Monday, 30 May 2016

Spring update

Yes, I call it Spring as it was typical Spring weekend.  Bit of rain, bit od sun and lots of work in the yard as grass is growing very well.  Spend most of Saturday with exception of the morning, that was dedicated to quick round of nine hole, on doing yard work.  We had to cut the grass, make it presentable and tend to dandelions again.  Did some mechanical extraction and  some treated with vinegar.  The last method does leave bit of spots as vinegar also kills grass around  weed, but at least no long lasting effects and it s not bad for environment. Chatting with my neighbor, I have learned   that spruce trees, especially (or all) young ones might have pest eating them from the top so wend and inspected and found couple affected. The cure is to cut the "crown" a bit below affected area and it should eliminate this problem.
Garden update.  Noticed some early seeded  veggies not germinating yet as frost might have killed them.  I did some re-seeding and now are focused  on protecting new growth from rabbits, so fences will go up this week.
Potatoes are doing great, in the tunnels things looking wonderful, especially lettuce.  I think we will start spreading the "wealth" this week as heads are big enough to be used for wide consumption.
My rhubarb is approaching 4' in height,  and already had couple of pies made of and I loved it (see below).

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Yard update

We had rain, we had snow, and now grass is looking great.  I decided to continue working or aerating my grass as we expect to get more rain (showers) and I hope this process will strengthen grass.  Young apple trees that we have planted this spring have produced flowers and now small apples.  We might have fruit from them, can't really believe it.  The ones that we have planted last year, only one has flowers and potentially might deliver fruit.  From my experience, in this climate one must wait at least coupe of years before getting fruit.  My plum tree looks grim (planted last year) but I have hopes that with so much moisture, it may spur to life.
One of the flowering apple trees....

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Green ...

.. grass is greener on the other side of the fence, I am happy to announce that no longer the issue LOL.  After lots of rain and snow fall (reported) the total precipitation over 35 mm, grass is so nice right now that I cannot complaint that my neighbor has nicer looking lawns.  Actually, I do not care as  much for looks but rather for health.  Moisture helped everything tremendously, grass tress and garden.  Once temperature move into twenties, all the vegetation will show sign of growth.  Update on the tunnel:  tomatoes are growing big, cucumbers are flowering and cauliflower is growing fast.
We have been enjoying lettuce, so far one kind, now butter lettuce is getting ready.  In a weak or so we will be sending lettuce to family and neighbors as we will have bit overproduction.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

May long weekend and .. snow

It supposed to be start of gardening season here in Calgary and around, time when all gardeners would spend days planting and seeding, unless of course, they went camping.   Mother nature had  a different plan, started as a drizzle a bit of rain, and we needed it.  There was talk about rain and snow mix during the night from Saturday to Sunday and nothing.  Then came morning and what do we see, pretty heavy snow coming down and covering everything with white blanket.  Had to venture and try to shake the snow from branches to prevent them from breaking.
See for yourself ... first two are from the start, later two 30 minutes later, and after I shook snow from the trees (at least most of it).
Those who went camping, let's say, there is always a bit more snow in the mountains, so hope they took shovels with them.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Spring in Photos

Decided to add some color to the blog, especially, since spring weather resulted in flowers and trees flowering.  Some of the observations below...

Monday, 16 May 2016

Working Weeekend

It was warm (not too hot) this weekend and we had to wait till Sunday, as frost was still present on Saturday morning. Saturday, I have focused on "fighting" dandelions with vinegar.  Used at least 3 gallons to reduce spread of this plant.  I do not have anything against and lots of for, but to appease neighbors, I try to keep control of it.  Like I said, only use natural product.  Missed the early spring corn meal time due to dry weather so now spraying with vinegar.
Sunday, we have focused on transplanting the rest of tomatoes to outside garden and transplanted some of the pepper starters as well, but those into tunnel.  It is official now, no longer buying lettuce as we have now supply (two kinds of our won lettuce) .   I did some pruning and re-planting of the lettuce as it was pretty dense.  Will see if this worked (will check today).  The big thing this weekend, we have planted two apple trees that we have bought few days ago.  Given that frost treat has diminished and looks like overnight temperatures for Calgary are in 7-10 deg C range, even with 3 degree differential, we should be safe and hence decision for transplanting.  Long weekend looks like will be rainy so grass will grow after.  Overall, it was very busy weekend and productive one as well.  Now we just need to watch things grow (o maybe add some water) no more hard labor, just easy weeding.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Snow ... frost.. typical May

Yesterday I woke up to snow covering my lawn, not too much but about 2 cm. This morning ~-4 dec C temperature, and it was cold.  Wend and inspected tunnels, after my wife indicated that doors are frozen in "big' tunnel.  Kicked the latch and opened, all seems to be fine, everything  looked ok.   Happy with this.  Bit worry about apple tree in full blossom and frost may cause some flower to be wasted, but I am optimistic that -4 was not cold enough to cause damage.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Brrr ......

... it was cold this morning, very frosty, -4 dec C on my weather station monitor.  I noticed yesterday that my potatoes showed sign of frost yesterday so decided to cover those, also, lit candles in the tunnels overnight.  In the tunnels all looked good no visible sign of frost.  In the yard different story, we planted couple of lilac bushes and definitely a bit distressing sign.  I know they will survive as these are hardy plants, but still my wife was very upset, as she made decision to plant.  Well, it looks like we will have to deal with frost over next few nights, possibly snow flurries tonight. We will have to work on protecting things in the tunnels and outside, that is the life of gardener at high elevation ;-).

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Watching things grow ...

Yeas, that is what I do now.  All seeds are in the ground, all I have to do is, to wait.  Well, still have some starters to transplant outside (some tomatoes, cabbage) and plant peppers in the tunnel.  Will do that next week as this week seems pretty iffy in terms of low temperatures.  Those are hovering around freezing mark in the morning, the entire week.  I had to put thick handle last night in the large tunnel just in case.  Forgot to mention, Saturday night, northern light display were amazing.
I am hoping that radishes in the small tunnel will be big and ready for consumption by the next weekend.
So I am watching grass grow, garden becoming greener, my wife talking of getting some new ornamental bushes.  Almost forgot, the apple trees planted 1.5 year ago are blossoming wonderfully, maybe some apples,... no holding my breath as it takes at least couple of years min. to get apples.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Hot Weekend Update

Another hot weekend, my station recorded 30 deg C, so it was warm.  Worked in the garden in the morning and afterwards enjoyed staying in the shade.  Here are some pictures from my garden.
This is first cucumber flower (one growing in the new tunnel (transplant)).
Update on rhubarb- as you can see it is pretty much ready, but it will grow a lot more.

As I mentioned, my lettuce is ready and we ate it first time this weekend.
Another news, potatoes that we have planted on April 18 are now breaking through.

Friday, 6 May 2016


Purchased three bushes of raspberries and will plant those this weekend.  Almost forgot, we had a real rain yesterday ~4 mm in total, that is better than nothing.  Unfortunately it was only in southern portion of the province and no relief yet for fiery north.
My adventure with raspberries started sometime ago.  We planted some about 11 years ago at old property and in the next few years we had a jungle (despite cutting back every year).  My wife was in "heave" as she loves raspberries, so was my dog (she loves any berries and know how to pick them straight from the bush LOL).
Once we moved, I had to recreate the "jungle" and after planting bushes in early spring, I subjected them to late frost and slow growth.  It was dry and well, lets say "jungle" did not materialize, despite my assurance to my wife that it will (I eat my ...).  So this year I need to prop my authority on gardening, by planting more and making sure we have "a jungle" by mid-summer.  I guess, I will have to do more research to ensure success and not relay on pure luck.  Well, wish me luck and total "green thumb" this weekend.
Update, as I was stating, my lettuce is going to be served at mother's day dinner.  rain has helped, though, this morning surprising message from my weather station, display indicated -1 deg C.  Have not assessed status of plants in the tunnels yet, but suspect -1 should not have nay impact on it.  Nice surprised, potatoes that I have planted 2.5 weeks ago, they are broke through and leave are showing up.  That was nice surprise, especially in comparison with last year attempt (will post picture later).

Thursday, 5 May 2016


Looks like we may have gotten a rain shower this morning,will confirm later on if my weather station recorded any.   I spend evening yesterday trying to rescue lawn patches that were really dry.  Weather has cooled in the southern part of the province  and bit of moisture has materialized.  Unfortunately, North is still total inferno as of now the fire is about 85000 hectares(!!!) and still raging, moving south.  The opinion is that this fire cannot be put out using firefighting equipment alone, and only nature intervention i.e. cool and possibly rainy weather can only help.  That is not in forecast until the weekend.  I am hoping that forecast will change and relief will arrive sooner.

In the event of the crisis and people misery it is hard to talk about my adventures in the garden.  My thought are with affected people and focus i on how I can my myself useful (besides financial help).  So proud to see sign of support and altruism from people in this province and country, proud to be Canadian and Albertan. Let's keep the good work.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

FortMac Fire

For those who don't know the short version of the name , it is Fort McMurray and it is burning.  It is pretty good size city and now it has been overtaken by wildfires.  As I mentioned in previous posts, we are suffering from drought condition in Alberta and winds seems to be blowing pretty hard around.  No one would expect this to be as big as it became so quickly.  Entire city is under mandatory evacuation order (60000) and many home were lost with all content.  This city has been hit hard, no, people in that city have been hit hard.  What a devastation and despair.  My wife was crying this morning listening to the story on the radio.  We all feel so helpless, well perhaps we could help in a material way the affected people.  Luckily, so far no reports of any serious injuries.  Material thing can be replaced, sure lots of those affected lost more than material thing.  This is one of the biggest disaster in a history of Alberta and  pretty big in Canadian scale. I have seen report of some great examples of humanity and compassion.  The least I can do here  is provide some support by donating to  Red Cross.  All these people , especially the one that lost everything will need financial support and need to know that we are behind them with full moral support.  Good luck and stay safe.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Hot ....

It is hot out there, early May feels like middle of the summer.  My weather station recorded 27 deg C yesterday (official Env. Canad show 25.9 but the reporting station is quiet far from my place).  Had to turn sprinkler in the garden (garden beds have sprinkler) to keep moisture level up to sustain germination and growth.  Forecast today calls for 27 Deg C, so it will be more likely around 29-30.  Have to water yard in some spots as grass i dying.  I usually have "cognac" approach.  I have learned that it is criminal to water grape vines used to grow grapes for cognac production, and because of that, they grow deep roots (30-40 feet).  SO same should apply to grass as well, and it should make it grow deeper roots in search of water.  But this year I see grass so dry that I think I must water it hoping it will grow back.  So tonight I will asses and will water  where is absolutely needed.

On the different topic, northern light, I got alert last night that they were active around 11:00 PM.  I was already in bed so did not go our, but had session earlier this year (Winter) and it was spectacular display.  There seems to be some activity happening now and with clear sky, perhaps opportunity to observe this spectacular display.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Busy Weekend

With the weather this weekend I think everyone was working yard or garden, I did too.Sun was beaming and got a bit of sun burn and "farmers tan".  So reminder, use sun screen while working in the yard and garden as it is easy to get too much of exposure.  We have seeded almost everything in the garden and transplanted 95% of the thing that we supposed to transplant (primarily into tunnels).  Had a taste of fresh garden lettuce (butter) from the garden, can't even express how tasty it was.  This was just sampling, it is going to be ready for consumption by the weekend.  It is so dry that I had to start watering yard in some spot as it was totally dry-desert like.  I am afraid that grass might die before we get any moisture in form of the rain.  Another thing I did this weekend, I attacked dandelions (love this plant but I want  to please my neighbors)  by spraying them with vinegar.  This works pretty good and does not affect adversely environment.  I do not use any chemicals for lawn treatment but use combination of mechanical extraction (hand weed removal) and or vinegar.  I know that my neighbors my think I am crazy by extracting dandelions mechanically one by one, such a tedious process but I live outside and so are my dogs and I rather not use chemicals and I am trying to convince them to use of the same approach.  We see if we will succeed.  
Now, all I will be doing is praying for rain.  It is so dry and I do not have ability to water my entire yard, so the only hope that forecast of 30-60% of rain by Friday, will materialize.