Tag Archives: gardening

And the garden is growing

This past weekend I spent Mother’s Day at my folk’s place helping outside in the garden.

We planted organic seed potatoes and complained about the creeping charlie and talked about how well the strawberry rhubarb is growing this season.

It was a peaceful day.

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!

A List of 10 Good Things

It’s so easy to focus on what’s wrong and forget about what is right within our own personal lives. These last few months I’ve found myself pulling away from the online world and forming and strengthening relationships in the real world and honing and learning new skills that will indeed help me in the future.

swiss chard saint john new brunswick

While the cooler Fall weather settles into the Northern Hemisphere we need to take stock of what is good and positive.

Here is a list of 10 good things.

1. Vegetable and herb gardening in the backyard (rainbow chard pictured above)
2. Eating locally sourced organic food (meats, eggs, veggies)
3. Learning to freeze, preserve, pickle and can with Mom
4. Building a cold room for storing root veggies with Dad
5. Building two new decks on the house with my Dad and Brother
6. Family and friends
7. Three great tenants living in the house
8. 2012 Calendars are listed
9. The hypothyroidism is under control
10. Seriously thinking of beginning an organic farm

A few readers have written asking why I haven’t been blogging. The Summer slow down perhaps? Nothing to say maybe. Needing downtime and outside time in order to keep it all in perspective for when I’m able to return to it most likely.

I don’t like to make promises as they are surely to be broken but I can say that I’m never very far away and doing my best to work through some creative, insurance (nightmares) and future-proof business solutions so that the good things might multiply.

I hope you all are doing well too.

The kitten pictured above is my parents new kitten. She is crazy and had jumped on my lap to play with the camera cord.

Secret #1 – Learn to Grow Food


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.


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…)

Monday HA ha – Worms Good Here?

Worms good here?

Usually have a piece of large paper or mat board that get used as a tester for color or to get my pen working during a moment of angst when it is not flowing, and even to draw upon when the drawing you are drawing sucks!

As is the case…

I began singing this song in my head after accidentally turning both a perfectly happy fish and birdie into sad and frustrated looking creatures by messing toooooo much with their eyes…

No one loves me
Everybody hates me
Going to the garden to eat worms
Big fat juicy ones
Small skinny slimy ones…

And we all know what happens when we mess with to much with EYEballs!


About turning soil in the backyard sunshine

Today I’ll be working outside in the dirt. Dad and I turned half the garden last night removing any weeds still growing underneath from the previous soil turning two weeks ago.

Gardening on the ground is not the same as gardening in containers. Holy weeds! It’s really not that bad. I’ve dawned Dad’s old work clothes and Mom’s old sneakers and am getting dirty raking in last year’s bagged maple leaves and will be adding peat moss to the mixture later today. It’s cool outside even with the sun shining. The air is fresh and smog is a distant memory until mid-summer when the annual Quebec forest fires and Eastern United States Coast pollution migrate, combine and settle over New Brunswick when the winds are just right.

Many of you may feel it is late for planting and I tend to agree, however in recent years, the summer season in the Maritimes extends into October because of the many Huricanes pushing warm air up the Coast from Florida. It’s been too cold at night for seedlings to survive until this past week in Saint John.

The three day long fog lifted overnight. Birds are chirping. Yellow finches, sparrows, starlings (of course), robins and two morning doves call the adjoining backyards home. The grey morning doves mate for life and sound as owls when speaking. Missy is beside herself with all the activity on the ground. She remains fearful of the green oceanic lawn, nipping just at it’s edges, she walks on anything other than it, happy to stare at the birds while dreaming of catching one.

It’s good to be here. It’s good to be alive today.

Into the containers go seeds soil water and 10-55-10

pretty blue flowers

The Sunday before last I worked outside in my garden clearing away debris. The flowers are popping up through the remnant grossness of Vancouver winter.

I readied soil to plant seeds in. I planted 16 each of red leaf, green leaf and romaine lettuce. I dug out the red onion seeds I had harvested from last year and planted 24 of those. I planted them into a makeshift crate. Inside the crate there are 12 smaller rectangular starter pots for them to germinate in.

Germination of onions and lettuce

After planting the crate I went in search of plastic inside my apartment. I save all my plastic bags whether they be grocery, vegetable, bread or in this case a 24 recycled toilet paper roll bag. I needed two for the enclosure of the crate. I searched and found another. Pulling either bag on and over each end of the crate to keep moisture in while the third generation seeds germinate. I say third generation, for this year is the third year I am planting my own seeds collected from my garden. Every year these plants and vegetables become more acclimatized to my planting, soil and weather conditions on my deck.

Last year for Easter my folks sent a basket of flowering bulbs to me. I stored them in a cool dry place after the flowers died. Essentially they went to sleep for about a year. I stumbled across them in the shed (yes I have a shed on the roof). They were sprouting their little green and yellow shoots. I do not know the names of the bulbs and soon enough they will show who they really are and I will be able to share with you their floral beauty.

Walking around the deck I planted the bulbs in with the two large rose bushes, apple tree, two cedar trees, the grapevine and in the pots along the fence rail. All together I planted roughly 40 bulbs.

In early evening wherever a bulb or seed had been planted I added 10-55-10 basic plant starter food to help them grow strong.

Just last month in January I pulled out the last of the carrots from last summers garden. Great thing about carrots is they survive winter in the ground and remain tasting delicious.

Germination enclosure

In about another week I expect the lettuce and onions to germinate. I’ll continue to let them grow inside for 4-6 weeks then transplant them outside into permanent containers. They will grow a healthier root system this way. When the time comes for transplanting I’ll be adding bone meal mixed with egg shells and tea below the root systems of each starter plant. After they are in place I’ll water them with 10-10-10 vegetable food. I am also in need of manure and peat to mix in with the existing soil. If you garden in containers you will need to have a higher peat content ratio in your soil than if you were planting directly in the ground. Containers, regardless of size, dry out faster than ground planting. Peat helps retain water and nourishment for your plants to grow healthy. I’d suggest half peat, half soil and a tenth manure perhaps for containers. Last year I did not ad manure to the garden. The year before I did. I plan on adding it, this year.

2007 Leeks

Currently leeks are sprouting up, small rose bushes are growing foliage, and mint and onions are growing from last season. Many vegetables just like flowers will re-seed themselves. The pansies are also rearing their leaves everywhere. Honestly.

You can go to my flickr page to see the full garden and watch as it progresses in 2007.