some winnowing, some winter sowing summer seeds, some blue skies .. all is well

So I’m just posting the final photos from last Saturday’s Seedy Saturday!  Remember this winnowing machine?  First one I’ve ever seen and it was fun to see it operating!

28So I participated in the hands-on seed cleaning session.  And here are 2 of the framed screens that will be used to screen out chaff and any material that is not seeds.

40The instructor used leek seed-heads for demonstration purposes .. I think that there were about a dozen of these used.   She rubbed these vigorously against the screens.  btw, these screens are made with stainless steel metal cloth and are at least 10 years old (maybe more!) They are well made and look new.  Here is a link that shows a variety of the metal cloth:  http://www.twpinc.com/wire-mesh-material/stainless-steel

41The seeds are very sturdy and the resulting seedless flower heads look very brush-like and I believe that they could be used for making paper or something equally as useful and decorative.

42Many hands reached in to separate the seeds from their husks.

43Soon, there was a pile of the seeds and chaff ready to be sorted!  Someone operated the crank handle, which in turned, started the rotation of belts and the seeds fell through this opening and exited the winnower, sending the lighter, weaker seeds out one side and the heavier, more robust seeds out another!  This was repeated a few times ..until …

44ta da ..the cleaner seeds remained!  I gained a lot of respect for all the organic seed producers who must go through this process to prepare the seeds that we buy from them.  Quite a difference from saving seed at home!

45Back at home, a few days ago, we had the most beautiful skies!  Haven’t seen them for a few days, but I understand that they will return this weekend.  Yea!

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Oh, I am so happy that I have this Sea Buckthorn ….. it will grow to 25 feet and how I would love to plant it now .. hmmm. .. perhaps I will !!!!

54I understand that there is a male and a female plant.  The label doesn’t say so I don’t know which one I have.  The buds are quite strong.  I’d had this plant grouped in the shade last year and now that it is in the sun .. it seems much stronger.  We all need the sun, plants, animals, birds, humans!

55Here are 3 types of willow cuttings starting to grow in this pot.  If I planted them, which I might, then they will grow to 10 feet tall in one season.  Perhaps I will plant them also!  And I have a lovely story to share about where I obtained them.  But that is for another day.

53I have the most lovely coffee burlap bags to use in the garden.  They really are too beautiful to use .. each one has a history.   They are perfect for putting on the ground and on pathways.  They are organic and will break down, adding to the soil material.  I’ve also read that they are good for red wiggler composters, so I’ll cut up some sections and put them in my rw composter.

51I am also going to use some of them for growing containers .. for potatoes, beans, peas …they will stay in one place for the whole growing season.  Perfect.  Although I was tempted to try to make shopping bags out of the burlap – after searching for information online, I decided to not go down that path.  I have enough with my glass totems and my soaps.  More about those two passions on another day.

50And here is my little hard covered notebook where I have diligently scribbled when and what I have planted in my milk jug and salad containers for my “winter sown – summer seeds”   .. and here is a UK website about that:  http://theseedsite.co.uk/wintersowing.html

Also, I just had to take a photo of the latest batch of seeds that I recently purchased.  The Planting Project seeds are from the same business that held the winnowing session.49Well, it has been an overcast past few days here .. and I’ve wanted to go outside, but it looks so gloomy that I’m not inspired  However, when I do go outside,then I realize that the weather isn’t that bad and I do some type of chore .. whether it is holding up gigantic stalks of bamboo, visualizing giant red runner beans growing aloft (and hiding ugly nearby buildings) or peeking into my containers of seeds to see what is growing .. there is always something to do.  Or just stand and gaze at the sky, stand motionless and watch the antics of the birds.

Retirement has given me the luxury of doing what I want when I want.  sigh.  I’ve spent, oh so many.. years .. rushing around 24/7 and it’s kinda nice to get off that merry-go-round and relax.

 

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More on Seedy Saturday ….that wonderful sunny day!

Continuing on with more photos from last Saturday’s Seedy Saturday.  Here are some honey bees …buzzing away, safely inside their container!
33Some racks for the beeswax and there is a smoker on the top left .. used to calm down the bees I believe, when the screens are removed so that they can be whirled and twirled to release the honey.  I know that isn’t the terminology but it seems to fit the activity!

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More bee paraphernalia .. I don’t know much about beekeeping but this all looked so interesting.  There is a little Mason Bee house beside the combs.

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I just love his artwork .. very happy and carefree.

32A local company .. and good to see the permaculture aspect of landscaping.

30I like the name of this company …. sweeeeeeet ….

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Olive trees for sale!  Oh,  I was tempted … how lovely it would be to have an olive tree.

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Hugelkulture .. the word caught my eye so I had to stop and look at this display.  Is this the best type of gardening ever?  I think so.

23My oh my .. someone has been very busy!

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21I’ve purchased seeds from this company … they have a diverse variety.  And of course, all organic!

24Now, this booth was quite interesting.

25Their packaging was quite unique and I liked the mix of fonts.

27But this is what quickly caught my attention.  I love wood and was curious about these screens.  Well, as it turns out, they are used in the process of seed winnowing!  I participated in a hands-on session and will post photos tomorrow.

26This is the winnowing machine.  The hand crank (lower right) is turned at a steady, slow pace and this gets the internal parts going so the seeds can be sorted and they exit the machine via the two openings down below.28Seeds of Diversity .. a seed bank.

36Important.

37And quite an interesting article about planting over 3,000 cloves of garlic.

 

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It was a very interesting day and I so loving being there!

So many new ideas of how to grow plants and new (to me) plants.  I’ll  also be looking at my wooden items at home, wondering how they can be repurposed to hold seeds or plants or maybe just paint them for display.

The atmosphere at Seedy Saturday is very nurturing .. a great place for all of us gardeners to be!

:)

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It was another Seedy Saturday on a lovely sunny day

Last Saturday was Seedy Saturday in Victoria, BC.  This amazing event takes place at the Convention Centre, downtown.  It is a growing event, organized by the James Bay Market Society:  http://jamesbaymarket.com/

Like all great ventures, this one started off small years ago and with the proper drive behind it, has grown over the years.  We are so very lucky.  I’ve volunteered for 3 years and always look forward to be there.

Now here is a great idea to mark plants in the garden, utilizing plant pot pieces.  Everyone has them!  The pots used here are glazed, so they may be re-used over and over, with different labels.

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This table had lovely items used for showcasing their products.  Here is a type of wooden spoon, used as a bowl.

19This is a carved wooden cup from Finland.  I wasn’t able to get the background story, as the creative person behind the use of this and other items at the table .. was away for a bit.  She’d worked hard so deserved 5 minutes away!

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The table had a lovely earthy feel about it …

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Healthy looking artichokes ..

14I tasted a sample of this Japanese artichoke delicious.  One corm produces 7 lbs., I believe.

17And I love the idea of using this folding sewing box for holding seeds, etc.

20I always buy Brother Nature seeds .. last year my Kentucky Wonder Beans were marvellous!

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Oh lovely lovely greens .. tasty too.  I bought a packet of the Salad Mix.  Omega Blue arms, Heritage Food Conservation.  I like the packaging and will post a photo when I take one.

13And the wonderful seed exchange!

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The night before the event, I carefully packaged all of my surplus seeds!  Using my nifty new scalloped punch (from a thrift store!!) I made inserts of yellow lined paper.  There went all my saved squash, Kentucky Wonder beans, sage and lupin seeds.  Time to share them at the Seed exchange tables.  I didn’t take any seeds as I have enough, goodness knows!!

11There are quite a number of community gardens in Victoria .. this one is quite a big one I believe.

09Important.

08Beautiful looking mushrooms.  I’m just not brave enough to grow them.   I could have stopped to talk with the grower to ask some questions but I was just swirling along with the crowd.  If he is there next year, I will stop and ask away.

05Many years ago, I volunteered here .. when the “Friends” began.

07And they had these lovely Hellebores on the table!

06They always have the most interesting seeds.  Quite exotic.  I’d bought some a few years ago .. some were successful, some weren’t.  I think I was too impatient or something.

04I’ve bought seeds from Full Circle before and I recently met someone who works there and have been invited to visit.  Here is their website ..quite a very interesting place to visit:  http://www.fullcircleseeds.com/

03I bought a pound of Russian Banana heritage potatoes.  They are rooting already so I will be planting them soon.  As most of the yard is given up to garlic, I plan to grow them in burlap bags.  I’ve been reading up on potatoes and they really don’t need much water.  Every year I’m learning more.

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Ok .. I saw this section of seeds on sale and I had to make myself walk away.  I have way too many seeds.  Cannors Nursery had a sale on seeds, 5 for $2 .. and they are all non-gmo (I checked them online), so I chose a variety of flowers and gourds. And I already have a stash of seeds from Annapolis Seeds and Salt Spring Seeds, quite a variety of heritage peas and beans.  I seriously need more property.

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I have lots more photos to share but time is fleeting and I need to do some housework and then run outside.

On Saturday I quite enjoyed wandering around the booths, seeing the results of a years worth of hard work by industrious people.  All were proud of their products and were happy to share their knowledge to others.  That made for such a wonderful atmosphere.

And Christina Nikolic of the Organic Gardener’s Pantry was there!!!  http://www.gardenerspantry.ca/  Christina is my source for all things organic in the garden.  In particular, EM ..effective microorganisms .. yogurt for the soil.  Magic for the garden.

There were many interesting speakers .. and I particularly enjoyed the Seed Preparation seminar.  Photos on that tomorrow!

:)

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A visit to a Japanese Garden …

I belong to an exercise group and we meet 3 times a week.  We go to the most amazing places around Victoria … hidden treasures that are so beautiful.

So I’d like to share one of these treasures .. which has been here for many years and I had no idea!  It is the Japanese Gardens located in the Esquimalt/Gorge park area and here is a link for more information

.http://www.esquimalt.ca/parksrecreation/donations/esquimaltgorgepark.aspx

710There were a number of meandering paths and beautiful stone structures to see.

711There is such a feeling of calmness, peace and tranquility here.

 

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712Lovely bamboo fencing, gentle and not intrusive to the surrounding nature.

708The sight and sound of this delicate water feature was again, very calming.

707Tranquil setting .. a place to stop and reflect or just enjoy the beauty.

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705A bridge over the stream .. a place to pause, watch the water gently swirling by.

704A solid stone bench to rest awhile … again .. to enjoy the surrounding beauty.

703More photos of the water feature .. and the bridge ..

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713Finally .. back at home .. a sleepy little bird dozing in the sunshine.

714What a lovely treat this was, to see the beauty of this Japanese Garden, which has been in existence for many years and I was so happy to have visited this most beautiful place.

There are so many beautiful places everywhere .. we just need to explore our surroundings and discover them.  It is so much fun to have mini-adventures in our days.

Time to go out exploring and find them.

I’m so excited, tomorrow is Seedy Saturday and I’m so looking to volunteering there!  I’ll bring my camera along to share this event.

Time to prepare my organic, non-GMO seeds that I will share at the seed swapping table and gather up some gardening books to donate.  I have so very many amazing books and each year I go through them, choosing which ones don’t belong in my collection any more, time to share them.

Some books are terribly challenging to part with .. like my Bob Flowerdew book which I picked up at a library book sale.  I was looking through that one last night and decided it needs to stay with me for a bit longer.

One of my dreams is for DH & I to have property and this will have some extra buildings there .. one of which I shall claim for my gardening house.  Shelves for my books. Table for working on.  Music to listen to.  Windows to look out of.  So on a rainy day I can be there, a mountain of gardening books spread out on the able.. me looking through them, making copious notes of what to grow where. Sigh.  Oh and many mugs of Yorkshire Tea!

Well, time to get on with this lovely Friday!

:)

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JaneE my cat is such a sweetie .. and I’m curious about garlic ..and admiring the blue skies above

Here is our lovely little kitty – JaneE cat!   She is a Calico Manx and she was born during the “great snow storm” of ’96 (Victoria, BC) which makes her 19 years old!  Doesn’t she look lovely.  She came outside this afternoon to enjoy the sun. … check out the yard .. and visit with me.   I was so happy to have her outside with me.

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Here she is .. sniffing out the catnip plant .. and there is my shadow .. taking this photo of her.

107Something caught her attention .. her hearing has greatly diminished lately …so I think a movement caught her eye.   She can still hear when I tap a spoon against a glass, though.

106She still plays like a kitten!  I bought her a small knitted catnip mouse recently.  It was knitted by a 90 year’s “young” lady from Sidney, BC and these are sold to raise money for protecting cats.  I bought it at Elements Compounding Pharmacy, located nearby.  Anyway, JaneE was batting that little knitted mouse around and we were happy to see her behaving in such a fun, joyful manner!   So .. she still has this playful manner, as you can see in this photo.  I have an airplane windshield to act as a little greenhouse.  Lots of sedums propagated here.  JaneE saw the little opening and within seconds, she was inside, exploring.  What a Cat!

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Lovely skies … so cheerful.

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Ok .. I spent more time looking up ..

110And feeling overjoyed at the clean beauty of these skies.

109This garlic was shedding a covering .. strange .. I thought …not having noticed anything like this before.

102And  had to admire the sunlight showing through the strong leaves of the Elephant garlic  …such a sturdy plant.

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And then I started looking more closely at the garlic greens.  Although I’d planted them all the same, pointy ends up .. it appeared that some leaves were growing in a different direction than others.  Some leaves were facing one direction and some were facing a different direction.  Now .. why is that?

104I think winter is over .. it feels like spring is here.  Many of my “winter sown” seeds are ready to pot up.  Kale and Mizuna, fast growing .. are at the 2 leaf stage, it won’t be long before they’ll be big enough.  My assortments of wild flowers and grasses .. I just threw the seeds into the milk containers .. so when they are bigger, I will just lift out small square sections of them and pot them up in 4 ” containers and when ready, I’ll plant them here and there.

A few days ago I picked 3 young daffodil stems.  The flowering capsules were small .. they hadn’t bloomed yet and I thought that I would pick them and take inside to see if they would bloom.  So, the magic of plants has proven itself yet again .. these flowers are nearly ready to escape the tight confines and bloom.  Amazing.  Magic.  Plants. Nature.

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I want to update some boring plastic garden pots and have spent a fair bit of time researching ideas online.  I’ve come up with a few simple ideas and plan to test them out.  Just simple ideas, nothing fancy, mind you .. and plan to do this over the next few days.  I’ll post the results when they are done.

Well, it’s been a day!

:)

 

 

 

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I finally visited Richters Herbs .. it was all like a dream ..

DH & I were back in Ontario a few months ago .. and at that time I was able to visit a place that I never thought I would be lucky enough to visit!  Richters Herbs!!  I’d ordered seeds from them for many years and so I was very happy to be there.  About 30 years or so ago, I’d written them, asking some kind of question and I received a hand-written letter in response.   I wish I’d kept the letter but over the years … things have a way of disappearing.

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This is a series of raised beds, located along the highway, in front of the shop.  There were many, many more .. but I just took one photo, I was so excited to be inside the shop!
601DH was visiting another place so he left me here for a blissful 2 hours!!   I started off to the right of the shop … marvelling at all the items that are available there.

604And there were hundreds of types of seeds, all arranged according to type.

605There was still another wall of seeds .. but, you get the picture.  I took my time here .. selecting seeds that I wanted.  Several types of lavender, white sage, etc.  These seeds have been already planted in my containers for “winter sowing of summer seeds”

606 Lovely … and inviting.

607Colours, essential oils .. the works!

608Tara, the Cat!  All cuddled up in her little bed by the front counter .. a sweet little tabby!

609I wandered everywhere … loving just being there.

610The heart of Richters, the greenhouse.

611Heaven .. I’m in Heaven .. looking at these herbs.  Lots of work to get them growing, potted, labelled and placed out for display.

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This is my Dream Home!

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I love mint and here were hundreds of plants, so many types .. very energizing.

614Loving the colourful flags …

615Healthy Rosemary plants … perfuming the air.

616Argh .. I think I had purchased one of these plants from a local grocer a few years ago.  It self-seeded itself hundreds of times and I just keep ripping them out of the ground.  Didn’t know it was edible though.

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I would have loved to bring a Patchouli home .. however, travelling light by plane doesn’t leave much room for plants, no matter how much I love them!

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Then I noticed this .. Tara is loved!  Crazy artistic rendering, eh?

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I felt right at home here .. such a welcoming sight.

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This was so nice to see …

621By the front counter .. I don’t know what this wooden artifact is but it certainly has character and adds to the ambience of this lovely place.

622After 2 hours of wandering around the greenhouse, perusing the many gardening books, loving every second of being there .. my 2 hours were up and DH was there to collect me and we continued our journey.  Bye Bye Richters .. it’s been so lovely.

603Beautiful 2-story brick house nearby .. lots of brick homes in Ontario .. loving them also.

602Sigh .. what a wonderful time.

Another dream come through.  After looking through their catalogues, over the years, painstakingly choosing which seed packet or live plant I wanted to purchase . .. it was just so wonderful to actually be there.

:)

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Mature trees in a park …. birds in my yard .. a blue-eyed Emu and it’s the end of a gardener’s day!

My exercise group travels all around the city and Central Saanich.  On this particular day, we’d travelled to Dominion Park on East Saanich Road.  Beautiful park .. I especially loved the beauty and grace of the mature trees that live there.  This venerable tree seems to be smiling, don’t you think?

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And there were many more like that!  Here are some .. growing in a happy little group.  The Blue Spruce is very diminutive and appears to be protected by the larger trees on either side.  That is my story, anyway!

 

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And this Spruce is leaning a little to the left, maybe it likes the Leaning Tower of Pisa and is emulating that?  :)  Very arty, I think.

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Another happy grouping .. and I can see that the deer have been nibbling away on one of them.

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As we walked along, a set of stone stairs appeared .. it was a slightly foggy day out there and it did feel as if we were stepping back in time.

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More stonework and a cascading little waterfall added to the ambience.

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Further along, the water was guided along by the stone-banked walls.

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Meanwhile .. back at home… I was finally able to take a photo of a Junco!  There are quite a few of them and I usually see them when my camera is somewhere else.  Murphy!

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Oh, sweet little Chickadee!  Curious about the Hummingbird’s attraction to this feeder, he just has to take a try.  So cute.  He keeps trying, but no luck.

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Ah ha!  This is much better!  Sunflower seeds in this little feeder.  That is more like it

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This was from a week ago .. but the skies were like this today also!

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Tiny little Bush-tits … so very darling and cheerful.

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So happy to have the Bewick Wrens visit.  Very handsome birds they are.
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Time for some suet …511A few weeks ago, I went out to buy some Llama manure and there were Emus there also.  The owner has had 2 of them for many years, 15, I think.  Anyway, this female has one blue eye and thus was not able to lay eggs.   Every time she turned and I could see her blue eye, she would move away!

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Here you can see her blue eye …

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So today I was able to escape to my yard and, mug of Yorkshire Tea in hand .. I began to look at the chores I would need to do.  More about that next time.  But this photo is quite familiar to all gardeners, right?   Nothing speaks volumes like a shovel, dirty garden gloves and a wheelbarrow!    Of course, when I read what I have written, I’m thinking, if this was a mystery story, then this could be a nasty story!  But I’m not like that, so this is a nice story.  :)

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