Monday, June 29, 2009

A larger view of photos using Photobucket

I am experimenting with different ways to show photos on the blog. The photos are larger than in the original video, this time using Photobucket.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What's Bloomin' June 2009

A Photo Journal of What's Bloomin' in My Garden the First Week of Summer 2009
This video offers you the listining pleasure of Jesse Cook's guitar, so please turn on your sound.
video

Monday, June 22, 2009

Attack of the Zucchini!



Here's my vegetable patch. You may be able to see some fennel fronds finally sprouting. Also planted some leek seeds, and I believe the spindly things may be the leeks. Have never planted either so it is a wonder to me as to what they look like as they grow. It's been very cold and wet, and I must say, I'm underwhelmed by the slow growth. Kind of a lunch bag let down so far. I wasn't sure if the slowness was due to my ineptitude as a vegetable gardener or the weather. The weather channel reported that farmers are a week behind, so maybe it's not just me.

What is shocking me is the size of the zucchini! I planted those seeds long after the fennel and leeks. I believe they are going to overtake my entire small plot. I read somewhere that one to two zucchini plants is more than enough for a small family. I've got three. Must look up several zucchini recipes soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Making progress on commenting to responses

Ureeka! Have managed to respond to a comment. The problem had to do with the browser and its settings. I usually use Firefox, so thought I'd try Internet Explorer. After adjusting javascript settings, I was able to respond. Still not working in Firefox though. Hope this is helpful to someone else experiencing the same problem. Now if I could just figure out how to insert pictures exactly where I want them!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Growing of Peonies


The Peonies are Bloomin'!
At last the peonies in my garden are in full bloom. I planted mine a few years ago. The plant has never failed to flower. The loveliness of its rose-like scented blossoms brings a sense of dreamy pleasure. The beauty of the flower's delicate layered petals is a sight I love to see. Yet, despite the graceful look of peonies, they are very hardy, drought tolerant and require little maintenance. What a gardener's dream!

They can take anywhere from one to three years to first bloom. But once they do flower, you'll be able to enjoy them, often for more than 50 years.

Peony - Not Just Another Pretty Flower
Some say the name is in memory of Greek physician Paeon, physician to the gods. Peonies were evidently first used for medicinal purposes in the far East and Europe. Traditional Chinese texts describe several medicinal preparations using the roots, seeds and flowers. Herbalists use peonies to treat nervous disorders, chorea, epilepsy, Rheumatism and dropsy. Modern medical researchers are finding that there may be truth to the peony's medical wonders and soon may be using this beauty to treat various diseases.

For my part, and I'm sure many of you, the sheer pleasure of gazing at this romantic looking flower and the scent of its dazzling fragrance is medicine enough.

Peony Growing Facts
  • Best planted in the early fall.
  • If separating plants be very careful with the roots
  • Peonies enjoy sunny locations, with well drained soil and lots of room
  • They prefer cooler climates
  • Plant herbaceous and intersectional peony roots so that the highest crown bud is not more than 5 cm (2") deep. Planting too deep may prevent the plant from blooming
  • Tree peonies, on the other hand, require deep planting
If you are planning to separate your peony plants, you may want to keep in mind, that according to "American Regional Folklore" by Terry Ann Mood, you should always dig a peony up at night as, "Anyone observed by woodpeckers while digging up peonies, it was believed, would become blind." I leave it to you to decide if this is true.

For more about planting peonies, view this video:



Online sources:
http://www.pacifier.com/~shm/Flowers2/peonies.html
http://www.rcgardens.ca/factsheets/factsheets/peony.html

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Keeping cats and squirrels out of your garden



Mystery of the Disappearing Fennel
Chapter 2

In the first installment of this vegetable growing mystery, I mentioned this evidence:
  • Fennel seeds not sprouting
  • Red pepper tops lopped off

Suspect #1
Torontogardens suggested this might be the work of a crazed “menopausal” squirrel, absconding with my Fennel seeds. Following this lead, I liberally sprinkled red pepper flakes in the garden plot, having heard that this was an effective thieving squirrel deterrent.

The Evidence Didn’t Add Up
What I neglected to mention is that the pepper tops were left, lying forlornly, beside their stems. Would not a squirrel, hormones running rampant, have carried the tops off, instead of leaving the withering leaves, to die a horrible wilting death? Or, like red pepper flakes, did they not like red pepper plants either? So many questions.

Suspect #2
I, therefore, turned my powers of deduction to another suspect. Mini the Mooch, my own cat, had been observed trying to enter said garden patch, on a previous occasion. As to her behaviour, though more than 14 years old, I observed on many occasions, that she still chased her own tail. What self-respecting, aging feline would do this? Perhaps she too was menopausal. Were raging hormones affecting her judgement, causing her to run amok?

Could this garden rampaging have been an inside job? I felt betrayed! Not wanting to believe the garden marauder was my own beloved feline, I hoped it was the bruiser cat that had just moved in next door.

As I pondered the evidence, while sipping my morning Java, I noticed Mini the Mooch making a b-line for the vegetable patch. I guess the thought of that, oh so pristine, lovely to dig and use as a potty earth, was too much of a temptation.

Justice in the Garden
But the Java hadn’t kicked in. I wasn’t quick enough! Before I knew it, she’d slinked through the cheap wire garden fencing (got it on sale at Canadian Tire).

“Stop!” I yelled. She stood there, frozen, caught red pawed in the act. Trembling with fear, her paw raised to dig out a fledgling zucchini, I felt a moment of remorse. She is, after all, my own cat.

The regret lasted only a moment. Justice had to be done. So I bolted to the garden plot, housecoat flying, waving my arms, screaming “Get outta’ there!” Her panic did not last for long. Realizing it was just me, with that look of distain only a cat can give, she nonchalantly exited the veggie patch, with nary a look back.

Nonetheless, I still suspect she has a squirrelly accomplice. To keep them both at bay I am now off to buy some chicken wire to place over my garden patch.

PS - I wanted to have the theme from Dragnet playing, but can't figure out how to embed on Blogger. If so inclined you can listen here: http://www.gotwavs.com/0085412111/WAVS/Movies/Dragnet/dum.wav

For more about keeping cats and squirrels out of your garden go here:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Growing Fennel - Part 2

I realize that I did not talk about how to actually grow Fennel in my last post, as I was preoccupied with the garden invader(s). You may know fennel as Anise.

So, here are some facts about growing fennel:

  • Fennel likes rich soil and full sun
  • Needs plenty of water, especially during dry periods
  • Plant seeds in early spring, 8” apart, then thin to 12” apart
  • Seeds can also be sown in early autumn – if in very cold climate (zone 6) cover with mulch
  • Cover base of fennel with soil when it grows to the size of a golf ball and keep covered until ready to harvest
  • Remove flower heads as they appear
  • After about 2 weeks, the bulb(s) will be large enough to eat

Source: “What Herb is That?” by John and Rosemary Hamphill
Buy this book at Indigo/Chapters by clicking on the link to the right


Below is a video about planting fennel.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Responding to comments

I don't know why, but for some reason my responses to all of you who've kindly left a comment are not appearing. I'm fairly computer literate and can usually figure these things out, but not this time. If you know how a blog author can respond to a comment using blogger, I'd appreciate instructions.

And to Helen, who just left a comment about the fennel ...

Hmmm … this could be the case. We do have many squirrels running around here, and some could be at that “time of life” LOL. They are cheeky little devils. Once I planted corn. The little brats ate it right in front of me, while I stood about a foot away! Thanks for the comment.

Growing Fennel


The Fennel Mystery

I have recently been using a lot of fennel in my cooking (see recipe below). I love the taste. I also read that it is good for PMS and menopause symptoms.

So I decided to plant some seeds. This was done about 3 weeks ago, along with some leek seeds. The leeks are sprouting, but not the fennel! Not sure if this is usual or not, having not grown fennel before.

I highly suspect there is a pest in my vegetable garden, as not only is the fennel not appearing, but the heads of two of my red pepper plants have been lopped off. We, in Ontario, Canada, have had unusually heavy rain for this time of year, so I'm not sure if the rain battered the pepper plants, or if some unknown pest has been at them.

Sauteed Fennel

1 Fennel bulb
1 - 2 tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Serves 2
  1. Slice end from fennel and remove outer leaves. Remove core.
  2. Slice length-wise 1/4" thick
  3. Heat olive oil in frying pan
  4. Sprinkle Fennel slices with salt and pepper
  5. Place fennel slices in pan, and brown on one side.
  6. Turn over and brown on the other
  7. Lower heat to minimum, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until soft

Bon appetite!

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