Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Poles and supports

While it is far too early for planting tomatoes and beans, it is not too early to make sure you have everything ready when time comes to bring out the tomato plants and plant the beans.  These last few days I have been busy setting up supports for them.
Tête-à-tête daffodils
Tête-à-tête daffodils

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More Early Vegetables

As you might have guessed from previous posts, I have a special liking for perennial vegetables or, at least, vegetables that in one way or another come back in spring. Whether they are really perennial or self seed, I like the idea of a vegetable that you did not have to plant or seed. I have already talked of turnip tops and various onions that survive the winter, here are a few more hardy vegetables.
Cultivar of Tulipa greigii

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pruning Roses

This last week, I finished pruning my roses. Pruning a rose bush is a job that requires a bi-polar mind. On the one hand you do not want to remove too many of the healthy canes that are ready to bloom. On the other,  you know the bush will look much better if you prune a fair bit of wood. The secret to success is a balancing act between keeping and discarding enough.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Friday, April 12, 2013

April is the Cruellest Month

Cruellest in this case, not because it stirs dull roots with spring rain, but on the contrary because of all the false starts to spring it brings.

We woke up this morning in the middle of a ice storm. The following pictures were taken this afternoon on April 12th.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

From Wales to Egypt

This title suggests an interesting travelogue from Northern Europe to North Africa. Actually, the article is about the lowly onion. In fact, it is about two less common onions: the Welsh onion and the Egyptian onion. Both are perennial and particularly useful at this time of the year. One of them is also very decorative in summer.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Turnip Turns up Unexpectedly

Turnip top

You might wonder what this miserable, half frozen plant is. Well, it is our best winter vegetable as it looks in still frozen soil emerging from a hard winter!

Foliage turnip, also known as turnip tops or turnip green, is a green vegetable associated with the south. I cannot remember anyone growing it in the two areas of Ontario where I have lived. Three years ago, I found seeds for it - at a dollar store of all places. With no best-before date on the package, the seed was likely old. But, at 25 cents a package and having never grown turnip tops before, I was curious to try it, and I got some seeds. The variety I got is called “Seven Tops” and it turns out to be an amazing vegetable for our cold climate.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Having been away from home for four months, it was with trepidation that we returned today. Would everything be OK? Would the driveway be cleared of snow? (In the past, we sometimes have had to shovel for a few hours simply to get over the windrow built up by the snow plough in front of our driveway over the winter). It was a frantic day, as we arrived around 1:30 pm, and the house had been closed down since late November. This meant the water pipes had been drained, the water turned off, the electric system disconnected (we are off grid), the router put away, the water pump and the fridge stopped and, especially, the house unheated.