Category Archives: Gardening 2015

The Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon,Grain Moon, Full Moon

  Standing in the garden this evening, the sun hot, the dry plants making crinkling noises, grasshoppers looking like pea pods it seemed fitting to acknowledge that the growing season was over. Time to practice non attachment and move into the next phase – final harvest and seed collection. 

One week ago, a frost hit and I picked as many tomatoes as I could. They are in a box ripening. Today – the tomatoes are clinging on and ripening. Go figure?

   
    
 
Start to finish I’d have to say I’ve learned a lot about the garden. It’s moods, the vegetables and flowers growing there. Lists of changes I’ll make for next year. Adjustments to soil, locations, plant choices and watering systems. 

The full moon arrives at the perfect time to wrap up the journey of Winking Beagle Gardens until next spring. Setting intentions for the next lunar phase and preparing for back to school fresh starts and winter projects. Northern Lights have been seen in the past few days – in the upcoming darkness I’ll be more present and ready to enjoy the nature on my doorstep.  

   

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How Does my Garden Grow?

August 20, 2015

So much happening, it’s back to school prep time at work, and “summer” is over. The garden is really starting to slow down. However, the bounty continues. I just bagged and froze over four cups of rhubarb from my one little plant. I also made my first batch of mustard pickles!! The cucumbers from the garden, and I splurged on an organic Cauliflower. I was smart (I think) and canned multiple small bottles to avoid having to store a giant bottle of pickles in the fridge for an undisclosed amount of time. Fingers crossed!! I also tested my canning skills re-using jars without snap lids. Everything has popped and sealed so I am very optimistic. The mustard tastes just like the mustard in our favourite commercial brand Rose Pickles, that should be well received. At this point, I am waiting for them to cure and eat them with roast beef  and classic Newfoundland Jigs Dinner.

The tomatoes are taking over – I picked a handful of Cherry every morning, and come home each evening to couple of beautiful yellows. The Romas and Beefsteak are coming along nicely. Contemplating trying tomato jam – that will be a first. Carrotts, potatoes and herbs going strong!! I have to confess when I placed my rhubarb next to my Saskatoon berries in the freezer, and little surge of pride had to be acknowledged. Of course I then went straight to thinking about frozen food in the event of complete power grid break down and possible Zombie Apocolypse… Where do these thoughts come from??

Today- August 23, 2015

I don’t think will be much tomato canning. Frost arrived two nights ago and while the fruit wasn’t damaged the plants are rough and I don’t anticipate them having much time to keep growing 😦

A few photos of the harvest while I contemplate the next phase of the garden and impending weather changes. Surrender and non attachment in full force this Sunday!!


  
  

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Filed under Everything, Food, Gardening 2015, The Garden Project

Regroup

I was away for six days at the Integral Theory Conference 2015 upon my return the garden had exploded once again!! Home for a few days now, thoughts turn to conference impact & the next phase of the garden. I realize I’m not exactly sure when to harvest certain foods or how I will be able to eat all of it! It is amazing to have fresh vegetables!

 It is also amazing to reflect on the fact the speedy travel to Northern California exists – I think about the Edson Trail and how it could take up to three months to travel from Edmonton to Grande Prairie. This is currently a 4.5 hour drive. This leads me to thinking about transport of food and associated costs. 

Food waste on a personal and commercial levels is a hot topic this month. With France declaring it illegal to throw food out, and Jon Oliver showcasing food waste in the U.S. (I’m sure Canadian waste would compare) and knowing how much work went into my small garden I feel compelled to review and modify my shopping, and waste habits. 

One day last year I decided to only purchase Canadian products with a preference for Alberta grown, then any other province. It was eye opening. My cart had about twelve items and the cost of anything Canadian was considerable higher than produce from California or Seafood from Malaysia or India. What sticks outs is prawns from Asia about $8, white spot prawns from British Columbia $30. Access to food and affordability, a topic for another post. Not to mention production processes, labour standards and factory farming. Front yard gardens should be the norm

Specific Winking Beagle Updates – beans have arrived, peas are crazy and even a single cucumber showed up. My dad was up for a few days and built the best climber for the peas – I’ll admit mine was dismal at best! I’ll be adjusting the pea location next year as well, I have to climb into the box to reach all of them. Oops! 

 

 

Hillbilly Pea Climbers (according to dad)

  
  

Peas…

  

Beans…

 
  
Happy to report that between myself, RC, Milena, Uncle Murray and the dogs everything picked; including pea shells and strawberry tops has been consumed. More picking today!

I almost forgot an amazing surprise (sort of) from Mother Nature was also waiting for to get home – an abundance of Saskatoons! 

Saskatoons waiting for harvest

Berries!

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Commitment 

I have to confess – I knew the garden would be work, but for some reason I didn’t really think it would be that much work. Wow was my ego ever playing tricks on me!!! 
This garden has been a challenge. The physical actions of putting boards together, shoveling dirt, painting, planting, and watering were work, but really that was almost the easiest part.  

  
The real work has been in the commitment – the proverbial chase and honeymoon phase was over once plants started to sprout. There were certainly times I thought about just letting everything dry up and blow away. 

The relentless wind of May and June, brought so many doubts for the garden’s success. Wondering to myself what the hell I had gotten into, and most days having unrealistic expectations of how fast a plant will grow in less than ideal conditions. Then a little sprout would appear providing hope of great bounty; only to have my horn of plenty vision, quickly destroyed by a moth laying eggs or cats digging up a row of carrots. 

Walking away was considered, I could justify quitting. Forget my practice of non attachment, ignore the pleasure daily strolls and weeding provide me, and choose grief over gratitude. 

 

velveteena wakes up

 
 

Some carrots survived the cats

 
This evening I was wandering through the garden thinking about this and that, whistling to the Western Meadow Lark I thought about how fortunate I am to live in my place and time.  I picked a few weeds, ate some peas off the vine, and checked on the strawberries it struck me- no single part of the garden was ever the same!! Each square inch unique, brining its own magic to the garden. 

I could stand on the south side of a square box and think “I’ve got all the weeds!” Then lift up a plant, walk around a corner, peer down a row for an entirely new perspective. Each angle, every minute something new to see, taste or pick. 

The concept of commitment to my garden, the plants and my vision has become very important today. Commitment paired with patience. I’m not sure they can be separated. I don’t know enough about plant biology to explain how they grow and produce food. I just know it’s amazing to watch it in real time. 

  
  
Another surprise discovery about myself in the garden. Weeding – for me (with the easy access of the raised beds) has become meditative. When I’m in the garden weeding, that’s all I’m doing. It is relaxing and makes me feel productive, like no matter what went on during the day- I’ve accomplished something! A reminder of what I love about the garden that quickly washes away all the complaints. Not unlike human relationships 😉 

With renewed commitment to my garden, I now need to do some research on how to get the most from my plants. I realize there is a lot going on in the garden and a lot that I don’t know. Topics to review this week are, when to harvest, fertilizing and in the event my horn of plenty vision becomes tangible, how to cook and preserve. 

Today’s Harvest

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Garden Keepers

After six nights away I returned home to a beautiful garden just bursting at the seams. I realized as I got out of the car that a week is a long time. My daily checks don’t make things grow faster ha ha!! My mom was right again, “a watched pot never boils”.

  
RC took great care of things – I did have my fears. Shame on me! Wandering around tonight, it was beautiful to see things growing, to pick a few weeds (that are so courteous as to grow between the vegetables) and enjoy being present.  

At the same time I started to think about what happens in a garden when I’m not around. I see evidence of birds, cats, insects. Thoughts turn to stories of fairies, garden gnomes and my own garden keepers. They are not unlike the plants I choose to grow, or souvenirs I might pick up on a holiday. Guardians of their mini domains…  

  

Nibs – valiant mouser, grasshopper eater and garden guardian. Coming alive in the dusk as the sun sets and weather cools down. 

  
 

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Solstice Seeds of Intention

This week my garden has been getting a little online attention. Exciting but also a little bit crazy – people out there are finding and reading my online rambles… It is obvious that using tags helps with this. Do folks search tags when looking for stories to read? I will have to try this out myself.

  
In the past 48 hours  we have had some torrential rain, and it remains over cast and drizzly. What a difference a generous soaking has made in the garden. All of the plants are standing up strong, and full. Hydrated, nourished ready to have their cells multiply and divide. The energy in and around the garden can only be described as vivid. It’s as though you can hear the plants chattering – an extensive variety of weeds have also appeared. I didn’t think we could have an exclusive relationship – I  like to reflect on the integration of “weeds’ and “food” or I guess “not weeds”.

This year, the bird life on the land has been exceptional. I don’t recall hearing and seeing so many species hanging around the place.The number and variety of birdsong is even greater than those I can actually see and identify. This afternoon – there were killdeer, red wing black birds, robins and swallows – interestingly in groups of three. I don’t know enough about numerology so I won’t attempt to read into it. At any rate the bird life is a rewarding gift of the garden and rains…

All of this is leading up to June 21 – the summer solstice, and father’s day. I do love this time of year, and realize it is another opportunity to practice non-attachment. In one way it is a potentially sad reminder that the days will begin to shorten, and in the immortal words of Jon Snow “Winter is coming”. At the same time if provides an opportunity to stop and be present and enjoy every second of daylight- while setting intentions for the next six months.

Planting the seeds in the garden roughly six weeks ago – was an exercise in setting intentions. The intention to water, weed, care for and harvest – the intention to write about the experience. A joyful feeling.

Reflecting on my garden, I realized the influence my dad has had on me and my yard work projects. As a child I was always attempting to grow things – some grew, some didn’t. My parents gave me free reign, and I took to gardening and lawn care like a natural. I never totally knew what I was doing, I still don’t!! I have however always enjoyed it.  Wandering through the beds, I see the rhubarb, and hollyhocks sprouting up from seed. These plants take me to my childhood backyard where the rhubarb and hollyhock are still growing thirty years strong.

   
 

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Wee Beasties

So first things first, the garden saw some fatalities this week. The bedding out vegetables I planted about a month ago, were hard hit. There will be no Cauliflower, all four plants out of the game. One Brussel Sprout was hit, and I am anticipating the rest to follow suit. It would appear that the Purple Kale (of which I have no intention of eating…) may be the strongest of the lot.

Oh well, this is the garden of experiments – as luck would have it, only after the discovery of wilted plants, then pulling them up and finding grubs/maggots on the roots – did I find this information online Mistakes to Avoid… 

Alright, alright I will know for next year. At this point I am going to focus on what is still alive and celebrate their continued growth, make offerings to the garden gods that no more pests find their way to my house, and pray for just a little (well a lot) less wind! To be noted: there are many baby grasshoppers about. 

 
And that is how I feel about Cabbage Grubs 😦  

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Patience (or lack thereof)

The wind is non-stop. I for one, am pretty much done with it! Keeping the garden watered has been a huge challenge, the wind just strips the moisture off the top. I can only imagine (and I am sure not accurately) the dustbowls of the 1930s. Between the wind, the dust, the inability to grow food or make and income…

I don’t claim to be a historian, but I will say  Barry Broadfoot’s Ten Lost Years had an impact. My dad had a copy, and of course it ended up in my hands – I was probably 13 or 14 when I read it. Pre high school English curriculum – thinking back to English 10,20,30  I am disappointed that Grapes of Wrath was the required reading and not a Canadian equivalent, being honest all anyone talked about was Rose of Sharon feeding the dying man – grow up I know… In Grade 11 I had to read and write an essay on Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell – yes a depression era story, but my story of that essay writing experience should be saved for another day – I am sure my mom will agree!!

Any rate, back to the garden – A few hiccups this week.

WIND!! Power Outage for several hours one evening. I had no idea until the water from the hose started to sputter and gasp. I went straight to the garden from my car – didn’t go inside. Apparently the well requires power to operate to it’s best ability.

Garden being used as giant cat litter box – ten acres and the garden is the best place for it. Always where the tiniest  sprouts are coming up. IMG_6666

Came home Tuesday Evening to find little Grizzy snapped almost in half – I found a band aid, and some gauze and chopsticks for a plant splint – she seems to be surviving, but is she thriving? In my focus on a single plant I neglected to water one bed and came home Friday to semi wilted peas and more wind!! ARGH.

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All is watered and I even started weeding. They are just big enough to bother…

I will say that I am not confident in my carrots – give them a chance I know – but still I can hear Blake Shelton on The Voice – and I am pretty confident growing carrots is not in “My Wheelhouse”.

Lack of patience and expectation, my nemesis (nemesi?) were leading the way this week. Lucky for me this article popped in my newsfeed: Is There a Way to Make Plants Grow Faster? 

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Thanks to fellow blogger – culturalsnafu.wordpress.com for a great write up on Ten Lost Years and made it possible for me to not have to use an Amazon review… Canadian Encyclopaedia http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/ (I just discovered this today), and rodalesorganiclife.com for the patience…

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