Showing posts from November, 2020

My First Seed Swap : Whispering Willow Farm 2020 Seed Swap

  I'm SO excited!  I'm getting ready for my first ever SEED SWAP!! What is a seed swap? Seed swaps are events where gardeners and farmers meet to exchange seeds (heirloom most of the time).  It's a lovely way to extend your seed collection and make new connections in a community. Whispering Willow Farm 2020 Seed Swap When I heard that Jill, from Whispering Willow Farm on YouTube, was hosting a seed swap, I decided to join. Whispering Willow Farm's 2020 seed swap was opened to Canadian and American residents, with a shipping fee of 15 USD for Canadian residents.  Enterings are now closed. This is an online seed swap so we actually have to mail our seeds and wait for our swaps to arrive.   Whispering Willow Farm Seed Swap YouTube The rules of this seed swap go like this : -You have to send 10 packets (each packet is a different variety) -Each packet must contain between 5 and 10 seeds -All seeds must be heirloom varieties -It can be seeds you saved from your garden or see

Eating Seasonally from the Pantry : How I do it

Seasonal eating makes a whole lot of sense, especially when you're trying to become self-sufficient.  Eating seasonal food means that you source your food essentially from two places : produces being harvested from the garden or nature during a specific season, and preserves from your pantry or freezer that comes from the previous season. But there is also all the imported products that are worth including in your meals, like citrus during winter, for example. As fall comes to an end and we're slowly transitioning to winter, our root cellar is full with fresh winter squashes, pumpkins, beets, carrots, onions, leeks and potatoes.  On the other hand, our pantry is full with jams, applesauce, salsa, vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans, as well as fermented and pickled vegetables.  In our freezer, there is spaghetti sauce, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, haskap berries, bananas, green beans, corn and pesto.  And finally, we have a variety of dried herbs and fruits of the summe

10 ways to be self sufficient in winter

Photo by Ciprian Pardău on Unsplash The garden is closed for the winter, but it doesn't mean that you can't be self-sufficient in some way.  Winter is a good time to practice or learn new (or old, depending on your perspective) homesteading skills.  And if you miss your garden too much, there's a couple of things you can grow inside. 1. Grow sprouts and microgreens I've been growing sprouts for a couple of years now.  It's really easy and it' fun to have something this fresh in the middle of the cold months.  I use a sprouting tray tower to germinate alfalfa, broccoli, mung beans, peas, beans, lentils, etc...  We eat sprouts in our sandwiches, in our salads, in veggie wraps or on hummus/avocado toasts. But this year, since we've got a growing set up with growing lights, I'm jumping into microgreens.  I bought seeds from Mumm's Sprouting Seeds :  green peas, curly cress, a broccoli brassicas blend, brown mustard, alfalfa and a sandwich booster that

Planting bulbs and saving seeds: a promise for next year

Summer is officially over. Fall temperatures have plummeted.  What ever was still in the garden was harvested before the first frost. And we took the time to be grateful, one last time, for the abundance that we were blessed with this year.  The potager is almost ready for its winter rest, but I still have some bulbs to plant before the ground officially freezes. Becoming a gardener made me understand the blessings that come with winter.  Like the abundance of seeds to collect when the plants die back and the flower bulbs that need a prolonged period of cold temperatures to trigger the bio-chemical process that initiate root growth.  Tulips, daffodils and crocus are good examples of plants that requirer cold weather to produce beautiful flowers in the spring. By the end of winter, gardeners I listen to talk about the nostalgia of not being surrounded by growing things and how they miss their gardens.  It's almost like they are deprived of something essential.  They can't wait t

Gardening lessons : 10 things I learned this year in the garden

As you can tell, I haven't had the time to write much during the summer. I've been really busy in the garden from June to mid-October.  Things were growing, mistakes were happening and bugs were visiting!  Yup!  Although things did not come along as planned, this was expected!  From the very beginning, I knew I was going to be facing challenges and I was ready for those learning experiences.  Here are 10 things I learned in the garden this year. 1. Tomatoes need lots of care Growing tomatoes was the greatest learning experience of this gardening season.  I learned that tomato plants require lots of attention as you need to remove the suckers and tie the plants a couple of times a week.  Tomato plants grow fast.  Faster than I thought, let me tell you that!  (But then, the fruits take an eternity to ripen once they get to their mature size) You also need to help your tomato plants to pollinate by touching their flowers and shaking them.  This way, you increase your chances o