Back on March 28th I posted a blog about some broccoli seedlings behaving in a puzzling way. I had noticed that a particular batch of broccoli seedlings was growing wonderfully and out-performing a batch of seedlings that had been sown a few days earlier. Well, here's where the seedlings are now.
It's plain to see that the seeds sown a few days later are still doing better than the earlier batch but the weak seedlings have picked up and are looking much healthier. I'm pretty sure that this is due to the better quality, organic potting soil as all other conditions were pretty much the same. I went back and bought another bag of this soil from Russell Nursery - it's great stuff. Sadly I noticed today that they have sold out - I'm just hoping that they'll get more so I can put some aside for a later date!
I have just begun the process of hardening off these broccoli seedlings so that I can plant them out in about a week. I'm going to make sure I cover them with floating row cover as the Cabbage White Butterflies are out and keen to lay eggs on the brassicas. Our son Ed planted some broccoli in his garden today and already had to pick off some eggs - his crop is now securely covered. I can't remember the name of it but you could invest in a very light weight plastic netting, that has been used in Europe for quite a while, to stop the butterflies laying eggs on the plants. It's quite expensive but lasts a long time I'm told - they have it at Russel Nursery - one day I'm going to get some! Bye for now, Gillian
- - - and the verdict by Cindy is in! Our local sourdough officiando, says - " The bread is excellent!"
On April 13th at our next market day 50% of all our takings will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society during Daffodil Month! Every time you buy a loaf you will be helping to Fight Cancer. Whether you buy a loaf or choose to donate some money you will receive a Daffodil Pin to wear in support of those on a cancer journey. This year the Canadian Cancer Society is celebrating 75years of action against cancer - let's make it really special! Thank you for your support :o)
At the North Saanich Farmers Market a customer asked for sourdough bread but unfortunately I didn't have any.
When baking bread I've always used baker's yeast because it is a reliable and convenient leavening agent. However, using the yeast that is naturally present in flour is a time-honoured technique that likely adds some interesting flavours so I thought I should give it a try!
There is plenty of advice on the internet on making a sourdough starter and I plumped for a flour and pineapple juice mixture.
On day one you simply mix juice and flour together (one tablespoon of each) and store covered at room temperature. Twenty-four hours later (Day 2) you double the volume and store as before. Repeat this again on day three.
Day 1: 1 tbs flour & 1 tbs pineapple juice
Day2: Add 1 tbs flour & 1 tbs pineapple juice
Day 3: Add 2 tbs flour & 2 tbs pineapple juice
Day 4: Add 4 tbs flour & 4 tbs pineapple juice
AND SO ON _ _ _
After day four the mixture is bubbly showing that the yeast has grown and is ready to leaven bread. I waited until day six and added one pound of the mix to two pounds of flour, then added salt and water.
The natural yeasts take a while to raise the bread and I let it rise in a bowl for a few hours before I shaped two loaves and let them rise overnight in the fridge.
The next day I let the loaves warm at room temperature and rise for six hours and then baked them at 475 degrees for 35mins.
Very pleased with the result - super tasty crust and open, moist crumb. A champion loaf of bread !
If you're interested in having some sourdough bread please let us know at least a couple of days ahead of market day - you can use the contact form on this website. :o) Thanks, Charles
As you can see the broccoli seedlings on the right were sown 5 days later than the ones on the left. Yet - and here's the thing - the seeds that were sown later have grown into larger, stronger, more healthy looking seedlings. What's going on?!
Same packet of seeds, grown under the same conditions under indoor lights. (never done this before!) So what's the difference? Different size pots but if anything the ones on the right had less space. Different potting soil - maybe that's the answer?
I've starting skipping the seed-soil stage and sowing my seeds in container-soil straight away. My theory is that since container soil contains more nutrients it will sustain the seedlings for longer before having to pot them on or transplant them. However, I ran out of one brand of soil and had to change to a new bag of organic soil for the second lot of seeds planted on the 19th. Perhaps the second bag of soil was a higher quality?
The weak seedlings in the fresh potting soil.
Anyway, although it's hardly scientific I have pricked out the weak, purple stemmed seedlings into some of the organic potting soil used for the healthier batch of seedlings and I'll see what happens.
There is one other possible factor: - I noticed that the weak seedlings were quite wet though not really a great deal different from the others. However, I'll bear that in mind too. I'm not keen on the peat pots (expensive and not really a renewable resource anyway) as I find it's tempting to over-water them - but maybe that's just me.
Ah well, now I have to wait and see what happens!
The greenhouse has been tested by several windy days and nights and has passed with flying colours! Now it is full of flourishing seedlings. We've used all sorts of different containers for our seeds and I especially like the pots I can make for free! It will officially be Spring this week and the garden and the weather are both reflecting that. Sunshine, showers, veggies and flowers! It's just great. The bees are happy and so are we.
A reflective bee.
Take a look at this wonderful video about beekeeping and the essential role bees play in food production. Our bees are out flying more and more often now looking for food as the queen begins to lay more eggs and the colony begins to grow again after the winter. I am really looking forward to the warmer weather and the comforting buzz of the bees in the flowers! Last year the bees were sited next to our tomato plants where they made certain the flowers were efficiently pollinated. Thanks to the bees we had a bumper crop of tomatoes! (planted by the previous owners of our property - a big thank you to them too)