(Algonquin Highlands, Ontario)
Organically Grown ~ From The Garden
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My uncle Allan grew Cutting Celery in his garden at his farm.
That's where I'd first learned of it's existance!
He was diabetic and used this particular celery to add flavour to his soups and sauces. I think it would be nice added to dips as well.
I find the taste to be a little on the pungent side, and more flavourful than the regular celery stalks one finds at the grocery store, but enjoy it nonetheless.
Thinking this (I'm going to call it an herb), kind of celery is really underrated here in North America, but have heard that it is highly valued and a mainstay in many dishes overseas.
is an actual celery, just without the enlarged stalk, and I've never grown the regular kind, but imagine this variety is easier to grow.
The attractive 18" tall plants produce an abundance of dark green foliage that does indeed resembles regular celery, but looks more like an herb to me and I treat it as such.
Harvest leaves often by cutting 3/4 way down the stems , so that new tender leaves can emerge.
I've used the leaves both fresh and dried, as they do retain their delicious flavor.
Soups, salads, sandwiches, stews, and more, can benefit from cutting celery.
Thanks for viewing and Happy Spring : )
Posted by Karen
@ 08:26 PM 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
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
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
~Flowers are high in vitamins and minerals and all are rich in nectar & pollen.
~Rose hips have a high in vitamin C content, as well as nasturtium & marigolds.
~Dandelion flowers contain vitamins A and C. Add them to your salads!!
Edible flowers should be picked in the morning after the dew has gone. You should pick fully open flowers, and of course, should sample several different varieties of flowers before harvesting.
Never eat flowers that have been in contact with any chemicals and poisons such as pesticides or herbicides. Organic is the way to go!
Much like growing grapes for making wine, flowers of the same variety but grown in different locations will have slightly different tastes, due to varying soil types & environmental conditions.
Flowers might also taste a little different at the end of the growing season too, and can vary from year to year.
The best part you ask!!! Flowers are mostly free of calories!
***....NEVER eat ANYTHING from the garden if you don’t know what it is first!!
List of Some Edible Flowers
Roses -Rose hips
Posted by Karen
@ 05:24 PM PST
A Green Idea!
These days, thankfully, many people are opting to plan green events.
We are all seeking ways to celebrate and give gifts that are not going to be added to landfil. Making environmentally friendly decisions throughout the planning process can be easy!
Here is my green idea: And not only as wedding favours, but gift tags, name/place cards, business cards, or even bookmarks! Plantable Paper!
This can help ease the burden and lessen your carbon footprint on our planet.
Whether you are committed to a completely green wedding/party/shower, or wish to do what you can in safeguarding our planet, these "green" plantable paper shapes will get you on your way.
Many colours available.
Pink, Green, Petalled, Purple, Blue and Yellow.
Butterflies shown. (Approx. 5" wide )
Native, and open-pollinated, organically grown seeds, embedded in 100% recycled post consumer, handmade paper.
They can be used as business cards, gift tags, or name tags for dinner parties!
So many wonderful uses. ~ Please feel free to inquire.
-Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
-Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja spp.)
-Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)
-Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)
-Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
-Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
-Red Columbine (Aquilegia formosa)
-Blanket Flower (Gaillardia aristata)
-Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
-Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
-Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
-Shooting Star (Dodecatheon hendersonii)
-Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria lanceolata)
-Shrubby Penstemon (Penstemon fruticosus)
-Common Camas (Camassia quamash)
-Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)
-Turk’s-cap Lily (Lilium michiganense)
-Lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus)
-Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum)
-New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae)
-Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum)
-Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
-Ox-eye daisy (Heliopsis helianthoides)
Thank you & Happy Gardening!
Posted by Karen
@ 06:53 AM PST
A grass roots movement, or a renaissance toward Victory Gardening, is happening here in North America, and around the world.
Victory Gardening, which usually refers to small-scale farming, and a way of supporting community based agriculture, is where the past meets the present, and should be the way of the future.
Unfortunately, production of our food by corporate interests means that quality is ignored for quantity’s sake, and produce is bred for easy shipping across many miles, instead of taste.
These crops are sprayed with poisonous chemical pesticides and herbicides, and burning of fossil fuels is used to transport the food.In a time of global food shortages and high fuel costs it is becoming not only economical but also crucial to grow a large percentage of our own food at home or to at least, support the local farmers that do.
This resurgence of Victory Gardening
happily means that people are starting to return to a more self-sufficient life style.
Growing and buying organic, and even heirloom, fruits and vegetables, frees us from the chain of oil that binds us to the corporations that are ruining our planet with toxic chemicals and the use of fossil fuels.During World War I and World War II, Canadian, American and British
governments asked their citizens to plant gardens as a way to support the war effort, and literally, millions of people did just that.
It was a place of pride, a national duty, and a community effort that brought local people together to feed one another.
Today, Victory Gardens
are being created on rural acreage, small city plots, apartment balconies, and suburban yards. Growing vegetable gardens is in vogue!
To witness a grass roots effort that gives the us the means to feed ourselves, is a feeling of control over our own destiny, especially during the economic times of today.
Article:"The Economist magazine - Victory Gardens - Digging their way out of recession”
In 1943 Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged a return to the "victory gardens" that had become popular during the first world war, when the country faced food shortages.
Mrs Roosevelt planted a garden at the White House; some 20 million Americans followed her lead, and by the end of the war grew 40% of the nation's vegetables.
Today, this grassroots movement has taken place at the White House in the form of an organic kitchen garden.
The First Lady, Mrs. Obama, has taken great steps to create a wonderful kitchen garden
, (despite criticism from obvious malcontents
who don't have a stake in it), that is serving as an educational platform showing millions around the world what can be done to grow food in a sustainable manner.
"The People's Garden", as touted by Tom Vilsack
, the 30th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been created and is a huge success. Mr Vilsack wants there to be a "community garden at each of the department's offices around the world.” What a wonderful world that will be!
This is what I call progress! Kudo's to Mrs. Obama and her staff!
Posted by Karen
@ 09:09 AM PST
Vermicomposting Is Composting With Worms
It's very easy to do, really. Earthworms turn your organic waste into beautiful compost. It's by far, the best way to compost kitchen waste.
Worm castings contain five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus, and 11 times more potassium than ordinary soil, the main minerals needed for plant growth.
The casts are also rich in humic acids, which condition the soil, have a perfect pH balance, and contain plant growth factors similar to those found in seaweed. What could be better for your garden?
In Canada, where snow covers our composters and gardens, we all make excuses as to why we are putting vegetable scraps in the landfil instead of the garden, but vermicomposting can be done year round, right in your kitchen, and without any smell!
Purchase a plastic storage tote from the hardware store.
It is best to drill ¼-inch holes in the bottom, sides and top of the box, not just for drainage but for aeration. You don't want the worms smother!
The box should one square foot of surface area for each person in the household.
e.g: A 2' x 2' x 2' box can take the food waste of four people.
Bedding materials can include shredded newspaper, corrugated cardboard, peat moss, and partially decomposed leaves.
Worm boxes should be filled with bedding to provide the worms with a mixed diet as well as a damp and aerated place to live.
Tear newspaper or cardboard into strips before first. Bedding material should be moistened by in water for several minutes. Squeeze out excess water before adding it to your worm box.
Cover food waste with a few inches of bedding so flies won't becom a problem.
Red wigglers are the best for vermicomposting. They thrive on organic material such as yard waste and fruit and vegetable scraps.
Do feed them:
Coffee grounds or filters
Fruit and vegetable scraps
Small plant material
Tea leaves with bags
Do NOT feed them:
Milk and Dairy products
Vegetable oil/salad dressing
To Harvest castings, feed one end of the box for a week or more. Most worms will find their way to that side. Remove two-thirds of the worm castings from the opposite end and apply fresh bedding . Start burying food waste in the new bedding, and the worms will move back.
Here are some great links to get you started... Have fun!! : )
Or...Build your own bin. Click here:
Posted by Karen
@ 03:52 PM 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
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