Spring Flowers

Spring was late in Montreal this year but it finally got here – in full glory!

I am blessed with two old lilac trees on two sides of my backyard: one right next to my kitchen’s window and the other arching over our newly built deck. The heavenly omnipresent fragrance of my lilac flowers make May the happiest and calmest month of the year for me.

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Here we come again Summer!

The Victoria Day on May 21st in Canada is the official start of the gardening season – when the earth is warm enough for planting and there is no danger of overnight frost. The long weekend is marked by glorious display of breathtaking colorful annual and perennials and small yet vibrant sidling of virtually any vegetable and herb you might fancy growing in your backyard or balcony. Please click on the first image below to start the slideshow!

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A Reviving Hope

“Hope” is the name of a Montreal-based charity, working for children in Iran with cancer. On the occasion of the Iranian New Year, Norooz, on March 21, this organization was one of many, holding especial booth at Noroozi Bazar and selling new year related material, except they allocated a percentage of the profit to the cause.  To raise more funds the organization also sold small pots of Coleus blumei.  I could not resist buying one, although I knew the trip back home would take me 2 hours and was not sure if the tiny thing would make it that long in minus 12 C. ! It did, and it sat on our Noroozi table as a sign of hope.

My tiny Coleus spent most of the spring indoors, half sleep I guess, until early June, when the weather was warm enough for me to re-pot and gradually transplant it so that it has now grown to a saturated red, full of leaves and medium size plant ready to survive yet another winter indoors.

Hope is the name of my Coleus – the name of the process whereby with love and care, any living could recover and revive.

Shade of White

Planting Vegetables: Preparation & Care

Like thousands of other Canadians, and probably thousand more gardeners who reside in Zone 5, I started my flower and vegetable gardens around the end of May, Victoria Day long weekend. That’s when we are fairly certain that the frost will not hit the gardens.

I have two long and narrow vegetable and flower beds in my back yard, lying under a pleasant mixture of sun and shade (6 hours sunlight, daily). I have already shared several posts on my flower bed and my experience with perennials throughout the gardening season. Here, and here are two examples. So, I would like to allocate this post to planting and caring for, and hopefully harvesting a few types of vegetables that I just planted in my garden. I do invite you all to join me in with your comments and tips and questions. Let’s have a happy green forum right here!

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“Too cold, too soon,” say green tomatoes!

Yep, the cold weather is here, too cold for the unripe tomatoes that is.

Story of my life. I plant the sidling sometime late May and wait some two months for them to grow tall enough to give our daily share of  “home-grown love“. But then, when the cold weather arrives just now, the plants are still full of unripe green tomatoes. Sometimes I have to pick them, and let them ripe indoors – they do mostly if they are left unwashed in a cool place with lots of light. Will keep you posted on how they do. Read the rest of this entry »

Things money cannot buy

This country song says “Only two things money can’t buy, and that’s true love and homegrown tomato” So sweet 🙂 but I would definitely add Iranian basil to the list- the ones grown at home in diaspora!

My baby vegetables

Just wanted to share the joy of watching these baby vegetables growing– by obvious inches really, every day! My tomatoes are plenty, but they will look much prettier when they turn red – soon, vey soon!

Care for Calirachoa; they are worth it!

Calirachoa is known as “million bells”, because it produces many blooms during the growing season. They are similar to petunia, only more elegant and less aromatic.  I love the million-colored, million bells because they make gorgeous hanging baskets, although they do quite well in garden as well.  This picture, by the way, I took from an open flower market apparently run by two families “Wilson et. files/ Martino et filles”.  They offer a diverse variety of annuals and vegetables with fair price, and friendly service.

Here are a few tips about Calirachoa: 1) Needs full to partial sun, well drained, fertilized pest free soil. 2) Try to keep the soil moist, but it can tolerate drought but not for long (always avoid watering the leaves thereby avoiding cultivating fungus). 3) Pinch off dead leaves and dried blossoms by hand. This keeps the plant healthy looking and nice of course, AND will encourage more blossoms.

As always, please don’t hesitate to share your experience, and Happy Gardening!


Growing peppers in container

I have tried growing tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers in containers without much success.  But different types of pepper, jalapeño, sweet pepper and hot pepper, do fantastic in container – even better than in the ground!  I have read peppers need to have a relatively warm soil to thrive and apparently a container provides that environment better than does a vegetable bed in the ground.

All you need to watch for is not to overcrowd them. Take a 30 cm. (12 inch) container;  use top, draining soil; plant three seedling – not more– deep in the soil.   Place them in half to full sun, depending on how hot the weather is.  They like warm but not too hot.  And do not over water.  I use natural fertilizer (Hen Manure) for vegetables right from the start.  Read the rest of this entry »