The potatoes are making a bid for freedom….

What a strange growing season we’re having! Our spring was so cold and wet that I direct sowed my veggies almost two weeks later than usual – a huge difference when you consider that we have, on average, 117 frost-free days in the city.  (I didn’t start anything indoors this year or do any winter sowing).  June was pretty much a blur of rain – I’m not certain we actually saw sunlight for the entire month.  To this date, July has been considerably more moderate as far as temperature and drying are concerned…and my potatoes are kind of blissed out at the moment. I’ve got foliage going on like nobody’s business – I just hope there are a few tubers forming under there.  A gardener in the Alberta Gardening Facebook group recently remarked that her potato plants were over five feet tall and those that commented echoed her claim – this is clearly the year of giant potato plants in our province!

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And yes, those are hula hoops forming the tunnel in my raised bed…you can see how I set that all up here.  I’m a big fan of the hula hoops – they’re cheap, sturdy, and they liven up a public space with their colours!  (I’m not sure what our community garden leader thinks of them, but she hasn’t sent me a cease and desist letter so I’m guessing they don’t offend too many sensibilities).   Instead of row cover fabric this year, I put up fibreglass screen. Its purpose is two-fold: we have deer that like to jump the fence of the community garden and nibble, so this saves my beans; as well – and more importantly – we are plagued by frequent hailstorms in this part of the world, and this keeps most of the icy stones from shredding my squash.  I could combine this set-up with row cover fabric in future years – a good idea if I decide to plant cabbages and want to thwart flea beetles, or if I get seeds into the soil early and need a bit of protection against the cold – but for this year, the screen without the poly has been a satisfactory choice.

Did you plant potatoes this year?  And do you use hoop tunnels in your raised or in-ground beds?  

And…just for fun – what is your favourite way to make potato salad?  

Floral notes: June.

And without further ado…wait, there was ado?

Harvest time is now virtually over for this early season crop, but a few weeks ago, my hubby and I headed out to Edgar Farms (near the town of Innisfail in central Alberta) for their annual Asparagus Festival.  The celebration is held over three weekends in May and June, and features a farm tour, lots of yummy food, and artisans selling their locally-made wares.  The star of the show is, of course, asparagus, which isn’t cultivated very much as a commercial crop here in the province – the family-run Edgar Farms is one of the only producers that I am aware of.  Interpretive signs near the asparagus fields offer fun facts about this fascinating perennial veggie,  tips to successfully grow it, and a history of the farm and its owners. (You can also take a guided wagon tour if you’d rather not walk the property; we chose to walk because I always find you see more if you’re on foot).  One of the highlights of the festival is the opportunity to go out into the asparagus fields to break a spear fresh out of the soil and pop it in your mouth.  And, of  course, all the freshly-harvested asparagus you can bring home from the marketplace…YUM! It’s going to be difficult to wait another whole year for such a delicacy!

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Purple cultivars of asparagus taste a bit sweeter than green ones, and wow! that colour!  Spectacular! (Just like many purple bean cultivars, purple asparagus spears turn green when you cook them, and actually, if you slice open a raw spear, the interior is green).

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A man with more literary awards than you can shake a stick at (as well as a little bauble called the Order of Canada!), renowned Canadian science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer was recently in Calgary acting as the visiting writer-in-residence at the Calgary Public Library.  My hubby and I managed to squish in Mr. Sawyer’s highly entertaining lecture “Why Everyone Should Read Science Fiction” on June 2.  In addition to defending his position on Star Trek’s superiority over Star Wars (I’d say the room was divided on that one!), we were treated to an educational and fascinating discussion of the history of science fiction writing  and its focus on social issues.

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Speaking of science fiction, I’ve published writer Geoff Hart’s flash fiction work “Fly Fishing” over at Paper Butterfly.  It’s a story you’ll fall for hook, line, and sinker…guaranteed. Head over there and enjoy!♥

 

 

 

 

Blog love, happy spring edition.

Spring is my favourite time of year! I’ve already reblogged a few wonderful posts but I’d like to wrap up this theme by showcasing some more bloggers who are also celebrating the season! (This may also introduce you to some new blogs that you might enjoy as much as I do). Have fun!

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Cynthia Reyes – Mama’s Garden in Spring

There and Back Again – Through My Lens: Pretty Pink Parasols

From My Window – Glorious Oriole

Chirps and Buzzes – White Admiral Butterfly

Natuurfreak2 – Mijn klein insectenboek

Some Little Crum Creek – Dragonfly

Tofino Photography – Orca Vistas

Rainyleaf – Blue Poppy Time

Words and Herbs – In a Vase on Monday: May Bouquet

Christopher Martin Photography – A Red Fox Backlit in Bragg Creek

A Little Gardening, A little Crafting

Spring is my favourite time of year! Over the next week or so, around my own posts, I’d like to showcase a few bloggers who are also celebrating the season! (This may also introduce you to some new blogs that you might enjoy as much as I do). Have fun!

arlingwords

Once more, I’ve been to the garden quite a few times and missed taking the camera.  The photos here are two weeks old, so there is now even a larger profusion of blooms, plants are bigger, and I’m settling in for the garden season weeding.

DSCN5581 The small AFAC garden is planted and now has sizable cucumber and squash seedlings as well as radishes, lettuce, and cilantro. I’ll put in peppers when the lettuce is done.

It has been raining a lot here, often on the weekend.  I stopped by the garden yesterday in light rain just to check on some plants and see whether some seeds I planted have come up.  Things looked good.

DSCN5591 I weeded the large outside garden and have planted flower seeds. One of the small blueberries from last year had survived. And the asparagus is doing pretty well.

It is possible the rabbits are eating my…

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Spring Miscellany: Tulips, Orioles, Lenten Roses, and Daffodils

Spring is my favourite time of year! Over the next week or so, around my own posts, I’d like to showcase a few bloggers who are also celebrating the season! (This may also introduce you to some new blogs that you might enjoy as much as I do). Have fun!

gardeninacity

This seems like a good time for a post devoted to miscellaneous development in the garden.

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Spring, Glorious Spring!

Spring is my favourite time of year! Over the next week or so, around my own posts, I’d like to showcase a few bloggers who are also celebrating the season! (This may also introduce you to some new blogs that you might enjoy as much as I do). Have fun!

Notes From the Hinterland

Yesterday, on my way to hang laundry, something loud buzzed by my ear.

My first thought: What’s that?

My second immediate thought: The hummingbirds are back!

Lickety-split, I went into the house and set a pot of sugar water to boil. Clif went down cellar to retrieve the hummingbird feeders, and by afternoon, they were out and ready for the little winged visitors.

Later that day, as Clif and I were having drinks on the patio, a male hummingbird came for a sip of the sugar water in the feeders. Readers, as the season progresses and more hummingbirds come, I will try to get a shot of these whizzing beauties. But between the birds’ speed and the limitations of my wee camera, my chances of success are not good. But I will make a valiant attempt.

Around the yard, there are more signs of Spring, glorious Spring.

The ferns continue…

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Don’t worry, bean happy.

Delectable, sugary jelly beans or ‘Blue Lake’ pole beans ready for sowing?  😉

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The bean experiment continues.  I was disappointed with ‘Kentucky Wonder’ last year, but I think I can blame our extremely hot, dry weather (as well as that vicious hailstorm in July) for their poor performance.  I am trying them again this year, alongside these pink beauties.

Do you grow beans (of any kind)?  Which ones are your favourites?