Tuesday 9 April 2013

Seedy Spring

It's finally springtime, and all the Bees have been very, very busy getting our gardens ready. We love getting our hands dirty at the Beehive.

Towards the end of last summer, I dug out the ornamental garden in my backyard to make more room to grow my own food. And with two newly built raised beds this year, I'll have more room than I know what to do with. I'm growing some of my favourites from previous years (tomatoes, rhubarb, arugula) and lots of new things too. Beans! Watermelon! Cucumbers! Sunflowers! Kale! Collard Greens! Beets! Radishes! A full bounty.  

I attended Seedy Saturday in Hamilton in February, and picked up some organic seeds from Hawthorn Farm and Tree and Twig.

The garlic that I planted last fall is poking through, and this is the crop that I am most looking forward to. Every good dish starts with good garlic.

Meg and her husband Kevin bought a new house last year, and Meg is looking forward to start their new garden in their new downtown backyard. They made a trip to William Dam Seeds in Waterdown to get all the essentials to do so.

With the help of their housemate Joanna, Meg has already started seeds for lettuce, kale, peppers, onions, basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary and lots of lavender. They have plans to do some direct seeding, and to purchase some plants, mostly tomatoes. I'm excited at the prospect of trading some crops with my new neighbours!

Last year I recieved some beautiful cut flowers from Jen's peony bushes as a gift, and I told her that she had a real knack for flower arrangement. She confided in me that she had always been interested in the art of doing so. This year, Jen is planting her first cut flower garden, and I'm so excited to see the beautiful bouquets that she will undoubtedly fill her home with.  She loves floral arrangements but can't splurge on them all of the time, so she is very excited to have these blooming in the back garden ready for picking and experimenting with different combinations all summer long.  Such an easy and affordable way to bring cheer into your own home!

Jen's husband Mike is a real tobacco aficionado (and expert gardener), and for the first time this year he is trying his hand at growing his own tobacco! As a pipe smoker for the past 10 years he has become more and more serious about tobacco blends, experimenting with his own using a variety of cured tobaccos.  He even has a diary rating each of the hundreds of tinned tobaccos he has tried.  This year he is growing a Virginia and an Oriental, which he is planting at the farm that the Bees help out at.

Speaking of diaries, Kate's mom gifted her a 10 year gardener's journal this year, and she has been putting it to good use already. Logging your exploits in gardening is such a good organizational and planning tool, and is often overlooked.

I ran into Kate and her husband Erick at Seedy Saturday and they were there picking up some organic seed from Hawthorn Farms as well.

For now Kate has only started kale and lettuce. She plans to direct seed more once it's warm enough, and is planning a trip to Tree and Twig's Tomato Days to pick up some of her great tomato plants! Kate and Erick built their own raised bed last summer, so they have lots of space to grow delicious food for themselves.

When I need help with a gardening question, I often to look to Thea. She is a wealth of knowledge, and has a delicate, intrinsic way with the natural world. I only hope to one day have half the green thumb that this lady possesses.

Eggplant, tomatoes, radishes and greens, including baby kale mix. Thea grows lots of different varieties, and likes to plant heirloom seed whenever she can.

Thea not only plants her own food, but being a textile artist that specializes in natural dyeing, she grows her own dye plants as well to harvest for their spectacular colour. Her mother grew cotton last year, and got Thea interested in growing some of her own this year! I can't wait to see how this turns out for her.

So there you have it! Hopefully you all have been busy bees in your gardens as well. We'd love to hear about your green plans, too - whether it be food or flora. We love it all!

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