Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our Seed Store

Here are a few samples of what we will be offering this year:

This year we are introducing seed from our

Hopi Black Squash!

See our blog post "The Perfect Squash!"

Seeds for this particular variety will be limited, due to a cold, wet start and extreme dry heat.

Our own
Portugal Beef-heart Tomatoes

Hopefully enough to fill all orders for them. We do apologize to those customers who were unable to purchase them last year when we sold out of seed.

We also carry other varieties of heirloom tomatoes, including San Marzano, the best paste tomatoes in the world!, Ailsa Craig and Reverend Morrow Long Keeper. We will have seed for the Manitoba tomato, developed to grow large and ripen in the short Manitoba season.

From seed to fruit in one season!
Ground Cherries and Chichiquelites!
Great for pies, jams and wine! We will have both of these seed for sale this year.

Medicinal Herb Seeds!Meadowsweet, Mullein, Feverfew, Self Heal, Goldenrod, Evening Primrose,Queen Anne's Lace, Echinacea, Motherwort, St. John's Wort...

TobaccoVirginia Gold Variety 100+ seeds per packet
Did you know that commercial cigarettes contain 599 additives, some poisonous carcinogens?
See the list here

Anyone can grow tobacco, anywhere. If you have a short growing season, you will need to start it early indoors. I am sure most northerners are used to starting seeds early indoors to grow tomatoes, peppers and many other common short season vegetables. Tobacco is no different and is no trickier or more demanding than your vegetables to start from seed. Isn’t having your own, home grown, organic and free tobacco worth a little time and effort?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Herb Garden Volunteers

Does your garden reseed itself? Mine does, all over the place, but I like that! It gives me a second crop of everything, naturally. It's not in neat little rows, of course, it's in patches. Larges patches of spinach, green onions, chives, cilantro, thyme, oregano and anything else I leave to go to seed. I let everything go to seed because I have a seed store.
A lot of it escapes before I harvest it and I always lose some in the harvesting anyway, so I get a lot of volunteers. I love them! I am still cutting from a large, reseeded patch of spinach resulting from just one plant left to go to seed. I have a lot of cilantro growing all over the garden. That stuff really grows wild! I have baby chives coming up all over, baby dandelions, baby purslane, baby thyme and baby oregano.

I'm sure I would also have baby catnip, mint and choc mint, if I let those go to seed too. I will probably let them go that long next year so I have seed for the seed store but this year I cut them back and dried them.
If you keep your garden spotlessly clean, weed regularly or mulch heavily you will never know the joy of harvesting volunteers. I like my garden the way it is. Everything grows well and is green and healthy, shown by the ability of the plants to reproduce themselves all over the place. I do pull some weeds, but the useful things get left to grow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Queen's Anne Lace - Useful Herb?

Well, I have been shocked a few times this year while researching the things that grow in our fields! Some of these things that I have always considered "weeds", are now being looked at in a new light. Queen Anne's lace is one of these.

I know it makes a great cut flower and is one of those things you can colour by putting food colouring in the water, but I had no idea it was such a useful medicinal herb!

According to the "Carrot Site" (the "Carrot Museum"), Queen Anne's lace leaves "contain significant amounts of porphyrins, which stimulate the pituitary gland and lead to the release of increased levels of sex hormones". Really? Really? Is this true? Hmmmm...interesting... What does this mean, exactly?

More from The Carrot Site:
"Queen Anne's lace (a wild carrot): "is an aromatic herb that acts as a diuretic, soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the uterus. (Pregnant women should definite NOT use it!) A wonderfully cleansing medicine, it supports the liver, stimulates the flow of urine and the removal of waste by the kidneys.

An infusion is used in the treatment of various complaints including digestive disorders, kidney and bladder diseases and in the treatment of dropsy. An infusion of the leaves has been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed...A tea made from the roots is diuretic and has been used in the treatment of urinary stones.

An infusion is used in the treatment of oedema, flatulent indigestion and menstrual problems. The seed is a traditional 'morning after' contraceptive and there is some evidence to uphold this belief.
Ongoing studies are proving this to be a very valuable plant, useful in many areas of alternative medicine, a few are Alzheimer's, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, Infertility, Asthma-preventive, most types of cancer, Diabetes, Leukaemia, HIV, Spina-bifida, Migraine headache, obesity, and much more, even the common cold. Used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years as an abortifactint, anthelmintic, carminative, contraceptive, deobstruent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, ophthalmic, and stimulant..."

Wow! According to these people, Queen Anne's lace will fix just about anything! I wonder how much of it is true...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Apple Picking

We picked apples today! It was such a beautiful day for it too! We are having a summer like week this week with warm temps and sun, all week long. It's a good time to get some fall work done outside!

My friend,
Janet, and I picked the apples this morning. Hubby worked on another job.
We have several apple trees but most don't produce usable apples or they have just little ones. There is only one really good apple tree that is worth picking. I have no idea what kind of apples they are. I haven't made an effort to become informed about apples. I know 'Delicious' apples, 'Cortlands' and my grocery store favourites, 'Royal Gala' which taste more like pears than apples, but I am sorely lacking in apple knowledge otherwise.

This is what we harvested this morning. It's a lovely bunch of apples, especially for an organic, never sprayed tree. That's it pictured at the top too. Beautiful apples! If you know what kind they are, please tell me.

The deer have already eaten all the apples within their reach, (which is also our reach). We didn't have a ladder so we had to climb. I climbed up into the tree and out on the branches to shake them, then we picked them up off the ground. The apples are the perfect ripeness now. Ripe enough to fall easily when the branches are shaken, but haven't fallen on the ground on their own yet. We didn't have a ladder so we had to do it this way. It worked well enough. We got lots of good apples!

I haven't climbed a tree in decades! I used to be good at it, once upon a time. I have become more careful in my older age. It was a humbling experience. I have lost some of my nerve, but I'm thinking maybe that's good thing...

The apples will sit in the kitchen for now, where I will work on them here and there. I had thought to leave them on the porch until I had time to work on them but, after remembering that we get racoon visits, moved them into the house. I must always remember the racoons!
These will be made into apple sauce, pie filling, baked apples and the good ones will go into the cold cellar for storage. We can keep apples in there, at least this year, because we don't have any other veggies in there with them. We didn't grow potatoes or carrots. (Ripening apples emit ethelene gas that makes other things ripen very fast and not keep very long.) The squash will be in there, but just for a short time, until they are ripe, then they go into the freezer. I need the squash seed for the seed store.

It was a lot of work but well worth the effort! We are looking forward to homemade applesauce and pies!

I am also planning on making apple wine, of course, and I can do that in the middle of the winter :-)

All in all it was a great endeavour and well worth doing, even though I would not have wanted to do it by myself. Big jobs always go much faster and are more fun with a friend! Don't you think so? Thank you Janet for your help!

Update next day: I graded the apples into three categories and put them all into the cellar. They are in shallow boxes with newspaper between each layer. I have read that they keep the best if individually wrapped in newspaper but I'm not doing that! lol! This is the next best thing. I will probably process the "eat me first" category within the next couple of weeks. Possibly into wine, definitely into apple sauce.

I love having our own organic apples!