Friday, July 5, 2013

garden update

well, this year's garden is nothing compared to SciFiChick's beautifully weeded and maintained rows, and it's certainly not as "sexy" as Pioneer Preppy's, and we have had some hits and some epic fails, but we are still pleased with some of the progress.

here check out this beautiful sunrise. it was taken at about 4:15am.

yes, we are early risers but not at 4:15am!!!! but that's what time we have been getting up, every single day for the past few weeks. a family of 5 ravens, all of whom are the size of a dog (think lab not shiaztu!), have been showing up every morning, landing on our roof, jumping up and down and squawking their fool heads off!!! arghghghgh. jambaloney gets up and goes and shoos them away, sometimes they listen, sometimes they just jump up and down harder. if they listen, they just sit in trees near the house, squawking and squawking! we try to go back to sleep but it is near impossible!

first up in the garden update - check this out!

 that is a baby pepper!!! all 40 of my pepper plants are covered in flowers and they are loooooving the heat and humidity in the greenhouse! i already have a baby pepper and it's only the first week of july - wooohooo - score!

another score - almost all of my tomatoes have gone to flower - again - in the first week of july?!?!?!? oh it looks like we will be having a bumper year with tomatoes and peppers!

one of the reasons they are doing so well is that this year we are noticing tons of bumble bees, solitary bees and a variety of flies that look and act like bumble bees. we have been very concerned for the past 2yrs as we weren't seeing any bees. but by allowing the land around us that had been cleared to just return to it's natural wild state, and not mowing all of wildflowers and clover all the time - there are bees everywhere!

another reason why there are soooo many bees is this:

that's comfrey, a very useful medicinal plant. you can learn more about comfrey here. be careful if you plant it as it spreads and spreads. comfrey leaves make great mulch for around your plants and comfrey is excellent in your compost! we have allowed the comfrey to spread wherever it wants and i am allowing this plant to go to seed to gather seeds and then plant the comfrey in strategic places all around the yard.

the reason why is because of the bees!!! no matter what time of day, and no matter which plant you are looking at - the whole plant is covered in bees!!!! and all different kinds!!! honey bees are not native to north america and if you have a diverse population of solitary bees, then you don't need the honey bees for pollination. i am so glad that the bees are back! also, hummingbirds love comfrey too, so it is a very fun plant to grow! i love my comfrey!

another score for the garden - garlic!

just look at those babies!!! we have 8 tires planted with garlic and another half-bed besides the one above. we eat a lot of garlic around here! i guess that's why we never have problems with vampires!

how about i brag some more about the garden. thank you. i will. check this out!

oh ya, baby, potatoes!!! we have planted a ton of extra potatoes all over the place not just the ones you see here. we will have a definite bumper crop this year and we'll be eating potatoes until the first ones are ready next year! woohoo! score!

another score - check out the baby tadpoles!

they are just so cute to watch! and once they become toads or frogs or salamanders or whatever they are - they will eat all kinds of mosquitoes!

the peas are doing awesome this year - sorry no pic - i'll get one for the next update! the beans are so-so at best. the melons, squash and pumpkins - eh - it's anybodies guess.

now for the epic fails! my beets have been in the ground almost a month and still haven't grown! my french breakfast radishes which i should be harvesting, taste woody - like all of them! thank goodness that the easter egg radishes and cherry belles are ok - but we love french breakfast radishes!

the even more epic fail than the ones listed above - i transplanted 36 cucumbers and i have 1!!!! that's ONE!!!! ugh. i was getting crazier and crazier every morning when we would take our first morning walk and i would see that the slugs had decimated the actual stalks of the cucumbers! same thing for the zucchinis - i  transplanted 36  and have 3 and a half - the half is a little guy that looks like he is really trying but i don't think he's gonna make it - arghghghghgghgh! all of that work for nothing! and now i have to start all over again! i might see a zucchini or a cucumber in october! geesh, eh?

all of the herbs are planted and seem to be doing well - we love fresh herbs and now with the greenhouse built, we can fresh, homegrown herbs probably through to december! it's gonna be awesome.

how about a food epic fail? i am always tweaking recipes and trying different things but man do i hate it when what i thought was going to be the most awesomest pasta salad ever, turns into a bland piece of crap!

that up there is my infamous tuna, apple, mayonnaise and wasabi pasta salad! (i also put garlic, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, cumin and cayenne in it) - THAT pasta salad is one of our favourites! but i got to thinking - "hmmm, how can i add more punch. what would knock that pasta salad out of the universe?". and then i came up with it! AVOCADO!!!! what in the world doesn't taste better with avocado in it?!?!?!?!?

EPIC FAIL! normally the pasta salad belts you in the head with the flavour of the wasabi. i used twice as much wasabi as usual and twice as much of the other spices. BLAND! oh man were we disappointed. and i made a ton of it because we like to have something in the fridge to snack on when we don't want to cook. and we ate it. and groaned. and had to finish the big, giant pot for days, groaning.

but since i like to finish posts off in a positive way - check out another score.

that's our first full meal from our garden! we have sporadic things here and there but this is the first delicious breakfast straight from our garden - beet greens, garlic scapes and green onion. cooked until slightly wilted in a big 'ol chunk of butter! with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. DEEVINE!


  1. Are you kidding ? Your garden is special not only because of its location, its proximity to water, and it's soil but because it is attended by periodically naked humans, the way God originally intended ! LOL
    The food looks wonderful.

    1. teehee. dear sweet Jane - sometimes i can't help but feel that you "just get it". it must be Daniel's influence. thanks so much for all of your beautiful positivity that can be counted on at. all. times. xoxo

  2. Have you tried feeding the slugs beer? I hear it works. Hey, a garden is a good garden when it is lush and green and produces food. I am glad the greenhouse is working out so well.

    You have made me want tuna salad with apples. My recipe is very different from yours, but the apple is soooo good in tuna salad. I cannot imagine how avocado screwed it up. I, like you, eat whatever I cook--no throwing things out here.

    Did you get my email? I got something today saying it was not delivered. ???

    1. I will second the beer and slugs idea. I have even seen it work were people had simply been lazy and not picked up their "empty" beer cans. When I tipped them prior to putting them in a trash bag, slugs would come out with the beer-rainwater mixture.

    2. Linda, Russell - last year we buried plastic cups in all of the beds and tires and put beer in them. it sort of worked. but slugs STILL got at our veggies?!?!?!? and i couldn't stand seeing all of the dead bloated slugs in the cups that had to be scooped out and emptied every day - arghhghgh! i really, really don't like killing things!

      back to Linda - i love apple and tuna and will sometimes just eat an apple with a can of tuna right out of the can - no need for niceties around here! i would love it if you shared your recipe, either here or on your blog.

      Linda - i have checked my email and my spam file - no email from you. can you resend please? thank you!

      Russell - read my above comment to Linda - i really don't like using beer because they drown. a friend, only today, who is from here, told us that slugs do not like sand and salt. and with the atlantic ocean full of salt-sand only a few mins away - guess what we are going to try?!?!?!? jambaloney is gonna get some sand and then we are going to spread the sand around the outside of the tires. apparently the slugs can't climb over sand and they hate salt. so that will make them move on without killing them. there are all kinds of delicious, wild and natural food for them here - hopefully they will go to it if our food is surrounded by salt-infused sand. oh god i hope this works!

    3. I think salting slugs is cruel. They die by having all the fluid come out of their bodies in a huge slimy ooze as they writhe and cannot get away. I would rather they drown because that goes quickly, plus they are probably drunk. Have jambaloney empty the slugs. I am not against killing any animal but torture? I cannot stand that. I figure you did not know about the slow, agonizing, disgusting death. Lots of slime as they writhe--ugh.

    4. Linda - i did NOT know that and will have to look into it more! from my understanding, from my friend's experience, is that once the slugs get close to the sand and smell the salt, they move away from it.

      and i am so with you on animal torture, when i first met jambaloney he fished using live bait. i put a stop to taking live worms, sticking a hook through them and then drowning them.

      i will definitely look into this salty-sand thing before implementing it. and thank you for pointing it out to me.

      one last thing - every gardening forum that i checked about what to do about them said to put a cut can around the plant. the slugs climb up the can and then cut themselves in half. there was NO WAY IN HECK that i would ever do that! others said put talcum powder all around the plant as it sticks to their bodies and then their whole bodies suffocate. i would not do that either.

      i don't want to torture or kill them - i just want to deter them without using chemicals of any kind. i will keep trying to find a way to do that.

      again - thank you for pointing this out to me.

    5. kymber,
      I am probably more sensitive to the salting of slugs than most people. I heard about salting slugs when I was about 7 or 8 and wanted to salt some slugs to see. Mama shamed me when she taught me about how slugs suffer. I still cannot bear the thought. She was not deliberately shaming me, but I felt ashamed that I would torture slugs for fun.

      I read that egg shells, crumpled foil, beer, and sandpaper all deterrents.

      My own personal favorite for dispensing slugs is stepping on one with my bare foot or having one slide into my sandal as I walk to the car or house at night. They slime gets stuck tight to foot and sandal and leaves a stain that has to wear off my foot...ugggh.

  3. The garden looks great :) I have a TON of zucchini and I will just GIVE you a ton of it, just come on down here with some beer and your hot tub and you can have as much of it as you!!!!

    My garden looks like a freaking jungle at this point. I just went out there today, when the rain stopped for a bit, and almost just sat and cried. As soon as the never.ending.rain stops I'm going to round me up some kids and get to work, that is IF the rain ever stops :( The ONLY good thing about all of this rain is that it means I will have enough extra water to fill your hot tub when you get here!!!

    Sorry about your pasta....I've done that and it always sucks to eat down something that you know could have tasted awesome had you not messed with it, but I'm totally with you....the avacodo SOUNDS like it would have been a great addition!!!!

    So, when do you think you will be here for your zucchini?

    Lots of love to you :)

    1. Michele,
      Since you are just north of me and this rain seems to be affecting us both, I looked at the forecast and it will rain every day! for the next ten days. ugh

    2. gurl - can't you just like mail me a ton of it - i am sure it won't cost too much - and we'll pay for the shipping - bahahahahah! wait - no, 20lbs of zucchini is going to cost a lot!!! yep - you can pay - bahahahah!

      ok - i bragged in this post so i will accept your bragging about alllllll of your zucchini, ya big braggart you!!!! we went through the rain period for the whole entiiiiiiire month of june! i think that's why my beets and french breakfast radishes are doing so badly.

      you round up those kids and get them to work. you make sure that you don't overdo it so that little "Mine" is properly taken care of! jambaloney says that if ya got that many kids - then ya got yourself an army of workers - bahahahah! and you really do. you're kids are such great kids. but you protect little Mine for me, ok?

      we'll bring the hottub, you'll supply the rainwater to fill it, and jambaloney will teach the kids how to make all kinds of awesome drinks for me and you - bahahahahahah! oh we are bad, eh?

      ya - i royally screwed the pasta. i hate when that happens!

      lots of love always to you and yours, M, always!

      you mentioned beer and i forgot to mention that a blog friend of ours jamie (see 'my adventures in self reliance" in our blog roll) made a beer and named it after us - can you believe that? she wants to send us some but i think it is going to cost a fortune. maybe i'll have her send it to you instead. i'll get back to you on that. xoxo

  4. I've only grown potatoes in tires, but as I wear out more tires, I think I'll branch out a little.

    1. Mr. Smythe - when we first learned about tire gardening - we learned about all kinds of crazy stuff - like people successfully growing fruit trees in tires in the desert?!?!?!? so we said - heck - why not? back in our city garden we grew everything in tires and were very successful. here on the island we are learning that because of our soil, the high salt content in our air, and the constant wetness - some things do better than others in tires. for example, the garlic that we are growing in tires don't seem to be thriving the way our garlic is in the wood raised beds. it's all a matter of trial and error as you well know, Sir. but yes, branch out with your tires. you'll learn pretty quickly what works and what doesn't. always a pleasure when you stop in, Sir!

  5. Sweet Kymber,

    See how that greenhouse works you have flowers every where on all your vegetables. Are you prepared for a very large harvest this year? And some major canning?

    Have you tried making pasta salad with just a really good quality olive oil on the pasta, mix fresh vegetables, some cheese, maybe some kind of meat like pepperoni, (cooked ham), salt and pepper. OMG this is amazing and you get all of the natural flavors with it. I usually make a very big one with pasta, small tomatoes, celery, green and red peppers, broccoli, fresh basil, fresh parsley, thinly sliced radish, artichoke (frozen), mozzarella cheese diced, a little bit of pepperoni sliced real thin, black forest ham diced, olives (all kinds)and then a really good olive oil all over the salad, mixed well with pepper and lite salt. The family loves this salad and it's great for a couple of days in the refrigerator. You may need to add more olive oil on the second day because everything absorbs it.

    I'm not a big fan of those big black birds, they are loud and won't leave unless really scared off. Have you considered an owl? If you put up a plastic owl this may help?

    Think no tad poles, I like trout and bass so much better :-)
    I'm getting my gear ready!!!

    Have a beautiful weekend, stay cool (because it's suppose to be hot this weekend). Sending hugs and warm thoughts to you and Jambaloney.
    Your Friend,

    1. dear sweet Sandy - that greenhouse is working wonders - oh what a joy! and yes - we are ready for all of the freezing, dehydrating and canning that it will all bring - oh bring it on!

      your fresh pasta sounds like some of our favourites! our all time favourite is very plain - spaghetini, fresh chopped tomatoes, fresh chopped parsley, a ton of olive oil, fresh chives, a TON of garlic, vinegar with the mother and fresh grated parmesan. but i will definitely be trying out your wonderful recipes very soon! once we have harvested all of the ingredients.

      sweet Sandy - those birds are driving us nuts and we are learning to go to bed maybe that is what they are trying to teach us? to rise with the sun and to go to bed at sunset?

      i wish we had hooting owls around here. my friend Gorges Smythe just did a recent post about the hooting owls finally coming back to his neck of the woods. and how hearing them makes him feel closer to God. go and check him out. he is only one comment above. i think that you will like some of his posts.

      jambaloney has got a real good trout post for you in a couple of days! we are having a super hot weekend for this time of year, in this part of canada but we have been dipping in the river every day, and not screaming too much when we go in so that is lovely!

      i hope that you and your family are going to enjoy the weekend and stay cool yourselves. you, sweet Sandy, and yours are always in our thoughts and prayers. we are both sending big hugs back but jambaloney says that his are bigger than mine - teehee. xox

  6. I am glad the birds are getting you up an appropriate time: they are only beating sunrise by a little bit:

    1. Russell - you are always looking up all kinds of things eh - bahahahahah! if you look at a map of nova scotia you will see that Halifax is on the mainland while we are on the island in cape breton - roughly 350km away. and because we are on a hill and the sunrise i took a pic of was on the horizon looking down - the stupid, big-*ss, squawking ravens are right on time! every single morning - arghghghghghghghgh! yer awesome, buddy!

  7. The Ravens are cracking me up. I can picture JB in his Jammies shooing them away. Just shoot em! They taste like chicken.. lol

    My cucumbers are a jungle. And I too have seen lots of bees around them.....

    1. JUGM - did you have toooo many margaritas on this R&R break?!?!?!?!? jambaloney barely wears clothes in the winter AND never in the spring or summer! Gurlie - that man doesn't own any jammies! no way, gurl, he goes out in his birthday suit to shoo them away - bahahahahah!

      and don't tempt me with them tasting like chicken! just this afternoon when they showed up for their afternoon squawking and jumping up and down on the roof - i said to jambaloney in my most serious Arnold voice -

      "load the .22, baby!"

      hey can you mail me some of those cucumbers???

  8. You don't have to have a realistic owl, just a homemade one with big eyes. Eyes seem to be the best part for scaring things.

    1. Linda - i will give it a try...thanks. but i am telling you, JUGM is on to something...i just want to load the .22 - bqahahahahah - oh, i don't mean to sound that bad!!!!

    2. Hey, that method suits me just fine!

  9. Oh, eat them--even better. I find no fault in that.

  10. kymber - I kept reading baby preppers LOL

    Haven't tried growing garlic in tyres, but have grown potatoes. I agree - one CANNOT have too many garlic plants. If I could, I would eat it for brekkies too, but don't think my grandson would appreciate a garlic kiss so early Bwahaha

    1. oh Dani - bahahahahahahah! little tiny baby "preppers". i guess those would be newborns just getting into prepping or something!!!!

      one good thing about us is that we both love garlic so we cancel each others breath out - bahahahahah! one of my favourite breakfasts is a whole roasted garlic clove, melted brie, a fresh sliced pear and toast. oh but you have to cut the toast into fancy little triangles - bahahahahahah! i love that!

  11. Sorry about the fails, But that's how we learn. The positives will out weigh the negatives as time goes on.

    1. Rob - you are sooooo right! and it doesn't matter how great of a grower you are - when you move 1,000 miles and 3 time zones to a new place - you are going to have to start learning what works and what doesn't just as if you were a newbie. we're learning, buddy!

  12. PioneerP - somehow i knew what was coming long before you said it - bahahahahah! i don't want to kill them - just deter them. but if they keep wreaking this kind of havoc on my well-babied and well-transplanted plants - i might be getting out the .22 - bahahahahahahah!

  13. Kymber, can you email me your address jlsim66 at I got your beer ready to bottle! I don't think it will be to expensive to send you guys at least couple of bottles to try out.
    For the slugs my Mom uses broken egg shells in the garden. From what I understand the slugs don't like slithering over them and the shells are good for the soil. Just wash the egg shells before crushing them up and then scatter them around the garden soil.

  14. My onions were a bust,and my lettuce and spinach too ( too hot!).Everything else seems to be coming along well,though. Thanks for sharing,as always,my friend!

  15. Linda's Tuna Salad
    1 small can tuna, sort of drained
    3 boiled eggs--chopped, grated, or mashed
    1 sweet gherkin, chopped
    6 hamburger dill slices, chopped
    1/4 or less tsp salt
    egg-sized dollop of Miracle Whip
    Delicious apple, peeled, cored and grated

    Mix all. Eat in sandwiches. My mother managed to feed five hungry children with this recipe. She may have put more pickle, but I doubt it. Of course, anyone can use any amount of the ingredients listed.

  16. Wow! That was a very newsy update. I LOVE that your garden is scattered and so diverse. Way to confuse those predator insects! :-)

    Here are two things about slugs; one I've experienced personally and one I've only read about.

    First, the one I've only read about...if you have too many snails and slugs you don't have enough ducks.

    Second...I tried a few things this summer and hands down the best anti-slug method in my garden was to sprinkle crushed egg shells in a circle around each plant. It worked fabulously! So, start saving your egg shells for next year.

    Keep up the good work. The garden and greenhouse sound awesome!

  17. Beautiful! I don't know if the climate or soil there is suited for tomatillas (a green tomatoe like delicacy) but I'm posting a recipe this weekend using them, as around here in July they're all over.

    Your garden is lovely.

    Thanks again for the note and the phone number to chat. My best to you and Jam.

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