Posts Tagged ‘local food’

The Story of Strawberry

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

There was an interesting article in the Toronto Star yesterday about the journey of California strawberry - from the genetics lab in California to the local grocery stores all over North America.  It’s incredible/scary all the processes involved from seeds to fruit.  

Some interesting facts from the article:

  • there are over 200 genetically unique seeds on each strawberry
  • the growing season for Ontario strawberries is 5 weeks; in California, 9 months
  • each strawberry plant is engineered from a seed, put through heat treatment, humidity chamber, and travelled to mountains in Northern California for cooling
  • California strawberry fields are first fumigated with methyl bromide to kill all weeds, bugs and fungus to a depth of 2.4 metres (is this practice common in all commercial farming, or unique to strawberries?)
  • once picked, strawberries are cooled to 2 degree Celcius to prolong the shelf life to 10 days
  • the farthest city the California strawberries travel to is Toronto
The story of the strawberry is a lot more complicated than I thought. I don’t think it’s the way nature intended.   Having read the article,  I now appreciate the Ontario strawberries even more.

Seeds are in!

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

seeds from Seedy Saturday

Tanny, Ella and I went down to Seedy Saturday and picked up this year’s crop of veggies. Seedy Saturday was held at the Wychwood Barns this year and it was PACKED!

Our haul for 2009:

  • Tomatoes: Yellow Cherry, Beefsteak, Ruffled Red
  • Pepper: Lipstick Sweet Red
  • Herbs: Italian Large Leaf Basil, Thyme, Italian Parsely, Cilantro
  • Misc: Sugar Snap peas, Brittle wax beans, Scarlet Nantes carrots
  • Garlic: six varieties!

Making a return to the garden from last year:

  • Tomatoes: Blanche Beauty, Black Cherry
  • Sweet Basil
  • Midget Golden Watermelon

This weekend we started all the tomatoes, the basils, the thyme and the peppers. In a couple of weeks we’ll start the melons. The rest we’ll plant directly outdoors.

I’ve already started getting the yard ready for spring. I cleaned up the leaves and debris from our East and South yards (sounds bigger than they are) and some green flowers shoots are already peeking through! We had a nasty infestation of Viburnum leaf beetle that stripped both our snowball trees last year so I’ve been painstakingly pruning all the infected branches.

This year we’re going to convert one of our flower gardens into a vegetable garden since our current vegetable garden is really shaded. We’re also hoping to plant a second fruit tree (to replace a fallen tree) and some Veestar strawberries. It absolutely breaks our hearts to know that we have to clip the flowers from the strawberry plants the first year and won’t get strawberries until 2010!

If anyone has a recommendation for a native fruit tree that doesn’t suffer from neglect and insects but has a plentiful yield - please let us know!


Forum

Garden activity

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The peas are taking off like crazy this year and our heirloom tomatoes are getting bigger and stronger by the week. Not much sign of the parnsips. The carrots, while they started out strong, have had to contend with our 1 year old gardener. Still holding out hope that they bounce back! Our basil plants were thriving in the heat of last week but aren’t sure what to make of the cooler temperatures this week.

Some sights from around our gardens:

This year we pruned our pear tree to hopefully increase its yield and grow more pears than the squirrels can eat.

This year we pruned our pear tree to hopefully increase its yield and grow more pears than the squirrels can eat.

Here’s Ella checking up on the peas in the garden - can you see any carrots leaves on the bottom of her shoe?

One of our resident carpenter bees making a home in our fence. At least its not our porch again!

An unusual black butterfly. Anyone know what it is?

A snail chilling out on some clematis.


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More provinces included in seasonal food list

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Tonight I added seasonal food lists for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. All provinces are now represented; I just have the territories remaining.


Tree vs Garden

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

When we bought our house, one of the things we fell in love with was the yard.  There’s a lovely perennial garden and lots of mature trees. In fact, one of our favourite things to do in the summer is relaxing in the shade. However, we also blame this shade for the poor yield in our vegetable garden. We have these overgrown elm hedges that are over fifteen feet tall, our garden gets full sun for about five hours at the height of summer. In the past two years, we’ve produced one medium size fuzzy melon, a handful of tomatoes (they almost never make it to the kitchen), three peas, some radishes that are the size of marbles, and stumpy carrots. Quite sad, really. We hope to have better yield this year so we’ve decided to cut those hedges down to a more reasonable height.  I really hope to grow some vegetables to supplement our local food diet.

Any suggestions for vegetables that are easy to grow from seeds?