive them into the lower field and the main seed garden. The damage wasn't too severe, a few peas got nibbled and are now re-growing. Ever since I built my funky, improvised deer fence last week out of tomato stakes, twine, surveyors tape and pie plates the garden seems to be secure.

The greenhouse is finally coming together too. The frame is nearly finished now, it's just a matter of finishing the ends (we're having wooden ends with wide double doors) and waiting for a totally still day to throw the plastic over.

Also in the works is a very exciting series of seed saving workshops with both myself and my friend and mentor Dan Jason from Salt Spring
Seeds. Dan is coming out here in late August and we'll likely be giving three separate workshops around the province (details to follow!) the biggest one and the one that's all confirmed is the Watershed Farm Music Festival on August 28th. Organized by Pollination Project at Watershed Farm, we'll have music all day on Saturday the 28th along with organic growing and seed saving demos throughout the day. The following day Sunday will be a smaller, quieter and more in-depth course with the two of us, check out the details: . I'll keep everyone posted when we decide on the details for the other courses!

Also, here's a photo I've been meaning to share from my time as a guest on The Weekend Gardener the other week. Niki Jabbour hosts the show every Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 on 95.7 FM in Nova Scotia. I ended up going in to the studio for the interview, which was a ton of fun with such a knowledgeable gardener as Niki. Check out her blog too.

Next up is a weeklong farm tour of sorts to New Brunswick, there's a lot to organize on this rainy day...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June Photos

This is probably the busiest time of year on the farm with the seeding almost finished and the weeds now coming on strong, so instead of writing a detailed update here are a few photos of what's new!

-One of the new seed gardens.

-The new yurt! I moved in for the summer a few weeks ago, I'll post a more detailed write-up when I get the time...

-A tarwi sprout. This is a very exciting new crop for me, tarwi is an edible annual lupin with huge white seeds as big as beans. It's an ancient crop from the Incans that is nearly lost in modern cultivation, if it does well I hope to have seeds in a year or two.

-Milk Thistle

-As I write this the lupins are at their absolute peak bloom, the meadows are just filled with their heady fragrance on warm, still mornings.

-Lots of different greens destined for seed in the 2011 catalogue. The greens where so popular last year I'm really expanding in that direction, I have 35 lettuces alone planned for next year.