Farm Stand Today….

…and the tomatoes are pumping out the fruit! Eighty-five plants gave me around 150 pounds of delicious heirloom fruit today. We also had bell and chile peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, onions, and honey.

Some of My Favourite Heirloom Tomato Varieties

  • Costoluto Genovese - Red and fluted/scalloped variety in the third photo
  • Black Krim - A widely celebrated heirloom that is lightly scalloped with a purple skin (last photo)
  • Reisetomate - The clustered variety in the bottom left corner of the second photo. Individual fruits are like fused clusters of cherry tomatoes.

Summer is well underway and the farm stand is colouring up nicely.

Here is some of the beautiful food:

  1. Sunflowers - Not exactly food at this stage, but pretty anyhow
  2. Honey - Our delicious wildflower honey; this stuff flies of the shelf!
  3. Potatoes - Colorado Rose, All-Blue, Binje
  4. Peppers - Too many varieties to name (or more honestly, remember)
  5. Leeks - A handful of leeks are the last of the winter crops to come out of the ground

More Sub-Tropical Fruit in Spring

The plants in the sub-tropical fruit grove have been flowering and setting fruit. 

  1. This one’s got a heap of names: Indiana Banana, Hoosier Banana, Poor-Man’s Banana, Pawpaw. It is the largest of the edible fruits of North America and not even closely related to bananas. It is native to the southeastern and midwestern U.S. but can also be found growing in the Carolinian forest of the very southern tip of Ontario, Canada - the province of which I am also native. The pawpaw’s texture is very similar to a ripe mango with a wonderful tangy flavour. 
  2. Rose apple - Belonging to the nutmeg family, this fruit is related to neither roses nor apples. This fruits aroma is overwhelmingly similar to roses with a snappy apple-like texture. An interesting fruit, certainly; one that I want to eat a whole bucket of, certainly not. 

More Sub-Tropical Fruit in Spring

The plants in the sub-tropical fruit grove have been flowering and setting fruit. 

  1. The macadamia nuts flowered recently and have just set fruit. This photos shows the fruits (follicles) beginning to develop. 
  2. The Surinam cherry is not a cherry at all but belongs to the nutmeg family (Myrtaceae). The cultivated fruits of this family always seem to have strong, distinct “myrtaceous” flavours that I can only describe as resinous or “turpentine-y”. They’re certainly unique and not unpleasant. If you love turpentine, they’re delicious. 

Sub-Tropical Fruit in Spring

The plants in the sub-tropical fruit grove have been flowering and setting fruit. 

  1. Bananas flower throughout the spring and summer - this is the first plant to flower this season. The Cavendish bananas that you get in the grocery store are just an example of how a banana can taste. Ours have a smoother, moister flesh with a more acidic flavour. 
  2. Pineapple guavas (not a true guava) or feijoas are my favourite fruit in the grove. These will be ready in the late summer. They have a stony texture like a guava or pear with a moist, gelatinous interior. The flavour is certainly reminiscent of pineapples. 

Farm Stand Today!

The reign of the roots has come to a close - bulbs and tubers to soon ascend.

  1. Rainbow of Carrots - Amarillo, Atomic Red, Berlicum 2
  2. Artichokes - Violetta Precoce and Green Globe
  3. Sugarcane
  4. Turnips - Milan Purple Top and Japanese White
  5. The harvest board for today

Grow Some Peppers!

What a Pepper Prefers

  • Season:Summer
  • Sun: Full
  • Moisture: Lots of it - peppers love water
  • Soil Fertility: High
  • Soil pH:Slightly acidic
  • Other Soil Characteristics: Loose, well-drained
  • What to Plant: Transplants
  • Spacing: 18” between plants; 24” between rows (chiles plants are variable in their size; refer to seed packet or transplant tag)
  • Planting Depth: Seeds - 1/4”; Transplants at soil level

*Don’t let these preferences stop you from trying. These conditions are what a pepper PREFERS. 

How to Grow Some Peppers

Varieties

If you lack nerves in your tongue, enjoy melting concrete with food, or your masculinity is threatened by the prospect of growing vegetables you can always try growing “Bhut Jolokia” or “Trinidad Scorpion”. These are among the hottest known chiles - read: inedible, dangerous, blister-raising. A tea made of their flesh is said to make an excellent pesticide. 

I prefer fairly standard bell/sweet peppers like “California Wonder” but also enjoy “Sweet Chocolate”, “Purple Beauty”, and “Shishito”.

Chiles/hot peppers are amazingly diverse - I love almost all of them. Some favourites include “Burmese Reaching-To-The-Sky”, “Pasilla Bajo” and “Chocolate Habanero”. “Anaheim” chiles are a community favourite in this neck of the woods.

Below: Seed Sowing, Bed Preparation, Planting, Maintenance, Harvesting, Cooking

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I had some new and returning crops on the farm stand this past Saturday. In addition to the vegetables pictured we were selling avocados, Valencia and blood oranges, kumquats, Meyer lemons, cabbage, cauliflower, artichokes, beets, and baby lettuces. The reign on the root crops should be ending in early May as the summer vegetables start to come in. 

Photos

  1. Radish - Chinese Red Meat 
  2. Carrots - Amarillo and Berlicum 2
  3. Turnips - Purple Top Milan
  4. Radish - Long Scarlet
  5. The whole farm stand

Grow Some Leeks!

What a Leek Prefers*

  • Season:Cool/spring
  • Sun: Full blast but will take partial shade
  • Moisture:Consistently moist - they like water
  • Soil Fertility: Fertile is best but they’re a good choice for leaner/unammended soil
  • Soil pH:Slightly acidic but don’t sweat the pH unless you’re a chemist
  • Other Soil Characteristics: Loose, deep, sandy (if you’ve got it)
  • What to Plant: Seeds or starts (transplants)
  • Spacing: at least 3 - 4” between plants in all directions - 12” - 18” between rows will give you room to work
  • Planting Depth: Sow seeds very shallow, bury your plants DEEP! I bury them up to the point where the leaves begin to separate from one another (see photo)

*Don’t let these preferences stop you from trying. These conditions are what a leek PREFERS. 

How to Grow Some Leeks - Seeds, Soil Prep, Transplant, Harvest, Cooking!

(this photo post of leeks might be helpful)

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Top - Kale flourishing beneath floating row-cover

Below - A gloved stake pushes through a sea of floating row-cover. The stakes were intended to keep the fabric off of plants. The gloves proved insufficient to prevent the stakes from punching through the cloth. 

See my previous post about protecting plants with floating row-cover