Garden Project - Part 2

A garden update - finally!  It doesn't matter that it's the end of February, right? We've actually been promised a beautiful day - 12 degrees and sunny.  Unheard of in Canada this time of year.  And it's snowing in Rome. Strange happenings!

This post is the first of two updates on our garden from last summer and includes half the veggies that we planted. As we were complete novices at gardening, we had some great successes and a few spectacular failures.  Your feedback and advice is greatly appreciated.

Welcome to our garden!

Beans and Peas

Our beans and peas grew really well this summer and we ended up with more than we needed.  We planted a wide variety - Blue Lake pole and bush green beans, 'Alaska' heirloom peas, 'Sugar Snap' peas, - and some unknown seeds from mom. In some areas, there wasn't enough support for the climbers and towards the end of the summer some of the beans were overly large and not very tasty.  Lessons learned. 



We planted Merlin beets and they grew really well. I'm not sure if we were supposed to top up soil around the beets as they grew out of the ground and some grew a bit too close together but they were plentiful and delicious.



Our broccoli was all over the place.  We planted a lot ('Green Sprouting' organic and Belstar organic) and some flourished while others flowered.  Perhaps it was the crazy hot and cold swings we had last summer? The wet conditions? The soil? Or we planted too early?  Hmm. Lots to learn.



Our carrots were a success even though the first batch was a bit fat and short. We planted organic 'Nantes' and organic 'Rainbow Blend' carrots.  The colours were amazing and the kids loved eating them straight from the garden.



Our cucumbers grew well in the spring and early summer but withered away by August.  Perhaps that is their normal cycle?  They were the best tasting cucumbers I've ever had! We planted organic 'Marketmore', organic SMR 58 Pickler (not an exciting name) and Calypso cucumbers.



The hot weather that lasted through the end of September and early October was the saving grace of our eggplant (and melons). If it had been a normal late summer, the eggplant wouldn't have had enough time to grow to an edible size.  Even then some of them didn't grow large enough but we did get enough to enjoy the 'Black Beauty' eggplant.



So much delicious and beautiful lettuce - one of our favourites and a great success in our garden. We planted a variety - 'Iceburg' crisphead, organic 'Paris Island Cos', organic 'Red Salad Bowl', organic 'Baby Leaf Blend' - as well as organic 'Regiment' spinach.  We enjoyed the lettuce through the summer and will definitely be planting more this year.


We hope you've enjoyed this first post about our garden adventure.  We welcome any answers, advice and feedback you have - we have plans for another garden this summer. Stay tuned!

Read all about our seedlings and garden plot here.

Gaspesie National Park: Hiking Le Mont-Ernest-Laforce

On our final morning in Gaspesie National Park we decided to hike Mont-Ernest-Laforce, an intermediate level 4,5 km trail.  We left early and arrived as the sun was lighting the treetops.  The weather and light were phenomenal - warm and golden.  Given the early hour, we only saw two other parties on the trail, although there were many people starting the hike as we arrived back at the parking lot. 

The trail wound its way through a forest and upwards above the trees to open and bare hilltops with stunning views. It was windy up top but we barely noticed, our attention on the 360 degree views.  When breakfast began to beckon, we started back down the trail, pausing to watch a mama moose and her baby before heading back to the cabin, packing up and driving east to the tip of the Gaspe peninsula.

I spy moose.

I spy moose.

Garden Project - Part 1

On a dreary winter day, a group of girls sat on comfortable couches with coffees in hand and poured through seed catalogs, dreaming of a great, big vegetable garden.  It didn't matter that none of them had any real experience gardening. As little children played underfoot, the adults chose seeds of every kind and looked forward to summer days of eating fruits and vegetables picked from the back garden.

If you've been wondering where I've been spending my summer days, this project is part of the answer.  I've always dreamed of having a large garden but moving around as much as I have hasn't made it possible.  A few indoor plants does not a garden make. 

I've puttered around in my mother's garden for many summers but this year an opportunity arose to make my dream a reality in the form of a community garden on my sister's farm.  And what an adventure its been.  There's been sweat, tears and lots of laughter.  Three new babies were welcomed into the world over the summer months with baby boy one born on the first day of planting.

We've learned a lot along the way. Mostly the hard way. But it's been so much fun and I wanted to share some pictures from our summer in the garden. This first part shows the seedlings in the greenhouse and the making of the garden plot. Enjoy!

Did you know that seeds are sometimes attached to the plants as they emerge from the soil? I didn't.

The garden at the beginning of the day

So we cheated...or something.  Do other people farm like this? We used the four-wheeler to mark the rows. 

Eastern Canada road trip - Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

So, it's been a while...

Summer showed up and it's been non-stop for months. It's been hard to find the time to edit and post but I'm sure everything will settle down eventually. 

Back to our east coast trip and a beautiful evening hike in the Tablelands. The landscape here is otherworldly. It would seem more at home in the desert landscapes of the American southwest than in Newfoundland.  To hike in the Tablelands is to walk on the mantle of the earth, which is normally far below the earth's crust. Peridotite was forced to the surface during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. The rusty colour indicates high levels of iron.  Highly toxic minerals and a lack of nutrients results in little plant growth - thus the barren landscape.

Our hike was the perfect end to a stressful day.  It was a warm evening and we had the trail to ourselves. Three girls in a vast, quiet landscape.

Peggy's Cove and Swissair Flight 111 Memorial, Nova Scotia

When flipping through Nova Scotia travel magazines or browsing their tourism website you are sure to come across an image or two of the Peggy's Cove lighthouse.  This picturesque landmark is iconic and instantly recognizable.  In the summer months, the rocks and village are crowded with tourists but in the winter it is quiet and peaceful. The sun shone bright as we explored the area and catnapped in a warm, secluded and wind-free batch of rocks.

About a kilometre down the road from Peggy's Cove is the Swissair Flight 111 memorial, which was erected in memory of the 229 people who died when the flight crashed into the ocean 8km from shore. The three notches on the stone monument represent the flight numbers.  Another stone monument was placed in memory of all the volunteers who worked tirelessly after the disaster during the recovery effort.

The New House - Windows and doors and so much more

It's probably time for an update on the new house...

The snows came and went throughout late fall and early winter as the house moved closer to completion. The floor heat went in and the concrete was poured. The roof was finished and many of the smaller windows and doors arrived and were installed.  The big glass doors, which appear to have been heavy, were carefully lifted into place. The porch was built during several unseasonably warm November days. The house was insulated and drywall put up. And although the weather changed almost daily, progress moved steadily forward.

Photo credit goes to Gary and Lillian.