Friday, November 6, 2009

Mushroom post.

This is just a post with mushroom pictures that I've taken. They're so pretty, thus I post!

The end of summer = HALLOWEEN!

Fall is now slowly coming to a close. I have begun wintering all our plants, raking up and dumping piles of leaves on everything. Since our disgusting, nasty, dangerous garage is coming down, we moved all the plants out of the way. The strawberries got HUGE, Janine divided them and we have multiplied from 4 small plants, to something in the area of 12-15... crazy! The poor plants have had to live through 3 different transplantations in the time we've owned them... hopefully they'll survive another major move back when we get the ground all settled in again!

What also grew was the rhubarb! Upon digging it up, I discovered that the root balls had DOUBLED in size! Insane!!!

We finished off our last bag of frozen summer blueberries... which is incredibly sad as it's only November. However, we do still have like, 5 bags of whole strawberries, plus 5 or 6 bags of mushed up strawberries intended for jam, a bag of blackberries, two bags of tayberries and god only knows what else.

Halloween related, we ended up getting two lovely pumpkins out of the garden! Thanks, Talia for the plants!! One of them never turned orange, but all the kids thought it was OMGSOCOOL because it was a "black" pumpkin. Haha, not so much. Green, actually! I carved them up and put tealights and set them outside for the night of Hallows Eve

Also, I discovered a tree of crabapples in my neighbourhood. It's on city property, the apples are ripe, and no one's touched them... THUS, THEY ARE MINE!!!!!

I've also taken lots of pictures with my iPhone depicting all the mushrooms around, there are TONS and they have such wonderful colour. Granted they are highly poisonous, but they're pretty to look at! Enough pictures in this post though, next one!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall Colours

My garden is really starting to die back in extraordinary colours. My hostas are showing signs of impending winter and the edges are turning this enchanting orange colour. My pumpkins are ripening away, I may have one for Halloween!!

My mom received a huge Vesey's order today, I happened to be at her house while she opened it. I drooled, I will admit that. Made me think of what I want to order.

Speaking of ordering, I FINALLY found a water bowl that I like! I'm so excited, and it won't cost me an arm and a leg. Janine is giving it to me as a early Christmas present, but I have to pick it up since I have more free time than her. It's not super big, but it's very cute, and I will make it cute! We are putting in a bubbler, so that it will make happy water noises that don't sound like someone urinating. Excellent.

Oh, and here's a picture of my hydrangea blooming. I think it's confused...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall is definitely here

The weather! It's a changin! The sky has turned that brilliant blue colour, and I now need to wear pants when gardening, because I get too cold.

The hydrangea has decided to bloom.

Yes, you heard me right. It has buds. Some of them have turned out to be blue! It's very pretty, it'll be a nice shot of colour right at the end. Speaking of colour, my hostas are slowly turning yellow, just a touch and just along the edges. It's a sign that fall is indeed upon us. The zinnias are still trying to take over, and my corn lilies finally bloomed!!!! Also, this cool Kingfisher plant we got at the Vandusen Plant sale last spring also finally bloomed. It's a native plant. Very pretty.

I cut one of the sunflower heads too early, the seeds taste too green, it's disappointing. There is still one more attached to a plant.

Have one more batch of tomatoes to pick, and then that will be pretty much it for the season. There will be some green ones, so we'll figure out what to do with them! And the peas came back! WEIRD.

They tore a house down across the alley from us, and dug up a bunch of bamboo stalks, root balls intact, so I pilfered them and stuck them in the ground. After the garage comes down, it will be all along the back as a privacy barrier. It's PRETTY bamboo, exactly what I wanted!!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Indian Summer"

I am vexed at using the term "Indian Summer", but I'm not sure what else to call it... it's hot out, like 28 degrees hot out. Everyone had given up on the hot weather and had pulled out the fleece and the wool socks and put on the down quilt, and then OH! Summer wasn't QUITE done yet. Except now we have our winter quilt on our bed and I keep waking up sweating. Not so good.

The garden is starting to slack a little bit, I cut off the one and only acorn squash that grew (since it was an "oh, what's this? Oh we'll just tend it and see what grows" kind of plant, it was nice that we even got one! That vine was pulled up, chopped and composted, as was the two gourd vines that were also "plant surprise" vines. Everything was kinda mildewy and rotting anyways and looked messy. The cucumbers are still attempting to grow something so they can keep going until I pull them up too. Everything that's growing against the garage has to come out by the end of October, because of the imminent garage teardown, which will add another 300sq ft of garden space!!! Mostly patio space, but planters are nice!!! The tomato forest has finally stopped producing flowers!!!! Now it can focus on finishing up the last batch of tomatoes, and we can focus on figuring out what to do with all of them (have made like, 8 trays of dried tomatoes by now, but they're sooooooooo good).

The sweet peas are still going crazy, we have been cutting them and putting them in various places around the house/giving them to people. They have this wonderful delightful scent that I find intoxicating. My neighbours vastly enjoyed the plums, the tree is now able to recover from FALLING OVER due to the sheer weight of them. Have like, a bagillion in the fridge. My dad made my Uncle Bill's plum cake, which is so good that I ignored my allergies and chowed down anyways. Is always worth the pain.

Tomorrow is this awesome event called Feast of Fields ( which is my favourite fall event put on by the wonderful Farm Folk/CityFolk people. Check it out, there is so much food. We always end up kinda rolling around after the event.

Janine made vegan, gluten free lasagna and it was so good I almost cried. I suggested putting in the vegan cream cheese, and it was TO DIE for. I love her, I really really really do. :) I also love this picture of the Black-Eyed Susans I took in my mom's garden.

I leave you with this last picture of Leg-o-Less in my mom's garden. He was a gag gift. And then he fell off the table, broke both his legs and had to have them glued back on, hence the name. :) My mom also acquired a hippo named Horace as a result of my further shenanigans.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Labour Day really is "day of labour" this year

In the past I have spent labour day lounging about on the beach with my best friend, building sandcastles and eating my mom's homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. Not so much this year. This year, I will be looking longingly at the mess in my garden (it's amazing how uruly it looks after neglecting it to go on vacation for a week) as I get up and prepare to conquer yet another day at the hospital.

Janine and I took a vacation down to Whidbey Island, where my family owns a very tiny piece of property in a "members only" campsite. But it's a small piece of paradise. It's so beautiful there. In Coupeville, which is so awesome, there is a garden store. Janine and I visit this garden store everytime we go. They have amazing stuff. I actually dragged out Janine's iTouch and made a list of all the plants we found that we wanted to insert into our garden. A couple of particularly lovely specimens caught our eyes, as did the stunning mini water gardens (set in a pot with a small pump and then some pond plants, so so cool and something we have wanted to do for awhile).

Good news on the garden front, our landlord came over the day we were leaving for Whidbey and put up the lattice to block off under the deck area. It looks a MILLION times better. Now to acquire some landscape fabric to smother the weeds! I will take a picture and post it, but probably not until I am finished working, as it is now dark out when I leave for work, and dark when I get home.

My new favourite sandwich involves cucumber and basil from the garden, along with whatever sandwhich meat (organic and gluten free!) we have in the house, vegan cream cheese and rice bread.

The zinnias took over. And the gladiolouses bloomed some more, and some of them are white! Which means we have beautiful delicate, frilly looking pink and white, plain white and these gorgeous deep red ones that look like velvet. I picked a giant bucket of tomatoes, Janine is going to make another batch of oven dried tomatoes. Very very tasty.

Oven Dried Tomatoes:
Slice cherry tomatoes in half, spread on large baking sheet (so that they're only one layer deep), drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme if you wish, and put in the oven at 200 Celcius for 8 hours. Although check on them every 2. They are done when they dry out, but before they burn!!! If you have really good tomatoes, these things taste like candy. We stuck them all in a bag and put it all in the freezer to enjoy when it hasn't stopped raining for 40 days and nights.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We planted a lot this year, after having never done it before, aside from growing basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Both of us grew up with parents who were avid gardeners, and so it was never a question of "what are we going to do back here", more of a "so how do we whittle down our list of things we want to plant?".

Since it was our first year, we decided to opt with generally easy crops. Everything was started from seed (except 3 cucumber plants, which we bought at the market after our seeded cucumbers failed miserably). We planted three different kinds of cherry tomatoes, broccoli, chinese cabbage (wa wa sei), leeks, fennel, two different kinds of beets, snap peas, snow peas, "rhubarb" chard, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce and peppers. Talia, as our engagement present, gave us 2 pumpkin plants she had started from seed (she knows us well), Dana gave us some artichoke plants she stared from seed, and Maren's friends gave us rhubarb plant (and some lovely lavender, which we still haven't decided on a spot!). A couple things popped up, including a gourd plant and an acorn squash!

Since this year was an overwhelming success (with the glaring exception of the leeks and broccoli), we plan to expand next year and donate some to the neighbourhood houses, who give out fresh veggies to families who can't afford it.

The winter crop has yet to be planted, which includes turnips, winter squash and more cabbage.

Last night we picked the last of the fennel and a bunch of carrots, and Janine made leek and potato soup with veggies from the market, and I made the absurdly easy veggie bake, which is to cut up a bunch of veggies (we had carrots, fennel, huge elephant garlic courtesy of Dana's garden, chipolini onions from the market, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper) chuck em into a large casserole dish, cover and bake at 375 C for 30-45 minutes. Insanely healthy, insanely good.

The three of us also wandered down towards the park and picked a large bucket-full of blackberries, which have now been washed, spread on a tray and are freezing. Dunno what we'll do with them yet.

Bought some pears at the market this past weekend, Janine plans to can them! Yummy!

Our landlord is coming by today to put up the much-anticipated lattice that will block off the ugly view of the under-the-deck area, which is full of weeds. If we owned the house, I would put down black landscape fabric and put a load of river rock. My parents did it, it's stunning. We might do the landscape fabric anyways, but we'll see.

I want to put in a pond. Can renters do that????

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Today was my first time trying to manipulate the darn trimmer, very awkward. I had to pull it apart and not coat myself in grass, fiddle with it, then screw it up a dozen times before I finally got it to work properly.

Oh, and I tried to edge the walks. I did OK. Will post a picture, you can decide.

Stuff in the garden

I should perhaps, offer a description of our garden. We live in Zone 8b (jealous?), half a block from a large forest. Our house is south facing, but the entire front yard is in shade, thanks to lovely huge fake-maple trees inhabiting the front boulevard. In the back is a large, ugly, useless, decrepid garage, which is coming down in October!!!!

This is both Janine and I's first year growing a garden. Our house is a rental house, so everything that goes in will probably stay (except for the plants). We dug up SO much, I spent most of March digging weeds out of the ground just so we had somewhere to plant! It was very very satisfying. We also found some pre-existing plants, which we were excited about. Most specifically a BEAUTIFUL peony and two stunning orange poppies. They were absolutely buried under all the crap, all invasive, all very very annoying.

It's hard to imagine that those above pictures are now filled with green leafy things, 10ft tall sunflowers, roses, zinnias, borage, and gladioluses, and an assortment of other green things.

More updates later, Janine managed to figure out how to make chocolate ganache without using dairy!!! YUMMY!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

First Post!!!

It's the middle of August and I've only now decided to blog about the experience of turning a desolate waste of shit into a garden! Yay!

Stuff is starting to die off a little now, although my much delayed sweet peas are still doing fantastic, despite having flopped over during the last rain shower.

We have harvested an entire bowl full of cherry tomatoes (we started from seed sungold, sweetie and something else, a yellow pear shaped one, but we accidentally gave those all away when they were just seedlings). They have since been poked, sprinkled with salt, pepper and garden aquired basil, and have been popped into the oven at 250 degrees celcius for the past 3 hours. They'll go into a bag and into the freezer to enjoy when it's 3 degrees and pouring rain outside. We're waiting on the everbearing raspberries to have their second go-around right now. Just waiting patiently. And we're about to be innundated with plums. Anyone want some prune plums???

We've already started planning our garden for next year! It's mostly to do with moving stuff around. Because we moved in with a bunch of random crap already in the garden, we didn't really know what to do with it all. Now we know, and will commence moving stuff around once things start to go dormant for the winter.

Chores to be accomplished:
-put the half dead zucchini plant out of it's misery... into the compost bin.
-stir said compost bin.
-mow the grass
-actually use the damn trimmer