(Algonquin Highlands, Ontario)
Organically Grown ~ From The Garden
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Well, I finally broke down and purchased a pot maker.
I'm really glad that I did!
It's "sow" easy to use, and, the pots are the perfect seed starting size every time!
The fact that I'm using recycling newspaper, which will quickly break down, and won't harm the environment played the biggest part in my decision to try this.
. Sure, peat pots are easy to use, but I'd found that peat seems to suck up moisture really quick, which means the soil they contain, and the seedlings in them, dry out much quicker than the newspaper cups do, which means more watering.
Not to mention the cost of them! I start hundreds of seed pots each year. This can really add up. . Plus, since I'm trying my best to be ecologically aware and I try to do what I can for the environment, I'd like to share some information about why using peat pots to start seeds isn't such a great idea. .
The effects on the dwindling wetlands and peat bogs has me concerned. I don't want to take from nature what is not renewable, if given the choice. .
After much reading, I've discovered that Peat bogs are actually a finite, non-renewable resource. Since the 1960's, there has been a threat to these valuable bogs.
The bogs that produce the peat suitable for horticulture used to be cut out slowly by hand, but now the horticultrual industry extracts it so efficiently & thoroughly with huge machines.
The process of extraction is sausage extrusion and surface milling..
Just knowing this has openend my eyes and now my choice clear.. Newspaper!
Posted by Karen
@ 01:47 PM PDT
Nothing beats the Morning Glory
for fast greenery and really pretty flowers throughout the growing season.
I'm growing my mixed Flower colour varieties of blue, purple, pink and white.
Sow Morning Glory seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/4" of soil. Water thoroughly.
Thin or space plants to a final distance of 6" apart. (As you can see, I'm ready to do that!)
They will tolerate a little crowding if there is ample supports for their vines to spread up and out.
Plant: Sow seeds in a sunny location 1-2 weeks before the last frost, or indoor 6-8 weeks earlier in peat pots.
Make sure you soak seeds
in water overnight, the cover with soil and moisten.
Care: Plants tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, and are drought-resistant, thank goodness for plants like that!!
*Avoid over watering.
Wall Flower Studio
Posted by Karen
@ 05:09 AM PDT
You can't beat Beets!
, also called the "Bulls Eye beet" for obvious reasons is an Italian heirloom dating back to the 1840's. The Chioggia Beet has a mild flavour and it's solid green tops have a smooth, delicious taste. This beet is particularly best harvested young and they may make a nice baby vegetable because the tops are also best young, especially when used in salad mixes. I like the fact that Chioggia matures early and requires less cooking time then most other beets. It's origins are from Chioggia, an Italian coastal town.
Days to Maturity: 55-65 days
Beet "Early Wonder
" - Also an heirloom that can be grown in containers. I really like that!
The greens are tasty and abundant, and every bit as good as chard or spinach, and of course, just as nutritious. These roots are flavourful and produce earlier which makes it a great choice for a small garden!
Days to Maturity: 48
Beets, (beta vulgaris)
, are a member of the chard family. Chard is really grown just for its leaves, and beets are more well known for their edible roots. Some people aren't aware that every bit of a beet plant is edible! These wonderful heirlooms are becoming very popular at market gardens, and are prized in salads and other dishes with many chefs!
Posted by Karen
@ 09:23 AM PDT
This gorgeous climber is well worth a spot in any garden.
The bloom size is the up to 6" across, so the flowers on a 'Nelly Moser' clematis are truly magnificent.
Each petal is a frosty-pink with a deeper pink bar down the centre, the anthers are a lovely shade of purple, and it's shimmery and seemingly silvery seeds are almost as attractive as the flowers.
It has vined to ten feet in my garden, and I've read that after many years may begin to send up vines to fifteen feet. Wow!
In more temperate climates, it flowers late April through June, with a re-blooming period in late August, though in less mild climates like mine this cold-hardy vine won't necessarily have the second bloom period. Too bad for me!
It doesn't demand much, if any pruning, and the spring flowering is on the previous year's vines. If pruning does seem necessary, as much as the top third can be shorn down after the spring flowers go to seed. This will induce fresh growth & enhance the late summer & early autumn re-bloom, again, if you're living in a milder climate than me!
It likes to have its leaves & flowers in full sun, like most fancy hybrids, but again, as mostly all clematis, it's roots should be shaded & cool, in moist, well draining soil. I plant ground covers and mulch well around any clematis for this purpose.
The huge flowers can be short-lived in too much hot sun, but I've found that they can last much longer in some dappled sunlight or with only morning sun.
'Nelly Moser' is an heirloom hybrid from the late 1800’s, and the breeder was Marcel Moser of Versailles, France. Such a lovely history!
Thanks and Happy Gardening!!
Posted by Karen
@ 11:30 AM PDT
Admittedly, when I first learned of this variety of carrot, my first thoughts were that it was some nasty GMO creation
. Being the curious sort that I am, and after some digging, (pardon the pun), for further information, I was amazed to discover that it's an heirloom dating back to the 1800's!
A truly stunning heirloom carrot in fact. The Purple Dragon produces bright, dark-purple coloured carrots with an orange interior.
The beautiful deep reddish-purple exterior provides an amazing contrast with the yellowish-orange interior when peeled or sliced. Beautiful food!
Beautiful to look at, and even better to eat! It's been stated as one of the most refined carrot you can grow and a real specialty at Farmer's Markets!
The flavour, I can tell you, is slightly spicy, but also sweet!
A winning combination if ever there was.
80-90 days - Sow seeds thinly. 1" depth in trench. Cover half full with soil medium and keep watered. They should be planted outdoors before your last frost date. (Please see my links at the side. Scroll down to "USDA and Canada grow Zones/frost link" for more info).
To purchase these carrot seeds, and many other heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of garden seed, please visit my Local Harvest Store
(and/or) my Etsy Shop
. Thank you!
Happy Gardening : )
Posted by Karen
@ 08:11 AM PDT
This amaryllis was originally my great-grandmother's plant. It was passed down to my great Uncle Allan, (whom I miss dreadfully), and, now of course, to me.
It's well over 100 years old, and for the past few years I've been collecting and selling the seeds from it.
This wonderful plant, (among other treasured heirloom seeds varieties I've collected) is one of the reasons I decided to enter the seed business. I love the idea of ressurecting and promoting old varieties of heirloom seeds that have been long forgotten by the corporate growers/seed houses of today.
I have now grown many plants from the seeds, as they are extremely easy to propogate. This year, when people visit my studio/garden, I'll have some plants potted up and offered for sale. I think my Uncle Allan would be very happy to see this lovely species shared with others!
The "Mother Ship" !!!
If you're a collector, or just want to give this Amaryllis a try, email me for a catalogue, (which is free), or, visit my Local Harvest where I have them listed for sale. Hippeastrum 'vittatum' does best in full sun to partial shade with a rich moist soil mix.
They enjoy full sunlight during the growing season and I put them outside.
This will vary with your climate. I live in Zone 3 USDA, but this will be different for someone living in SoCal!
When coming into flower, partial shade helps to bring out their brilliant colour. After the amaryllis has flowered, it should be treated throughout the rest of the year like any other house plant. I never have had to put it in a dark place to rest in order to bring it into flower. It's internal clock seems to know best!
Full culture notes/growing instructions, along with a picture are provided with purchase. I am proud to offer these seeds!
Thanks for viewing, and Happy Gardening!
Posted by Karen
@ 05:42 AM PST
Hollyhock, (Alcea rosea), was once the most popular flower in gardens across North America, and is most certainly back in vogue today! It's stately beauty adds a real dimension of height at the back of a flower border. The hollyhock is well known in the English cottage garden, and reknown in any farm garden, standing above all else!
Many people don't realize just how easy this lovely and old fashioned flower is to grow from seed. I've actually had them grow between patio pavers, where there's relatively no soil, and seemingly no space! This speaks volumes of their drought tolerance and ability to grow in almost any type of medium.
The Hollyhock seeds I offer, (Click Here to view) are from ones originally grown at my family farm by my great-grandmother. One of my particular favorites due to the personal history and link to my past. They are a lovely pink heirloom variety, (and because a water bottling facility backed on to our family farm, there were never any chemicals, herbicides or pesticides used at all). Growing organically is a valued and continued tradition of my past, and it's what I believe in and practice in my own garden.
Hollyhock seeds can be directly sown into your flower garden. I recommend that you start them indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost, as they may bloom the first year if that is done. Once in the garden, they need plenty of room. Spacing should be 18-24". Give them plenty of room to allow air circulation and minimize rust and other disease.
Some people will tell gardeners to cut back the stalks after they've finished blooming, but I let them go to seed, and collect the seeds for next year! "Sow" easy to do. You'll only have to buy them once!
Enjoy, and as always, " Happy Gardening " !
Posted by Karen
@ 06:29 AM PST
The beefsteak tomato is an old-time heirloom favourite that has been popular for many years, due to its excellent productivity and wonderful taste.
Because these tomatoes are amongst the most expensive tomatoes on the market,
it makes a lot of sense to grow your own!
When you you do decide to grow these lucious tomatoes, make sure to support the plants when they grow to 12 inches in height, with a tomato cage or stakes. You can even make a simple tepee frame for each plant. You're going to need it for these heavy tomatoes! Beefsteak tomatoes are one of the largest varieties of cultivated tomatoes, some weighing 2 lbs or more! Imagine that!
Don't forget to save your seeds for next year, too! Another cost saver for all gardeners! Happy Gardening!The tomato seeds from Wall Flower Studio produce lush, thick, indeterminate, regular-leaf, tomato plants that yield from oh so vigorous vines. The 4 to 5-inch, slightly ribbed, bright-red tomatoes have a spectacularly delicious, sweet flavour.
This tomato's solid, juicy flesh, is excellent for slicing into sandwhices, and the meaty flesh make it an ideal tomato for eating fresh, using in salads, and it's even great for canning! That's what I call a multi-purpose fruit.
Wall Flower Studio's Beefsteak tomato seeds are heirlooms, organically grown, and all are packaged for 2010. Click here ---> Wall Flower Studio's Beefsteaks seeds.
Posted by Karen
@ 08:45 AM PST
Wall Flower Studio is pleased to announce we will once again be participating at Seedy Saturday (on a Sunday for 2010!), in Toronto.
People will be able to purchase organically grown products directly from me.
WIth more than 100 varieties of vegetables, herbs and heirloom flowers, plus my
plantable paper, seed balls and organically grown lavender,
I'm really looking so forward to meeting other like minded gardeners, and flower/veggie/plant enthusiasts!
Please click the links at the bottom for more information regarding the date, time and location.
At Seedy Saturday (on a Sunday, this year), you'll find organic and heirloom veggies & flower and herb seeds, as well as witnessing the amazing demo's and talks regarding gardening & growing food, which will help educate people about the need to save our own seeds and grow our own food.
This year the feature is on native gardening
. Something we should all be doing, especially with regards to our declining pollinators.
Our planet has to have diversity to offer all the kinds of life that it supporst, and we need to promote ways that will be sustainable for years to come. This, and more, is all happening at Seedy Saturday (don't forget it's actually on a Sunday!!)
I just want to offer kudo's to all the people involved in this event. The ones who make it happen! Being an organic gardener and seed seller, as well an ecologically thinking person, I'm really looking forward to being a part of this year's Seedy Saturday (on a Sunday!).
It's all happening on Sunday, February 21st, 2010 - 12:30 to 6:00 pm
Hope to see you there!
Posted by Karen
@ 03:58 AM PST
The Arikara Sunflower
I'm so pleased that they grew this well and grateful I didn't forget to go at least once, armed with my camera!
The Arikara is more than just an rare heirloom. It's a sunflower rich in history.
It was originally collected from the Arikara First Nations in North Dakota, and amazingly, it grows in a range of flower head sizes and types due to it's diverse genetic origins.
The flowers here are growing with different shades of yellow, some heads are large single blooms, and some have smaller multiple-heads.
The single head, pictured here spans 1 foot across! Just marvelous!
The stalks can grow to 12 feet; Mine shown here are 7+ feet tall, and the flowers produce very tasty seeds. I can tell you that the bees were all over them!!
Everything I grow in the gardens, both at my studio and the Stanhope Museum
done using organic methods only.
The Arikara seeds I originally purchased were certified organic.
Have since collected the seeds from these magnificent plants and offer them here on Local Harvest. Please check my farm listing. Thank you!
Happy Gardening : )
Links about the history of Arikara:
Posted by Karen
@ 05:56 AM PST
Some reasons to save seeds
1) Saving seeds appeals to my motto of "waste not want not".
I hate to see anything good go unused, and the economical reasons alone, especially in today's financial climate, makes a ton of sense.
Seed savers knows that by gathering up seeds and storing them carefully away for next year's garden is preservation for next year's crop, and less money to fork out.
2.) Personal selection.
I like the thought of developing my own vigorous strains over several seasons of selective seed saving. Saving seeds from the plants with the qualities you most prize, you will soonhave varieties that are ideally adapted to your garden and growing conditions.
3) Maintain bio-diversity.
Fewer and fewer old varieties of food crops are available, so seed saving keeps the vegetable world's food choices diversified.
Today many of the world's food plants are disappearing, including vegetables, grains and fruit varieties. Approx. 70 % of the world's major food plants have already been lost. This is because modern agriculture practices require high yield, uniform plants, so the genetic base of the world's food plants has been greatly reduced. This has left the world dependent on a few, closely related varieties of each crop.
4) Historical value.
Many plant varieties we save or trade are living links to the past.
Seed saving is a way to link with our ancestors. As gardener's this is a responsibility and opportunity to pass these wonderful heirlooms to future generations.
We don't need big corporate seed companies taking care of us and choosing the foods and flowers that we can grow. Many of these companies sell varieties that are tasteless, but travel well. That's not a good enough reason for me. Self reliance is very satisfying. It is our right to save seeds and make sure that there is enough variety on the planet which makes for bio-diversity. It's the cycle of life.
Seed Banks and Saving Sites to Survey
Seeds Of Diversity ~ (My personal favourite and I'm a member). Canada's Heritage Seed Program - A non-profit group of gardeners who save seeds from rare and unusual garden plants for the purpose of preserving varieties
Purchase the manual - "How to Save Seeds" from their website!
Both beginning and experienced gardeners can easily learn how to save all of their own heirloom seeds
Posted by Karen
@ 03:08 PM PST
Home & Community Edible Gardens:
Due to the previous downturn in the economy it's my belief that more and more people will see the benefits of growing their own food, or art at least growing some food to offset purchases from the grocery store. This also includes community gardening, which is a huge asset and benefit to any city, not just for the food that is grown, but for the social aspect of gardening as well.
And, with the growing concern of chemicals used by food manufacturers, there is resurgence or renaissance with edible gardens. Just look at the Whitehouse garden, and the impact that has had on many to follow in it's footsteps!
Gasoline prices continue to be a factor in higher food costs, so a greater reliance on domestic and local growers of food will become the norm. It's already happening, and the timing couldn't be better, really!
Gardening, for some time has been considered more of a hobby, but will become more important as people develop into a more cautious attitude about what food they eat and where it comes from.
Kitchen Herb Gardens:
Herb gardens can be created indoors on windowsills and of course, outdoors. Some may be small in size, ie. container herb gardens, but these flavourful and useful plots will continue to become popular as people learn how vast the choices are for herbs in which to grow and use in their food.
Heirlooms herbs and veggie's will also become more common as people start to realize that food products grown with gmo's are doing more harm than good for both our health and well being, and to the environment. Also, many are beginning to realize that so many of our older varieties of vegetables are being lost, due most in part to corporations only growing a few varieties of food, which means lack of diversity for the human race to feed upon. That's why the potato famine happened. We don't want that to ever occur again! Relying on only a few varieties of produce will surely lead to that.
Rooms out of doors will continue to "grow" in popularity as people are spending more time entertaining friends and family at home. Partly due to the economy, but also because it is a popular trend enhancing our homes as a sanctuary for our own well being.
Enlarging gardens, replacing travel with new patios, barbecue areas, water features, as well as other landscaping options, has already becoming popular for a many.
Outdoor areas can be utilized to the enth degree as individuals continue to create their own version of paradise with the use of exciting new varieties of plant material, planters, and weatherproof decor and other architectural features.
Native, Organic & Heirloom Gardening:
One of the most positive gardening trends is the commitment of gardeners towards organic practices in their garden.
There is an increased awareness and interest to view the natural landscapes of woodlands, meadows, and wetlands for inspiration in their gardens.
There are many ecological and environmental reasons to use native plants in the garden. It makes for an increase in biodiversity, provides habitat for creatures such as butterflies, birds and other pollinators, and can become a refuge for the many native plants that are increasingly becoming rare in their natural habitats.
Using native plants helps to conserve water and eliminates the need for pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that we are realizing are unhealthy practices on our planet.
The benefits of native plant gardening include less work and a beautiful garden.
Native plants evolved here and adapted to the environment in which they grow. That means the weather patterns and the other flora and fauna that have evolved with them are equally comfortable together. These variations of adaptability to the regional environment are what make native plants so effortless to raise.
Posted by Karen
@ 06:12 PM PST
This year at the Stanhope Discovery Museum, where I'm the garden's coordinator, we once again, planted a "Three Sisters Garden".
Until I moved from Toronto, here to Haliburton County, I'd yet to hear about what a Three Sisters Garden actually was. It's an immensly interesting, yet simple way to participate in companion planting in your own garden, so I'm happy to share what I've learned.
Many people think of companion planting as a relativley new idea, but it's definatley not! This is a First Nation concept which goes back millenia. It's truly heirloom gardening in it's finest form; A beneficial co-existance and a sustainable practice, passed down from generation to generation, just as the seeds were. It's success was passed on as well, to other tribes and regions in North America.
Here's how it works...
The Three Sisters is a combination of three plants:
Each supports the growth of the other in one way or another. Corn supports the beans physically, and squash grows around them both. The original "design" concept was to plant it on a mound of soil, and in a circular method.
The beans naturally wind themselves up the corn stalks, which provides the support. The beans in turn, feed the corn by providing nitrogen to the soil. The squash, with its vines and trailing habit, winds it's way around the base of the corn and beans, hence becoming a barrier against weeds, as well as shading the soil, which helps retain moisture. Ingenious, really. : )
If you'd like to try planting in this method, I'd suggest first preparing the soil. Plenty of compost & organic matter should be used to offer the seeds a healthy beginning.
The wonderful thing about a Three Sisters Garden is that it can also be grown in a container.
If you don't have enough garden space, it's a fun way to garden, and children will love it too! Make sure however, that the container will have direct sunlight for at six hours or more, and of course, that the container has good drainage.
Start by planting the corn in the middle. Let the corn grow a few inches before sowing the beans directly around it. Then, plant the squash seed along the edge. Squash will trail, and can be trained to grow right around your container.
Keep the seeds moist and water well throughout the growing season. You'll likely have to water every day when growing anything, especially edibles, in containers, which will dry out much quicker than if planted directly in the ground.
Try planting heirloom varieties, enjoy your harvest, save the seeds, and have fun!
Posted by Karen
@ 07:34 PM PST
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