Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dandelion pesto

Pooped out from a day of gardening and cycling, I made dandelion pesto last night rather than starting on the lawn. About three cups of pesto, juice from a lemon, some pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. This had been on my to-do list for awhile.

Everything went into the food processor, a bit of whizzing and some more oil to thin it and done. The pesto is fairly bitter. I was able to balance this a bit with some lemon juice and hide it with a touch of sugar but still quite a lot more jarring than commercial pesto. I think the proof will be how it tastes on a pizza or some pasta. I've frozen the half cup or so it made for use later on.

I was weeding this morning and I think the Jerusalem artichokes are starting to emerge. I've never grown these so I'm guessing mostly based on placement.

We've also been visited by a local rabbit frequently. S/he can be hard to spot sometimes in the rock border of the garden. I also assume the rabbit is the one who dug up a small part of the onion bed last night (left the onions alone--just knocked them about).

A rainy afternoon sounds like a good time to read a book an see what else on my "do this summer" list.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Apple and Saskatoon blossoms

The past week has been quite warm and the yard has really come along. The apple tree is blooming, hopefully a promise of a more bountiful harvest this year!

The Saskatoon bush has also put out lots of blossoms and there have been a dozen very large bees flying around the flowers.

Out front the first of the potatoes have pushed up. No sign yet of the potatoes I overwintered but the seed I bought and the seed I kept have both come up.

The peas are beginning their climb up the trellis. I love their tendrils and the chickadees have been in and out of the trellis all weekend.

I put the cold frame glass away, managing to break one of the panes (arrgh). The radishes are small  but tasty. I have been thinning them out to make room for the rest to fill in.

I spent this morning cleaning the gutters out and, if I can get off the couch, will try my hand at dandelion pesto tonight.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Long weekend busy-ness

The Victoria Day weekend is always a busy one. The 104th Street farmers market was back outdoors and busy. We arrived at 11 and the crowds were much larger than the photo below suggests. Jenn pickd up some flowers for her mom (which we later planted) and some sausage and apples and a tub of butter chicken sauce.

The yard has been responding to the additional heat this week and the phlox is starting to bloom. It is hard to get a good picture of the very subtle mauve coloration of the flowers (usually they just wash out in bright sunlight) but a moment of cloudy weather helped.

The radishes in the cold frames are starting to form nicely. These are a bit bigger than the photo suggested--about one centimetre in diameter. Anticipating the harvest, Jess planted some zucchini seeds in the bed.

We also spent some time thinning the pumpkin seeds, selecting for the first up and fastest growing seeds from each of the eight clusters. I thinned out the elm seeds that germinated under the glass (love the trees, hate the seeds) and we've decided to just leave the self-seeded lettuce and then harvest it as the pumpkin plants get bigger and need more room.

The onions and garlic are coming along and jumped up again after a big rain last night. There are a few walla walla slips that didn't survive the snow that fell we had after I planted them so I have filled these in with a few addition yellow bulbs.

Something I meant to do last year but didn't get to was try grafting. We have an ornamental cherry tree in the back. It is perfectly located for a clothesline but otherwise doesn't do much for us. So I decided to graft some Evans cherry branches onto the many, many suckers that come out of the base. My friend Marc donates the cherry branches and we'll see how my grafting went as the summer progresses.

Jess was asking me what the red bump coming out off the rhubarb was last night. It split open this morning to reveal a new leaf, which was pretty exciting (our lives are a bit staid, so you take your excitement where you can get it).

This afternoon we'll be planting some Hooker's sweet corn our front (soil seems warm enough). Most of the rest of the garden is in except a few spots for cucumbers, the interplants we'll do with the corn, and a later seeding of carrots. If I get organized, we'e going to drop the canoe in the water this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


A family of geese wandered through the yard today on their way to the river. They came from at least a block north and west--I'm having a hard time imagining where they would have nested. They looked to be on their way to the valley--the road construction crews stopped traffic and work to let them pass through.

I've picked up a few more plants today and sorted out the seeds. If the weather holds, I will go out and get some more carrots in the ground. One tomato I picked up is a graft: conventional tomato on a wild root stock. It was a bit pricey but the local garden centre say it will bear twice the fruit. will need to bind together a couple of poles if it grows to the projected six feet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


 This week has been crazy with work and, of course, warm weather has finally arrived.

The stuff we seeded early on is starting to show. Most of the onions and the garlic are up as are the peas a few hardy beets. The carrots I left to over winter in the ground are a dud (rotted out so you can poke the top down and it drops into a nice, cylinder-shaped hole) so a good lesson in what doesn't work!

Jess and I hit the river valley to forage asparagus. We got a few nice ones, a few small ones and happen upon a huge patch of hawthorne bushes we'll go back to later in the summer for jellying. Mostly is was just a fun walk up some steep hills.

The "death bed" that I built where nothing ever grows (for whatever reason) has both pumpkins and lettuce (that self seeded last fall) up. Not sure what makes this year different. The cold frame has been cranking up the temperatures immensely but I can't imagine that is the difference.

Tonight we got the last of the potatoes and the first of the carrots in. We also put in a few cherry tomato and basil plants on Sunday. I'm off to the store to get some more starters and a few seeds tomorrow at lunch.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cold weather!

Well, we've had quite a day of rain, sleet, snow and sun! The cooler weather has kept us inside, making cheese and whatnot.

Outside I'd say we're about a week or 10 days behind the past few years. The beets are just starting to germinate in the warmer, raised beds.

Jess wanted to plant some flowers so we turned under some soil and amended it beneath the bird bath and she seeded in a bunch of bushy marigolds. The barrels in the front and back got snapdragon seeds.

The chickadees appears to have gotten used to us in the yard as they largely ignore us.

With the cold wind, I decided to go for a walk instead of a bike ride today. Down in the valley I looked for wild asparagus but I'd say we're a week or so of warm weather away from being able to pick anything.

These fellows were just poking out of the ground and in a couple of spots there was nothing to seen at all yet. Our own asparagus (in a slightly cooler spot) hasn't emerged at all.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes

Between flute, soccer, community clean-us and evening plans, this weekend won't give us much time to garden. Fortunately, we're well ahead of the game and spent some time after school keeping pace.

We planted a bunch of potatoes out front. We grabbed a mixed bad of seed (red pontiac, russet burbank and yukon gold) to add to the russet and Russian blue we planted last fall. Jenn also discovered a bunch of blue caribe in the basement with two-foot purple shoots so we dropped those in as well.

Along the side, we planted some Jerusalem artichokes. I'm keen to taste these tubers in the fall, along side the day lilies and the various potatoes. In the meantime, the yellow flowers should pretty up the side up the house.

In the back, the onions are coming up (about an inch for the early ones) and the garlic is doing well (about four inches). We also picked up some replacement garlic because all of the hard-necked cloves we planted last year died over the winter.

Next up are seeding some carrots (maybe next weekend), more beets, turnips and some kale. There are also beans to plant. Then a lull until we can plant corn and squash and a few starters (tomatoes, celery, basil etc). So we'll spend some time fixing up some places were jess wants to seed some annual flowers.