Category Archives: Garden & Animals

Garden Progress 2017 – Part 2

I have been adding chicken litter every year to the garden patch that uses conventional row growing method (as compared to Square Foot Gardening ).  Every after year I can notice good results from the chicken compost.  This year I am growing cucumber, zucchini and squash.

This is the garden patch.  I built some trellis this year using bamboo sticks.
Cucumbers growing along the bamboo trellis.
Butternut squash forming.
The boys are good helpers in the garden, surprisingly.  They have helped me harvest all those produce.
Cucumbers, potatoes (grown by themselves from those potatoes that we missed last year), yellow zucchini

Garden Progress 2017

As we step into summer, we can finally harvest something out of our garden: peas and salad. Each of our children (except Caleb) gets his/her own square this year. I believe it is a great idea to train our children to grow food themselves. Not only can they learn to work with their hands, they would learn to appreciate the blessings from God and the hard work of farmers.

IMG_7459 When the garlic leaves started to turn yellow and die, it is time to dig up the bulbs.
IMG_7458 If rain is not expected for a couple of days, you can simply leave the whole plant on the soil to dry.
IMG_7457 1 square can provide up to 64 garlic bulbs.

Mid-Summer Garden 2016

Tiffany’s Flower Garden

This year I bought some flower seeds from William Dam Seeds.

My father helped me make a flower garden, and here are some pictures.



I planted four kinds of poppies.

They are called Ladybird, bridal silk, Danish flag, and Double Shirley.

I didn’t get a picture of the Danish Flag, but it’s really special.

Poppy seeds are really small.





Double Shirley ~ Red



Double Shirley ~ White



Bridal Silk




Colourful geraniums!

I planted 8 geranium plants.

Some of them are from the Bull’s eye series.

The Geraniums from the Bull’s eye series have brown rings on their leaves.

Geraniums are pretty hardy: the ones I have survived 2 frosts.


Geranium ~ White



Geraniums ~ Light Pink



Bull’s Eye Series ~ Red



Geraniums ~ Peach



Geraniums ~ Dark Pink




You can see that some of them have the brown rings.



Lavatera – Silver Cup

These pink flowers are approximately 3 inches across.

These plants produce lots of flowers.







Dianthus – Sweet Williams

I started a few seeds of this plant, but only one survived to the blooming stage.





Datura – Belle Blanche

I grew my daturas in pots.

The whole plant is poisonous if eaten.

Their seed head is very special. It has spikes on it and it opens up to let the seeds come out.

The pure white flowers are taller than 6 inches and they usually opens at night.


Datura ~ Flower Opening



Datura ~ Opened Flower



Datura ~ Seed Head



Datura ~ Seed Head Opened



Datura ~ Seeds







This plant was not grown for flowers.

It has a lemon scent on its leaves that mosquitos hate.



Fall Harvest 2015

Fall harvest from our garden.  Overall I have a hard time growing carrots this year.  There was a sqf that I planted the seeds 3 times and yet no carrots had made it.  I had even pre-sprouted the seeds.  I suspect the slugs ahd bugs devoured the seedlings.  Arghh!!!

Small ears of blue corn.  Not sweet at all but colorful and good for corn meal.
We have some big potatoes – Alta Blush grew in chicken litter from last year.
The old apple tree gives big apples this year.  Partly because we did not have any fruit last year and partly  because I finally fertilized the tree this year.
Apple Pie, here I come!


Summer Harvest 2015

Summer harvest from our garden.

Small plant of blue corn. It would be interesting to see how it tastes.
Buckwheat as green cover.
We have more than 130 cloves of garlic this year.
Garlic waiting to be dried.
Only a small bunch of grapes this year. I think I am not a good fruit grower.
A new grape vine called Flame seedless. I found out it is not very cold hardy after I bought it on sale. We will see if it could survive Ontario’s winter.
Some of the pepper plants are doing pretty good. This is a first for us.
Rows of radish.
The red plants are beet while the white ones are turnip.
4 vines of sweet potatoes covering the whole square.

Summer Harvest

The summer of 2014 is cooler than usual.  So heat loving plants are harvested about 2 weeks later than average.  Nevertheless, it is always a blessing to harvest your own food.  We will keep expanding the garden using chicken litter and wood chips so we will have both row gardens and Square Foot gardens.

Potatoes curing in the rabbit hutch.
Joshua proudly showing off his green and yellow zucchinis.  We have more than 6 plants this year so we are enjoying big zucchinis almost every other day
Garlic being cured in the rabbit hutch.
Onions being cured in the rabbit hutch.
1 tiny pepper this year out of 4 plants.  Not a success at all.
Melody’s giant sunflower.
New addition to herb square – peppermint.  Great for tea.
Storage heirloom tomato – winter gold keeper.

Garden path

Weed is also a big problem for any gardener.  Whether the weed grows within the square-foot-gardening raised bed, or on the garden path.  The biggest problem I found?  It is the weeds that grow right along and around the raised beds.  This year, because we have some extra driveway gravels/lime mix left over from addition project, I decided to “transform” the normal garden path of wood chips/straws into a gravel garden path!

It is a tiring project because gravel is heavy, but it is also a good exercise to have the children build their muscles.

I use black plastic sheeting.  In the US, they sell 6-mil which I prefer, but I can only find 3-mil here in Canada.
After applying the black plastic sheeting and dumping the gravels, we need to smoother the ground.
We hope to cover anywhere you see grass and weeds in the garden.
Finished gravel garden path.  More to go with paths between raised beds.

Starting seeds – 2014

This year we bought a 5 shelves chrome rack where we can start more seeds with proper growing light system.  We use a shop light with T8 tube.  Rack is about $70 and light system about $110.  We can now start 4 seed trays at a time.

This is the seed growing rack.
Tomatoes. We have black zebra, banana leg, pink brandy, winter goldkeeper and black cherry.
Peppers growing very very slow. I believe I would need a heating mat for them.
Cabbage, broccoli and kale.
Yellow and green zucchini.

Duck to Market

After about 3 months raising ducks, it is time to butcher them and put them into good use.  Again, we use the same processing facility to perform the killing and packaging.  However, each duck cost $7 to process, versus $3 for a chicken.  The reason for higher cost?  Ducks are 3 to 4 times more difficult to pluck because they are waterfowls with oil glands. 

We found that the male Muscovys are heaviest while Rouens are small.  White Pekins are in between and pretty consistent in size.  So I guess for commercial purposes, Pekins would be the ideal choice of ducks.

Ducks ready to be hauled for butchering

Roast duck!!