Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Monday, December 31, 2012

The End of 2012

I honestly can't believe 2012 is drawing to a close.  It has been a busy year getting adjusted to our new home and one again doing that rip out, start over thing.  While we did put in three new raised beds this year, next year promises to see a lot of changes.  I've already ordered from Richters and will place an order for live plants as soon as they start shipping in the spring.  I have my orders planned for Dominion Seed House and Stokes.  The end of the holidays and constant company is very close so I expect to be adding to my indoor garden this coming week.

On the topic of indoor gardens, all of my herbs are doing fine as is my avocado plant and lemon trees.  The geraniums I'm over wintering are nice and healthy while the hibiscus keeps rewarding me beautiful bloom even though we were away most of October and December.  This week I plan on starting several more herbs, a few tomatoes, peppers and lettuces for the indoor garden.  It's too soon to start anything for the outdoor garden.  One blog I read reported good results with growing sweet peas indoors and I know pole beans can be grown indoors as well.  I have seeds for both so will start a couple of pots to see how they fare.

So. we say goodbye to 2012 but from a gardening perspective I have a lot of plans in store for 2013.   I really want to expand my indoor gardening and will definitely be focusing on small space gardening outdoors.  I think it is going to be an exciting growing year to come!  I can't wait to share some of my ideas with you.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Richters 2013 Herb & Vegetable Catalogue

The Richters 2013 Herb & Vegetable catalogue arrived just before Christmas but I didn't have time to browse through it until today.  Richters (located in Goodwood, Ontario) has a wonderful selection of herbs and gourmet vegetables.  Their service is speedy with reasonable shipping costs that ensure your live plants arrive safely.  This year they have added SeedZoo, a project to preserve traditional and indigenous food plants from around the world.  Here is a short video on SeedZoo.

The SeedZoo seeds are sold on a first come, first served basis.  Many of the seeds are from rare and endangered food plants so there is only a few seeds available.  Once sold out the seeds may never be available again.  Home gardeners can help preserve these plants by buying the seed packets ($6 each), growing the plants then collecting the seeds to share with family and friends, much the same way as you do with heirloom varieties.  This is a wonderful way to experience vegetables from around the world that you might otherwise not have the opportunity to enjoy.

I ordered three packets - Hutterite beans, monkey faced peppers and giant Armenian black beans.  I really would have liked to order more but a lot of the seeds are indigenous to  Africa meaning the chances of them doing well here in Ontario, Canada is about slim to none but that doesn't mean I couldn't try.  They really are pricey though at 10 seeds per package for $6 plus shipping and HST.  Still, it is a well worthwhile project and I do hope that many home gardeners buy at least a package or two to support the cause.  More importantly, preserve the seeds and share them!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Real Verses Artificial Christmas Trees Revisited

'Tis the time of year that many have decked their homes with Christmas trees.  A few years (2008)  ago I wrote a blog post on real verses artificial Christmas trees.  There are pros and cons to both but the conclusion was from an environmental perspective, real Christmas trees are superior to artificial Christmas trees.  All of the original points are still relevant however I decided to revisit the issue to see if anything has changed.

In common:

  • Both real and artificial trees can be on the pricey side.  
  • Both have a cost of acquisition in terms of transporting to point of purchase then to your home.
Real Chrismas Trees:
  • Pro - One of the major changes in favour of using a real Christmas tree is many communities are now offering curbside collection with the tree destined to be turned into mulch.  This mulch is then available to be used in the community as well as any resident of the community.  Some communities charge a small fee for the mulch while others don't charge if you bring your own containers and load the mulch yourself.  
  • Con - Curbside collection is costly in terms of property taxes and associated collection costs (eg. fuel, truck maintenance) even though the actual cost may not be apparent to the resident.  Carbon dioxide and other emissions from the trucks used to collect the trees leave a rather large carbon footprint, contributing to air pollution and reduced air quality.
  • Con - One thing not mentioned in the original post was real Christmas trees need regular watering to prevent them from drying and becoming a fire hazard.  This fact hasn't changed just it wasn't discussed in the original post.
  • Con - Real Christmas trees usually need to be trimmed to fit the space, to create clearance for gifts underneath and balance the tree.  While this not difficult, it is messy and can be tedious.
  • Con - Another thing not mentioned in the original post, real Christmas trees can introduce insects into your home.  
Artificial Christmas Trees:
  • Pro - They do not require any maintenance during use making them ideal for those who want to decorate their home for the holidays and will be spending periods of time away from home. 
  • Pro - One of the biggest pros for artificial Christmas trees is the simplicity.  Simply pull the tree out of storage and set it up.  Some trees are all one piece so set-up is minimal, involving little more than plugging the tree in.
  • Con - Storage space is required and if you think about it, the tree is in storage for a considerably longer period of time than it is in use.  This is something to consider for those living in smaller homes or apartments.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Have you ever come across a plant that you don't know what it is and want to identify whether it is friend or foe?  Well, I have.  We moved into our new home in September of 2011 and we bought our vacation home in Florida in 2010.  While I am rather good at recognizing plants, I came across some at both of our homes that I didn't recognize.  We also do a fair amount of travelling where I come across plants that I really like and would like to identify them to see if they will grow well at either location.  Until now, I had to rely on manual identification via plant books and other home gardeners.  I've even posted a few unknown plants on this blog to get the help from my readers.  Onto the scene is a brand new app called Leafsnap.

Leafsnap helps you identify a plant by taking a picture of the leaf.  This is an free app available for the iPad.  Once you take the picture (snap it) of the leaf on a white background a number of possible options will appear as possible identifications.  At that point, you can choose the leaf in the database that matches yours for a positive id, name the leaf and save or you can leave it as unknown then show the picture to a local grower who can help you identify it.  This app would be particularly useful when trying to identify plants both in a new home and perhaps around the neighbourhood when planning what to plant.