Archive for May, 2012

We’re Having a Sale! A Barn Sale for the Actual Barn!

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

This is our barn. Our Loyalist Ontario English Style Dairy Barn.  It’s Lovely.

This is Rebecca ready to fix the barn. Build for optimal wind over the threshing floor means the winds get quite strong.

This spring, we bought a barn and then the door promptly blew off .  We can fix it, but it certainly wasn’t in the budget.

The good news is now we’re having a bit of a fundraising sale.

For the month of June all purchases from the sale of our barn sale packages will directly fund keeping this historical Ontario barn standing for another year.

You can pick up 9 packs of our fabulous Organic Seeds for only $25!

That’s well over $5 of savings along with free shipping in Canada and the USA.

We’re over stocked on some varieties and would like to clean up our inventory so these assorted packages include a surprise selection of a cornucopia of our favourite seeds for your garden. There are a few different themes; herbs, greens, root vegetables, tomatoes, and so on.

This is a great way to prepare for next year’s gardening season or get a late planting in with our great heirloom, rare and organic seeds.

You can find them here on our site or over on etsy.

{ sale ends June 30th, 2011 or when sale stock runs out }

Please Share & Spread the word! This is the biggest sale we’ll have this year and think of the poor barn, it need your help!

Thin Your Seedlings, right onto your plate!

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Gardening with small children in an exercise in letting go of any tidy gardening habits you may have had in the past.  When letting a toddler help you out, you are likely to get thick masses of seedlings growing together.  Rather than fighting it and trying to grow things in straight lines, I find it easier to let them sow to to their hearts content and then do some damage control at the the thinning phase.

Radishes, beets, kale, chard, lettuce and greens are all good candidates for this method.  The greens are edible, the seeds are plentiful, and the seedlings are delicious. It’s especially easy if you’re growing in a container.
We’ll do this a few days in a row once the seedlings reach a few inches in height. Going through your patch of sprouts pull or cut every second one.  I then give them a quick rinse and let them stand in a jar of water.  they’ll last quite a few days on a windowsill like this.  Tonight we’ll have tiny red russian kale on our pizza along with a salad of radish and beet greens.  Delicious! and the toddler will eat it right up while proclaiming “I grow the seeds!”.

Internet Inspiration, an Easy Growing Giveaway, and a New Herb Garden

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Our last frost date has passed and the pressure’s on. Having entered motherhood almost 3 years ago now, I know this round just how all encompassing the first few months, if not a year of new baby’s life will be.  It’s all well and good to be self employed and a bit of a work-a-holic but a new baby has a way of making sure no task can actually be finished no matter how much you wear them in a sling and try and keep your garden and family thriving.

So we’re finishing projects, both here in the city and at the farm in the county.  We’ve finally hooked up the potting sink in the back yard, officially finished the tiny bathroom reno (photos of both to come). We’re setting up Cubit’s to need less attention than normal this fall, making sure the gardens are easy to harvest once baby is here and set up to reseed next spring without too much fuss.

In the city we planted an obscene amount of basil and then the rest of our herbs in containers as usual.  I’ve had the same technique for years.  Inspired by Gayla Trail’s You Grow Girl book and site when I first started growing my own food, we take almost any food safe container, add drainage holes, put a layer of stones or broken terra cotta pots along the bottom, and then try to replicate real soil by combining good top soil and compost.

This year I was inspired by Gayla’s new book “Easy Growing; Organic Herbs & Edible Flowers from Small Spaces” to add some more exotic basils like “Blue Spice” to the mix,. The biggest advantages to growing herbs in containers for me  are invasive plants like mint and lemon balm can be contained and you can take advantage of small patches of good sunlight, like the porch steps.

As much as I love my containers, we also took on a rather frivolous project; a new herb garden at the farm.  Totally unnecessary, but I’ve been dreaming of having the space for one for years. Inspired but all these gorgeous round herb gardens that keep showing up on pinterest we set out to make our own.  Using the new Mantis Tiller ( I let Ryan do it this time), leaf compost from our Toronto garden, and some discarded pieces of the old barn we have the basis for a new herb garden and some great tool storage to boot.

I’d love to know where you’re finding your inspiration these days and have a copy of Gayla Trail’s great new book Easy Growing along with 6 packs of Cubit’s herbs to send out to a North American reader.  Just leave a comment letting me know what has inspired you lately. Link up and share with us if it’s online. A great recipe? An over the top English Garden on pinterest? A website like yougrowgirl that you’ve been visiting for a decade now? Share and I’ll pick a winner at random on June 1st. 2012.

Thank everyone! Such great answers.  Contest is now closed.

Wordless Wednesday: Watch Out! Pregnant Lady with Power Tools Coming Through.

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

There’s a review coming on our new friend, the Mantis tiller but I know everyone really wants to see this. For my neighbours who thought weed whacking while pregnant was worth gawking at, here’s what pregnant tilling with a gas powered Mantis tiller looks like.

Ta da! New beds in the old cow pastures for tomatoes!

Dandelion Wine, Dandelion Wine, when I finally get some I think it will be fine!

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Getting to know the farm is really wonderful.  Each time we go, we experience the seasons in a new way.  While dandelions are generally considered delightful in my family, the farm in full fledged May dandelion glory is really something else.

Rebecca started picking them as soon as she was out of the car and I started thinking about what we could make with such an abundant supply of foraged food.

A quick internet search lead me to dandelion wine and off we went.  We had an easy project that would fulfil my foraging and homebrewing-while-pregnant urges for the season. I think we’ll save Sarah’s dandelion jelly for next year.

We picked a gazillion dandelion heads right before leaving and  then we took them back to the city to complete the job.  While Becca was at nursery school the next morning, I quickly separated the petals from the bitter green bits with the kitchen scissors.  It took about an hour and stained my fingers.  Next I poured boiling water over them in the crock and then covered it up and walked away for 3 days.

After adding lemons, oranges and honey to the mix, a steady 30 minute boil finished it off. A quick strain in to the carboy, some yeast, and an airlock and that’s it.  For real measurements and quantities see the MotherEarthNews Article, I just followed their instructions since their cider information was so helpful. Unfortunately we got carried away and forgot to take a specific gravity reading so we may very well be making some sort of mead-like moonshine. We’ll let you know this winter.