fruit trees

It’s Not the Heat …

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Heck, it is the heat (and the humidity). That’s southern Ontario for you; one week there’s frost warnings and the next, it’s a steam bath ! The garden has been taking up more of my time and things are coming along pretty good. The garlic is looking lovely ,

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Garlic (hardneck)

and our chums (cross between a cherry and a plum) blossomed profusely the last two weeks.

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Opata Chum

They’ve proved to be exceptionally hardy ! The other stone fruit trees didn’t fare so well. It was a hard winter on trees; we had a number of freeze thaw cycles. Then to top it all off, there were two ice storms in late winter/early spring. So, no blooms on the peach, apricot, plum or plumcot. They’ve all leafed out well except the peach which is limping along. Hopefully it will hang in there.

But hey, it is rhubarb season so time to celebrate! This year I decided to try rhubarb syrup. It makes a spectacularly pink elixir that was a welcomed treat with water and ice today. I thought it deserved a pretty name and came up with “Rhuby Slipper”. Not original alas, a quick google search showed others had similar thoughts. A refreshing local sub for lemonade !

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Garden Rhubarb

Rhuby Slipper

Rhubarb syrup:

Simmer 4 cups of chopped rhubarb with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water for ~20 to 30 minutes.

Strain and keep the syrup refrigerated. The leftover cooked rhubarb is great on toast.

 

Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of syrup to 8 – 10 oz of water (sparkling would be nice).

Serve with ice.

Put a Ukelele tune on (Wild Child)

Try to keep cool !

 

While we’re on the topic of cold drinks …

Dorothy’s Green Dream

In a blender that can handle ice:

Blend 4 cups of water, 2 lemons (peeled and seeded), 2 strips of lemon zest, 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup fresh french tarragon and 2 cups ice cubes.

Later in the season basil is good in place of the tarragon. Some day I’ll try mint.

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French Tarragon

 

 

One Last Dance

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Peach Blossom
Peach Blossom

 

Two weeks ago the temperatures reached as high as 30 ºC and things were growing like crazy. This past week it has been more seasonal; sunny days with temps in the teens. But, Old Man Winter has decided on one last dance. It has been getting colder all day, and tonight it is supposed to be -3 ºC. I was hoping for a peach in a few months – the waltz of life and death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Update Spring 2014

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It was a cold winter and this spring has been a steady but seemingly slow climb towards warmer temperatures. The garden is in pretty good form so far and I was busy in early May planting fruit trees and bushes. Woo-hoo !! We now have four trees: peach; plum; apricot; plumcot. Also, two chum bushes and six black raspberry canes were added. All came from Whiffletree Farm.

IMG_4290In the photo you can also see another spring project; my mini Benjes Hedge. It was a great way to use the trimmings from a large Manitoba Maple on the property. I hate to loose any organic matter ! I’ve planted some climbing nasturtiums along it which will hopefully lessen the number of stares from passers-by.

We’ve already started enjoying a few pickings from the veggie garden. Radishes, baby Red Russian kale, cilantro, multiplier onions, rhubarb, as well as herbs have been gracing the table. Peas are looking promising and should be bearing in a few weeks. The heat lovers have been put in as starts (tomatoes and peppers) or direct seeded (cucumbers and zucchini). Spring turnips have lots of greens but are a bit slow bulbing up. I suspect the phosphorous levels in the soil still aren’t ideal. The garlic, despite a slow start, is being its usual dependable self. We almost made it through the year with our home grown garlic, but fell short by a dozen or so heads. This year I hope to have more than enough !

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