Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Once again this year, Ben and I will be making our organic compost available to the city of Toronto gardeners!! I had lots of great reviews last year from folks, so we decided to share again! Each bag is $5 and will cover approximately 10 sq. feet 2 inches thick. I begin delivering to Toronto: April 23rd (Dufferin Grove), April 25th (Green Barns), April 30th (Dufferin Grove) & May 2nd (Green Barns). More dates may become available in May as delivery is needed. I ask that you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with name, phone number and number of bags ordered and date and market you wish to pick up at. You will be put on my compost list! Do not wait too long, as we shut down compost orders once we get busy on farm with other various tasks. I've also decided to create this blog to assist you Torontonian's with some answers to your numerous questions I've received via email thus far. I hope this helps out.....
1. "Do you sell bulk quantities at a discount?" a. no, sorry.
2. "Is this plant based or animal based compost? Is it organic?" a. All animal based and completely organic! Here's the story: We grow all our own certified organic hay, oats and grain crops. Our horse eats only our own food source! Her manure, her small contribution, is piled along with our neighbours cow manure behind our barn. Our neighbour is certified organic dairy. He buys the straw from our grain crops, uses our straw for 'bedding' for his cows and our payment is 'used bedding', a.k.a. manure! The pile is concentrated and is turned twice annually. Micro organisms do their job by breaking down or decomposing the pile until we are left with odorless black gold, rich with nutrients! We run it through a dirt shredder so it contains no lumps and is easily spreadable.
3. "How much do I use for two big planters? Is this compost suitable for vegetables?" a. As much as I would like to magically know the dimensions of everyone's planters, I do not. I can tell you that this compost is perfect for all vegetable crops along with flowerbeds or lawns too! Don't overload is one word of advice! It is nitrogen rich, so if you dump tons on a vegetable garden for example you will have lush, lush growth, but little yield!! This website will help: COMPOSTING Council of Canada located at http://www.compost.org/compost.html. Scroll down to 'How can I use compost' and you will be happy to see discussions about topdressing, flowerbeds, tree planting, vegetable gardens, mulch and lawn establishment. If you have any additional questions not covered here, please don't hesitate to email and I will do my best to get back to you!
Ahh, the last day of March! I took these greenhouse progress pics this morning! Onions are doing quite well, actually everything is! I am feeding with a natural fish fertilizer now. All the cats are howling and I'm tripping over them while I work. Lettuce is sizing up nice. Most of this large early lettuce planting is designated for greenhouse no. 3 project. Early head lettuce this year! Tomatoes are gorgeous! I've done quite a bit of transplanting. One of the biggest jobs this week will be transplanting all our field varieties. Our basket type along with romas!! This is a favourite job of Ben's mom! 'Babca' and her tomato plants!!
A while back, Ben began working on this particular project. We removed all the tables from our no. 3 greenhouse, amended the soil nicely adding compost and field soil and planted some early spring crops! By the end of April we should be able to offer the markets Spinach, salad greens, bunching onions, radish, Asian greens, arugula, head lettuce by beginning/mid May etc, etc. I'm also popping in some tomato plants too, so I should have some amazingly early heirlooms & cherry tomatoes this year! And flavour wise, they will be awesome! 'Greenhouse tomatoes' have a reputation for being tasteless and boring. I've sampled some before. However we are not using synthetic soil here! This is genuine field soil and compost! Just a glass roof overhead to control moisture and temperature during cooler nights for the first little while. I did a trial run with heirlooms in there last year. They were excellent! So no worries on quality!! I'll make sure to blog again when it's nice and green!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Beginning top to bottom with pics: first one shows the 'green' progress compared to last week! Then a baby red leaf lettuce. I believe this is the variety 'Sangria', the awesome red butterhead! Next one of my heirloom tomatoes, then herbs. I grew more herbs this year than last. This year I will have available: Parsley, Cilantro, Margoram, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Tarragon and Stevia. Last is a baby Basil! One of my more favourite plants to grow, as these tiny leaves have the basil aroma already! Just like rubbing a baby tomato plant to get that awesome tomato smell!!
3rd posting showing greenhouse progress. Lots more green! Today Ben and I seeded our celery while Ben's mom seeded our leek crop. All the while thunder rumbling in the background to the south...have lots of pictures, so I'll break it up into two quick blogs for this week. Top to bottom with pictures... first is cabbage seedlings! Funny how we still have bins and bins of actual cabbage in storage and now we are seeding again! Next is onion seedlings. Ben and I have now moved them out of the warm part of the greenhouse. Onions like it cool. Soon it will be time for a first haircut! The black riding on top the onions is of course just the seed shell....next down is more onions. They have really grown since the last blog!! Then a picture of our vacuum seeder. I am doing celery with this contraption. There is information regarding how this puppy works in the mother site under 'greenhouses'. Celery is difficult to seed, as it is very small. Seed is inexpensive so often more than one seed goes into each cell. Wait until they grow, then the extra can be moved out and transplanted or simply composted. Last, but certainly not least is Sophie, my mother in law seeding the leeks! Same process as with the onoins. We are growing the same amount as last year, but we will be hilling them this year in the field, meaning the white shaft should be a lot longer this time......
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Second greenhouse blog.... I will make an effort to post once weekly to show 'green progress'. Pictures this week of onions, asian greens, herbs and Ben going over last years seed plantings. These seed planting records are required for our certification and are also required BY ME as just good business policy. It is essential to keep track year by year. What worked, what didn't. How much planted and when, date in field etc, etc. We have alot of tomatoes up, cabbage, peppers, lettuce seeded as well. It is certainly NOT late by any means to seed any of these crops. We strive to be early. We also love what we do, so working with the seeds and seedlings is a labour of love completely and a wonderful way to say goodbye to winter. Alot of these early crops can handle cooler temps once established (onions, greens) and a lot will be transplanted in one of our other greenhouses for early spring crops. Others of course are field bound, but all early asian greens and lettuces will be covered (keeps lettuce a few degrees warmer, sizes up heads faster and also deters flea beetles that love to ransack early asian greens!!) Peppers love heat, so unless you have lots of warmth, no rush to seed peppers. We germinate peppers on top of our greenhouse furnace often! So things are running smoothly so far....
Friday, March 6, 2009
Here we go! Some pictures of seedlings making their 2009 appearance I took today! These are pictures of our sprouting Onions, Asian Greens, Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato (note this little one's first 'true' leaves!) and a Lettuce seedling!!! It is time for some GREEN PHOTOS!! As the weeks move along, I will show greenhouse 'green' progress and many more pictures of young crops. The last little piles of snow disappeared today and a warm wind was blowing. Ducks and Chickens running about and Lady Bug the Horse even went for a short jog,... spring is almost here....