Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Icy Winter Gems

I just transplanted some Dichondra seedlings into pots under the basement fluorescent lights. These are the first of the indoor seedlings this year, besides the kitchen herbs. I started Dichondra early, because I think it grows a little slower. I'll leave the rest until a little later in March. Starting seedlings too early is an easy mistake to make and I've done it far too many times. It helps to book your vacations to avoid the temptation. I'm impressed that resident-lawnmower-man doesn't even blink now when I discuss how our trips out of town could best be scheduled around time-sensitive gardening tasks.
Aconitum napellus in the raised bed:

I ventured outdoors with the camera today to get a few shots of the ice and snow. We were down south in Saskatoon this past weekend, and despite their weekend "blizzard", they really had almost no snow. We've had a good snow cover this winter, which should be good for the plants. As an aside, it keeps the dog really clean too. Our gravel road has a nice coating of ice and there are enormous boulders of ice and snow at the front of the yard, pushed into a heap by the snow plow.
Kona, our snow-loving dog:

Our road:

Snowmobiles cruise around at all times of the day and night. I was out taking pictures of the northern lights in the forest last week when I had to jump off the trail to make way for a snowmobile. I can only imagine what the snowmobilers think when they see someone outside a night, just standing around in the forest. It's probably not their idea of recreation. We were out of town for the big dog sled race this past weekend, so we didn't get to enjoy that very cold spectator event.
Lac La Ronge, frozen and well-driven upon:

Woodpecker in the poplars:

Enjoy the cold, wherever you are!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Compost Alive!

Our two plastic worm composting bins are getting rather full. I should have done some emptying in fall, but never got around to it. Worm compost is still great for the indoor houseplants though, and I had a big hole to fill in the banana plant pot. After being away for a few days last week, I came home to find this green mass at the bottom of the banana trees. A multitude of tomato and squash/cucumber seedlings have pushed their way up towards sunshine. The composted material in the worm boxes doesn't exact heat up enough to kill seeds, but that's okay. It's all just kitchen scraps and not weeds.

Of course, I can't give them all a home, so they'll have to go back to being compost material when I pull them up. In related activity, I purchased my vegetable, herb, and annual flower seeds today. I buy online from Stokes and T&M. I got a fair quantity of cosmos seeds for direct seeding, hoping to fill an entire bed with them. I experimented with a few last year and they did well. Best of all, they flower until frost and are some of the greatest flowers in the fall garden. Blue cornflower is also an easy one, and I bought a short variety for the edges of my raised beds. The fun begins for another year.