Gardening and the Weather

There’s one thing we can’t control, and that’s the weather.

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When it comes to gardening, we want ideal conditions. Not too wet and not too dry. Not too hot and not too cold. It sometimes feels as if the weather is always against us.

We may not be able to control it, but we can take measures to work with it. Planting after the risk of frost has passed and covering our crops in the fall.

Collecting rainwater for watering when there’s no rain in sight. Planting in raised beds or adding sand and compost to clay soil for better drainage.

And sometimes Mother Nature dishes out conditions we can’t do anything about, such as a hailstorm.

Unless you plant everything in a greenhouse, hoop house or high tunnel (all basically the same thing) you’re going to have a challenge when it comes to the perfect weather conditions.

You may not be able to control it, but you can take measures to be better prepared for it. Let me explain.

One thing you can do is to tie your tall plants to a sturdy fence or poles to protect them from wind damage during a storm. That doesn’t mean you should be running around trying to figure it out at the onset of a thunderstorm, but rather plant so you have a measure of protection in place ahead of time.

Something else you can do is have framework above your raised beds or along your rows so you can add a cover if it’s going to storm or freeze. Hailstones don’t do quite as much damage when they have to get through a row cover first.

Investing in a weather station will help you make decisions based on the forecast, plus will give you some additional data as well. Knowing how much rainfall your yard gets during the summer will help with deciding which crops will flourish and which won’t without additional watering. Plus, knowing the temperatures (both highs and lows) will help with your perennial selection. Some plants can handle minus forty temperatures if they have adequate snow cover, while others are more sensitive to the cold.

The outdoor part of our new weather station.

If a weather station is out of your price range, take advantage of the local forecast.

I rely on The Weather Network App more than any other when it comes to planning my garden and the other things I do. It’s amazing how our area can be so different from the village, which is less than twenty kilometres away. It must be because we’re north of the river.

This year is going to be more interesting because we did invest in a weather station, so we’ll have more accurate data based on our precise location. It will be fun to see how much temperature, rainfall and amount of wind we get varies from the numbers my app will tell me. (Remind me to keep a journal so I can track the differences.)

We put it up this weekend so won’t know any predictions for approximately fourteen days. The instruction manual says it will take that long while the device learns our particular weather pattern. As it sits now, we can see outside temperature, windchill factor, wind speed, barometric pressure and humidity. Plus, it gives us some inside data as well. It’s like having a new toy; we keep checking the display to see what it says. We’re such kids!

The inside display panel.

We mounted ours to the top of a twelve-foot post and put it at the northeast corner of our garden. The instructions said it needs to be in as open an area as possible for accuracy. Our yard itself is quite sheltered, which has its advantages and disadvantages. (That, however, is for a different blog post.) Ideally it would be interesting to see how much of a difference there is between the open area and the sheltered area.

Do you have a weather station? If so, do you rely on it more than the weather apps or local radio/TV station? Post your comments below.

The Really Simple Way to Get Healthier

I think we all want to become healthier in one way or another.

Believe it or not, it’s easier to do than we often think.

I’m not talking about starting to run, or lift weights or even do an aerobics workout that leaves you sore and breathless. You can do those things if you prefer, but the first and easiest change is in what you eat.

I’m not saying you need to cut out all the sugar, alcohol, caffeine and carbs cold turkey, because you know as well as I do that doesn’t last long. Depriving yourself of the things you love just leads to binge eating, which is not healthy at all.

What I am saying is to incorporate as many fresh foods into your diet as possible. Add more fresh veggies to your plate to increase your fiber and vitamin intake, and you will begin to notice positive results.

When you grow your own fruits and vegetables, it’s easier to eat healthy. You can snack on the peas and beans while you’re weeding your garden, pick some edible flowers and add them to a salad or pig out on raspberries. There’s no reason not to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Plus, when you’re out in your garden you’re moving around. Pulling weeds, picking flowers and walking around are all good for you. Not only does it add some movement to your day (especially important if you have a sit-down job), it also lowers your stress levels. And lowering stress levels leads to a healthier you.

I have been enjoying my sprouts, and eat some almost daily. I like them as a fresh snack the most, but have also added them to other ingredients to make a meal.

In the recipes section (still a little empty) you will find my Sprout Salad and Sprout Scramble recipes. I love how they both turned out, and how easy they were to make. They are also both easily doubled or tripled, based on how many people you’re cooking for.

If you’re new to sprouting check out my beginner article. It lays out the process step-by-step, plus provides some links to quality organic seeds.

Sprout Salad
Sprout Scramble

Let me know how your sprouts turn out and how you like the recipes.

Happy Gardening!

Sprouts Update

BRRRRR! It’s cold out there today! It’s -35 Celcius (-45 C with the windchill) and not much sign of it warming up anytime soon. The sun is shining though so that makes me happy.

A few days ago I posted about the sprouts I started. I’ve been munching on them for a couple days now and they’re oh so tasty. Well, in my opinion anyway.

It didn’t take long for them to grow, and the alfalfa seeds definitely give you a lot of bang for your buck. I can see how that one little package can easily yield 30 cups of sprouts. My one tablespoon of seeds yielded almost four cups of sprouts on Day 4. I’m sure if I had left them another day the jar would have been completely full.

I took pictures of the progress each day starting with the seeds after the initial soaking for several hours. Check out the pics below.

Day 1
The inside of the jar is coated with the newly soaked seeds.
Day 2
Can you see them starting to sprout?
Day 3
Time to rinse and drain them.
Day 4
See how full the jar is?

The best part of the process is being able to enjoy fresh greens within a few days. The photo below is of my supper Sunday evening, which was Day 4.

Chicken with sprouts. It was so good!

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