Tag Archives: Garden

Organic Seed Starting in the Sunroom

saint john nb, seed germination, seed starting, gardening, urban gardening, flower, veggies

A couple of weeks ago Mom and I began starting seeds in my sunroom. The sunroom has large windows that face South, West and North. It’s bright and warming nicely in there this Spring. This is the first time I have ever started seeds having always purchased vegetable and herb starter plants for transplanting in previous years.

seed starting supplies

I was given the orchid three years ago as a house warming gift. Surprisingly, I’ve kept it in continuous bloom and alive for the last three years. Thus far we have started squash, cucumber, green onion, lettuces, broccoli, various tomatoes and beets to name a few.

We purchased the organic seeds from Hope Seeds and some of the containers for seed starting from Canadian Tire. I also picked up some Sharpies from Staples and popsicle sticks from Michaels for labelling what is planted where. The organic potting soil we bought last year from Brunswick Nurseries.

Missy Two Shoes the cat turns 15 this coming Summer! Sadly, I need to lock both Missy and Little Orange out of the sunroom as they both enjoy eating the plants, stepping in the containers and smushing seeds down and licking any and all water of the plastic pots. I only let them in when I’m in there.

Little Orange Tabby Cat

Eleven month old Little Orange particularly enjoys eating the green onions for some reason.

And this coming weekend I’ll be planting a few things outside that can take the cooler Maritime overnight Spring temperatures!

Growing an organic garden cat, herbs, flowers and vegetables

Missy two shoes licking water droplets off of rainbow chard

Missy’s gotten herself into the habit of traveling into the garden to lick water droplets off the rainbow chard leaves after a rainfall or watering. I’ve been harvesting the chard for about six weeks now. It will continue growing well into the fall of the year.

Dill growing in the garden surrounded by mulch

Along the side of the foundation in the backyard I planted herbs. This is the dill with a few yellow pansies in the background. It’s about 16 inches in height now and is close to flowering. I think I’ll pick off the flowers and dry them as the whole plant is edible. By picking off the flower blooms you’ll force the plant to continue growing both taller and fuller. the flowers on the dill plant are where the seeds are created. I’ll likely keep one or two clusters of flowers and allow them to turn to seed and harvest those seeds in the fall. Continue reading

The end of innocence or why we grow potatoes

Many anniversaries precariously show their face to me during this time of year when summer begins to end and everything alive turns crunchy beneath your feet as it withers and dies.

What am I trying to say? August 26, 2009 passed just as any other day yet it did mark four years sobriety and it was nine years ago that day that I moved out and left my ex-husband. September 5, 2009 still looms in the near future and with it comes the painful memory of my appendix rotting and doctors telling me there was no sign of Crohn’s and that it was just a bad case of gangrenous appendicitis. Right! Three weeks later in 1997 I was having 11 inches of bowel removed and weighed a ghastly 98 pounds. Sorry, but you doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Halifax should never have sent me home to Fredericton. I wasn’t even eating solid food eight days post-op after you silly doctors cut and stapled my abdomen crooked.

If I had remained a wife, September 5th, would’ve marked my eleventh wedding anniversary.

Today… today…
I, saw him again
Today
Today…

So what do you do when memories cloud your judgment? I turned inwards and let it ride and grew some purple skinned potatoes with my mom.

Backyard Blossom – The Miniature Plum Tree

This tree is loaded with pretty petite white blossoms. Each blossom turns into a miniature plum complete with mini pit and at the mature size of a blueberry they are the sweetest little plums I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.

I’ll be regularly updating the Garden 2009 Set on Flickr with both photos from my current residence with my folks and that of my own house once I move in ;)

Secret #4 – Saying Good Bye

One sunny afternoon I sat on my deck in Vancouver, brush in hand not knowing what to paint. I stared down at the piece of two by two foot freshly gessoed masonite board firmly planted on my lap. The sky was ultramarine blue, the garden glowing green and most colourful that day in late July, 2004. My senses were overwhelmed by the beauty of this environment. I glanced down at the board and at a the light grey shadow there; my shadow.

I gingerly traced it beginning to fill in whimsical areas of enchantment with much excitement and more importantly, contentment. Continue reading

Secret #1 – Learn to Grow Food

garden2008jessicadoyle

In my last post I said I have many secrets. And this is the first post in which I’ll share with you my hopes in becoming less reliant on the machine created by man. Through the use of technology and ancient wisdom we do indeed have the knowledge today to become more independent and in essence get off that damn grid either completely or in the least partially.

I am teaching myself how to grow food. This undertaking began three summers ago on my deck in containers in Vancouver. I miss that apartment and deck something awful at times. The view brings tears to my eyes and floods my senses with memories so vivid and very much alive today in a most humble and appreciative way.

North West View of deck garden in Vancouver.

I am far from being able to produce enough to consume during a whole year or even a few months, however, each year my gardens do yield more and more. This year combined with the help and knowledge from both my Mom and Dad we grew some fantastic food!

Brussels Sprouts

We fertilized using only local organic oceanic and manure compost that we purchased or had ourselves. By growing your own food you not only know where your food is coming from; you will eat healthy, get in shape, save the environment and be all the more closer to not having to rely on imports to eat.

Rainbow Swiss Chard

In 2007 I did begin the planting of that years garden in Vancouver. It grows in other parts of that world now. I gave it all away, left it behind or sold what I could when I left for good. About a week after arriving back in Saint John from Vancouver I turned soil with my Dad in the backyard, and closed this blog down for two months to gather myself.

It is amazing that years can pass in the blink of an eye. You can see the full Garden 2008 set on Flickr here. And if you are on my facebook there are even more photos! Feel free to add me as a friend from the top left sidebar of this blog.

Tomatoes!

Photo Credits, © Jessica Doyle 2008
1. 2008 Garden Montage – Saint John
2. Garden 2006 – Vancouver looking West from the deck
3. 2008 Brussels Sprouts – Saint John
4. 2008 Rainbow Swiss Chard – Saint John
5. 2008 Early Bird Tomatoes – Saint John (Although in this climate they are late…)

About Wearing Industrial Breathing Masks or the Fine Line Between Hammer and Pen.

Brick(s)

Often, I’ve thought that it you devoted your life to doing the things you love then the money would follow. Last month I wrote a test. The test was three weeks in duration. The final grade was fantastic.

Come the middle of June I’ll begin testing again. This time however there is no fail safe… nothing to fall back upon.

I quit my part-time job in March. I began working for my bother and dad shortly thereafter except for three weeks in May when I devoted my time to online endevours. These last 10 days I’ve been working 8 long hours per day as the 2 family home we own and are working on has sold before it’s completed. Now, I’ve worked many full-time jobs in the past but never had a shop to tend to and the work I was doing was not, both physically and mentally demanding. Office jobs may be mental but they certainly do not get you up and moving around.

I sat down last night and gripped my pen as a hammer; my paintbrush as a chisel and my mouse as a plaster sander.

Good Grief! My fingers are manly and calloused. My shoulders hurt incredibly as I spent four hours today sanding the bathroom ceiling, walls and baseboard, then priming them with BIN; an industrial cover-all-stinky-ass-paint-primer-sealant.

Yesterday I scraped the two bathtubs with a razor blade removing years of built up dirt, grime and cocking revealing the enamel underneath. The day before that I hauled demolition mega garbage down two flight of stairs.

My bother jovially nick-named me Clean Up Crew. I call him the Stupid Foreman. Oddly enough he is a smart foreman at his day job. We dawned industrial breathing masks this past Saturday and sanded the shit-out-of the century old hardwood floors with industrial sanders that I couldn’t fathom operating. I was the clean up crew.

We are so close to being finished. :) I haven’t written much about the renovations and sometimes I ask myself why and maybe the answer is because I like the work…

I have nothing nasty to say.

I’m payed reasonably well and can sit and take a break when needed. I get to do varying jobs apprenticing as a mason, carpenter, painter and lastly a labourer AKA Clean Up Crew. And I’m supplied with proper safety gear to wear when needed.

Burning Bush Leaves

I’ve been working outside in the garden but alas it remains too cold for planting most vegetables and herbs as the rain has been heavy. I expanded the garden plot 2 feet by 30 feet. It took me five hours of chopping grass root deep then cutting… no yanking it out then falling and hauling it away to the compost pile. Next, my mother and I dug another 8 inches down and sifted hundreds of pounds of gravel out of the soil which in turn had to be piled elsewhere. Once we ad some black earth, sheep and cow manure, compost and lastly the greenery the Doyle garden will be well on it’s way to growing.

One year has come and gone since I landed back in Saint John on May 29th, 2007.

And I’m not looking back.

Photo Credits – both captured by me last weekend. You can see the beginnings of the 2008 garden here.