Early Apple Harvest Time at the Children’s Garden

The early apples are ready to be picked.  A small selection of apples were sold at the Saturday morning produce sale.

Early summer eating apples do not store well. Early varieties are excellent eating apples. The apples are not to tart but nice and crisp.

There are 3 different varieties of apples growing in the Children’s garden. The earliest ripening variety produces a big crop of mid -sized eating apples.

The two apple trees on the South side of the path are being shaded out by conifers. These trees produce a relatively small crop of apples.

U – Pick proves to be extremely popular at the Children’s Garden

Beautiful sunny weather has meant a large crop of blueberries,  red and black currants and raspberries.  The Saturday produce sale has been a popular option with U-Pick.

There are several different varieties of blueberries growing in the garden. The berries are extremely popular with the local resident volunteers. 

Currants and raspberries are ripe. All the fruit is organically grown. No sprays are applied to the fruit. This makes picking especially fun.

Thank you to all the community members who volunteer in the garden.

The garden lawn is a lovely shady spot to visit with friends, make new friends and enjoy your community.

Special weather advisor means heat stress for the garden – be a hero and volunteer to water the garden

A special weather statement issued by Environment Canada forecasts  record breaking heat for the lower mainland.  Prolonged high temperatures with low moisture means plant stress.  Plants need extra watering at these times.  The container grown tomatoes and herbs need to be watered twice a day in order to avoid water stress.

Be a hero – save a plant – volunteer to help water the garden.

 

Crop watch – what is ready to harvest? The local salal berries are ripe!

IMG_0872

A bumper crop of salal berries makes harvesting very easy. The berries are large and easily removed without damage to the plant.

IMG_0879

The sepal of the salal berry makes excellent jelly. The flavour is similar to a woody like huckleberry.

image

The finished jelly.

image

Jelly is made by adding sugar to the strained berries. Jelly syrup is cooked for approximately 15 minutes to reach it’s setting point 🤒.

image

Jelly jars are heat sterilized before the hot jelly is added to the jars.

 

image

Salal berries are richly pigmented. The jelly compliments cheese and dark grain breads.

IMG_0880IMG_0881A bumper crop of salal berries are ready to be picked. Sadly, not yet in the garden.

 

Jelly and Jam Time in the Children’s Garden

Jam and jelly made using the red fruit crops will be sold at today’s produce sale.

Rhubarb-currant jam and currant jelly will be sold.IMG_0870.JPG

Proceeds from the red fruit preserves will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross to support BC families affected by the forest fires.

 

Learn more about Harvesting herbs and flowers in the Children’s Garden

The Children’s Garden has a unique variety of herbs and flowers growing underneath the apple and plum trees.  Viola is planted underneath the apple trees.  Calendula is planted underneath the plum trees.  These flowering plants have special properties that make them useful in the kitchen.

Olive oil is used to preserve the calendula blossoms.

Place clean and dry calendula flowers in a jar with an air tight lid.

The petals of the calendula plant make a beautiful edible garnish for green and fruit salads.

Leave the calendula flowers in the oil for approximately 10 days before using as a cosmetic or a culinary oil.

Calendula flowers are edible.  Note that the middle part of the flower has a bitter taste.  The flower petals can be used as a salad garnish.

The entire flower can be preserved in oil.  The infused calendula oil can be used as a cosmetic oil.

Viola flowers can be used to infuse water with a subtle floral flavour.  Pick the flowers early in the morning.  Rinse the flowers and place them into a clean container of cool water.  Aim to use approximately 50 flowers per litre of water.  Let the flower water mixture rest for about an hour and then serve.

Viola flowers grow well underneath the shade of the apple trees.

Harvest the clean and dry flowers early in the morning to preserve the freshness of the flower.

Add approximately 50 blossoms per litre of water. Let the mixture marinade for an hour before serving.

 

The bay laurel tree in the garden produces lovely leaves.  The leaves can be either used fresh or dried to flavour soups and sauces.  The leaves take approximately 10 days to dry.  At that point the leaves can be stored in a cool dark location.  The dried bay laurel will last for over a year.

Bay laurel can be dried for 10 days before being stored in a cool, dark area for use in soups and sauces.

Flowers and herbs should be harvested first thing in the morning when the plants are cool and dry.

All community members are welcome to join the garden volunteers on Saturday morning to help maintain the garden.

Beautiful steamboat lettuce was sold in the weekly produce sale.

Community gardening is a wonderful way to learn more about growing your own food.

 

 

Berry crop watch – learn more about which berries are ready for picking!

The apples are slowly filling out. The apples will be ready for harvest in early September. The apples are being summer thinned. This early summer thinning of the apple crop will help the remaining apples grow to a proper size.

The currants are ripening fast. Currants are acidic and have an interesting sour flavour. Currants are ripe when they are jewel toned and release freely from the stem. The currants will be ripe in several weeks.  The currants are available for picking by interested residents . Please stop by the garden and register for currant picking.

The blueberries are just starting to ripen. Blueberries are fully ripe when then stem end of the berry is no longer green in colour. The song birds that live in the garden will eat the blueberries before the berries are fully ripe. The resident birds will poke at the berries. This bird feeding damage is normal.

The raspberries are still being formed. The immature berries are still tightly clustered. The raspberries will ripen in the last week of July. The raspberry season is short in duration.

Garden sale with scapes, rhubarb and herbs.

The children hosted a mid-June produce sale. Today scapes, salad greens and assorted herbs were sold. Thanks to the many volunteers who make the garden a fun place to learn and play.

Learn more about garlic scapes.

Thank you to our dedicated student volunteers. The volunteers are pruning the currants.

Today in the garden the children and adults learned how to be mason bee stewards.

At  the  first session of a two part workshop on mason bees, participants made paper tubes for the bee cacoons. In the second session partipants will learn how to fill the tubes, where to site the tubes and more about the role mason bees play in garden health.

Thank you to the volunteers for organizing , advertising and running the worksop.
At the first sale of the 2017 garden season the children sold rhubarb, mint, chives and rosemary.


Planting continues in the garden. Kale and collards were planted.
The raspberrys were thinned and potatoes were hoed.