Catie George

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since Oct 20, 2016
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Ontario - Currently in Zone 4b
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Recent posts by Catie George

Most things can be preserved simply by rinsing them and tossing them in freezer bags in he freezer.

Sure, blanching them first might be better, but oh well. Good enough.  Summer is busy and our AC does not keep up with canning! I don't toss things in the fridge until i have time to deal with them, i toss them into the freezer. I dont even label them since i can see what things are, and make sure i've used it all up by late spring. In harvest season i try to pick daily as i wander the garden and just keep ongoing bags i close as i fill in the freezer.  Particularly things that arent enough of for a meal now, but over time, will amount to something. Most "summer crops" come into peak production here between mid August and early sept. 4 weeks, if we are lucky. There is no chance i'd be able to properly can it all!

Whole tomatos, frozen are a treat to make fresh tomato soup with in the winter when i have more time. I might even take them out of the freezer mid summer if i get it in my head to do a big batch of tomato sauce. Chopped frozen peppers make an easy start on winter dinners. Whole hot peppers. Grated or just chopped to fit in a bag zuchini. Basil. SO MUCH RHUBARB. Raspberries. Cooking greens. Whole green beans. Garlic scapes. Etc, etc. Sometimes if i'm cooking I'll put an extra portion of whatever mixed veggies i prepped into the freezer. But mostly, freeze now, prep later.

Don't overpack the bags (which makes them split when you go to use the food) and you can rinse the bags out and reuse next season and get stuff out of them without heating the plastic.

I also try to stagger harvests with variety choice and planting dates. My rows are mostly 4 feet long. Last frost is in a month and I already have 5 rows of carrots in the garden from 2 sowings, and am planning on another couple this week, and more later on. I do this for most things because i really cannot do big harvests or big planting days.

I grow a lot of storage crops which are far less fussy and time sensitive.
What a fun project!

There is, of course always responsible wild harvesting, and the wind and animals are very good at planting seeds but...

I might consider planting one of theses mixes from the Ontario Seed Company - they have several meant for wet areas.

I might also consider harvestig some local pussy willow, dogwood, etc, cutting it up, and sticking the sticks into the bank. Willow is pretty easy to grow from hardwood cuttings and relatively easy to ID in winter.

My grandfather did this on his farm many decades ago - 15 ft deep pond in a swampy area. Other than minnows amd catfish he didnt stock it at all. It was amazing the variety of fish he had, evidently carried by birds, and plants, and amphibians...

Edit -  the pond made both a fantastic swimming hole and a fantastic fishing hole. The trick was a small dock to get into deeper water past the weeds.
3 months ago
I thought i should update this with my results. I ended up planting them on a cloudy day, and having rain the next day and a cool week. Really lucky planting weather, although planting in an N95 and heavy smoke was an experience...

We ended up with a really dry period in August/September - i think 7 weeks without rain?

The late season bare root apple and pear trees did fine. Perhaps they could have put on more growth if planted earlier, but they all lived. Same for my currant bush (potted), and bush cherry. The apples and pears were all reduced price second quality trees, about $23/tree (so half a regular bareroot, and 1/4 a store tree) and I definitely think it was worth buying them on clearance.

My black berry survived.

2/10 of the raspberries died, plus one came up and failed. That success rate was not worth the "deal", i think, because they often have to grow brand new canes, they are a bit more sensitive. None of my berries, even the ones with huge roots when planting seemed to really thrive.

My grape vine grew leaves, but they went brown in late summer and it is possibly dead. I am undecided about the reason for mortality. It was planted right at the edge of where my sprinkler hits, and also, it is really near a walnut tree and all the annuals planted in that area also struggled this year.

So, in summary: i would definitely do clearance bareroot trees and bushes again. I am unconvinced about later season bareroot brambles, unless i got a REALLY good deal on them (say, 75% off).

I did note that my fresh planted bareroot apple and pear trees didnt have their leaves turn colour and fall off like the crab apples in my neighbourhood. After several hard frosts, they still have some frozen, sad looking leaves. I will try to report in the spring if they survived the winter.

Oh, and my haskaps bought on clearance in the summer at a big box store also struggled. They lost all leaves far earlier than the established ornamental haskap relative that is planted next to them.
Let's picture that for each of your parents, their parents were siblings. And their grandparents were siblings... Going back generations. And only children that 'looked the Same' continued the next generation.

We have two copies of our chromosomes, essentially (neglecting some detail), one from each parent.  One from each parent. Two copies of each gene.

If you interbreed a thing for long enough, you end up with both copies of genes, from both parents, being the same for traits we care about, like colour, days to maturity, size, sweetness, etc.  So it doesn't matter really, always, you will have the same progeny (ignoring a mutation, or a few other things), so long as you keep breeding that line.

If you take two inbred things from different "varieties" we can predict pretty exactly what the progeny will have for genes. It's repeatable.

Say the father has genes


and the mother has


All the offspring will be


Those genes behave predictably - so we know that all offspring of very inbred parents, will essentially have the same genes.

But if we start crossing the hybrid offspring, things get way less predictable! Because the parents have a mix of genes, and we can't predict which offspring will get which. And we start getting super cool things happening, from traits that may have more than one gene controlling them.

You can get more technical and start talking about recessive, dominant, and codominant traits. But that's the basics.

Since your parents aren't inbred for multiple generations, you and your siblings should definitely not look identical :)
11 months ago
I have found that I can get away with overplanting if I have good soil fertility AND provide supplementary water, frequently. The wild card is having enough sunlight to keep disease at bay.

If I do my normal thing of trying to only water once a week, little to no added fertility, I need the more traditional spacings.
Well they arrive today.

Not only did the forecast change, so this week isn't supposed to be wet (we got a storm last night that was all dry lighting, scary with how dry everything is), we're in the midst of terrible air quality from Quebec forest fires.
Yesterday wasn't as bad, and I was already needing an N95 to step outside, lest my poor asthmatic lungs and heart seize up. Even just letting the dog out and opening the door, my lungs were spasming. We have a Corsi Rosenthal box running which makes a huge difference.

Watering isn't a big deal unless we go into a water ban, but I'd hoped for rain and definitely wasn't planning for smoke.

It's not the worst smoke I've seen, but definitely the worst I have ever seen in Ontario.

Jenny Wright wrote:

I gave into the tempting sales this year and got four new grapes- I just got the email saying they shipped today. Grapes are pretty resilient and I plan to keep them in large pots by my front door until the fall. Whenever I plant bare roots in the spring, half of them seem to die but if I wait until the fall, I rarely lose a plant.

So you pot up bare roots, and nurse them in pots until fall, then?
Well, thanks to these encouraging anecdotes, I ordered a bunch of apple trees and berry canes to be delivered in a week.

$25+ shipping apple trees is hard to beat, considering last time I looked in a local nursery, they were $120+...  I haven't let myself set foot in a nursery in 2 years, don't even want to imagine what current prices are. I chose Monday as a shipping date so that they hopefully won't end up stuck in a truck over the weekend in the heat.

Fingers crossed for success, forecast looks a bit cooler and damper then. Right now it's horrifically hot and dry for May.  
Every year, I watch as various companies sell leftover bare root fruit trees, shrubs, and perennials on deep clearance (often 50-75% off) late in May and in early June. There are some in grocery stores, which I am skeptical of, due to how they keep them (dry, dry, dry!) but also some from mail order companies who ought to know how to store them.

Every year I'm tempted, but wonder if I'd just be wasting money on something that is too dry, or it's too late in the year to get established before being hit by heat and drought.  50% off isn't a good deal if half of them die!

If you have bought them, what did you buy, and did they survive?

Did you plant them immediately, and baby them with water?

Did you plant them in pots, and transplant in the fall?

Do you plop them in the fridge, and plant them in the fall?
I typically press flowers in wax paper, in between two hardcover books, and then stack a bunch more on top... You could also add a thin piece of cardboard on each side if you are pressing particularly lumpy/hard flowers. Picture a tall stack of hardcover books (textbooks are great for this) abandoned in a corner. Those kids books with the hard covers are also good, and a bit thinner (with textbooks on top). Cardstock, boards, stiff cardboard... Depending on the flowers I think there's a lot of options.
1 year ago