Tool of the day: pruning shears

Nowadays, more people are planting their own gardens in order to make the healthiest, freshest and tastiest food for their families. That’s why Pampered Chef offers a range of gardening tools that make growing your own produce fun and easy.

The Pruning Shears are ideal for maintaining a garden of any size. Ours are made with corrosion-resistant, durable, sharp stainless forged blades that cut through branches, twigs and stems easily. Plus, the handles are really comfortable to hold and use with or without gardening gloves. Other great features, like a wire-cutting notch, sap groove, shock absorber and plated spring, make these shears as good and possibly better than more expensive versions you’ll find in stores.

3-year guarantee (excluding blades and spring).

You can get yours by contacting me. (I am a independent consultant for Pampered Chef.  Buying this product will not cost you more but you will help me support my family.  *In Canada only, sorry, not in Quebec*)

It’s spring at Triple N Acres!

Hello everyone! Spring has finally sprung here at Triple N Acres!  After some more snow last week, we finally had our first day at over 20 degrees!! I have been busy finishing the clean up of the greenhouse.  I just need to wash it down and water it, and I’ll be ready to put my first seeds in.  This is the time where I wish I would have had the space to start seedlings… next year! I have cleaned up the rhubarb bed and discovered the first leaves!! And I cleaned the honeyberry bed too! We all enjoyed a great tractor/trailer ride yesterday! In the midst of that, work keeps on going on the new headquarters!  We have started drywalling (and I even installed my first piece all by myself!!). I will be adding pics… they are stuck on my cell phone right now!

Remember that you can follow us on Facebook too!

How to pick your seeds 101

Spring seems to be here!

Yesterday, I had a great visit with a friend. As we were sipping our tea, she was looking at a seed catalog and trying to choose what to grow in her garden this summer. And if you follow me on Facebook (and you should be.. if not, do it now!), you have seen that I have just ordered my own seeds. All this got me thinking…

With the overwhelming selection available, how does one choose what to grow?

You can find all kinds of articles online about it, you can find a lot of information on Pinterest (you can follow me there too!), but really, how does one choose?

Step one

For me, the first thing to do is this: Ask yourself, what do you eat? What does your family eat? Write down what veggies you and your family ate in the last week or two. Also write down anything that you really can’t stomach (for some, it’s beets, for others it’s squash). Now, put that list down somewhere safe and go outside!

Step two

The next step is assessing what kind of space do you have to work with? Do you get a lot of sun? Most veggies need 6 to 8 hours of full sun in order to do well, some need less. How is the drainage? Any other factors that could affect your garden? Do you want to grow in containers, straw, dirt, greenhouse, square foot? What is your growing zone?

Step three

Now, take your list from step one. If you are new to this or restarting (as I am), those are the things that you should start with.  For us, that means carrots, beans, beets, tomatoes, pickles, peas, lettuce, potatoes, onions, broccoli and cauliflower.

If you add in all the other factors, cross out what doesn’t work for you. This year, I can’t do broccoli, or cauliflower as I don’t have room to start seedlings. 🙁 It also means that instead of starting my own tomatoes and onions, I will have to buy the plants later on, but I can grow everything else.

Have fun!

Once you have the basics covered and you feel like you can add more, try something new! It could be a new vegetable or fruit, a different variety, something that you have never tried before.

As you now know what kind of seeds are out there, if not, read this post; you should be able to narrow it down. I personally love ordering my seeds online through Heritage Harvest Seeds (not affiliated), but you can also buy your seeds in your local store.

I hope this helped a bit. I know there is so much more that can be said, but I will keep it short for today.

Tell me, what are you planning on growing this year?

You can leave a comment here, join the conversation on Facebook or send me an email! That’s it for now! Good night!

Seeds are seeds right?

Or how becoming a mom changed my outlook on gardening.

I had never really paid attention to what kind of seed I would use in my garden until I became a mom in 2007… all of a sudden, I was responsible for another human being and that said human being relies on me to keep it healthy and protect it from the big bad world! Yikes right?  That is when I started paying attention to the GMO debate, organic vs non organic debate and frankly, the more I learnt, the more it scared me. What am I giving my family to eat? How can it affect my health and theirs?

It starts with a seed

January/February is that time of the year where all the seed and plant catalogs come in… time where one daydreams about this year’s garden, what to grow, what to try… This year’s crop, its success or failure, will depend on the seeds that you buy now. Is that enough pressure for you yet??

Don’t worry, let us break it down a bit and take some stress out of the seed picking game!

What kind of seeds are out there?

GMO

As previously mentioned, some seeds are labelled GMO (Genetically Modified Organism).  These seeds have been genetically changed using molecular genetics techniques (as in gene cloning and protein engineering).  Basically, these plants have been modified by mankind to be more resistant to certain diseases or to produce more.

Hybrids

Then, you have the Hybrids – not necessarily GMO by the way!  To create a hybrid, two strains of the same plant are inbred and then crossbred to give you a F1 (sometimes F2) generation of plants. Hybrids were created to highlight a certain greatness in the plant (be it a very good producer, great quality, reliability), but you cannot reuse its seeds the following year.  The seeds produced by a hybrid plant won’t be true the next generation, which just means that a dominant trait from one of the parents may take over and that you may not get the same great plant/vegetable/crop again. So, if you want to save your seeds, avoid the hybrids.

Open Pollinated

Another type of seed is the Open Pollinated (OP).  These seeds come from plants that are pollinated by nature (animals, wind, and insects) and have been for a long time.  These seeds produce plants true to its parents so are ideal for those that would like to save seeds.

Now that we have that sorted, the next thing is the difference between a modern and heirloom (or heritage) seed.

Modern vs Heirloom

Modern

The modern seed is the one that you see in the grocery store, hardware store, wherever you buy your seeds.  They are the popular ones and are picked by the company as they may produce more and may be more resistant to disease.

Heirloom (or heritage)

Now, the heirloom (heritage) seeds, they are the ones that you find in special catalogues. There is such a selection of seeds in the heirloom world!  You will most likely find something “new to you” to try and discover new tastes, textures and colors. Heritage vegetables often taste better than modern ones. Although heirloom doesn’t mean organic, it often is or grow as is – being certified as organic is a big process that not every producer is willing to go through.

Ok, that was a lot of technical stuff!  So, what should you get?

Ask yourself some basic questions?

Do you need to produce lots but don’t care about saving seeds? Then, the hybrids could be a good match.

Do you want to keep seeds? The, Open pollinated it has to be.

Do you want to keep seeds, have an awesome selection and great tasting produce? Heirloom all the way baby!

Guess what I am growing now?

In 2012, I tried both the modern and heirloom vegetables to see if there was a difference. I grew peas and green beans as a trial.  I still remember eating a few modern peas and then the heirloom ones… and the difference in taste was incredible!

By now, I am at about 90% heirloom.  I haven’t found a source of neither heirloom potatoes nor fruits yet (if you have, please share in the comments!!).  If you live in Canada, I strongly recommend Heritage Harvest Seeds! Check out their website at www.heritageharvestseed.com #notaffiliated

My question to you: What kind of seed are you picking for this year’s crop?