Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cooking with wood

One of the nice things about fall is that once again we start using our wood cookstove. Most people think it is antique stove. In fact, it is a modern cookstove that uses wood and does not have any electric or electronic component. Using it is rather different from using a standard stove, and you have to get used to the way it cooks. Having only such a stove would be awkward and too hot in summer, so we also have a propane stove. However, at this time of the year and in winter, the wood cookstove is what we mostly use.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Using leaves

Leaves are our main source of humus for the garden. We could easily get manure, but we prefer not to as we are on limestone, and apparently this type of rock filters ground water very little. We are afraid we would pollute our well which is very close to the garden. In many agricultural areas in Ontario, because of the spreading of manure, water from some wells is undrinkable, because it is too high in nitrogen. Our well water pass tests with flying colours and to make sure it stays that way, we only use leaves and leaf mold as soil amendment.

Semi-composted leaves in autumn

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fog and Rain

I was thinking of writing a post about our climate in the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario.  Specifically I wanted to write about the fact that it is rather on the dry side, despite the influence of the Great Lakes.  Before I started, I thought I should check how much rain we actually get in a year.  I discovered we get a lot more than I thought. However, it would appear that the amount of rain is not as important as how it falls, especially when you compare how much rain falls different places in the world.

Field to the east of the house in October

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tomato Support

In a post I wrote last spring, I mentioned that I was going to try growing tomatoes on a grid this summer. If I remember well, I got the idea from Fine Gardening. I did put up such a grid and found out it had several advantages, but also a few drawbacks. Here is my assessment of this technique.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Plant Pots

I like pots and planters, but it means more work at this time of the year as they have to be emptied and stored away. Some of the glazed ones are supposed to be able to survive winter, but it is all relative. I expect they could survive -5C, but I am very doubtful they would come out intact after a week at -20C.
Pots drying in the sun before being stored for the winter

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Garlic and Strawberries

You might wonder what these two have in common. In fact, nothing that I can see, except that I have spent the day working with both. First, I spent the morning planting garlic and then, in the afternoon, I made a new strawberry bed. Garlic is very easy to grow, so it is a mystery that, in winter, most of the garlic in stores comes from China. Besides, the garlic you grow yourself seems to keep much longer than the one you buy (perhaps because the one you buy is already relatively old when you get it).

Fresh Garlic Bulbs

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


This post is made up of several pictures taken in the last few days of unusual things, at least unusual for me. The first one is a picture of a tree frog. Friday morning, after a storm in the previous night, this tiny tree frog was blown onto a window pane of the porch door.  I think it is actually a Spring Peeper, as it has an X on its back. Their maximum size is 3cm, but they have quite a voice. They start singing in spring even before the snow is all gone.

Spring Peeper tree frog

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Seed Saving

This is the major seed collecting time in the gardening calendar. Some seeds have had to be collected earlier, but most are only ripening now, in the fall. Ideally, they should be left on the plant as long as possible to give them time to completely ripen. There is a fine line, however, between making sure seeds are ripe and waiting so long that the seeds are blown off in the wind. Some of the ones I collect are for use the next year (for instance, seeds of heritage tomatoes or of annual flowers, like yellow cosmos). Others I gather to send in for the seed exchanges I take part in.

Bottle gentian seeds