Saturday, October 4, 2014

A year of "Gardening With Sheen" Photo Highlights

  It was a great year of Home Gardening here at The Forge. My faithful friend Sheen has been helping me every step of the way. She's not camera shy in the least. ( maybe a bit of a 'camera ham' ) Here are some of her favourite gardening pics from 2014.

  We tilled the ground and started from seeds. I used my grandmothers 'Po-hone' (as she calls it), which is a 3 spade hoe, to break up the ground and removed the stones and other debris. I did this three times before I was satisfied and ready to seed. (Sheen helped with seeding). We dug little troughs and just dumped in a Bunch-O-Seeds and covered it back up.

I stuck Cheap Chop Sticks in the ground on the ends of where these 'seeding lines' were to assist in knowing where NO to step as well as help in the early weeding process and knowing where to expect new growth. I found doing this has been extremely beneficial all year long in remembering where things are. Grocery Stores sell packs of cheap and nicer Bamboo Chop Sticks. Or just keep all of your 'take out' chopsticks.

In a few months the garden went from nothing..... Full Bloom

Our First Cucumber:
Planted late in the season from our trip to Esbenshades.
Sheen is showing off the Swiss Chard:
We got these from Esbenshades because they were colourful. It grows in Bright Yellow, Orange and Red. The the leaves are nice in a salad. The stalks are a bit bitter, but I read they should be steamed.

Sheen sized Carrots:
 We deliberately started with short carrots. I planted too many seeds too close together so they kinda grew together. Next year I plan to build a raised bed for carrots so they will be easier to dig out of the ground.

White Pumpkin:
Only one grew and the vine dried up quickly so it didn't get much bigger than this. It's currently being used as a fall decoration. This was grown just more for fun.

3 started growing but developed black spots quickly. I reclaimed some seeds from the largest one. Will start earlier next year.

 Sheen lost in the Jungles of Lettuce:
This was a packet of Various Lettuce types. Now in October they are still going strong. I have transplanted a few into pots to continue indoors in the winter. I separated my favourites from the 'less tasty' ones and spread them out. I will make a cover to keep the winter snow off of. My stepmom grows Lettuce in the cold season, so I will take a cue from her and attempt the same.

I got 3 plants from Esbenshades late in the season. I planted 2 outside and one inside. I believe you are supposed to snip the flowers the first year to promote a better crop in the second year, but Sheen enjoyed seeing colour other than green in the garden. We only had a handful to eat this year, but have plans on maximizing our crop next year.

Time to eat:

Experimenting with a Dehydrator:
We had a GREAT bounty of little Tomatoes. So much so that We decided to try drying some for dry storage for Winter Soups. The Tomatoes I cut in half and placed them with the cut side facing up and skin side down. Cucumbers I tried sprinkling with Herbs and Spices to make tasty snacks. I used Pepper, Pink Salt, Curray, and Dill. I grew the Dill myself and dried it earlier in the season. I have enough Dried DILL to last the Winter. I purchases some 'back up' Dill in case I run out.. It SOOOO doesn't taste the same. 

I don't have any pics of it from my garden, but I will spend a moment to talk about it. It was the first plant to break soil, the first to produce and didn't stop till I cut it down. I cut it off with 2" left above ground just to see what it would do. It regrew and starting producing within 2 weeks. Best was that it took up so little room, Tall and Slender, and such a overly bountiful. How much I threw away before I thought of drying it. I have always been a fan of "Cooking with Spices" and I was never a Dill fan before I grew my own. On Potato's or Pork Chops. In Egg Omelets or on Burgers.

GREEN BEANS were a disappointment. I planted too many too close together and they grew too tall and dense. They were very bountiful very quickly, but it was a bit UN-manageable. We may plant a single one next year. We did several kinds of TOMATOES but were only happy with the tiny Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes The larger white and red variety just didn't do anything. I was surprised how tall the TOMATO Vines got. I plan on building a Bamboo Terrace to support them better for a greater crop next year. My Stepmom Pam taught me about Canning this year and I hope to do some of my own next year. We tried PEPPERS, however I think the seeds were just too old. 

October 2014:
We are already seeing progress with the LETTUCE and SPINACH we seeded 2 weeks ago.

Looking towards Spring 2015:
We have saved the seeds from our crops that did well in 2014 so that we can try to be self sustaining in NOT having to buy new seeds or plants next year. I also hope that by seeding from the previous years crop, we will grow a better crop from repeating this process. 

New for next year I am considering doing Raspberry and Blackberry Bushes, as well as Rhubarb and Garlic. 

Sheen and I will post more gardening blogs as new things grow.

Here are a few of the catalogues I am currently browsing: 

Meow (Goodnight)

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