Photo Gallery index >Autumn Update - September 28, 2015

  • It's that time of year again, when fermenting jars of tomato seeds brighten the Equinox celebrations. We've wanted to share some scenes from the farm for a while now, so we hope you will have a look.
  • Starting in early September we had to cover our tenders - basil, nasturtium and tomatoes at first, then beans, beets finishing seed, calendula and more as the nights got colder. Without a killing frost yet, stragglers are getting a chance to finish, almost making up for a hot dry spring that delayed germination of some crops from May to June.
  • Here is a mature Anise Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio zelicaon). They are quite numerous in our area. Their favourite flower is probably lilac, but we also see them on lilies and valerian.
  • We have been doing some steam distilling of essential oils this summer. Most recently we hosted Robert Rogers from Northern Star Collage and his  Aromatherapy class for our fist ever batch of Mugo pine (Pinus mugo). Here we are on a garden tour, in front of the Golden Giant Amaranth. Stay tuned for upcoming photos of the steam distillation process.
  • We harvested quite a bit of green nettle seed in early August for dehydration. We find it has a mineral rich seaweed-like taste, and enjoy it sprinkled on food. Gord eats a teaspoon or two per day (1 to 2 grams).
  • Our direct seeded Dark Star zucchini really outperformed our early starts this year. We wait until the leaves die back from a few -1 or -2 Celsius frosts, then collect the mature fruit for a month long after ripening period before final seed harvest. The Double Standard sweet corn in the background was a hit, rivaling any other we have grown for taste and earliness.
  • We love the fresh veggies of Fall, featured here in a cooked beet salad (foreground), Caprese salad (middle) and garden garbanzo salad with nasturtium flowers.
  • It seems like only yesterday we were watching Anise Swallowtail caterpillars eat our parsnips. They are seen in late June, and we find flowering parsnip plants to be excellent habitat for them. Parsnips are the only biennials we have successfully overwintered outside, so far....
  • Carrots were especially erratic and late in germinating this year, as noted locally and around the province. After some rain they are now coming on strong, and our overwintered and replanted Solar carrots are maturing nicely, thanks to a mild Fall so far. We grow only one kind of carrot seed per year, moving on to yellow after a crop of Purple Dragons in 2014.
  • We had a good crop of Northern Pickling cucumbers this year. We scoop out the seeds and let them ferment in a bucket to remove the gelatinous placental sack that surrounds each seed. As with tomatoes, microbial digestion of sugars loosens the sack, allowing the seed to be washed clean. And that concludes this tour - cheers to the harvest!
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