Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday - Funday & Not in the Garden

~ camellia in bloom in the neighbour's yard ~

~ return of the sea stars to Brady's Beach ~

~ return of the sea stars to Brady's Beach ~
Today I took a good long walk down to the beach early in the morning. Low tide at Brady's Beach is a magic place to be... It is good to see the return of the sea stars after the wasting disease hit the coast last summer. Sea stars provide lots of nutrients to the ocean & if you, by chance, come across a dead sea star, throw it in your tomato patch - the tomatoes LOVE sea stars!!

This year the camellias have not been harmed too much by the recent 'frosts' we've had. Honestly, with the sunshine during the day, we get these wonderful clear nights that are full of stars & lead to lightly frosted mornings. The camellias don't handle frost too well, but my neigbhour's shrub is handling it very well... A shrub that would break my heart if I tried to grow it, so I will admire other people's when they bloom...

Demo Day

This was the greenhouse I've been using for the last 8 years. The roof has been leaking for the last 3 years & there is a constant breeze blowing through that keeps the summer temperatures lower than I would have liked. This past winter, a good storm finally cracked a good section of the roof off...

I knew it was time to get rid of the eye-sore... This is what it looked like on 'demo day'...

I've been working on cleaning up the debris & removing some plants that somehow managed to live beside this structure. I hope to share an update photo with you in a couple of days.

The new greenhouse will be a larger structure - a portable structure - and will hopefully be in place later this spring. I have no rush at the moment, which means that I won't be starting my tomato & pepper seeds in the house this month. I think I'm ok with that this year...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spring Sprouts

I started a couple of trays on the 12th & today I set them outside for a few hours of sunshine & warm breezes. I've got spinach, 3 types of lettuce blends, kale, parsley & cilantro that have sprouted in the warm sunshine of my south-facing windows. I am going to keep them indoors/outdoors like this for a while longer, but would like to experiment with my 'deck greenhouse' towards the first bit of March to see if I can keep them there til I can find room for them in my gardens...

What do you have growing in your windows this month?

Friday, February 20, 2015

In Preparation of an Early Harvest

~ rhubarb & compost ~
 I've decided not to wait any more. I am looking forward to the fresh, crisp, tart taste of the season's first harvest of rhubarb.

In preparation, I applied a bucket of fresh kitchen scrapes around the weeded crowns about a week & a half ago. This is generally the only time I apply fresh kitchen scrapes out in the gardens as I don't want to encourage rats or raccoons...

Today I noticed the stalks were growing quickly & found a bucket for the smaller plant in behind.

The larger plant I covered up with a tote.

The stalks will now reduce the amount of energy they put towards their leaves & send it into growing the stalks taller - looking for light.

On nice days, I'll haul off the covers & make sure they have sufficient water. But for the most part, I'll let them be for a few weeks, or until the stalks are too tall for their covers. I'll harvest sparingly at first - usually only 1 stalk per crown - just for the season's first taste. Once the growth really comes on with the warmer weather & longer days, I'll remove the covers & harvest heavily for a few months.

Gotta love West Coast Spring!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Blooms in Flower Boxes of Bamfield

~ bee in a box ~
 I went for a stroll along the boardwalk of Bamfield, admiring the resilient plants in the boardwalk boxes. There are lots of green things shooting up & lots of early blooms. I even encountered a bee that was resting for a moment. Hope you enjoy some of the bounty!

~ crocus ~

~ grape hyacinth & fish boats ~

~ mini daffodils ~

~ mini iris ~

~ snow drops ~

~ quince ~

~ willow bloom & BMSC ~

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Spring Tonic Starts with Greens

~ garlic sprouting ~
 Spring garden therapy has started early this year with the early blooms & early shoots. The rains that are keeping us inside are warm & keeping the temperatures well above freezing.

I planted my garlic late last year - it was probably sometime in the first week of November & I placed a large sheet of plastic over top the entire bed to keep some of the winter rains off & to also keep the soil temperature from freezing too hard - not that that has been an issue this winter.

~ rhubarb sprouting ~
I cleaned out some of the weeds from the rhubarb patches & applied some fresh kitchen scrapes. I will no doubt be putting buckets & totes over top the plants within the next few weeks to help bring on some early tender shoots.

I am looking forward to trying some new spring tonic drinks with rhubarb, lemon, cranberry & sparkling water... maybe in time for Easter!
~ chives sprouting ~

The chives are also sending up young tender shoots & it is so nice to not have the deer eat them down before I get a chance to use them in fresh salads. I have some salmon fillets in the freezer that would be oh-so-lovely with butter & chives on top...

There are lots of greens popping up in the gardens & it's getting close to the time where we can start seeding some early lettuce, peas & cool weather crops.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunshine in the Kitchen

~ what do these ingredients have in common? ~
 It is once again that time of year that Seville oranges are available in the grocery stores.

This is also that time of year when brewing up a batch of marmalade is a perfect way to spend a day inside when the weather outside is gray & drizzly...

This year's batch has fresh pineapple & ginger in it. Well, I always put ginger in my marmalade, but I was curious to see how the pineapple would blend in with the flavors.

I chose to use a larger cut on the citrus peel - last year I used my kitchen veggie chopper & the cut was super-fine. I wanted something a little more substantial.

~ Moonshine Marmalade - dark & chunky ~
I also wanted a dark, caramel colour & flavor - something almost cooked too long, but removed just at that critical moment.

One of the extra ingredients that I put in right as I was jarring up the marmalade was a bit of locally made Moonshine!! Yup - booze again!

The jars will sit for a month or 2 to allow all the flavors to blend & meld together & then I'll haul out a jar for tasting & experimenting with. One suggestion has already been to use it as a glaze on some pork tenderloin... mmm....