Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Slowly moving into the 21rst century - I have joined twitter!

My embracing of the social media age has been very slow to say the least!  I still can't quite get comfortable with Facebook, but I started this blog at the very end of 2009 and now I have joined twitter!  I hope to share some interesting and fun bits of info with my tweets, so feel free to 'follow' me if you like!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Seed Update!

Of the seeds that I planted on March 19, the calendula was the first to show through soil on March 24 (see top picture)!  One of the moneymaker tomatoes (see second picture from the top - the seedlings are very hard to see, but they are up through the soil!) and one of the Tiffen Mennonite tomatoes (see middle picture) have sprouted up today!  I currently have the pots on a window sill (with west exposure) in the stairwell and they seem to like it there (see second picture from the bottom) - I am currently out of room on this window sill though, so the new pots have to find another home!  I have also started chamomile and lemon balm seeds this week and picked up hyssop, echinacea, butterfly weed, and borage seeds that I plan to start as well.  Upon looking though the vegetable seeds that I picked up earlier this month, I realized that some of the West Coast seeds I bought weren't organic (specifically the snow and shelling peas, bean, zucchini, and mesclun mix)!  I was able to easily return them though to Earth's General Store and picked up organic replacements from Stellar Seeds instead (see bottom picture).

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Simple Tips to Improve our Nutritional Intake

I attended a great webinar tonight on The Necessity of Phytochemistry for Optimal Health presented by Kevin Spelman PhD.  Some interesting notes from the webinar include:  Gala apples contain 210 mg of total phytonutrients per litre of juice, while Granny Smith apples contain 205 mg, Fuji apples contain 142 mg, Red Delicious apples contain 108 mg, Golden Delicious apples contain 71 mg, and Ginger Gold apples contain 15 mg.  The higher the phytonutrient level in the apple, the more nutritional support the apple offers, so this info can be helpful in directing which apples are the healthiest for us to choose to eat.   As well, dandelion greens contain 41 times the amount of antioxidants that iceberg lettuce contains and 34 times the amount of antioxidants that romaine lettuce contains.  Dandelion greens have a bitter taste, so we may not want to have a salad consisting of just them, but by including a mixture of dandelion greens and different types of lettuce in our salad, we can boost up the nutritional value of our meal.   With bits of info like this, we can more consciously choose the food we eat and, by doing so, we can more easily optimize our nutritional intake.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy Spring!

I know it is still a few days away from the official start of Spring, but with the warm weather, melting snow, and arrival of seeds in the stores, I am excited for Spring!  Even though I haven't done so for many years, I have decided to start some seeds indoors this year.  I generally pick up my seeds from Earth's General Store and, as usual, they have an excellent selection of certified organic seeds again this year. I tend to buy West Coast Seeds and Urban Harvest Seeds each year and am always happy with all the food these companies' seeds provide each year.  I have planted the seeds in 680 gram yogurt containers and once the seeds are ready to be transferred outside, I plan to cut out the bottom of the containers and plant the containers directly into the ground.  Once the plants have established themselves outside, I plan to cut away and recycle the remaining containers.  I am hopeful this will make it easier for the seedlings to survive being planted outdoors.  I plan to focus on starting tomato plants (I generally buy certified organic tomato plants from the Vriend table at the Strathcona Farmer's Market) and plants for my front flower/perennial garden.  So far, I have started 3 different types of tomatoes (tiffen mennonite, black brandywine, and moneymaker tomatoes) and calendula.  I plan to look at Earth's General Store later this week for more flower/perennial seeds - I know I saw lemon balm seeds and I would like to try growing it too (I had a lemon balm patch out front for a few years, but it didn't return a few Springs ago).  I am so excited to see what unfolds with these indoor seeds!