Saturday, September 26, 2009

The crisp days of fall

I love these days. The ones where the sun is shining, but you need a sweater to go outside. Maybe some fingerless gloves too. The air is fresh, and the colours are vivid.

The garden is slowing down. Has been such a funny year. Up until yesterday we were still harvesting pole beans and zucchini. Good thing really because the zucchini didn't start producing until about a month ago. I don't think we'll get any more though. If the forecasters were right, we got a good frost last night. Soon I'll go down to the garden to see how everything survived. I covered up all the tomatoes with tarps and sheets. Cross your fingers. As much as I love the fall, I'm not ready to admit that the growing season is over for this urban homestead.

With things slowing down and the weather getting cooler, I have begun hauling out the things that have been for the most part growing dust over the summer. Like my trusty second hand sewing machine. Actually trusty is a crappy way to describe her. She's kind of a pain in the ass. On a bad day, she'll jam, sew wonky and just generally be temperamental. But I still like her.

And as you've gathered from the last post, I'm getting back into knitting and crocheting. Well I will be once I deal with that gd mess of yarn. Worked on it all night last night and I'm still not done. I think I really have learned my lesson this time!

Once I get the yarn sorted I'll be using it to make a scarf with this pattern. I'm a beginner knitter so I wanted something simple but also something that looked nice from both sides and was a bit different.

I'm also hoping to make some of these things. Melanie Falick Books are giving away 20 knitting and sewing patterns for FREE from a number of their books. Some really cute stuff in there. Can you say "Christmas presents" anyone?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When will I learn...

That even if I am just knitting or crocheting a swatch I MUST ball up a skein before using it.

Because if I don't, I'll end up with this....

I got the yarn from a small company in Stittsville that recycles yarn from old sweaters. They were called Fine Fibre Finds. Sadly I can't find them online anymore so I hope they are still around.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How is it possible that it is fall already?

I'm sorry you guys! I can't believe that it has been so long since I last posted anything. Especially because I have so much to tell! Like how we are renovating our office using all re-purposed and second hand materials, and how I found the perfect way to use up cherry tomatoes (roasted in the oven with garlic and turned into soup), and how I've had the dehydrator in over-drive (plums, pears, apples, peaches, tomatoes, bananas, grape fruit roll ups), and how the discovery of the recipe of plum amaretto jam lead to the most delicious jam I have ever made, and how we took the train to PEI this summer and discovered the most fantastic farms and a composting program that made me even more excited about the soon to be implemented Green Bin Program here in ottawa, and that's not even all!

But perhaps I'll talk about something else...potatoes.

We harvested our potatoes over the weekend and did ok but got no where near the yield we originally thought we might.
Since we have a small urban garden, we decided to try the 'tower' method this year. This method promised up to 100lbs of potatoes per tower. In a fit of potato madness, we planted 4 towers. We figured we'd worry about what we'd actually do with 400lbs of potatoes later.

Good thing.

Our total yield= 15lbs.

Couple of things we did wrong:
1. didn't put anything under the towers to prevent roots growing up into the towers from other plants. We had two towers that were totally choked out with roots. The tower that did the best was right on the patio stones so had nothing else growing into it.
2. Two towers did not get enough sun. It's not worth putting up towers unless they are in a spot that gets a decent amount of sun
3. Protect them from squirrels. We have a major squirrel problem and their digging broke the growing tips off a number of the plants in two of the towers. Fewer plants = fewer potatoes.

But even if we'd adjusted for all of those things, I don't think we would have come anywhere near 100lbs per tower. The potatoes just didn't grow up the plant. If we set up the towers next year we'll only make them three levels tall instead of 6 (will make sense if you see the diagram on the lifehacker site). Although I have been reading that you need the right type of potato to grow vertically. Perhaps I just had the wrong one?

In any case, we have a decent crop of potatoes that have now finished drying and are ready for storage. We are going to try storing them in the basement in a container filled with dry dirt. Not that we really need to worry about it. I don't think it will take us long to get through 15lbs of potatoes.

Mmmmmm, potatoes. :)