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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

The Budding Gardener

At the gardenWhile Val worked on her term paper this weekend, I took advantage of the sunshine and mild temperatures to honor my name by working on our vegetable garden. It was exciting and a bit scary: I didn’t know if I was doing things right and I didn’t want to kill off our seedlings or sow our seeds incorrectly (I think I placed them too low… we’ll see).

Strawberry and lettuceI’m at the point where I’m just beginning to realize that I’m in total ignorance about gardening. I used to think it was easy; now, researching about how to grow food properly, I keep reading about nitrogen-fixing this and bolting that, about transplant shocks, companion plants, crop rotation, disease control, and lots more concepts that I don’t know how to tie together. I hear enough about these things to recognize I’m doing things far from optimally (I didn’t mulch the site last Fall, I waited too long to weed it out, and I waited even longer to transplant the seedlings), so I’ll be satisfied with a very modest crop this season. But I’ll learn fast—especially thanks to several friends who have been giving me plenty of great advice and seeds.

Spring sunsetI used up slightly less than half of our veggie patch. I filled it up with lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, strawberries, and two kinds of peas. The rest of the patch is waiting for warmer weather and will hopefully feature several varieties of tomatoes (including tomatillos) and hot peppers (jalapeño and chile ancho), zucchini, and edible flowers. I hope we’ll be able to share this with some of you, and more bountiful harvests on years to come.

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Picking apples

Val is ready to pick some applesA new friend here in Victoria told us about the LifeCycles Project and its fruit picking activities: if you have a fruit tree in your garden you can call them, and they’ll schedule a team of volunteers to come pick its fruit. You get a share (about a quarter), the volunteers get a share (another quarter), and the LifeCycles Project donates the rest to local non-profits. Turns out our friend is a team lead with LifeCycles, and was wondering if Val and I wanted to join in. Let’s see…

  1. spend a few Sunday hours chatting and doing light work outdoors,
  2. get lots of ultra-local, organic, delicious produce,
  3. and contribute with local food banks and community centers.

Awesomeness from every angle!

Mushi inspects the fruit of our labourWe spent some three hours last Sunday picking apples from three different trees (King, Golden Delicious, and an unidentified third kind). In total we collected about 200kg of fruit. Our share was two boxes, about 15kg! Fortunately they keep well.

So far it’s been apples every day, as well as applesauce and apple salad. An apple pie or crumbler is rumoured to be in the works this weekend. I guess I’d normally get tired of so much of it after a while, but the fruit tastes fantastic and I am quite fond of it, having picked some of it myself.

The picking season is nearly over, but I think there will still be a few trees to pick, so if you’re in Victoria let me know if you’d like to join, and we can go together!

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