Sunday, April 28, 2013

Woodland plants welcome spring

One of our favourite woodland flowers to show up early in the spring...with delicate blossoms that open for only a day or two.  Bloodroot - two small beautiful patches of it right here in the woodland section of our yard, among the ramps and wild ginger.  Welcome spring!

Wild spring edibles

What abundance we have growing wild around us!  We hosted our annual Wild Spring Edibles workshop today, and even though it's just the beginning of the season with wild greens only starting to peek up, our facilitator managed to find a wide assortment of delicious nutritious wild greens, roots and flowers already available.  She covered all aspects of wild edibles - including: ethical harvesting, traditional approaches, plant spirit medicine, phtyo-nutrients and medicinal values of wild foods, drying and storing, how to prepare wild foods for eating, juicing, safe quantities to consume, and of course (probably most important) proper identification.  We sampled an array of prepared foods such as burdock root tea, pine needle tea, garlic mustard pesto, purslane pesto, garlic mustard root "horseradish", fresh dandelion greens, rosehip jam, and fresh violet blossoms.  Then we had a walk around the Little City Farm property to identify these plants, plus a few others such as nettles, wood sorrel, mallow, evening primrose, wild ginger, wild grape, and ramps (wild garlic).  We are re-inspired to enjoy the bounty around us, to help build attentiveness and appreciation for these plants and bring greater health for our bodies.

Here are some photos of the spring wild edibles here at Little City Farm, with their names below.

Evening Primrose root and leaf

Large burdock root (centre)

Top evening primrose root, middle burdock root, bottom dock root

Stinging nettle greens

Garlic mustard greens

Ramps (wild garlic)

Wild ginger (just opening the leaves)

Violet blossoms and leaves

Young burdock leaves (harvest for the root)

Dandelion greens

Clover leaves

Evening primrose leaves

Wood sorrel leaves

Wild rose buds (harvest the rosehips)

Wild carrot greens (harvest for greens and young roots

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seedlings growing, spring in the air

Our house and greenhouse are filling up with vibrant happy young seedlings, getting ready for our annual sale on May 18.  We have six rows of indoor grow lights to start the seedlings that need a head start, and then move everything into our passive solar greenhouse for transplanting.  Oh, there is a lot of transplanting that still needs to happen in the next few weeks!  This weekend it's time to start the last indoor seedlings - zucchini, squashes, melons.  With all the snow and cold rainy weather the hot weather crops (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers) are growing slowly in the unheated greenhouse, but we are hopeful the warmer weather is coming.  They will certainly be hardy seedlings this year.

As part of our weekly kids nature group, we had a lovely hike at a nearby woods today.  The kids dipped their boots into the pond, and we heard an unbelievably loud rukus of frogs mating, so we know that spring is really here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

This Moment

{This moment} - This moment - an end of week ritual, no words, just a special photo to remember, savour, enjoy.


It's time to start planting - outside! 

Peas, beets, radish, spinach, chard, lettuces, mizuna, rapini, arugula...

and all the greens in the cold frame and grow tunnel shooting right up!  We've been enjoying our first fresh garden salads this week.

This weekend is our "Wild Spring Edibles" workshop, which is a great reminder of all the nutritious, fresh edibles that are abundant all around us - nettles, dandelion, burdock, clover, chickweed, and more.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring in southern Ontario

Here's what spring looked like when we woke up this morning....a beautiful frozen landscape, everything completely encapsulated in ice.  But the nesting birds surely didn't know what to make of it, and I was glad we didn't need to be out on the roads.  This spring weather is so unpredictable.