Gardening #4: Signs of Harvest

Its taken a month to get the next gardening update in but here we are!

The main reason is that I haven’t done much gardening and there really hasn’t been much to update on. Most of my blooms from spring lasted quite a little while and now that summer is here, the garden is flourishing especially with the crazy amount of rain we got before the last few days of extreme heat.

Without further ado, lots to talk about. Let’s check it out!

Water Garden

Water Lilies

Compared to the 4 leaves it had when I first got it, this lovely water garden (aka. my one water lily) has a ton of leaves and two flower buds. Of course, one of them is blooming. I was so happy to see that I wasn’t doing anything wrong and taking good care of it. Its so nice to see during the day when I wake up and look outside that its thriving.

Front Garden

On one side of the garden, my Dianthus actually is blooming finally. It took long enough. I probably am thinking of moving it and replacing it with a row of hostas or something because this spot just lacks so much sun and along with bad soil that is still taking time to be better, its just making this grow so slow. My neighbors’ hostas were blooming at least a week before mine and they look like a few times bigger. However, I’m still trying to figure out what my big reno work for the front yard is so I’m hesitant to just move a plant and then have to move it again the year after.

 flowers

Another reason to redo the front is that my flower patch is starting to look really overgrown. I think its just that, in terms of flowers. I have flowers that open in spring, summer and fall which works great but then its so dense around. I just need to sit down and figure out what I want to keep. However, looking at all the flowers right now, I’m really happy. Obviously there is the Crimson Star as always but I do kind of want to move it now since its just out of control big.

Then we have these two. The roses were planted last year in this spot and I was worried that it wouldn’t make it but its small and cute but still managed to get 3 flowers bloomed. I’m so happy to see the touch of red. At the same time, the newcomer this year is this furry little plant and its also starting to bloom. I don’t think this is in the right spot but once I open up my side garden when its not suffocating weather for the bee/butterfly garden, this will go right in there.

Backyard

Raspberry Patch

Not a whole lot of change with these two except for just growth. Yeah, look at the raspberries. Apparently trimming it makes it grow even more out of control. Sad part is that we never got around to the strawberries but we fed a lot of happy bunnies. I’m not too mad about it. I’ve just accepted that its a reality. We are thinking of putting in some fences around it but its not going to make a difference.

Along the Patio

As for this little patch, I just opened up this year. Its actually looking alright. Everything is growing a little slow and I think it has to do with the soil quality. Nothing has died yet and I can see the little Cone Flower at the end still growing strong. Its not as big as the one in the back and nowhere near it, but once it adapts to its move, it should do much better next year (provided it survives).

Container Garden

We are lucky that we got a ton of lettuces this year because after the first harvest, we lost two already from the cucumber pot. However, everything else, particularly the kale is thriving. I have some lettuce coming back. My new non-lazy watering strategy is making everything grow beautifully. The cucumbers are looking fantastic. Actually they have a lot of flowers and some cucumbers forming so fingers crossed that we’ll get some harvest soon-ish, but not going to count my chickens before they hatch. We literally have kale feasts now. Its just way too big and we can’t eat it fast enough. The biggest success is that the bell peppers experiment turned out the the container one is doing much better. The picture is dark but if you squint really hard, you’ll see that there are two bell peppers growing. At the same time, this mosquito repellent garden is looking the best in the last few years. I’m really happy with it.

Vegetable Garden

In terms of the vegetable garden, I once again forgot a before and after picture. I just spent Canada Day weekend getting rid of all the horrible oxalis grass covering the entire area. Its one of the reasons I think that the cucumbers are looking yellow and sad. We did go to the Dollarama to pick up a sprinkler hose which is a great addition, except you might want to consider getting it somewhere a little better and more durable. Ours already broke twice so its already having a lot of duct tape fixes. What I can I expect with a $3 product? However, it lets me walk away to water the container garden while it just takes care of the watering for me. Zucchinis are the only one in this plot that has some growing. I’m hoping that it’ll all work out. Everything else is just moving along, except my herbs on the side. The lavender needs to probably be moved but my mint is out of control.

Overall & What to look forward to…

There been a ton of growth here. While there are some losses, its actually doing really well this year. I added in a watering system to the kale and cucumber container because it was just draining too much. Actually the watering systems work really well, especially the past few days when its been record high temperatures of 44 degrees Celsius or something. I do warn that the next update will be in August as we are coming up to Montreal Comiccon and Fantasia Film Festival. It might put a little stop in some stuff depending on the situation. However, I always have my first week of vacation coming up so hopefully we will have some more projects. I have a few goals. Maybe finally opening up my plot but we need something else to happen first which is in the works.

That’s it for this gardening update!
How is your gardens looking? Any harvest?

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Gardening 2018 #2: Garden Center Haul

2 weeks or so has past since the first Gardening 2018 post!

Time sure does fly by. I’ve been working hard on weeding and setting up the garden with what I have so far. There is still a ton of stuff to do but Victoria Day long weekend is the staple weekend where I go to the garden centre and pick up at least my first big haul! This year, I went back to Les Serres Jean-Francois Dauphinais.

This place is still one of my more favorite places to go to. I actually also made a quick stop over at Pepiniere Auclair.

Here’s a lovely mosaic of what I did pick up at the center as a starter and after, we’ll take a look at what I’ve planted and other garden updates as a follow-up from the last post.

Its the first year that my husband was fully awake to go to the garden centre with me and ended up leaving feeling like he enjoyed it. That is the difference of being on graveyard shift and normal shift (at least for him). It was a very different experience and he was a real champ and kept me company and helped me out a few times with the whole gardening thing. A different experience in some ways. This is definitely just the first batch and the two flowers are the only ones currently not planted in ground yet. We have a few little gardening clean-up areas left but my husband has been working on a few little things helping me open up some more of the garden this weekend as well.

Let’s take a look at how everything looks now!

First Part: Front Yard

The flower patch in the front yard definitely has grown a lot more since the last update. Amazing what two weeks could do. Crimson Star still doesn’t have any buds so I’m wondering if it will since its already much later than usual. The tulips are all blooming now and giving some beautiful colorful life to my front yard. Once these end, the yellow flowers in the back should bloom if things go well. Aside from that, it seems that my middle area is not coming back so I’m going to be moving something over that has been cramped up in a corner of the garden forever but I just never found a home for it. Update on that next time for sure!

Moving along, the Bleeding Hearts are looking spectacular. I’ll be posting some cool pictures of it over on Avenue of Daydreams over the next week or two. Its scheduled but I can’t remember when.

gardening

Honestly, this sad patch along the front facade of my house did get a nice trimming and yet again, I forgot to take a picture of it since the last time but the Dianthus seems to be coming back. This patch seems like its not having much perennials come back, however, as I walked around this week, I saw, what I believe is, the cone flowers coming back. Its the little leaves in the top right area. I remembered i had moved one there and it was shadowed by the hydrangeas but this year I trimmed the hydrageans so hopefully it’ll successfully come back.

Part 2: Strawberries & Raspberries

Enough said about this area. Its just growing out of control as usual. The strawberries are getting perkier and stronger every year. There are a lot of blossoms. Hopefully the bees are dropping by to pollinate it. As for the Raspberries, I’m trying to keep it under control but it sure looks like, its not exactly making much of a difference. I waited two weeks and already my lily is hidden in these raspberry shrubs already.

Part 3: Container Gardening

Marigolds

On with the container gardening! We are actually have quite a few of these this year despite saying that we’d have less. As usual, the planter for the ledge of the patio full of marigolds. Marigolds naturally repels mosquitoes so that is the purpose of them being at the edge. Talking about mosquito repellent, here is my mosquito repellent container.

Mosquito Repellent Container

Geranium Citronella, Lemongrass and Marigold makes up for my mosquito repellent container. I read somewhere that if you walk by the plant and brush your hands over it, it will help keep the bugs away. I did it on one arm and it didn’t get me but the other arm caught a mosquito bite. Even if its not effective, it still looks pretty nice. One of my prouder planting moments 🙂

Basil, Curled Parsley

A little change here as well. Usually I get a few herbs and plant them in a container garden. This year, we got the lavender that went into the ground right away (at least I chose to do that), leaving these two so I put them into a smaller pot. I’m hoping there’s enough space but the strong one will survive, right? It’ll make it out! *positive thoughts*

lettuce lettuce

Others may hang flowers in their hanging pots but since 2 years ago, we’ve been planting lettuce in hanging pots and let me tell you, they are quite successful usually. This year, we are changing it up and putting 2 lettuces instead of three. Three always ends up one being scrawny and sad so hopefully two will work out for the better. With that said, the lettuce this year was slightly weak and when I was taking them out, two broke off from their roots. I’m currently trying to revive them in water to hopefully sprout back some roots but don’t know if it will work.

As you can see, lettuce and cucumbers are dominant in the garden this year. With limited garden space as the expansion is still in progress, we are doing two cucumbers in containers this year and I did some companion planting research and paired them up with lettuce. Kale makes no difference so I just put it in since they don’t take a lot of space and we harvest them fairly quickly as we like to make kale chips and cook it.

The final two are just individual kale and my variety of lettuce containers. The highlight here is that I’ve rigged the top one with a watering system. To be honest, I don’t think the system works as well. The water goes down a little too fast for it to be useful. The wine bottle method in the bottom is definitely still doing the trick. I’m going to compare the two and see at the end of the season, which works better. Who knows before we observe for a little while longer.

Part 4: Vegetable Garden

echinacea

The echinacea is back! I’m really happy about that. I did lose one of them but at least one came back so I’m already fairly satisfied with it.

We put up the same fence as we had last year. Its to prevent bunny attacks on my lettuce. This part is the general informal entrance of my patch since you pretty much need to straddle the front trellis to get in. Its not tall but can still be hard to do. As you can see, my blueberries are growing well enough. The green onions are bursting with harvest and there in the middle is a cucumber plant. We needed to keep them near the mesh side and I’ll be getting a trellis to link it to the side.

Continuing to the other side and the full extension. The far left is all herbs. Lemon Mint and Oregano came back and in the center, I planted the Lavender. As for the rows, The first row is Marketmore cucumbers and Kale. The reason for this is to swap things around. I’ve planted zucchini in the front for a few years and its normal to change things around to help the soil replenish nutrients. Second row is all the Bok Choy. And the final row is English Cucumbers and Zucchini.

Part 5: Water Lily/Water Garden Debut

Water Lilies

Water Lilies

What can I say? I grew up with a pond in my backyard. Water gardens remind me of my dad. A part of me has always wanted a water garden so I made the effort to get a water lily and try to make it grow especially after my mom gave us these giant clay pots last year which was my dad’s. The water lilies was pretty pricey but I believe if you put them under soil over winter, its supposed to make it through every year. My mom is the expert on that so I’ll get more info from her soon.

And that’s it for the garden!
We have an idea of opening up a few more patches so my husband has been helping me a ton with that!
He makes the progress go a lot faster especially when opposite from my scattered mind of wanting to do everything at the same time, he actually focuses on one task.

Still some research! I’ll update with the flowers being planted in ground.
I just want to make sure that I open a big enough plot so that I can see the Clematis and it will give it the best chance of survival and blossom.
And a few moving plants about the garden coming up and pruning of a few trees.

Seems that this Gardening thing will be a biweekly deal as it currently stands.
I’m just a beginner gardener so its a journey all on its own.

Gardening Update #4: Rain & Harvests!

Welcome back to a long overdue Gardening update! It keeps getting bumped back and finally, now its time to report back after vacation.

Its been a rainy and gloomy summer. We can’t complain much because we live without the luxury of air conditioning in a bungalow so that means, when its hot, its boiling inside most of the time. Compared to last year, this is somewhat a heavenly situation especially on days where I need to record podcasts. However, plants and flowers aren’t like us and most of them need the sun and bees to pollinate in order to bear fruit aside from just water, which it also needs a lot of, of course. With that said, the garden is still doing pretty good. We started to have some harvests and the vegetables and flowers are all coming around.

In-Ground Garden

Gardening

Gardening

Gardening

zucchini

No blueberries or asparagus in these pictures as they are waiting for next year to have any harvest. However, they are so far doing quite well.

Here is the in-ground garden. Zucchinis are coming out now. The lettuce is actually doing worse than in the containers. You’ll see later. Cucumbers are also not doing as well as in the container however they are starting to form some cucumbers. Hopefully it’ll work out especially with all the rain. If only, there was more sun. One of the more solid plants are the Ground Cherry. The challenge so far is still actually getting it to ripen before it falls down. I had planted it two times before in containers with that same issue. Now I’m hoping planting it in-ground will do the trick so we can harvest some ground cherries soon. Its definitely looking strong.

Raspberry

On the other side is our trimmed but somehow still overgrowing raspberry shrub. Strawberries had their season and I would have shared the harvest but like a loser, I deleted all my pictures this past weekend off my phone when I was lining up for a Comiccon panel. Long story short, I don’t have it anymore and the season is over. We did have decent harvests but nothing as epic as what raspberry will be. We had two tupperware bowls already in the last two weeks, which is pretty impressive. As you see, there are still raspberries ripening so the rain and sun balance seems to work beautifully for it. Plus, raspberries are great to have as it also helps out the bees, which Canada has been acting on to encourage Canadians to plant more bee gardens. I got my bee garden kit, just trying to get the garden ready as it’ll be a raised garden that I’m trying to get ready.

Flower garden

In my flower patch, the flowers right now is my mini rose shrub and these yellow flowers. I have to remember to keep these in check as they spread really fast although they are super pretty. My cone flowers are also starting to bloom however, they are also super depressed because the rabbits now can’t access the vegetable garden and they decided that they’d snack on the cone flower leaves instead. They looked miserable for the longest time. And now there another one that I moved and suspect will have to move again. The flower garden needs to be restructured and organized. I’m pondering that at the moment.

Container Gardening

Herbs are doing fantastic. We’ve harvested some basil mostly and added it to our recipes. The others we keep fresh in the fridge. It gives us a reason to use fresh basil and make foods with it. As you may notice, my pineapple sage lost the fight with the storm and is not just one stem struggling to stay alive. At least it survived. I almost thought it was a total loss. The kale and cucumbers are doing great here. Pots do cucumbers miracles as they are growing well although, it won’t be successful until we actually get some cucumbers to harvest. Finally, there’s the eggplant. The over excessive rainfall and lack of sun seems to be affecting it the most as it gets more yellow everyday and its not really having anything yet.

Our lettuce harvests were probably the earliest. While they are growing slower now, they are still doing quite well. Especially since we have them in-ground and in two hanging baskets.

Finally, the last thing is our kale. Its been doing fantastic. We’ve really only been making kale chips out of them. I should really post up the recipes for it that we use. I promise I will soon. The kale has been treating us well. As this post goes up, I’ve been thinking of harvesting my next batch this evening and making some more chips.

That’s it for this gardening recap!
How are your gardens doing?

Recap: Miss Fresh #10

And we are back with another recap for Miss Fresh! Can you believe its been ten boxes?  Thinking about it. I guess we’re pretty casual meal subscribers, right? Either way, these things do average more than how I’d do groceries but the convenient and hassle-free  feeling sometimes is well worth it. Miss Fresh hasn’t let me down a lot. Only a few disappointing recipes and some issues in the earlier recaps but so far, they’ve been pretty solid.

The recipes lately haven’t quite been to our taste so it was hard to really settle on one. This one seemed to be the answer but it turned out that two of them were just suitable for my husband. That’s okay as well. As long as they are tasty. 🙂

Moving right along!

Polish Sausage Penne with Kale and White Beans

Miss Fresh

Possibly one of the meals that peaked my interest and was hopefully a win and it definitely was. We’ve never had polish sausage before and they tasted great. Penne was good along with the kale added in along with the white beans for added texture. It tasted very good. I did have a minor issue with the original cook time they gave for the sausages not working out too well but I ended up cooking them through in the pan in the final bit so everything worked out in the end. 🙂

One Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl with Black Beans and Cheddar Cheese

Miss Fresh

We’re fairly unfamiliar with the whole Mexican scene of foods (or what I suppose a Burrito bowl originated from). The husband had both of these servings  because of the whole  raw foods thing but it was a breeze to put together and the chicken was marinated with mexican spices and that tasted really good. My only comment on this, which my husband confirmed was that there was way too much onions in this recipe.

Crispy Stir Fry Pork, Rice Noodles and Red Cabbage

Miss Fresh

I’m a little on the fence with this one. On one hand, I do like the taste of the dish except it never got the crispy part for myself. I did end up making two versions. This is the intended version and my version is with cooked red cabbage. I do have to say that I’d marinate the pork like they did here because it tastes pretty good. Not exactly my favorite but it was good enough.

Mini Spinach Quiches with Swiss and Sumac

Miss Fresh

My husband was the one who had both portions of this one because there is cheese in the egg mixture for the quiche and also cheese as the topping. Quiches are usually a fallback when things are hard to put together in the kitchen. Enough to say that this one was super easy to put together. This one did have an additional step of making spinach in the pan before putting it in the oven with the egg mixture. He did enjoy this a lot. There was a good balance and he liked the spice which I assume is sumac. I’ve never used sumac before and not exactly sure what it tastes like.

Overall, this box was a bit of a gamble but I think we ended up winning since while it was pretty experimental for some dishes, we did try out some new simple recipes and flavors and it all worked out pretty good. My favorite dish personally had to be the Polish Sausage Penne.

What do you think of these meals?