Monday, May 19, 2014

Sandy Shores Farm

greetings! we created this blog and community to spark interest in urban permaculture in Southern Ontario. until now, we had never actually come up with a name for our farm. as we would like to feature a look into other farms we have visited and plan to visit in the future, we felt it was a good time to finally giv'er a name. we are pleased to introduce...

this year, the garden in our yard underwent a great expansion. we've decided that we will grow each year, and this year's new bed would be dedicated to my mother. we made sure it would be built and mostly planted with the cedar mulch path installed in time for Mother's Day. regretfully, we lost her that Friday morning. having always taught me a respect for nature, we felt it would be appropriate to name our [currently] urban scale food farm after her, Sandy Lea.

we hope to inspire others to plant gardens of all kinds. grow food, flowers for the bees, long native grasses or big shady trees. mother nature would appreciate it, our grandchildren too. 


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

perennial sprouts

ahhh spring... it's going to be an exciting second season in our new home! more perennials to put in this year, hopefully the blackberries and blueberries fruit this time around. strawberries are on the list, they make a good perennial ground cover. and if we can beat the wildlife to it, they'd make some lovely fruits too! also more herbs [in better places] and likely even some perennial wildflowers for the birds and the bees. here's what's coming up so far.. and lots of room for more!

 red onions
wild onions under a black walnut tree.

Friday, November 29, 2013

winter in the garden

it's our first winter here at the new house, and we finally got a snow worth talking about. the first snow is always so refreshing.. and super bright when the sun comes out upon it. i was awake early to sneak some shots before the sun was high.

an end to one season, and the beginnings of the next.. walking around the yard and pondering the clean slate helps us to dream up ideas for the spring. last year, our first year in the new house, we learned a few key lessons about the new plot. the main one being, leave more space. at the last house we could plant things much closer together and they did not interfere with one another except to in some cases support or shelter each other where needed. in this space, it quickly overgrew. the soil us much deeper and more fertile here, not as much clay as the last place.

we did a lot of travelling in 2013, more than expected, which meant almost two entire months scattered about weeks here and there where the garden didn't receive any care. the further back, more wild garden beds survived just fine, but the kitchen garden closer to the house quickly got out of hand, and too much of the produce never made it to plate. on the plus side, there is a lot of fallen plant matter to compost in the heap and on the beds that we will use to build the soil. no tilling or turning.

next year we will be spending much more time at home with our garden. our design will be better fitted to the space we have available so that we can maximize our usage of the yard, and have better access to the bounty of abundance. we are already excited for spring, and it's only the first snowfall...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

sharing with local wildlife

we are pretty close to the downtown core of our city so luckily we don't have to guard our plot from too many large animals such as deer, but we are visited by rabbits, rats and most often squirrels. we are pretty far south so our squirrels are the big bushy tail american ones, like little teams of acrobats they find the best way to get into everything.

i knew we would have visitors, so i planned to plant enough to share. this is my first time growing sunflowers, and i have been excited all year to reap their bounty. every time i go out to the yard i pick a small handful of seeds straight off the flower and eat them raw. they taste amazing and are power packed with nutrients! few things in life are more satisfying than eating something we've grown fresh ourselves.

so about sharing.. most of our sunflowers were planted along the fence, which may not have been the best spot for them.. this made them too accessible to the squirrels. they had enough force behind them when jumping from the top of the fence to take the sunflowers down to the ground and decimate the entire heads. the ones planted along the open space where there is no fence yet are still standing, they only managed to grab the seeds closest to the stem where they hang from to sneak a snack.

i don't mind sharing, but next time our placement will be a little better so that we get at least as much of the seeds as the squirrels. we are thinking of trying other tall plants next year such as corn to form a natural green barrier between us and the surrounding car lots behind the chain link fences. it helps to block the wind and blowing dust from the nearby road, creates a 'sunbowl' effect, and a slightly warmer microclimate for other tender plants. we will also try mixing in other types of sunflower and wild natives to further beautify the yard and attract other beneficial insects.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Autumn Equinox 2013

harvest season is upon us at the garden city homestead, and it's colourful.