Bring on the Bees!
The bees have arrived on our property and I couldn't be happier.
At the front of my 10 acre garden is a collection of perennials (artfully designed for maximum impact, of course) that are planted with one thought in mind: to attract pollinators. Having criteria for plant selection like this helps immensely when I am shopping for plants. Does it attract pollinators? I could be interested. No? forget it.
In the veggie garden, the presence of bees and other pollinators is of utmost importance. Over 30% of the food we eat is pollinated by flying insects, hummingbirds and song birds. We need them! The 30,000 honey bees that live in each of our new hives will help enormously to maximize production in our one acre of veggies and fruit.
But there is more to this than 'honey bees'. Truth is, there are over 700 varieties of native 'bees' in Canada and none of them are honey bees, which are a European import. Many of the members of the bee family that frequent my garden are so small that they go virtually unnoticed. And many of them are more effective at pollination than honey bees are. And we all know how busy bees are, thus the expression, 'busy as a bee'.
Our daughter Heather and Cathy Kozma, of Bees Are Life, are doing all of the work. All I have to do is gaze at the bees coming and going and enjoy the fruits (pun intended) of their labour.
This is my big news for July.
In Other News
We have a golf tournament ready for you to sign up for, if you live anywhere near Port Hope, Ontario. We have only 12 golf positions left, so please sign up today to get in.
The net proceeds go directly to the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute. We are planting 117,000 trees on the Highway of Heroes, the same 170 km stretch of highway 401 that each Canadian, lost in the Afghan conflict, was driven down. From CFB Trenton to the Coroner's office in Toronto.
In the Veggie Garden
Your veggie garden is growing to beat the band right now. Here is what you need to know to maximize your production:
Stake your tomato plants. Double your crop.
Apply bordo mixture to tomatoes to prevent early blight. Once every 2 weeks all summer.
Weeds. The plants that are growing among your veggies are the enemies. Get rid of much frustration by cutting down weeds now. All of your edible plants will thank you for this by producing more and better.
Harvest. I harvested my first
Mark's Choice 'Golden Delight' zucchini
this week. It is a distinct yellow colour that looks great on the plate. Kale, Swiss chard, carrots, peas, radishes and many other 'early croppers' are ready.
Take a walk round your garden each day and note what is progressing so that you don't miss the opportunity to harvest-while-you-can.
Sow late season crops. Leaf lettuce, mesclun, radish, broccoli (all 'Cole' crops), carrots, onions and peas can be planted from seed now, for an early fall harvest. (I know, it seems way too early to talk about fall....)
Garlic. The scapes or 'pigtails' on my garlic are ready to harvest. Every part of the garlic plant is edible. The scape is highly valued! Don't let it go to waste if you have them in your garden.
Raspberries. They are maturing to beat the band. Thank goodness my wife Mary enjoys raspberry picking... as I weed garden. Pick yours before they rot on the plant.
Apples, pears and other fruits. I apply End All and Green Earth Garden sulphur to keep insects and disease under control. These two products, applied at the same time, will help to keep your fruit clean without the use of 'chemicals'.
Cherries. Pick. Eat and preserve.
Thanks for reading and be sure to look out for our August 1st newsletter. Some great news coming down the pipe for you!
Speaking of great news, my son Ben is back at work with me full time, having completed a fun time at the Home Hardware in Orillia. With thanks to dealers John Locke and Bill Ecklund, we can look forward to hearing more from Ben in the weeks and months ahead.
Keep your knees dirty,
Merchant of beauty.
I think you will really enjoy it! Happy mid-summer!
I grow a lot of kale and I hate the stuff.
Well, that is a little strong. Lets just say that I have not tasted it prepared in such a way that I would go out of my way for it.
Maybe you can fix that (with some butter?)
Send me your recipe for preparing kale for the table, along with a picture of it growing in your garden or prepared for the table. We will post it on Facebook and if you get the most 'likes' you will win a $50 Home Hardware gift card and some Mark's Choice garden seeds.
Here's how .......
Meantime, I feed it to my chickens and I get my 'kale fix' through eggs.
Deadline for entry: July 20, 2017.
Deadline for voting is July 26, 2017.
In the mid-June issue of Food Gardening with Mark, I invited you to share your favourite recipe featuring rhubarb. Thank you to all who entered their recipes.
Congratulations to the winners, who will receive a signed copy of my book
The New Canadian Garden:
Guess what? Even though we've just celebrated Canada Day, we get to continue to explore and brag about our country for the rest of the year!
How many experiences have you checked off of the Harrowsmith Spring 2017 150 Things to Do in 10 Provinces, 3 territories and 3 oceans in 365 days list?
There are festivals of all sorts happening in tiny towns this summer. From antique wooden boat shows, barn quilt tours to lavender festivals to pow-wows. Be sure to tell us where you end up on our Facebook and Twitter pages!