Photo Gallery index > Autumn Update - October 27, 2011

  • It's almost Halloween and our gardens are winding down for the season - with the happy exception of some late-seeded greens. And so we now have time to share some memories of the last few months. Here is the view out our front door. With all the rain in June and July we had a record year for mosquitoes, making the screen this pic was taken through very important.
  • Here's our wild mint at it's peak of flowering. From each plug planted last spring we had very vigorous growth, spreading 75 cm (2.5 feet) in all directions and making a thick full row that we couldn't completely harvest.
  • We had a great time at the 1st Annual Alberta Herb Gathering, held July 15-17 at Pigeon Lake. It was an eclectic mix of people interested in Plant Spirit Medicine, exchanging ideas and information. Gord did a steam distillation demo of, yes, wild mint, and also gave a talk on growing medicinal and aromatic herbs in Alberta. One memorable quote that stuck with me: 'Herbalists are the interface between nature and society.' (Dr. Terry Willard)
  • We continued to learn about reclaiming land that we have cropped. This is the 'middle garden,' where we harvested Rhodiola in 2009. In 2010 it was seeded to fall rye, which overwintered well, and we mowed it down twice in 2011 to add organic matter. It has since been cultivated to work the rye into the soil, then seeded to an oats/red clover combo, of which we hope the clover will survive and prosper next year.
  • Max's Colossal marigolds were a big hit. Their bright petals have subtle differences, making each flower unique.
  • This was our first year growing Amaranth, and we were pleasantly surprised. Their impressive growth has a striking fractal nature. We did get some apparently viable seed from these plants, and look forward to trying this and other varieties of Amaranth next year, hoping to find another grain we can grow to eat.
  • Our lettuce had a good year for seed production. Here is our favorite Red Romaine - tasty and very frost tolerant, we're always happy to see it in a salad. Velvet queen sunflowers watch over the scene, and if you look closely you can see our improvised deer fence in the background, made from lathe poles and fishing line. We put that up mid-summer after the lacinato kale was repeatedly browsed. The fence reduced, but did not stop the raids.
  • That sprawling Brassica that Kathleen is contemplating is green curly kale. These plants were twice munched by deer in the spring, yet still managed to surprise us with abundant seed.
  • We trialed two purple, one red and one yellow carrot this year. Ballots are still being counted, but the winners will be included in our Multicoloured Carrot Mix, new for 2012.
  • Looking back, it's been a great garden year. Here is one of our last seeds to clean: this zucchini was harvested in September, then stored for a month. And that's all for now folks! Thanks for your interest in Harmonic Herbs.
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