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This is one of those posts I just couldn't seem to finish...I started writing this a week ago and it's still sitting as a draft. Update: The mantis have arrived and are starting to hatch, and we are less than a week away from start-up!
There is just a short time before we get back at it for the 2016 season! 13 (or so) more sleeps, depending on when the babies' flight arrives. We will be up and growing the week of March 11.
Right now we have seeds arriving, the mantis pods are on their way and I should be getting notification soon that the baby plants that we ordered are getting packed up to make their journey to us. (We start 99% of our plants from seed, we only bring in some varieties that would take too long to grow allowing us to open later, and a few varieties that are vegetative (not started from seed) to add colour and variety to our mix. To put it in perspective - we bring in approximately 1500 plants to the ~500,000 seeds we order.)
There has been a lot of doom and gloom around us lately, people being laid off, weak dollar and oil prices and recently there was "'Cauliflowergate" where prices of cauliflower (and other veggies) sky-rocketed to crazy amounts. $11 a head? No thank-you! I'll eat the broccoli and cauliflower my Momma was so nice to put away for us last summer. I'm lucky that I was brought up in a family who gardened, canned, preserved, cooked, etc. and I learned as went. Am I an expert? Nope, not even close - but I do make a mean spicy pickled bean. I am continually looking for new ways to add to my database of skills and recipes.
How did cauliflower come to cost as much as a pound of grass-fed ground beef? - The Globe and Mail
I have personally heard from more than one person that they will be growing a garden this year. Hooray! I think this is a great way to alleviate some of the grocery bill. Did you know that the first grocery stores (as we would recognize them now) really didn't come about until the 1950's? This era also marks the decline of the home gardener who grew as much of their family's yearly produce as they could in their yard, canning the excess and other basic self-sufficiency skills (making bread, cooking, baking, preserving - the list is long).
Are you planning on growing any vegetables this year? Do you have the gardening bug or do you think it is a chore? Would you like to try, but have no idea where to start? Luckily we have MANY years of experience in our family and we love to share our knowledge with those who want to learn. I regularly answer questions from our customers and my son (who happens to be taking a video class at school), has been telling me for a while that I need to "get with it" and use the technology and tools available to me. If he wins this debate, you should be seeing some how-to videos from the greenhouse. I am also working on an online catalogue for the website - this may be harder to complete!
My to do list is LONG, but I can't wait to tackle it...I'm starting today by sorting seeds into greenhouse and garden boxes, cold stratifying those that need it so we are ready to roll when it's their turn to be planted and a few other little housekeeping tasks.
We are still taking pre-orders for bare-root strawberry plants. If you are interested be sure to contact one of us to get your order on our list! As always - we recycle and re-use garden and nursery pots, they can be dropped off in Strathmore with Melody or at the greenhouse.
Be watching for baby pictures next week!
Glad to see you on this side of 2016! I was watering some houseplants and came across this loveliness...
As common as it is to see powdery mildew in the greenhouse after a rainy week, I was, (not going to lie) a little sad to see it on a houseplant. This one is leftover from a few Christmas baskets that I had made up and I was going to repot into a hanging basket for my front step this spring. Easily identified by the powdery white spots on leaves and stems, powdery mildew is caused by high humidity, low light and moderate temperatures. I had this set in a planter with another couple plants until I could deal with it. I suspect it was the little to no air movement from being crowded in with it's buddies.
I decided I would try to heal it and immediately took put it in plant ICU.
First I removed all infected areas of the plant. I then mixed up a "fungicide" of 1 TBSP Baking Soda, 1 Tsp Oil and 1 Tsp Insecticidal Soap with 1 gallon of water and gave my plant a good bath. I will repeat this weekly until all signs of the mildew are gone. This is my goto for mildew, however there are other recipes out there - I'm not sure how well they all work; Milk and water spray (milk is a precious commodity in my house with 2 teenagers and a 12 year old), Vinegar and water spray - this one makes me a bit nervous as vinegar can burn your plant, and Mouthwash and water spray, Neem oil spray, the list goes on if you google but as always commercial fungicide is at the top of the list.
To prevent powdery mildew make sure to:
~not crowd your plants so they get enough air flow
~make sure the plants are getting enough sun - 6+ hours
~don't water the leaves - water the soil
I think my patient will pull through, it's already looking much better!
Do you have a gardener in your life that you are still needing to buy for? Never fear, Pea Patch has compiled a list of gift that even the hardest to buy for will appreciate. In no particular order - here are the top gifts for gardeners:
1. Tools - Is your gardener using a tool that has seen better days, or using a tool not meant for the purpose they are using it for? This may be a sign that some new tools are needed! Here are a few of my own personal favourites to get you started:
2. Seeds and Seed Collections - a gift that will keep on giving for the year! There are many themes and many companies that are so great for collections. Don't know if your gardener wants to start their own plants?? A gift certificate to their favourite greenhouse is always an option! A few ideas could be:
3. Birds and Bees - Is your gardener planting a lot of bird and bee friendly plants? Here are some cool additions to a wildlife friendly garden!
4. Community Garden Plot - Not all of us have a yard available for us to garden on. For those who don't there are a lot of Community Gardens that offer plots for lease for very reasonable yearly rates. Check with your local market garden, Communities in Bloom organization or church/community group for more information.
5. Statuary/Ornaments - these can be found in most box stores and garden centres. Maybe they need their own BERTGNOMIO, or Buddha, or bird bath or frog spitting water for their yard?
6. Gift Certificates - Still unsure what to get for the gardener in your life? A gift certificate is a great option!
Hopefully that gives you some great last-minute gardening gift ideas! From all of us here at Pea Patch, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Good Gardening in 2016!
Last rant for the day, I promise. See my comments below.
Oh no, no, no. I feel the need to give this more information. You can't just take this guy at face value. I apologize in advance for the rant but he's dumbed it down too far and is not telling the whole truth - just enough to serve his needs.
Plant Hybrid - is a plant variety developed through controlled sexual reproduction of "compatible varieties of plants". Male pollen is transferred to the ovary; fertilizing the ovule. The resulting seed is grown on to see if the plant has specific traits they are looking for.
i.e. Pea Plant A consistently sets pods with 10 peas in it. Pea Plant B is a tall vining plant with slightly pink flowers. The two are crossed to make Pea Plant C that is more ornamental than a regular garden pea, but still produces a fair amount of peas. (I don't know if this plant exists but it seems similar to an experiment and readings I did in plant genetics...lol)
This happens naturally by way of insects and wind and would happen without human intervention. This is done in a lab to limit cross contamination for the plant breeders. But all in all, it's a low-tech way to make new and different plants.
GM Varieties - are developed in a lab, and these plants can use genes from several species (not just plants) using methods such as gene splicing. (They take apart the genetic material and put it back together with different parts). They often use genes from bacteria (and other organisms) and put into the plants genetic makeup. The companies that develop these new varieties (Monsanto is one) claim intellectual rights to these plants so only they can sell seeds. This is a big money and big business.
i.e. A scientist takes genetic material from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis which on its own will kill the corn borer, the scientist splices this material into corn to produce a variety resistant to the borer. (This is a real thing.)
As a side note: commodity crops such as corn, alfalfa, soy and sugar beets, canola, have been approved in the US for use, primarily in animal feed and in processed foods (foods which we eat). The exception is sweet corn, which is available fresh at your grocery store.
Now I don't care what thoughts are on either, that's not what this particular defence is about.... but for him to call hybridization a form of genetic modification and lumping it the same as true GM is truly only propaganda from the other side saying that it's all safe...and there hasn't been any long term studies done to determine this. End rant.
And then this was posted at the same time as my response, (and made me feel a little better):
I apologize - I cannot get original post to load and show up properly on my page...
So I came across this gem on good old Facebook the other day, and it hit my soap box button. I should really just utilize this lovely page I have made when I come across articles I feel the need to comment on - but for some reason I don't . I've back-dated this post as I had others to get on here as well. My response is below.
Warning: shortish rant ahead. I will try to keep it PG.
At the farm we don't use chemicals. However we do use things like diatomaceous earth to get the cabbage butterfly under control, we have used garlic spray to get rid of mosquitos and aphids; bugs, fungus, diseases, and assorted creepy crawlies are in the garden. It's called NATURE. Who are we to use some kill-all chemical? Why would we want to eat something that has been blasted with said chemical??
We don't call ourselves organic - we can't. And moreover, I don't think we want to. It is marketing, and I have a love-hate relationship with it, (clearly I'm not doing it correctly.) Why has marketing taken over the simple joy of pulling a "baby" carrot from the ground, wiping off the dirt and eating it, into a multi-million (billion?) dollar business of selling a machine shaped piece of produce? I don't know how that "carrot" was grown, I don't know who grew it - but I had better eat it as part of my 5-10 daily.
There are a lot of buzz words being used now to market this gardening/farming/eating business: organic, permaculture, bioculture, biodiversity....the list goes on and new words are added all the time. Don't they basically all mean the same thing? (And don't get me wrong, I'm not against the concept of biodiverse farming practices or permaculture - but the bigger point is missing here....)
If you are worried about what you put in your body - and you probably should be; if you are going to spout off about shopping at "organic markets" (and I won't judge you for it, as long as you don't complain to me how expensive it is to shop there), are you buying REAL food? Does your cart contain vegetables, fruit, meat, flour, eggs, sugar, and milk - or - does it contain a plethora of boxed and pre-packaged "convenience" foods?
Let's get back to the basics people, if it matters to you, then make the effort to support your local farmers, your local butchers, your local market gardens - hell, here's an idea - grow your own veggies! Eat in season, if you can't, know where it is coming from, (some countries don't have the same laws about chemicals as we do). Cook! Families didn't survive the rationing of two World Wars and the Great Depression and several thousands of years before that by having a pantry stocked with Chef Boyardee and Kraft Dinner and a freezer full of Lean Cuisines. They grew gardens and canned the excess for winter, they cooked, they baked, foraged, and hunted - and I think on a whole, society was likely healthier than they are now. Educate yourself! If you do end up occasionally buying something that is pre-made know how to read the label and don't fall for "sneaky" marketing. Gummy bears may be 100% fat free but they still aren't good for you. Moderate! Sure eating steak from the local farmer is good, eating nothing but said local steak every day of the year, maybe not so good; maybe throw some chicken and veggies in there once in a while to switch things up. And please, please, please USE SOME COMMON SENSE! Eating food all labelled as "organic" does not make you a better, or healthier person than someone who eats just plain old carrots from the farm which were lovingly raised without chemicals by Farmer Bert. Spending extra money on the tiny jar of honey labelled organic does not mean that those little bees collected pollen from only fields grown as "organic". There is no bee force field keeping them on "organic" land and pollinating only "organic flowers". Bees fly wherever, pollinating whatever - and you know what? It most certainly isn't all "organic".
Kind of an abrupt ending for my rant - but what more can I say. We, as a society, need to stop being swayed by marketing labels and start using our brains. Does it matter if you spend the extra money on "organic" vegetables over buying carrots from the farmers' market or from the grocery store? Nope, it doesn't, not even one little bit.
Do you know what really matters? Eating your vegetables.
And my favourite comment from this rant on Facebook:
"My favourite though is people that buy organic beer and wine. I mean, really? Does the perceived fact that you're avoiding chemicals completely make you blind to the fact that you are ingesting a poison? People need to quit trying to fool themselves. The alcohol in your drink is worse for you than any residual pesticides that may (not likely) be present after all that processing."
Wow! That was a fast summer. I think I always say that though :)
We are on day 3 at the hockey arena and day 2 back to school - Hurray! Yesterday I did some housework, baking and crafting; it was glorious. Today I am catching up on a few things, then heading out to the farm for a bit.
We are starting to work on next year's order already - so if you have any requests, now is an excellent time to get them in to us.
Also: anyone interested in Fundraising with Pea Patch Gardens and Greenhouse next year - please let us know soon so we can include it in our "what we need" list.
I got this message from one of our customers yesterday, and I thought I needed to share it with everyone:
"As you can see, my plants are doing great! All except the catnip...no idea why it's just twigs!! Lol. If you have more out there, I will take quite a few plants!"
Final Clearance on Now! All baskets are $10, all flats $10 mix and match - many more deals - come out to see us, or send us a message to get brought into town!
Mel is behind on the Blog, Mantis visit Grade 2, Garden Pics, and our annual Pea Patch Clearance Sale Starts! How's that for a title?
It has been a crazy couple of weeks, both in the greenhouse and at home. I was on such a roll with posting too...
oh well, here is an update (minus last week's pictures as I don't have them available as I type this.)
Last week I was able to visit the grade two's at Wheatland Elementary with a few "friends". We talked about bugs for an amazingly fast hour! Everyone was excited to ask questions and see my insect friends. I had a lot of fun and I hope the kids did too!
The Pea Patch Clearance sale has started, if you are looking for a deal - now is the time to visit the greenhouse!
Random musings from the grey matter of Mellie.