Monday, October 24, 2011

growing shoots!

A shipment of pea and sunflower seed for shoot growing arrived last week.  So I've filled up my seed bins once again and we're all ready for the winter-time growing season. 

A couple of the sunflower seed bins.

I love the feeling of abundance and well-being I get when I look at all the full bins.  No matter what happens, we'll be sure to have fresh salad greens all winter long!

These are some sunflower and pea seed soaking in their soaking bowls, almost ready to plant in their grow trays.  I soak the correct  amount of seed for one production tray in each bowl.

It really feels so good to grow our own nutritious greens in the winter-time. 

Did you know that 50g of pea shoots contains about 40% of our recommended daily amount of Vitamin C?!!  That's very easily gobbled up in one lunch time salad. The bags I package up for Farm Gate Store and Happy Tides here on Mayne Island are 100g.  So a salad for 2 made with the shoots in those bags gives 2 people a great Vit C boost! They also contain loads of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and Folate.  Lots of fiber, calcium and protein too as well as Chlorophyl, Iron,  Amino Acids....the list goes on.  

Sunflower shoots are also valuable morsels of concentrated nutrition.  Vitamins A, B, C and E, Amino Acids, Protein, Calcium, Chlorophyll, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorous, Potassium, Zinc.....

So after a few years of growing these for us and after a couple years of growing for the stores and  farmer's market in our community, I'm feeling happy about the idea of getting together with some interested folks to share some ideas about how I do it.  So many people have been asking.  So many people want to grow their own.

My friend Kit created this sweet ad and flyer for me and it'll be in the November MayneLiner community magazine to help me get the word out.  I'll print some flyers for island bulletin boards too.  I'm so excited to see how this goes.  I wonder if anyone'll want to come!  

A bowl full of pea shoots topped with sunflower shoots...a light dressing is all you need, but sometimes I like to add some crumbled feta, gomashio.....dried cranberries are good with it too.  The simple ideas are endless.
Yummmmmy.  This is what it's all about : )

Friday, October 21, 2011


My cosmos post this morning made me think of this video from The Feynman Series by Victoria's Reid Gower.   So thought I'd post it here too......I happened upon it a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it.  I hope you do too : )


No better time to look at my bright summery photos of cosmos flowers than a grey-rainy-chilly morning like this one.  The center of a cosmos flower is remarkable, really.....look at that detail!  Nature's design.  Cosmos are native to Mexico and South America.  I read somewhere that missionary Spanish priests named this plant that grew in their gardens in Mexico.  "Cosmos", the greek word for harmony and order...which has come to be used as a synonym for "universe".  These flowers do seem like they could contain a whole other microscopic universe in their centers.

This year I noticed that every evening, the bumble bees would bury themselves in the centers as if they were going to bed for the night.  Could that bee?

Yesterday I ripped out all the summer cosmos plants and took them to the compost heap.  So long beautiful cosmos, see you next year.

Saving seeds for next year.  "All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today." 

Summer wouldn't be summer in my garden without a good healthy patch of cosmos and dill growing together.  They make a beautiful combination.  And both will enthusiastically reseed themselves in the garden next year.  I'd probably treat them like invasive weeds at my place if they weren't so darned pretty.

  They make fabulous wild and organic, natural looking decorative arrangements.  Here, in a metal urn with millets and other grasses.  This one decorated a gift table at a wedding reception this summer at the Community Center.

From another wedding a couple years ago, a bride's bouquet of cosmos and grasses.  So down-to-earth happy and pretty.

So handy to have some cosmos growing in the garden....just go pick a few stems for a quicky informal little flower bouquet, done in no time for big impact.  Even just one flower in a small glass jar makes a pretty centerpiece.

"Double Click Rose Bon Bon" .  A new favourite of mine.  Last year, I decided it would be much more fun to try some of the less common ones....steered clear of the Sensation and Sonata mixes and will do so every year now.  Thompson and Morgan have a fabulous selection of many versions of cosmos.  (if you're in Canada, make sure you go to the Canadian version of the site)  I can't wait to grow lots of orange and yellows next year!

This past spring I started lots of cosmos seeds and sold quite a few seedling plants at the Farmer's Market.  Will do next year too!

"Versailles Tetra" was another favourite this year.  I love it's bright pink petals that become a darker carmine at the gold center.

Cosmos are drought tolerant and do well in poor soil too.  Here they are in an arrangement of other drought tolerants.  None of these were watered once this summer in my garden...a nice combo on water-conscious Mayne Island.  Versailles Tetra Cosmos with Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate, Fennel flowers and Cardoon leaves and heads...really lovely!

It seems that this year, I couldn't get enough of Cosmos.  So many snapshots!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A sweet discovery

So last week Chris and I went to Vancouver for a day.  There were some chores I needed to do but we made sure we had some time in the afternoon to just enjoy.  We found ourselves in the old neighbourhood near Main Street and happened upon this charming place at the corner of 28th and St. George.  If you're nearby, you have to go drop in and get a cappuccino!...but if you're not near, you've got to go visit their beautiful blog:  Marche St. George. Gorgeous photos on the blog, much nicer than these snapshots I took,  go take a look!  I've just got to tell everyone about this place.

What an inspiring-to-me place it is!  You could almost miss it if you're driving by, the way it's tucked in there amongst all the houses.  The folks who run it live upstairs.  The elegant lady behind the counter told me the building was once a corner store a long long time ago and because of this,  the zoning rules that might make this sort of neighbourhood store illegal in other areas of the city don't apply here.  Thank goodness!!  If I still lived in the hood, I'd be very very happy about having this place nearby.
The red tent is for all the CSA produce boxes that are delivered here every week.  The farmers bring the boxes and the neighbourhood folks come to the corner to pick up their locally grown veggies and fruit for the week.  That tent was overflowing with boxes!

Inside, beautiful displays with special products, both local and from away.  All sorts of produce, eggs, locally made cheeses and sausage, bread, bottled things and some very beautiful cutting boards, textiles, toiletries, so many special things in small quantities, too many to list.  No end to the delightful details. (like the front door that was painted in chalkboard paint, the hours of operation happily scribbled in chalk on the door)  This place comes from the heart.

Wouldn't it be a nicer world if every urban neighbourhood had a store like this on the corner?
I'm so glad we veered off the beaten path last Thursday!