Posts Tagged ‘organic’

This Week is Organic

 

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Tomorrow, September 16, marks the beginning of Organic Week. All over the country, from Saturday until next Sunday the 24th, Canadians will be celebrating organic products, food and farming practices by attending workshops, touring organic farms and participating in an array of activities that focus on sharing the organic mantra. Are you in?

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Bitter Melon: Ornamental Vine & Edible Fruit

Bitter melon vine, showing flower.

Bitter melon vine, showing flower.

I came across this beautiful vine covering a chain link fence recently. The fence itself was almost completely obscured, which is a good thing in my books. (Practical as they are, banishing chain link fences would be one of my first orders as Queen of the World)

The vine leaves themselves are exquisite, finely cut in a way that William Morris—the Arts & Craft designer who took his inspiration from nature—would have loved. The leaf veins, vines and tendrils add to the pleasing array of form. Not only is the vine good at beautifully camouflaging an ugly fence, but it has smallish yellow flowers with the sweetest jasmine fragrance—swoonworthy on a summer evening.

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Our Proud Producers: Mother Hen Baby Food

 

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Mother Hen (La Mere Poule) is a food manufacturing company based in Montreal that specializes in baby food. Really good baby food, with no additives or preservatives, no added salt or sugar or starch, and allergen free, meaning no peanuts or other nuts, no dairy, egg, soy or mustard, no sesame or sulphites. The fact that all the vegetables used are certified organic by Ecocert Canada and are without pesticides or herbicides, artificial fertilizers or growth hormones means it is as healthy for the environment as it is for your little ones. Sow how do they preserve all this goodness? Easy; freezing. Freezing fruits and vegetables does not diminish their nutritional profile and in fact, freezing produce directly from the field prevents potential loss of vitamins and nutrients that may occur during storage. Continue »



Plant Profile: Egyptian Walking Onions

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The Baroque twisty-ness of the Walking Onion.

Do these onions really walk like an Egyptian? Read on. This unique, heirloom perennial onion plant (Allium proliferum) serves both an ornamental and edible garden function. Once you have Egyptian walking onions in your garden, you’ll never again have a “we’re out of onions” moment. Your onion supply will be there, faithfully waiting. Yes, the onion bulbs, or bulblets, that grow on the top of its stalk are small, like teeny shallots. Still, they make a great addition to any recipe when you need onions and are out of the big round ones.

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Delectable Perennials: Asparagus

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Asparagus, a delicious symbol of early summer, is a wondrous thing to have fresh from your own garden. A perennial vegetable, it’s one of the components of a permaculture garden, and once planted, you could be harvesting spears for many, many years, a true heirloom vegetable. Of course, one of the main benefits of growing any of your own vegetables is that can ensure that they’re organic. Larry Hodgson in Canadian Gardening writes on asparagus:

Many home gardeners keep theirs going for 40 years or more. That means you have to be especially picky about where you plant it — usually not in the middle of the vegetable patch.  If you’re only growing a few plants — two or three asparagus plants are probably sufficient for a family.

 

Anyone wanting to cultivate asparagus must exercise patience, as asparagus grown from seed will take several years to bear fruit. The reason being is that the first couple years of growth must be left, and not eaten, to allow the plants to mature. If you are the patient type, go for it. After the wait, all the hard work is done, and you never need to replant. That’s the joy of a perennial crop. Plus, you’ll be able to brag forever you grew your asparagus from seed.

However, the quickest way to get asparagus to the point where you can harvest is to start with already grown roots, or ‘crowns’. Many asparagus growers and seed companies sell them. Raised beds are ideal.

Dig individual planting holes or, if planting an asparagus bed, a trench. Plant with the tip of the crown set about 15 centimetres below the ground, then cover with three to five centimetres of soil, gradually filling in the hole or trench as the shoots become taller. Space plants about 30 to 45 centimetres apart, with the same distance between rows.

With no vegetable patch at hand, you could even add a few asparagus plants to the perennial border, the tall, flowery heads are very decorative.