Sunday, March 22, 2015

Annual Seedling Sale May 23 - Details!


Annual Seedling Sale May 23 from 9-12 noon

Drop by the annual Seedling Sale at Little City Farm, to find all your veggie starts for this year - huge selection of heirloom tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basils, herbs, flowers, kale, broccoli, cukes, melons, and many others!

This exciting sale also features:


Garden Planning Workshop Sat April 11 - spaces still available


Garden Planning Workshop
Permaculture Garden Design
Sat, April 11 from 1-3 pm
Spaces still available!  Sign up here.

Take part in this early spring workshop to develop a great garden plan for yourself this year!  Using the principles of permaculture, our workshop facilitator will walk you through simple, ecological, nature-based garden design, that will create a productive, low-maintenance, beautiful garden space.  Sign up now to take part in this workshop!
Read more about permaculture gardening in this article here.
 



Spring Seeds, Soil & Sourdough Event at Little City Farm, April 18

Join us Sat, April 18 between 10-12 noon (free drop-in event) for our first ever Spring Seeds, Soil & Sourdough Event!

We invite you to celebrate the arrival of spring, earth-day, and all good growing things that come with sunshine and warmer weather!

You will find:
  • Seedballs: hands-on DIY seedball making (make your own clay seedballs to take home, filled with seeds to attract pollinators to your garden) - a great activity for all ages
  • Seeds: organic non-GMO seeds for sale to get your garden off to a great start
  • Soil: bags of certified organic potting soil for sale for all your seed starting needs
  • Seedling Tips: helpful advice on starting your own seedlings, planting charts to take home, garden magazine give-away, and more
  • Sourdough: freshly baked sourdough bread available, and wood-fired baking demo in our outdoor cob oven
  • Soap: natural handmade soaps for sale
  • Sprouts: in our new greenhouse studio space (still under renovation but we'll give you a sneak preview)!
Please try to walk or bike to this event, in honour of earth-day and to minimize traffic on our street.

For questions - contact Karin or Greg at: info@littlecityfarm.ca
 



Thursday, March 19, 2015

More sewing club creations!

The kids sewing club continued all week here - and what amazing creations filled our table at the end of each morning.  There were coasters to give to parents, lavender pillows, tooth monsters, repaired stuffies, patched shirts, embroidered pants, superhero cuffs, and more!  And 11 super-inspired crafty sewing stars at the end of it.






















Monday, March 16, 2015

New Favourite Sourdough Bread

We are back to making our weekly sourdough and oh, how we love baking bread.  Usually our daughter makes her own mini loaves and loves to embellish them with seeds, nuts, spices, fancy patterns on the top, or just turn them into fun shapes.  We love the children's book Suzie's Sourdough Circus, by Kathy Sager, which is actually an entertaining story that clearly and creatively describes what is happening during the sourdough process (in the words of the little sourdough critters, they say "food scrumptious food, we forget all our troubles.  Eat it all up, and then we blow bubbles.  This is a sourdough starter celebration!  We sing and we dance in wild fermentation!").  In the back of the book are several amazing recipes (like sourdough bread, sourdough pancakes, and sourdough marbled chocolate cake which makes a superb birthday cake).  We've been using her sourdough bread recipe lately.  It's a new favourite - so dense yet moist, and nicely works it's sourdough magic overnight so we can take our time fitting bread making into our busy life.  Our latest family winter favourite snack is fresh sourdough bread spread with tahini and apple butter - yummm!









Kids Sewing Club!

We've been thinking about offering kids workshops here at Little City Farm and so, given that it is March Break this week, we decided to offer a Kids Sewing Club each morning.  What a great response!  Sewing is such a useful basic skill to know (mending, darning, sewing our own clothes), and yet offers such options for creativity and fun.  And it's becoming a lost art!  This morning we had a lovely group of 10 girls (aged 6-12) sitting around the dining room table crafting and creating.  During this week we are focusing only on hand-sewing, offering basic techniques like learning to use different stitches (running stitch, whip stitch, blanket stitch, cross stitch), ways of threading needles, working with different fabrics, using recycled/upcycled materials like felted wool sweaters that can be cut up into smaller projects, embroidering and patches/applique, button holes, and other making other embellishments.  We are using the wonderful kids sewing book Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids will Love, as inspiration.  Here is what today's session looked like, and we heard many of the girls leaving with the words "I love sewing!"














Wednesday, February 18, 2015

3 new workshops on the Little City Farm schedule - and more coming

3 new exciting workshops coming to Little City Farm this summer, registration and details now posted!  Check out the details below and register online through our website here.!
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PLANT COMMUNICATION: OPENING OUR HEARTS TO NATURE

 
Date: Sat, Aug 22
Time: from 10 am-12 noon
Facilitator: Heather Cain, local herbalist

Description: Plants have been evolving with and supporting humans ever since we took our first steps on earth. Scientists are now discovering what indigenous people have known for thousands of years - plants are sentient, intelligent beings that communicate and make decisions; and humans are hard-wired to bond with nature. We have the capacity to relate directly with the trees and plants around us; in this workshop we will learn how. Communicating with plants is a step to living in better harmony with ourselves, each other, and nature. It is a path of healing that helps us attune to our true essential nature and inner wisdom, and to what our hearts deeply desire.
In this workshop we will:
  • explore opening our hearts to receive from the plants
  • touch on scientific and indigenous perspectives of plant intelligence
  • learn simple techniques to boost intuitive awareness and plant/nature connection
  • create sacred space to anchor our learning journey
Take home a plant elixir. Bring a notebook if you like. Please dress for the weather - this is an outdoor workshop (rain or shine) so bring sunhat, sunscreen, water bottle as needed.
Cost: $35 (includes all materials, instruction, handout notes, and take home samples)
 Register on our website here.
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BREWING BEER FROM START TO FINISH

Date: Sat, Aug 29
Time: from 1-5 pm (note this will be a 3.5-4 hour class)
Facilitator: Jon Spee, local brewer and educator

Description: This all-afternoon workshop will prepare you for making your own home-brewed beer, from beginning to end.  Jon will walk participants through all the stages of making beer, with hands-on components at every step.  From a short history of homebrewing, to steeping grains, mashing, straining grains, boiling wort, adding malt and hops, cooling wort, and transferring to primary fermentor, to preparing and bottling another batch of homebrew to take home.  Learn the use of hops for bittering, flavour and aroma, and the role of yeast in creating unique flavours.  Finally using a hydrometer and monitoring your beer at home.  Each participant will take home aprox. 1.5 litres of homebrewed beer that we have bottled during the workshop.
Please note - this is a limited space workshop so register early to reserve your spot!

Cost: $65 per person (includes all materials, instruction, handout notes, and take home samples)

Register on our website here.
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SEED SAVING WORKSHOP

Date: Sat, Sept 12
Time: from 1-3 pm
Facilitator: Taarini Chopra, from Seeds of Diversity (www.seeds.ca)

Description: During this workshop we will learn all the steps of seed saving: from planning your planting and isolating varieties, to collecting seeds from plants in your garden, to cleaning and rogueing seeds, and storing your seeds to plant the next year. The workshop will be hands-on, and we will collect and clean seeds from a variety of garden vegetables, as well as tour the Little City Farm property to observe the diversity of vegetable, flower and herb seeds ready for harvest in the gardens.

Optional: Bring an extra $15 to the workshop day, to take home a copy of Seeds of Diversity's book, "How to Save Your Own Seeds" home with you!

Cost: $25 (includes all materials, instruction, hand-out notes) 

Register on our website here.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Seed Planting Guide

Seed Planting Guide

Each year around this time we pull out our big box of seeds and the garden binder that holds our planting guide and notes from last year.  We map out the new garden plan, get soil and trays ready, and start our first seeds!   Here is the planting guide we use, based on our zone 5-6 in southern Ontario.
 
PLANTING GUIDE (based on frost-free date of May 24):
FEBRUARY (the greens listed here can continue to be planted throughout the growing season of course)

Start lettuce, chard, other greens in greenhouse or in flats indoors (to be planted out to greenhouse). Start selected medicinal and culinary herbs by middle of February. Some take 6-8 weeks to germinate!

10 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. March 15)
Start seeds of celery, eggplant, leeks, onion, pepper and flowers like impatiens, lobelia, verbena and perennials indoors.

8 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. March 29)
Start seeds of early head lettuce and flowers like begonia, coleus, nicotiana, petunia and salvia indoors.

7 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. April 5)
Start seeds of tomatoes, hot peppers, and early basil indoors.

6 WEEKS TO LAST FROST(aprox. April 12)
Start seeds of early left lettuce, early cabbages including cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and kale, and small seeded annuals indoors. DIRECT SEED broad beans, carrots, peas, spinach, leaf lettuce, turnips, dill, parsley, and hardy flowers such as alyssum, candytuft, pansies, poppies, snapdragons, stocks, sunflowers and sweet peas. Plant onion sets or transplant onion seedlings outdoors.

4 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. April 26)
Start melon seeds indoors. If desired, start seeds of late basil, cucumber, squash, pumpkin, large-seeded annuals, and flowering vines indoors in peat pots. DIRECT SEED radishes, beets, cabbages, chard, head lettuce, and flowers such as hollyhock, and mallow. Plant potato eyes and transplant seedlings of early cabbages, except cauliflower.

2 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. May 10)
DIRECT SEED corn, tender bulbs such as glads, and annual vines such as morning glory. Transplant early lettuce seedlings.

WEEK OF LAST FROST (aprox. May 17-24)
Around the last frost date you can finally direct seed beans, cauliflower, cucumber, squashes, heat-loving flowers such as zinnias, marigold, and lavatera. Transplant your tomatoes. If you've got them, transplant cauliflower, squash and cucumber seedlings.

1-2 WEEKS AFTER FROST (aprox. May 31-June 7)
Wait for a couple of weeks after the last frost before direct seedling lima beans, soybeans, melons and herbs such as basil, summer savory and sweet marjoram. Transplant celery, melon, peppers, eggplant seedlings when the night temperatures stay well above 10 degrees C. Plant sweet potato slips. Start second crop of kale seedlings, and reseed spinach and peas for second crop.



Thursday, January 29, 2015

Get your organic non-GMO seeds from Little City Farm this spring!

www.littlecityfarm.ca/workshops-1.php

NOW AVAILABLE FOR LOCAL CUSTOMERS!

We are so excited to be offering unique organic non-GMO and heirloom seeds through our Little City Farm store & studio.  Just in time for spring planting local customers will be able to find seeds from our "farmers market" collection including unique varieties of peas, beans, chard, kale, greens and more - as well as pollinator-friendly and kids-garden collections.  Our seeds are coming from High Mowing Seeds, an organic seed company that we think very highly of due to their strict organic and non-GMO verification standards.  We have over 48+ varieties to choose from!

How to buy seeds from Little City Farm - visit us on Saturdays between 10-4 pm (from Februrary through April, and May 23 at our annual Seedling Sale), or contact Karin directly at: info@littlecityfarm.ca



Now on facebook!

After many years of considering, we have decided to join Facebook.  Find our Little City Farm page here and like us!




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New homestead projects & first Grain Share

There are so many new ideas brimming forth for our homestead as this new year unfolds - it is quite exciting to explore these new possibilities and start setting things in motion - but also a bit overwhelming.    This is of course the time for seed orders and garden planning, and we'll post our annual Seed Planting Guide here shortly.  We are also renovating and setting up that barn into production once again...we are reorganizing our eco bed and breakfast...we will be starting to offer organic non-GMO seeds through our Little City Farm store (more on that soon)...we have homesteading classes on the go...we hope to start keeping bees this summer...

We've also been trying to streamline our food purchases as part of our homestead focus - so that everything we can't grow/sprout/preserve/make/bake ourselves is bought either through our food co-op buying club, or from local farmers.  We'd like to avoid purchases at the grocery store wherever we can so we can instead support co-ops and nearby farms, and help reduce our food budget by buying in bulk.  And today, we received our first Grain Share - one of a five-part delivery of a variety of locally grown organic and freshly milled grains we are getting as part of a share program through Cedar Down Farm.  We are hosting the local in-city pick up for people interested in this grain share idea, and today is the first day.  Our farmer arrived with a van full of brown paper bags neatly stacked, sorted and labelled.  Our daughter helped to carry all the bags in eagerly, and then peeked into what our family had received.  Today's delivery included hard wheat, rolled oats, rye (5 lbs each, all freshly milled), and 2 lbs of black beans - all grown at the farm.  Cedar Down Farm is just over an hour away from here, and we are so happy to be supporting these local farmers and their new initiative.  We promptly made a huge batch of granola, and have bread dough rising (can't wait to see how the freshly milled flour works), and are anticipating next month's delivery surprises!









Monday, January 19, 2015

Beautiful snow & sunshine

What gorgeous snow and sunshine we've been having!  The thick flakes were so fun to photograph, and the slightly warmer weather with heavily textured snow was enjoyed on walks and tobogganing this week.














Barn reno update!

It's coming along...wood siding is now on, we are working on the interior!  There's still a lot to do, but we hope to have it ready in some capacity for hosting our first workshop in the new space - the Seedling Starting Workshop at the end of February (Feb 21) with our guest facilitator Angie Koch from Fertile Ground CSA and the greenhouse ready for the annual Little City Farm Seedling Sale coming on May 23!




Friday, January 09, 2015

What to do on a cold snowy morning? Two delicious ideas

Oh, what to do on a cold snowy morning? Well we could stay in bed and read books, or make a cozy fire and play a boardgame...or bundle up and have some snowy adventures outside.

We always try to head for the outdoors.  Today, to make things different, we decided to use two winter cooking ideas from The Kids Outdoor Adventure Book - which is packed full of simple seasonal ideas for getting you and your kids outside.

First we collected the most pristine newly fallen snow to make snow icecream (strawberry coconut was our blend - yum), and then we built up a little bonfire in the backyard to bake bannock. There is nothing like hot smoke-flavoured bannock covered with melting butter and jam or applebutter, eaten right off a stick (it needs to be slightly burnt too to be just right). What a delicious morning it turned out to be, and no one seemed to feel too cold.  Here are our own slightly healthier versions of tried-and-true recipes.

Easy Snow Ice Cream (vegan, gluten-free)
Ingredients:
10 cups freshly fallen clean snow
1 1/2 cups organic sugar or slightly less maple syrup or sweetener of your choice
1 cup organic coconut milk
1 cup frozen strawberries (or other fruit)
1 tsp pure vanilla

To do:
Blend half the snow and the rest of the ingredients well in a blender.
Keep it moving quickly so the icecream doesn't get too warm.
Fold in the rest of the snow and stir gently.  Eat immediately.  It tastes like sorbet.
Store the rest in a tub in your freezer.





Wood-Fired Bannock (on a stick)
4 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp sea salt
5 Tbsp baking powder

To do:
Mix dry ingredients in mid sized bowl
Mix in water and knead gently to form a sticky ball.
Take bannock outside to your fire (best to have some embers or coals on the side to toast over).
Wrap a small piece of bannock into a log shape around a thumb-sized stick.
Hold over the embers and let the bannock toast to a nice golden brown, so it's baked all the way through.
Enjoy with butter and jam, or applebutter (or your favourite spreads).
Best eaten outdoors on a winters day, near a hot bonfire, with friends.