Monday, January 30, 2012
I have a girlfriend that always tells me that gardening is too much work and you can buy produce at the grocery store. She is right, you can, but what is on that produce? I came across this website http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214 that explained "the dirty dozen" as in fruits and veggies that are the most contaminated by pesticides. It was a real eye opener what I'd been feeding my kids during the winter thinking that I was feeding them well by providing lots of fruit and veggies. It gives me an even bigger incentive to garden and provide healthy food for my family. When I was raising my kids, buying organic during the winter months was unheard of. Today, I went to the grocery store in the city and was able to find a very good selection of organic fruits and vegetables. Mind you, they are a bit pricier but they are chemical free. Locally, there are very few organic veggies and fruit in the stores. I live right smack in the middle of the grain belt where a large portion of farmers use chemicals on their weeds and insects. We don't live right beside where they spray as our acreage is 8 acres but that darn stuff is in the air. Just a sniff of it makes me wheeze and so the windows stay closed during spray season which happens several times during the growing season depending on the crops being grown and the pests showing up for dinner.Farmers are slowly changing their ways, one by one we hear that one more farmer has decided to go organic, but it's a really slow process. At least when I'm growing my organic produce all summer, I know my produce is chemical free and has lots of nutrients. It kind of makes you wonder, if all our farmers were organic, how quickly would our cancer rates go down? Food for thought.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
My sister in law grew these huge plants of Oriental poppies in bright orange/red and I fell in love with them. She told me her daughter had brought them home after visiting the garden of a gardener with her class at school. She offered to give me some but told me that they did not transplant well. Two years ago, I found these in our local gardening center and bought 8 plants in various colors. I carefully planted each plant in bright sunlight in a well drained area. I had planned to mulch them that year because of our harsh prairie winters and because my sister in law had mulched hers. I never got there. Fall arrived and winter set in with a vengeance, we had tons of snow. The next spring, only one plant came up. I went back to the garden center and bought 7 more to replace the ones I had lost. I started again. Once again they were planted in full sun but this time, I mulched all of my plants. Once planted and mulched, I watered them once a week most of the summer. Last spring, all my oriental poppies survived and continued to thrive well all summer. I bought an organic fertilizer for perennials and used as directed early last spring. The reason they are hard to move to a new spot in the garden is that they have thick roots that once established are more difficult to reestablish in a different area. The petals of this beautiful flower look like paper and last quite a long time. The flower bed that these plants have been transplanted to is a mixture of evergreen and cedars with perennials added for color.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
After I married and started my own garden on the farm, the first thing I mooched from my dad were some of his extra strawberry plants. He had two kinds, Tristars and June berries. I chose the Tristars because they produce early in the spring, rest and produce again in early fall. Where I live in Saskatchewan, our soil is mostly clay and strawberries do better in sandy soil. After researching strawberries in various books from the library, I found out that if one adds pine needles to the soil, the strawberries do exceptionally well. My uncle let me pick up a couple of well packed garbage bags of pine needles and cones. Next, I bought two large bales of peat moss and finally, several bags of sheep manure at the lumberyard. My husband took out the garden tractor and rototilled the garden area twice. We waited about a week for the weed seeds to sprout and then rototilled the ground one more time. Now it was time to add the pine needles, sheep manure and peat moss. Once again, my husband rototilled my new ten foot by ten foot strawberry patch. I thought for sure that I had put way too many pine needles into the plot but I continued as the book from the library had said not to be stingy. First, I dug with my hands holes for my new plants about 3 inches in diameter and three inches deep. I filled the holes with water and let the water seep into the ground. Next I took my strawberry plants and spread the roots in the hole a bit. The crowns were level with the surface of the soil and when the hole was filled with soil, I was careful not to bury the crown of the plant as the plant would probably rot. The soil was pressed firmly around the plant and watered in. The plants were transplanted in rows about 10 inches apart to give the plant runners lots of space to start new plants. The newly transplanted plants were then watered slowly with a sprinkler to settle the ground. Any flowers were picked off to let the plant have enough energy to settle into their new home and transplant successfully. Strawberries love lots of sun and I placed my new plot away from trees and in full sun. There is still a lot more to learn about strawberries, stay tuned for the next installment about this yummy little berry!
Monday, January 23, 2012
Ever since I can remember, I have been in love with growing things. I've toyed with writing a really good gardening book, I'm still toying with writing an ebook. Less hassle. I decided I had to start somewhere, so I'm starting this blog. So much information out there for gardeners to choose from. I've tried a lot of it and for my Saskatchewan garden, the information I will be posting is what works best for the growing conditions in my garden. Hopefully, along the way, some of the information will be helpful to some of my readers. Welcome to "My Grandmere's Garden".