Our Gardens

Arial view from 2022, our 10th anniversary in Bells Corners 🙂

Yes, it feels like spring out there, but it is February.
It is too soon to start most things.
Be patient.
Tomatoes should not be started until late March – mid April. They will become too tall and weak (leggy) if you start them too early. Roots are more important than size. The plants will explode when they are transplanted into your garden.
Peppers & Eggpants are slower to germinate (10 – 14 days) and produce better when the plant is more mature.
Greens such as spinach, kale & lettuce are cold weather plants and do quite well early, but ask yourself: When do you want to harvest them?
Squash & Cucurbits should not be planted until mid May. Their roots do not like to be handled, and do better when direct seeded.
So here we go again…
The “open door” policy is back. If you wish to view our growing operations, just ask. We would be delighted to show you, and answer all your questions while you are here.

Feb 12 – Seeded all our sweet peppers. We grow 13 varieties of Italian & Stuffing tomatoes, and count on our farm partners for Red, Green, Orange & Yellow bells. (We have the purple ones.)
Feb 13 – Seeded all the hot peppers, but had a catastropy when I inhaled capsicum from the Caralina Reapers & Peach Jalokias. My eyes are still burning. We grow 14 varieties of peppers in a wide spectrum of heat from 1,000 SU to 1.2 million SU to satisfy everyone’s desire for heat.
Feb 15 – Seeded the Kale which we hope will be ready to harvest from the garden mid-late may. We grow 5 varieties. Flat blue & black, and Curley blue, green & red, to satisfy the kale connoisseurs
Feb 20-21 – Seeded Onions. From seed we grow two varieties: French shalots & yellow cooking onions. Later we plant sets for yellow spanish
Feb 26 – Will be seeding Eggplants. We grow 10 varieties of eggplant from teardrops long Asian varieties, and our favourite: Sable 🙂
March 9: Got sidelined by the flu, but as of today, things are back on track. Early crop of Chard, First crop of Basil, additional Kale, and Peppers with poor germination were all planted or re-planted.
March 11: Seeded the cherry tomatoes
March 12:
Transplanted all the hot peppers
March 13: Started transplanting the sweet peppers
March 20: 
Started seeding the beefsteaks (Due to the sheer volume of tomato plants required, they need to be spaced out over 3 weeks to allow time to transplant them from plugs to pots) We grow aprox 100 varieties of tomatoes, mostly heirlooms in a vairiety of color, size, taste & acidity level. They include beefsteaks, cooking tomatoes & oxhearts.

Now it’s hard to keep up… seeding, transplanting, watering and maintaining them all as they increase in volume.

Helpful things to remember when you are growing indoors: 

Always water your plants from the bottom, not the top.
Do not over water. It is best to water more often, than have them sitting in a wet tray. You want strong roots, not rotten ones 🙂 
Use a fan. Wind resistance will help strengthen your seedlings, and keeps the top of your soil dry. This helps reduce the chance of dampening off. (Rot which will kill the seedling where the stock meets the soil)
-Lighting is very important.
-Heat mats are recommended, but only when germinating. After the seeds have popped, remove from heat to slow them down. This will put more energy into developing the roots, and reduces the chance of drying them out.
-Transplant when your seedlings have 2 true leaves to give them room to develop those roots. (Approx. 3 weeks). Rootbound plants will stunt their growth.
-Don’t be afraid to divide the plants if you have 2 seeds germinated. They might be small, but they want to grow 🙂
-Have fun, relax & enjoy the magic of creation
-If you have questions
please do not hesitate to contact us

April 17th we finished all the transplants
– Tilled the house gardens
April 18th we seeded lots & lots of herbs
April 22 direct seeded 120 feet of carrots in our field off Moodie
-direct seeded 120 feet of beets in the field
April 24th we will move the plants to the greenhouses, transplant the kale & chard, direct seed 3 more rows of chard and 2 rows of long beets while Steve & David clean up the ice damaged trees…

What makes our produce taste so good? Elbow grease, lots & lots of compost, and a passion for food and health of the soil.

Cheers,
Tammy, Steve and our team:
2023 Garden staff: Charlotte & Xin
2023 Stand staff: David, Michela, Elena & Nevvab

We take pride in our gardens

We consider ourselves to be “regenerative farmers.” Our focus is on the health of the soil. Each year we add tons of compost to feed the ecology, in return our gardens bless us with healthy plants that reward us with produce fill with vitality. Bugs are another story. They require elbow grease, and an awareness that not all bugs are bad. Some are good, and will help manage the bad ones… It is all part of a healthy ecology. No chemicals or pesticides are needed or used. ‘Tis a happy balance 🙂

It is said: “We should eat vegetables in a variety of colors to get the best nutritional value.” In keeping with this philosophy, we are proud to offer produce in all spectrum’s of the rainbow, and most are heirloom in their varieties.

In 2023, we will be growing the following: Several varieties of sweet peppers which include no-heat jalapeno’s, but don’t fret, there are 14 varieties of hot peppers with varying heats to meet your needs. Greens which include, 5 types of kale, Swiss chard & spinach. 3 Varieties of Cabbage, our heirloom Spanish Onions, and our first try at French shallots. In Root vegetables: white, yellow & red potatoes, sweet potatoes, red & gold beets, long beets, sweet orange carrots &  a rainbow of heirloom varieties. Parsnips & turnips.  Of course we will always have tomatoes, over 100 varieties to tantalize your taste buds. There will be 10 varieties of summer squash, a plethora of winter squash, and 8 varieties of egg plant. I almost forgot the tastiest ones. Peas! Sugar snaps and shelling peas along with 4 varieties of beans and tasty additions of garlic & herbs galore. Perennial fruit include: Black, yellow & red raspberries, rhubarb and yummy little blackberries.

Yes, those are a lot of crops to manage.

For the vegetables not listed, and as a back up supply to meet the veracious demands put on our stand, we depend on a network of local farms to fill in the gaps. We bring in local Strawberries from the beginning of June all the way to October, Red Raspberries from July to September, as well as Wild & Domestic Blueberries. Corn starts the middle of July and is brought in fresh-picked each morning until the first hard frost.

We have a driver that goes to the Niagara Region 3 times per week to bring back tree-ripened fruits as they come into season: Cherries, Plums, Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines, and Pears. We have another driver who connects us to several farms in the Eastern Townships of Quebec with a constant supply of Onions, Potatoes, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and all the salad fixings you could imagine throughout the entire growing season.

Patience, summer will be upon us again, and with it a bounty of flavor.

Cheers!
Steve & Tammy