Sunday, February 28, 2010

stuck, impatient, hopeful, excited

So, although I have spent hours trying to figure out my seed order, I haven't placed it yet as I haven't secured land yet beyond my own backyard and some from a friend. So feeling stuck and impatient, I planted seeds last night that were left over from last year, and sadly not certified organic seed, although they will be grown organically. Given that the endearing Scottish women in my life LOVE brussel sprouts, you can see the sheep keeping close watch of their progress! Sprinkle decided to plant tomato seeds to see what happens, just to the right of my seed tray (which you can't see in the pics). And, we've got our cool blue earth compost bin starting to work.

One tray of seeds is in an upstairs window; seeds planted in a starter mix and put on a warming tray. The seeds in the second tray are planted in peat, in the greenhouse, and covered with a clear plastic tray lid. Let's see what pops up first and how strong the seedlings are and I will report back. Food is on the way...go little seeds go!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cheers to the Foodie Blogroll!

We have been added to the Foodie Blogroll...take a minute to look directly to your the right hand side of this blog and you will find a cute box with a delightful red tomato in the corner and a list of different blogs. Our fabulous farmer blog, this one you are reading faithfully (of course!) is going to be added to that list any minute! There are only 100 Canadian blogs on it so far and we're going to be 101! Ha, ha! I encourage you to click on some of those blogs and to visit the foodie blogroll itself; it's full of fun, scrumptious recipes and pretty much anything you want to know about food. A real pick me up (I could spend hours there). Our connection with foodie blogroll will hopefully link you to more delicious moments in life and connect interested people out there to our self-sustaining and growing food adventure here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

could this be it?

So, Sprinkle and I embarked on an exciting journey today to look at a piece of land that might be a possibility for my first year farming. When we were there I wasn't sure if what I was looking at in this pic was part of the land available but I have been told it is. Just to the right of this picture is a few acres that have already been cleared and farmed last year by friendly and enthusiastic second year farmers. It feels hopeful, exciting, and extremely scary. The scary part for me is the bear...yup...bear...possibly bears! You probably can't see it but I am looking over a large area of berries...yummy for the tummy of the resident bear! not to let this fear steer me away from this lovely little place. One of the farmers already on the land made a comment that "there's nothing there, that's why I wanted you to see it before you make any decisions". My reply, "well, it's kind of reflective where I'm at right now...basically starting from nothing." By nothing I mean nothing money, no land, no equipment, little knowledge. I hope I make up for the lack with my supportive and loving people (and hopefully free farmhands!), tenacity, passion, belief, spirit and a strong ability to problem-solve! My horoscope today mentioned it's in the stars, I can feel it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Growing Gardens

I came across this "Community Garden Resource Package" and I found it very interesting with some great ideas on establishing a community garden...give it a read when you have a chance and let me know what you think.

- Sprinkle

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blueberries a-startin'!

The colours are so beautiful--deep and light pink, green--all in the little buds. My generous professor of the horticulture course I took this past fall gave me four different kinds of blueberry plants. This is one of them and it has been living in my greenhouse since December. Now I need to figure out where to plant them. I thought maybe close to the back fence, so that the 52 year old blueberry plants on my neighbour's property can whisper encouragement to my wee ones!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things to consider when buying FRESH food

With Soilman's generous agreement, I am delighted to post APPROVAL. Take the time to read it and apply it. It's pretty hard to disapprove of information so clear and true.

Thanks Soilman. You can check out his blog at

Soilman’s vegetable APPROVAL plan

This is a little aide-memoire, based on the acronym APPROVAL, to use as a checklist when buying food. It’s tough to follow, particularly now that supermarkets have driven so many smaller shops out of business. But it’s an ideal to aim for.

Aphids. No bugs? Be suspicious – particularly of salad vegetables. A lettuce without a single aphid, slug or creepy-crawly has been sprayed with something. Probably fairly recently, just before harvest. This goes, to a greater or lesser extent, for all veg. If you insist on having it clean and antiseptic, you are ingesting chemicals and supporting agri-chemical farming.

Packaging. All packaging produces carbon dioxide in its manufacture. Most of it goes to landfill. Reject fruit and veg in elaborate plastic wrapping and polystyrene trays. Use a paper bag.

Price. Don’t buy food on price alone! If you insist on the cheapest, you deserve what you get. Food is a life-saving drug. If you were offered three life-saving drugs for a terminal illness, would you automatically and unthinkingly choose the cheapest?

Recency. Think twice about buying veg harvested at the other end of the country. Taste and vitamin levels decline by the hour. Asparagus and sweetcorn, for instance, start losing their sweetness and flavour within minutes. If they’re more than a day old when you eat them, the taste is a very pale shadow of what it should be.

Origin. What country was it grown in? If it could have been grown in your native country, but wasn’t – don’t buy it. Simple. Or rather, not simple. Don’t beat yourself up too much over this one. It’s the toughest rule to stick to.

Variety. What cultivar are you buying? They all taste different. Honestly. Most fruit and veg cultivars sold by supermarkets were bred for yield, shelf-life and ease of harvest. Anything but taste. Ask retailers what varieties they sell. If enough customers ask, they’ll tell. They may even diversify. Fancy!

Air miles. If you live in the northern hemisphere and you buy strawberries in December, you are probably buying an agri-chemical product produced God knows where by God knows whom. Even if it was grown by God Himself, it will have travelled a very long way to get to you. It’s wasted tons of CO2, it won’t be fresh and it won’t taste of much.

Label. If it says ‘organic’, ask what it means. Be suspicious. Countries define this variously. Some are stricter than others. Question your retailer, too, about what ‘non-organic’ means. Remember: the real enemies are food miles, synthetic pesticides and weedkillers… not fertilizers. These just provide an abundance of what plants need anyway. Provided a vegetable’s locally grown, recently harvested, dirty and unpackaged, all the fertilizer in the world couldn’t make it worse than something that was sprayed with something noxious.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

everything leads back to farming....

...and I know this isn't sustainable. It's hard not to be overzealous, obsessed and constantly planning in my head. I have tried not to talk about it as much as I am thinking about it (although people around me may be surprised by this statement as it may feel this is all I am talking about!) I just finished reading the book On the Farm by Jimmy Doherty. He's a bloke in England; a friend of the famous chef, Jamie Oliver. It was fun, inspiring and got me thinking about raising pigs. PIGS!

There is a good chance that I could get a small parcel of land to farm this year. Yes, true! I am currently working with a local agency that helps new farmers find land to lease. I will be papering the city with posters looking for any landowners/farmers who would like to participate. Keep your fingers crossed for me that the perfect parcel will appear soon. Can you believe it...farming this year...oh goodness. See why I might be obsessed?

My seed order has not been put in yet. It will be. I am just a bit stuck about how much to order. I am not exactly sure how to figure this out, and so this will be my task for this week. Sprinkle kindly dragged one of the shelves from the shed to the greenhouse. My plan is to plant some left over seeds from last year and see what happens. Some will be in a seedling tray out in the greenhouse and some will be in a seedling tray kept in the house. I want to compare the outcomes of both and see if I can deduce any good tips/strategies for glorious veggies. I will keep you posted!

By the way, thanks for visiting. Thanks for following.