9.25.2013

The Evolution of the Carrot (Harvested from the Garden)

The time to harvest the last of the garden has finally arrived. I have been so patiently, and eagerly, awaiting this! Most of the vegetables have finished by now, of course. As the vegetable garden was planted quite late this year, the carrots, cucumber, the last of the tomatoes, and some lingering kitchen greens and herbs, are still to come.
Carrot Tops
I began pulling the carrots on the weekend, my pair of cucumbers (one, that my daughter immediately ate), and what ripe tomatoes I could find. I wanted to get as much of what was there, in, before the weather turned too harshly. I had to stop after the first bushel of carrots…

9.23.2013

Vertical Vegetables, on a Platter of Raised Garden Bed.

Vertical gardening, landscaping and roof top gardens, have all been a fascination of mine for many years now. When you can’t grow out, why not grow up? The plants want to grow there anyway. It is wonderful to see that these progressive and sustainable landscaping ideas are becoming such a growing trend in the dense urban centers of many countries around the world. Let the cities breath!

Recently, I have been collecting together heaps of new and inspiring edible landscaping ideas to evaluate which will best suit my new urban edible garden design. My ultimate goal is a micro-farm, or “Urban Homestead”. I want to be growing as many of the vegetables, fruits and herbs that my family will need for the year, at home, on our small urban plot of land. As I have mentioned in previous posts, vertical gardening will ultimately be the best way to utilize my small space. Once I have decided on which vertical garden designs and techniques will best suit the gardens here, this will be a large part of the additions to the garden of next year.

The yard I am now working with has been green lawn for many years... This means, in order to transform the area into ground level garden space a whole heck of a lot of back breaking work will be required! Raised garden beds will be the perfect solution. Again, I am still pondering the exact design. I want to find the most cost efficient way of building the beds, as the installation of the vertical gardens and changes that will be needed to the irrigation system could be somewhat costly to ‘the old cookie jar’! Let’s just say, I have my work cut out for me if all goes as planned!

In closing… Throughout all of the information I have found recently, the best way to utilize the space in my new edible landscape (aka back yard) design will be to grow up, up and up! Vegetables gardens away!

Be sure to check back for new DIY, vertically enhancing, garden ideas and designs that I will be searching out throughout the winter.

Have a great vertical garden design idea you wish to share? Please add a link or comment below for moderation.  

While you are here, check out these 39 Insanely Cool Vertical Gardens! The gardens compiled in the list are absolutely incredible! Vertical Garden Design and Patrick Blanc’s latest vertical garden are also some awesome examples of vertical gardens and landscaping. Enjoy!

Follow this blog @DrylandGardens. Follow me @JessyAnneTucker.

Thanks for reading:) ~ Your Blogging Gardener

9.20.2013

Food News! British Columbia Politicians to Support a GE-free Province

Let us hope they follow through with the removal of GMO's from our food! Great food news for British Columbia. I feel it is long overdue!

Personally, I am going to continue trying to grow as much food in my own garden at home, as I possible can!

Read all about the great news in the following link...
Politicians support GE-free B.C. - Victoria News

9.13.2013

Grow, Eat, Compost, Repeat! A Beginner's Guide to Composting

October 10, 2013 Update 

Visit Part 2 - The Compost Pail, Bins, Tumblers, and Tea Makers!

*******
Original Post

The dreaded compost pile, composting bins, expensive tumblers, DIY backyard compost designs, worms, compost tea… Where to start? Well, whether it is a simple bucket out in the garden or an elaborate, state of the art Compost Tumblerthe most important part is to just start composting! 



After writing last month’s post 1 Part Compost + 1 Part Top Soil = 2 Happy Raised Vegetable Garden Beds & Some Massive Zucchinis! and watching the continued success of my mother’s garden throughout the summer, I have decided that a compost bin in the backyard is a must. Thinking about it has gone on long enough!


I was surprised when I moved into my new home that there was not an existing compost bin or pile somewhere in the yard, considering the well-kept yard and garden that the previous owner’s kept. Being accustomed to having some sort of compost area in the yard (or chickens), I quickly noticed how much household waste and recycling is eliminated by a simple compost bin. I will be the first to admit, I have taken composting for granted!

The 1:1 ratio of compost to top soil was perfect for her raised beds. The vegetable garden has produced an endless supply of gigantic zucchinis and beautiful tomatoes, with bowls full of peppers soon to come. If it were not for this rich compost mix I wonder if there would be the same results…


I have been trying to decide the best way to go about this new composting area for the yard. The typical plastic Compost Bin is great for a season or two, but they always seem to loose shape in sun and weather after a while. I wanted to find a more creative, attractive and unnoticeable way of composting, without spending a fortune on a store bought composting bin, or tumbler. The best, creative composting ideas I found have been pinned to the Creative Composting Ideas Pinterest Board for your viewing. I never considered “hiding” your compost bin, I will be taking advantage of that idea. I know the perfect place. I love the Composting for Kids Pin, what a smart idea!

I have included the following links to informative sites and pages discussing how and what to compost, homemade compost bins, Do It Yourself composting tumblers, worm composting, as well as, a great guide to concocting your own nutrient rich compost tea.

How to compost     How To Compost.org

What to compost     Organic Gardening.com Composting ingredients.
Composting Bins     Sunset.comBuild The Perfect Compost Bin
                              Amazon.com ~ Tumbleweed Compost Bin, 58-Gallon

The Greater Vancouver Regional District provides extremely detailed plans for a helpful Rodent Resistant Three Bin Compost System. Although, it would be lovely to have this elaborate compost system for the backyard it might be slightly overkill for what I have in mind right.  

Is it worth it to buy a Compost Tumbler though?  
Check out the discussion at GrowVeg.com.

Worm Composting     Wormcomposting.ca~ information and supplies

Making Compost Tea
Making a good compost tea is definitely a form of fine art. As I searched around online, it was quickly evident that there are many different ways to brew up a batch of rich, organic compost tea; some simple and some quite complex.

Interested in learning more about making compost tea? Watch this YouTube video, E-Z Compost Tea (Simplest Method on Earth). Please watch this before purchasing a brand new $650 Compost Tea Maker!

We all should be composting. There are so many different options for composting at home, many urban centers now have large scale composting programs in place, there is no excuse! As the 'old recycling motto' goes, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.
Happy Composting!

9.08.2013

Shallots, anyone?

Onions have never been a favorite of mine. Shallots on the other hand, I am having a hard time keeping out of my dinner these days. During a beautiful Salmon dinner last month, I found a new love for these little tuber treasures. I have probably eaten them many times before without even realizing it. Since that dinner, I have been noticing that Shallots keep finding their way into my produce selections at the market, regardless of their ridiculous price.
By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Growing Shallots

The price of these little treasures led me immediately to thinking about growing shallots in next year’s garden. Off a googling I went, “how to grow shallots”. After weeding through the many search results, I found the most helpful and ‘to the point’ information at the Cornell University website in their Vegetable Growing Guide for Shallots.

Unfortunately, Shallots will not be a feasible crop for my garden. After looking into growing Shallots at home, it might be smarter to simply moderate my consumption a little bit and maybe keep them out of the kitchen, unless we are cooking a special meal.

Shallots Recipes

My ‘latest and greatest’ Shallots creation was soooo yummy; I could not help but share. I will be the first to admit, the following is nothing fancy. My two year old's taste buds and limitations on ‘spice’ were definitely foremost on mind when preparing this side dish. The best part, it took about five minutes to through together, apart from the oven time.
First, I collected together my ingredients… 
#1 Red Shallots (most important, of course) 
The Potatoes 
Garlic 
Butter (it does not have to be ‘butter’) 
Thyme (from the garden) 
And one big baking pan to through it all into! 
Oven set to 350, “Check!” 
From there, I chopped up my garlic. The garlic and butter then went into the pan to warm in the oven. While the buttery garlic goodness was greasing the warming pan, the potatoes were washed and chopped. My two medium sized Red Shallots were pealed and then finely sliced. By that time the butter and garlic were nicely melted and into the pan the potatoes and Shallots went, then were topped off with the thyme (any selected herb would do). Give it all a quick toss. Then bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Check and toss every 10 to 15.

Done!   
While dinner was cooking, I could not help but take a look for some other yummy Shallots recipes! The following links will take you to the sites where I found the yummiest Shallots recipes...

#1 Epicuious- Roasted Potatoes and Shallots
This recipe is very similar to what I concocted above, but the extended, fancy version…

#2 Canadian Living- 8 Savoury Shallot Recipes

#3 Better Homes and Garden- Pan Roasted Chicken with Shallots

#4 Food.com- Shallots recipe collection

#5 Recipe Bridge- Shallots Mushrooms Recipes

Lastly, for everything Shallots related, Shallot.com is an extremely informative site.

In conclusion, I am in love with Shallots. Sadly, growing them will be out of the question. 

Note to self: Shallots are only for special occasions!

9.01.2013

Enjoying the Labor Day Long Weekend

The sun is shining, the air is warm and we have had no rain (over the weekend, anyway). This has to be the first long weekend of the summer with no rain, too sad it is the last… I hope the nice weather has accompanied your Labor Day long weekend, as well.

JA Tucker ~ 2013
Originally, I had told myself “No Work This Weekend!” and I have failed. I could not stay out of the garden, I could not stay out of the kitchen and I could not stay away from my keyboard. This brought me to thinking about the importance of time management and self-control in working for one’s self.  When working in an unconventional workplace (as many do today), the “advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest” (Wikipedia) set forth in the Labor Union Movement, seems somewhat obsolete in today’s fast paced world.

How many people actually work an eight hour day? Recreation eight hours, I don’t think so! And sleep, eight hours. Well, hopefully (hence, the lack of eight hours in a day for “recreation”)! My guess is that work very much out rules the other two, for most working people today. It all really comes down to what you consider work and what you consider enjoyment, or recreation. Take a moment this long weekend to consider how much “work” has cut into the other two thirds of your life, I know I should!

To my readers, I hope you have a happy and safe finale to your Labor Day long weekend. Make sure to take a moment and 'smell the roses'!

PS Come Twitter @DrylandGardens

Source Accredidation: Wikipedia