Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

We have grass again.

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Thanks to the milder weather and rain this week, most of the snow has melted in our backyard.  Some of the tulips and daffodils are coming up, actually.  Spring is finally here!  That had caused some momentary panic – we still haven’t planted our seeds yet.  It’s been three weeks since we bought our seeds from Seedy Saturday, and they’re still sitting in the den.  We don’t even have the dirt to plant them in.  All we’ve got are seeds and some plastic milk bags (I read somewhere that milk bags are good for starting tomato seedlings because you can roll them up to add more dirt as the seedling grows.)  We plan to go to a local garden centre to get supplies and get those seed planted this weekend.  Only six more weeks until the “official” gardening weekend in southern Ontario – Victoria Day long weekend.

We have seeds.

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Tanny is finished her maternity leave and is busy writing lesson plans so I’m handling the blog tonight.

Seeds for sale Seedy Saturday

This weekend we all headed down to Seedy Saturday in Toronto. It was the first time for all of us and I was really blown away by how many people were there and the variety of vendors. We saw some familiar faces from the Dufferin Grove Market – the people from whom we buy our perogies and the sprouts guy and many other organic activists and entrepreneurs. We thought the stuff at the You Grow Girl booth was pretty clever and cute. She has a well written and established blog as well (as I write this I just noticed she also has a post about Seedy Saturday). Did I mention there were a lot of seeds for sale?

We talked to a guy from Seeds of Diversity. A very interesting project that is cataloguing, preserving and distributing heritage Canadian seeds. For a small donation we picked up a packet of Blanche Beaute tomatoes.

I had a very interesting chat with a women who was campaigning against terminator seeds. I must admit to being in the dark about the issue before and I’m determined to find out more information now. The quick summary from my conversation is that seed companies are creating GM seeds that will be sterile after one harvest. The upside for the seed companies is that people need to continue buying seeds year after year. You can imagine the effect of this on 3rd world farmers. For me the issue has similar ethics to big pharmaceutical companies patenting drugs. Yes, they need to be paid for their research, but at what cost? And seriously – didn’t they watch or read Jurassic Park? Those dinosaurs were supposed to be sterile as well! For more information (on terminator seeds, not Jurasic Park) see this link.

Tanny has ballet class on Saturday so we split our visit to the show into two (with lunch at Magic Oven in between). Unfortunately we didn’t get back until 2:30 and had only 30 minutes to dash around finding seeds we wanted to buy.

Here’s what we have:

  • Blanche Beaute tomatoes
  • McMullen tomatoes
  • Sweet basil
  • Black cherry tomatoes
  • Mammoth melting sugar peas
  • Mary Washington heirloom asparagus
    • Apparently you have to wait a year before you can eat the asparagus. 🙁
  • Chanteny carrots
    • These carrots are 7″ long, 2″ wide. I grew really stubby carrots last year so I’m hoping for big ones now.
  • Harris model parsnips
  • Golden midget watermelon

As Tanny just mentioned to me, “we forgot we have a 5×5 plot”!

We also learned that “sweet peas” are not the same as “sugar peas” and are in fact toxic. My farmer roots are not showing here. No pun intended.

Reminder – Seedy Saturday Tomorrow!

Friday, March 14th, 2008

If you’re in Toronto tomorrow, don’t forget to check out Seedy Saturday! I am very excited to shop for some seeds for my garden.


Saturday, March 15, 2008, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Scadding Court Community Centre 707 Dundas St. W (southeast corner of Dundas West & Bathurst)

There’ll be vendors selling seeds and organic gardening products, free seminars and workshops.

Tree vs Garden

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

When we bought our house, one of the things we fell in love with was the yard.  There’s a lovely perennial garden and lots of mature trees. In fact, one of our favourite things to do in the summer is relaxing in the shade. However, we also blame this shade for the poor yield in our vegetable garden. We have these overgrown elm hedges that are over fifteen feet tall, our garden gets full sun for about five hours at the height of summer. In the past two years, we’ve produced one medium size fuzzy melon, a handful of tomatoes (they almost never make it to the kitchen), three peas, some radishes that are the size of marbles, and stumpy carrots. Quite sad, really. We hope to have better yield this year so we’ve decided to cut those hedges down to a more reasonable height.  I really hope to grow some vegetables to supplement our local food diet.

Any suggestions for vegetables that are easy to grow from seeds?

The Growing Challenge

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve just joined The Growing Challenge started by Melinda over at  What a great idea!  I had planned on growing some new vegetables from seeds anyway and now I’ve found a group of people doing the same thing and sharing their experiences. Most of the participants are from the US, and they’ve got sprouts already.  I’m jealous – my yard is still covered in a foot of snow, and I think we’re getting some more tomorrow.

Here are the rules of the challenge:

  1. For this challenge, you must grow one additional type of fruit or vegetable than you did last year, and grow it from seed.
  2. If rule #1 is not enough of a challenge for you, you may make your own rules.
  3. You must post about gardening once each week.  This could be a post about researching different plants, ordering seeds, buying pots, digging beds, planting the seeds, pruning, adding compost, all the way to preparing a meal that includes the food you grew.  

To learn more about the challenge, or if you want to join in the fun, click on the icon below:




Looking for Seeds

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

With Spring being just over a month away, I’ve been thinking about what to plant in my garden this year.  In the past, I usually plant some tomatoes, bell pepper, peas and herbs.  Since researching into local foods, I’ve found a couple of places that sell heirloom vegetable seeds.  So this year, I’m going to be more adventurous in my gardening.  I plan on heading down to Seedy Saturday (a grassroots seed exchange and gardening fair) and buy myself some unusual seeds and grow them in a mini-greenhouse. 

On a side note – I found out about Seedy Saturday from an ad in a new magazine called edible Toronto – a magazine dedicated to local foods in the Toronto area.  Interesting articles and lots of good resources.  I picked mine up at the Dufferin Grove Market a few weeks ago.  You can also view the articles online.

Here are some stores that sell heirloom and/or organic seeds:

(All of these stores are in our database, you can Search by Name for more information.)

  • Urban Harvest – They sell seeds, seedlings and garden supplies.  They have an online store and a nursery that operates during the growing season only.
  • Clover Roads Organic Farm – has an online seed store, mostly heirloom tomato varieties.
  • Everdale Organic Farm – They sell seeds at their farm store.