Sunday, May 7, 2017
Here's a pretty simple and yet lasting gift idea you can you make for your mother. A raised garden bed.
Think how terrific it will be each time your mum harvests veggies, or strawberries, or flowers and thinks of you.
The video is by Charles Dowding. He's big into compost making and gardening with no till methods. But this is a simple, well-explained project for making a 4'x4' bed. It can be placed anywhere convenient (I recommend somewhere that you'll see it regularly and close to a water supply).
So, you have a week to get your supplies together. Start looking around for lumber you can repurpose or get for free. Many municipalities give away compost in May, so you may be able to do this project for minimal cost.
Good Luck! And happy Mother's Day to all of you.
Monday, May 1, 2017
Looking For A Veggie Box?
Available here each week beginning June 1st. Pay by the week or month. Ask us how you can get your locally grown no spray fruits, veggies and herbs. Delivery available.
Today I've been working on signs for our Nursery and Farmers Markets. Tell me what you think. I'm trying to make it easy & flexible to order veggie boxes this year. We are also taking pre-orders for tomato and pepper plants because so many of the popular varieties sold out quickly last year in the nursery. This year we're growing fewer varieties but more of each. Oh and speaking of the nursery, we will soon be open! We just need a dry and calm day to put the plastic back on and then a day or two to stock it. The greenhouse at the farm here is absolutely loaded with plants all waiting to be transplanted into their nice big red and white pots so they can grow nice healthy roots and be perfect for you to plant once the weather has improved. We're not past our frost free date yet so while its ok for many things to get going, the warmer weather plants need about another month yet for the nights to be consistently warm. Not +3C and raining as it is tonight.
Veggie boxes will be available beginning in June again. This year instead of paying all upfront (which is too expensive for many people) we are doing pay-by-the-week or month options. You can pick up from us at the Farmers Markets in Greenwood on Thursday or Friday, or we will deliver too. As usual, it will be grown to our exacting organic and permaculture based growing standards. And you're welcome to come help us in the garden and see how we grow and care for your food. That way you know for yourself it's organic, locally grown, and fresh!
Your Plants Today
No Deposit Needed. Get excellent varieties for our climate, delicious flavours, and healthy plants. Locally grown, many organic varieties.
Your plants will come in individual pots ready for planting June 1st to 3rd.
Tomato & Pepper Plant Order Form 2017
Beefsteak -Vine. 80 Days. This bushy vine does best when pruned, you'll get lager fruit and better ripening. Excellent balanced flavour, dark red. Large sized tomatoes are good for one slice sandwiches and burgers. For best flavour harvest when fully ripe.
Brandywine - Vine. 78 Days. The standard for heirloom tomato flavour. Well known for its size and exotic, sweet, tomato flavour. Compact vining habit produces large fruit with a pinkish red flesh.
Early Cascade - Vine. 55 Days. These vines produce heavy yields all season long. Good for canning and eating fresh, these are open pollinated. They are thin skinned and don't keep very long but are well worth growing and eating fresh. Bred for cooler climates like ours.
Gold Nugget -Bush. 56 Days. Gold Nugget cherry tomato seeds produce compact plants 24″ tall. Gold Nugget’s compact size makes it an ideal choice for containers and small garden spaces. The fruit set easily even in bad weather and produce ping pong ball sized golden tomatoes that are mostly seedless until the end of the season. Winner of the RHS Award.
Money Maker - Vine. 75 Days. These 6' tall plants are an old English variety that produce heavy yields over a long time. Deep red clusters of smooth skinned fruit are medium sized and have a classic sweet flavour. They benefit from pruning and staking.
Old German -Vine. 80 Days. If you give this 8-10' plant lots of sturdy support and water, you'll be rewarded with a modest yield of gorgeous yellow and red fruit that are fragrant & nearly seedless. Potato leaf variety from a Mennonite in community in Virginia, circa 1800.
San Marzano -Vine. 80 Days. This is a truly outstanding tomato for making sauce and its delicious! Forget Roma tomatoes, San Marzano Lampadina 2 are the worlds gold standard in sauce tomatoes. All the way from Italy, they are long, blocky and firm with thick skins. Fruit keeps for ages as it has a lower water content and the plants are disease resistant. One of our favourite tomatoes.
Scotia - Bush. 60 Days. Very popular maritime variety that's used for wating fresh and famous for green tomato relish. Early maturity and reliability. Open pollinated. Dwarf plant habit and medium sized globe shaped fruit.
Sweet Million -Vine. 60 Days. Bright red cherry tomatoes. Early maturing clusters of tiny fruit are well rounded, deep red in colour with a delicious sweet flavour. Long harvest time, vines need support and do well in greenhouses. Tolerance to cracking and good holding qualities.
Tiny Tim - Bush. 55 Days. Miniature cherry tomatoes. Dwarf plants are literally loaded with small, firm red fruit about 1 inch in diameter. These do well in pots.
Tumbler - Bush. 55 Days. These are hanging basket tomatoes that produce beautiful red tomatoes. Best grown in partial shade out of the rain, fertilize monthly. Mix a few flowers in for a beautiful basket at eye height. 2-3 plants per basket. Limited quantities.
Plants are available for delivery June 1-3rd. They will be in individual pots, hardened off and ready for planting. We grow varieties that are delicious and also do well in our climate. Regular watering and keeping the leaves dry will promote healthy plants and fruits that don't crack. Add a little calcium to the soil to prevent blossom end rot and prune out the suckers of vining types. For best flavour pick fruits fully ripe and don't refrigerate.
California Wonder -The standard for Sweet Bell peppers. These peppers start green and with enough heat and time will turn a beautiful red. The compact bushy plants do equally well in a garden, large pot, or greenhouse with a somewhat concentrated harvest period over several weeks. You'll get sweeter peppers if you let them ripen to red.
Ghost Chili -Ghost peppers also known as Bhut Jalokia, are one of the worlds hottest peppers and really pack a whollop at over 1 million Scoville heat units (SHU). That's 3x hotter than our red Habaneros. We're serious, treat the plants, fruit and especially seeds with caution. We use gloves and are careful to not touch eyes nose etc. Limited quantities available in 2017. They fruit at the end of the season. If you can bring them indoors as a houseplant over the winter you'll be rewarded with a much bigger harvest the second year.
Red Habanero -Another hot one! These ripen from green, to yellow, to red, getting hotter and hotter all the time. Ranging from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU, you've been warned. Like many other peppers you can grow it as a houseplant over winter then back outside the next summer for greater yields.
Jalapeno M -Compared to our other hot peppers, these thick walled and juicy little green peppers seem mild to heat lovers. At a modest 5000 SHU they add a nice warmth to chili, tacos and other foods. They're especially good stuffed and pickle nicely. The small bushes are good in pots on the patio. Deer resistant after the first bite.
Large Thick Cayenne- These are strong upright plants with thick wrinkly fruit up to 6” long. At 30- 40,000 SHU they definitely have a kick, though not as much as their slim cousins. They ripen from green to red and peppers ripen almost all at once so its easy to harvest them for drying. 70-80 days to maturity.
Orange Sun - These sweet bell peppers ripen to a stunning bright orange. The blocky peppers have 3-4 lobes and are juicy with thick flesh. The interior is good for stuffing. Plants reach 24” tall and do well in large containers with good fertile soil. 90 days to maturity, worth the wait. Keep evenly watered in free draining soil.
Paprik -Grow your own paprika! These pepper plants are vigorous little bushes and produce lots of 4” peppers with a small seed cavity. Dry the seed pods at the end of the season then grind finely. We also recommend you try slicing and smoking some before drying and grinding, the flavour is outstanding.
Purple Beauty - Beautiful blocky purple peppers are sweet and good for eating raw or stirfry. Open pollinated, we recommend saving your own seeds from these chunky peppers who ripen from green to purple. Matures in 75 days.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
A list of available varieties will be with us at the Greenwood Mall Farmers Market next week and you can pre-order the plants you'd like. I'm also bringing a few dozen Honeoye strawberries with me as well as breads. The nursery will be open in 2 weeks, maybe sooner! (I need the room). I'm off to pot more strawberries into hanging baskets. Have a lovely week!
Thursday, April 20, 2017
We're changing things up from our usual CSA where you pay for all 4 months in advance. Instead,
you'll order and pay by the week or pay for a month and get a discount. This means you still get your box of healthy and delicious vegetables each week, but now it's easier to fit into your budget. It also means that if you're a new customer, you can try us out without a huge commitment. Try it for a month and see what you think. You'll try some new veggies, get recipes, and become part of the Humblebee family.
Do you deliver? How do I get my box? You can pick up from us at Greenwood Mall farmers market, Mid Valley Farmers Market, farm stand or get delivery. It's your choice. Delivery is an additional $5 per week up to 50km. There's a spot on the order sheet to let us know your preferred location and we take orders by email. If there is enough interest, we will have our regular pick up location in Lower Sackville again this year.
Going on vacation? Just stop delivery while you're gone or donate to the food bank or a friend.
Can I cancel? Yes, you are only committing to the weeks you pay for. This is what makes us different from the other CSA's out there. You don't risk losing hundreds of dollars if you don't like it. If you pay for a month and then decide it's not for you because you're moving, or circumstances have changed, that's okay. Just let us know. You'll only get the weeks you've paid for. We will be sad to lose you but our produce is delicious and I'm sure you'll be back to see us at the farmers market if you can.
Can I substitute the things in my box? Generally no because it can get very confusing to keep a bunch of boxes separate that are all slightly different. But we can try to work something out, you can trade with a friend, or you can share with someone who loves what you hate.
What's actually in a box? This questions a bit tricky because each week is different. The seasonal veggies go from lots of greens in spring to peas, beans, and summer veggies to the root crops of fall. We will only have apples available late September once they're ready, lettuce and tomatoes almost every week, potatoes go from new potatoes to main crop from July to September etc. And of course cool weather crops like peas and lettuce aren't very tasty when it's hot in August so you'll be getting melons and cucumbers then. This year I'm going to take a lot more photos of our boxes so I have a better record.
Are you organic? We are not certified organic due to the cost and politics. We are 'no spray' and certify as Naturally Grown instead. We absolutely believe in using organic, permaculture, and pollinator friendly methods of growing. Our chickens and ducks do lots of bug control, we weed by hand and use a small tiller, truly organic growing is very labour intensive. There are lots of chemicals out there that are supposedly safe for organic growers but we prefer to use natural inputs like garlic spray, compost and fish fertilizers whenever we can. Healthy plants = happy people.
Is it just veggies? No, your box will also include herbs, berries occasionally and fruit such as melons and apples. Plus a newsletter. We give all sorts of things a try! Plus you can add free range eggs, breads and treats, preserves and flowers. We bake fresh to order.
Do you hire outside help? We are a very small, family run farm and don't pay anyone to work here. But we do have help. We teach organic gardening and homesteading skills to young people from all over the world through a program called WWOOF. They help us for a few hours each day in exchange for room and board and we probably host an average of 20 people per year. It's a great program and we've made some lifelong friends. We also have our children, affectionately known as the 'slave labour crew'.
Do you have veggies all year round? No, we offer a seasonal veggie box. We will have extra fruits and fall crops and we will keep everyone informed as to what's available in October and November. We had fresh peas last Christmas! But you never know with the Nova Scotia weather.
How do I sign up? You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how many, what size, and then we will add you to our newsletter list and arrange your pickup location.
How much? How do I pay? It's your choice to pay by the week, month (4 weeks) or season (16 weeks). After mid September everyone will be charged by the week because weather conditions may make bi-weekly harvests more practical. Costs are:
Large box $25 per week. $90 per month. $340 for 16 week season.
Small box $15 per week. $50 per month. $180 for 16 week season.
Eggs are $4 per dozen.
Bread $4 loaf or 2/$7
Preserves - $4 jar
Flowers $5 bunch
We accept Visa & MasterCard, etransfer, cash or cheque. Sign up first, then we'll arrange payment method. There are a limited number of boxes available for pre-order.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
We've had a few warm days so lots of the ponds and rivers are ice free and for the first time this year the frogs can be heard. I'm not sure it will last with cooler weather on the way but it's a sign that winter has released her icy grip and Spring is well and truly on its way. Hooray!
Monday, April 10, 2017
Thursday - Awoke to snow. Just a half inch so far but the world is white. At least it'll settle some of the pollen in the air. Covered boxes in the greenhouse are reading 7 degrees C.
The first market of the year was this past Saturday of Easter weekend. It was great to try out the new location and see all our customers again plus new ones. The next market day is Saturday of Mother's Day weekend and then regular market days begin June 2. So you'll be able to get all your farmers market goodies from us on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Contact us for more info at humblebeecanada at gmail.com or look for the next blog post. I'm off to plant more strawberries.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Happy Wednesday! I'm currently sitting inside the greenhouse debating if it's better to go buy more cold medication or just wait out the tail end of this sinus cold. I'm not running a fever so I think I'll save myself the drive. The seed starter incubator is working well, it's maintaining the temperature nicely at night which is good because it's still getting down well below freezing at night. In fact it was snowing an hour ago but not settling because it's now plus 2. Inside the greenhouse is +15 even though it's cloudy and windy outside. It's nice.
Our seed starter is a bakery rack that's been framed out and covered with 6mil poly. Inside there's a small portable fan type electric heater set to 400w, a thermostat that controls the heater, a hydrometer and a remote sensing thermometer that lets me monitor the temperature from my bedroom. There is some temperature variation due to air stratification which is why we use a fan heater and put our heat loving seeds such as peppers at the top and cooler veggies at the bottom.
Here's a selection of the peppers we seeded yesterday. Strawberries in the red pots behind are starting to break dormancy.
That leads me to your Wednesday Wisdom: Know your Temperatures.
Some seeds like a cooler soil to sprout but several varieties will either rot or sprout and wilt because they're too cool. Here's a list of some of the seeds we grow that require lots of warmth to sprout:
Bush and pole beans
Corn, especially the super sweet and sugar enhanced varieties
These can be started indoors or outside once the soil temperature is over 21 degrees. I recommend planting them at the beginning of a warm spell in June or July here in the north.
Another thing to know is storage temperatures of produce. I know you may be thinking that I'm talking about root cellars but I mean everyday fruits and veggies you probably have right now.
Keep at room temperature:
Keep cooler but not in fridge:
Cut fruit and veggies