Archive | July 2016

BC Blueberry Picking Time!

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It’s July and it’s time to get out there and pick some fresh farm produce.  I love to go to the local farms and pick my own fruit off the plants.

When growing up on the Prairies, my family and I used to go North of my small village and pick whichever berries were in season.  These fruits were not cultivated and cared for by berry producers.  No, the berries that we picked were growing wild.

The wild strawberries were the first of the season, and then raspberries, choke cherries and then blueberries.

Oh now that I think about it, picking these berries was not something I truly loved to do.  No, picking Manitoba berries was hard.

You see, all of these berries except for the choke cherries grew only one or two inches off the ground.   I recall the blueberries being tasty but very, very small as well.

We had to squat or kneel right down on the dirt to pick them.  And of course, there were mosquitoes to contend with and at times, even small garter snakes slithering by us.  Oh, okay so these aren’t my happiest memories!

Come to think about this, I will stay here and stand while picking blueberries at the local farms.

Check out my Blueberry Crisp recipe under Not So Traditional Foods.

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Oh, for the love of dill!

Time sure flies when one is relaxing and enjoying the wonderful days of the Summer time.  It seems like yesterday that I was blogging about Spring and here it is mid-July.  The grass is green, the flowers are blooming and the garden is growing.

Well, some of the things in my little garden are growing.  Now mind you, my little garden is just that, little.  I only have three 8 feet X 4 raised beds.  It’s a hobby more than a high yielding vegetable producer.  My garden gets me outside in the fresh air and to quote a cliché, gives me “an opportunity to get in touch with nature”.  I enjoy the sweet smell of the soil after a fresh rainfall.  I love getting down on my knees, getting my hands dirty and planting the little seeds.  I don’t even mind the challenge of keeping ahead of the many slugs that get most of the best parts of the bean plants, for example…even before I see a single bean pod.  Yes, for the most part, I enjoy planting and watching the plants grow in my garden.  Maybe it’s the Ukrainian roots; mine not the plants.

There is one plant however that just refuses to grow in my garden.  It’s the Dillweed.

Dill is a popular herb that I use a lot in the kitchen; flavouring everything from vegetables (new potatoes), soups (borscht) to fish (salmon), and well, just about anything!  You can’t beat fresh dill for the flavour.  But, no matter how many times (in the last 25 years!) I have tried to grow dill in my garden, it absolutely refuses to grow.

Now the best way to grow dill is directly from seeds.  So this past Summer, my Uncle Matt got tired of hearing me whine about not being able to grow dill.  He gave me a coffee cup filled with seeds from his own garden.

“Petrosha, ” he said, “I guarantee that these seeds will grow!”

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Yes, planting dill seed is easy.  According to his strictest instructions, I simply scattered the seeds in a sunny part of my garden and then lightly covered them with soil.  I had also put some seed in a little peat cup.  I’m desperate and will try anything.  In the last few weeks, I have been watering and keeping a close eye on all of them.  Apparently dill will grow happily in both poor and rich soil.  It will grow happily in damp or dry conditions. Ha!

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Here’s what I’ve got so far.

Nothing.

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Weeds and dry leaves only!

Now the seeds in the peat cups are trying!  I was so excited that they at least started to sprout.  But as you can see, they are only a couple of inches tall.  Maybe they will be ready by October!

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Not sure if I’m going to tell my 90-year-old uncle that his “guaranteed” dill seeds did not come up in the garden.  Who knows, maybe they will overwinter and pop up everywhere next Spring.

Good thing I can buy dill at my local farm market when it’s time to make Borscht.

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