Saturday, 23 June 2012

This morning's haul from the Weston Farmer's Market

I visited the Weston Farmer's Market this morning to pick up some eggs and Ontario strawberries. As you can see, I found quite a bit more!

The Gallardia (red and yellow flowers in the top right corner) were only $4, and they're big healthy plants. It took a lot of willpower to only come home with one plant--I wanted one in every colour (I think there were 5 to choose from). A salmon pink geranium, priced to sell at $1, also jumped into my arms. These are the exact same plants you'd find at garden centres--the folks that sell them at the Weston Market also sell to retailers from the Ontario Food Terminal during the week. It's a family run operation and they're nice people. I didn't buy any of their produce this morning, but they have the best corn, leeks, romaine lettuce, and broccoli at the market.

The Egg Man sells all sizes and colours of fresh eggs, along with an excellent selection of cheeses, from a refrigerated trailer. I've been buying from him for years and have not been disappointed.

Asparagus and strawberries have been in my market shopping bag for the past few Saturdays. An assortment of peppers ($3 for the lot), baby cucumbers, and some amazingly sweet nectarines (they had samples, which was really smart, as I was only going to buy a small container until I tasted them. And then I immediately asked for the larger basket!)

Rounding out the haul from this morning is some fresh cilantro (salsa on bean burritos this week!) and a loaf of "Persian bread" (that's what they call it. All I know is that it's made with olive oil and there probably won't be a lot of that loaf left by the time lunch is done today.)

I've noticed some new additions to the market this year: a local coffee roaster (you can buy the beans or a freshly brewed cup), someone selling pies, a second roti seller (the first one was pretty good so they're in for some stiff competition), and a couple selling some amazing looking Greek delights (phyllo wrapped bits of deliciousness!) Besides all of this, there's a vendor selling freshly grilled back bacon on a bun, as well as other vendors selling honey, maple syrup, and I'm probably forgetting a few other things.

There's usually a different busker performing every week. This week it was a  dulcimer player. Early on in the season (when the only produce to be had is asparagus) the buskers don't come, and I really miss them. They add a nice atmosphere.

The market is held every Saturday in the Weston GO parking lot from May to October. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

I Was Inviting Japanese Beetles to Flock to My Garden?

Thankfully, this is not what my roses look like yet. Right now they're glorious--full and smelling like only roses can.

But I'm living in quiet dread, because this IS what my roses looked like a little further on in the season last year. Those shiny brown things in the picture at left? Those are Japanese Beetles.

Notice that not only are there too many to count, at least five pairs of them in the picture are in the process of making more Japanese Beetles. For the past few years I never find just one Japanese Beetle in my garden, I find a plague of them.

Which is why I was so excited to learn that geraniums might be the answer to keeping them under control. I've planted oodles of geraniums in my garden this year in case they do work.

But I'm still worried. The research didn't specify how many geraniums you need per rosebush. Or how close they had to be. And what if the birds in my yard are so full from birdseed or the snails I throw out of the garden for them to find on the road that they aren't interested in eating the beetles?

So my ears still perk up when I hear of anything that might possibly be a proven solution to my plague. On twitter today I saw a post from Fine Gardening Magazine with a link to an article about Japanese Beetles and roses. This piqued my interest greatly, as Fine Gardening is a very reputable publication and the author of the article, Paul Zimmerman, looks to have some pretty serious rose cred ("Paul Zimmerman has grown thousands of roses for over 15 years and for ten of those years in a sustainable manner.") 

From that article I learned two very interesting things:

1.  "Simply shaking [Japanese beetles off your roses] and stomping on them attracts more because when killed, the female emits a pheromone that attracts males. Hardly the desired result."  

Egads, every time I crushed one of those %$@@$ bugs I was sending out a siren call for a bunch more of them to come to the wake! Argh!

2. So is there a solution "...It’s simply a spray made from cedar oil! Preferably Eastern Red Cedar. The principal is the same one used when storing sweaters in a cedar chest to keep moths away. When sprayed on the roses it keeps the beetles away and they fly off to another garden."

Eastern Red Cedar oil! Ooh, where do I get my hands on some of that?!?  (a quick Google search suggests that my neighbourhood natural/health food store is the first place to look.)

This is definitely something I will be trying out as at least some of my roses are bound to have some beetles appear (there was only so much space and budget for geraniums; I can't possibly have bought enough to render 100% coverage, even if they are the miracle cure.) 

And if I hear of any other possible solutions, I'll be sure to let you know.
What my roses look like right now. May they stay this beautiful!