Welcome to my new site, stay and putter…

Well finally it has happened, i have a website that i am really proud of and happy to be represented by. Welcome and thank you for visiting!!

The very first thing that i can’t get off my mind is what a great job Sissel and Mike of This Month Only did , thank you thank you thank you, you guys are amazing. The second thing that is making me me giddy is how great my garden is looking, i know, but it’s true! Have a look at the pictures, everything has just exploded over the last few weeks. A few days ago i also got a bunch of plants (from the Fiesta Farms nursery, totally amazing) and planted the garden which is now completely ready to be enjoyed. A few new things that i am really excited about this year are my artichokes, kale and mustard greens (from Urban Harvest on Sorauren in Parkdale), all of which i have never tried to grow. I have always had great success with plants from Urban Harvest. Collette the owner, is a wealth of knowledge and such a warm person to hang out and have a chat with. I hear they will be moving to a new location for next season, sadly as their current location is so sweet and so convenient, but Collette assures me that they will still be in the neighbourhood.

So i have been thinking about how i am going to start my blog and what kinds of things i would like to write about and i think i would like to begin with a series on my house. I actually grew up in 10 Westport Ave. and have over the years stayed deeply connected to it. As all things evolve and change in life, so must this relationship. I have decided to sell the house and put it up on the market by the end June/early July. I thought there is no better way to honour the house than to do a blog series that hopefully gives me an opportunity to bid it farewell and gives you and potential buyers a sense of all the wonderful energy that this house has hosted. Of course, i also want to share the incredible transformation that this house has gone through over the years and will go through again over the next few weeks before it goes up the market. I hope that my little exercise will give you a sense of the kinds of things you can do, on a budget, to help sell your own house.

Since i can’t get my mind off the garden, to start the series on the house here are the transformation pictures of my garden over the years. A lot of talking to the plants, a lot of harvesting and a lot of love have given me a super lush and very green back yard. My strawberries are slightly out of control, but i kind of like it that way. This year, my virginia creeper, that i hear a lot of people find to be a nuisance, is actually creeping heavily on the suburban looking fence that both my neighbours decided to put up and i couldn’t be happier. The service berry tree looks like it is loving it’s home, it was planted by LEAF. Their urban forest stewardship program is an incredible asset to our city. According to them the list of benefits besides all the obvious ones like reducing pollution, providing a sound and wind barrier, also includes an increase in property value of up to 30%. That’ huge, so call LEAF, have them do assessment of which trees will do best on your property and have one planted now. Back to my garden, i lifted the compost pile up last week and loved what i saw. It was full of huge worms, and all kinds of other life that was breaking down all the stuff that has been coming from my kitchen and waste from the garden. I avoid putting in cooked food, dairy, meat and grains in the compost. This greatly reduces the chances of other creatures making it their daily hangout. The compost has been the only food that i have ever given my garden, no pesticides, no fertilizers and all the edible plants are always organic and locally grown when possible. This relationship to food is pretty important, (a) because i love to eat and cook, (b) because i can be in control of what goes into my body and (c) because it’s beautiful gives me a sense of peace. Grow food in your gardens (along with other things you like), you will love it, I promise!!!

The picture above is what it looked like in 2008 before we did anything to it. The flag stone cap on the cinder block wall was the first thing we did and then began on the garden. We started weeding like crazy and then decided to put in 3 cubic yards of mulch. Below is what we ended up with.

This was the start and i believe the mulch was the best idea ever. It kept the weeds down (for the most part) and now i have incredibly rich soil as all the mulch has broken down over the years. Also, not very expensive. If you are going to do the mulch, please please use the natural stuff and not the stuff that has been dyed. Imagine eating tomatoes that have sucked up red or black dye from your mulch, gross!!!

Okay, this is the most beautiful sight in March/April when you are just so sick of the winter and all you want is to be outside in the sun eating things from the garden. These are my zucchini sprouts in 2009. Generally, most people say that you can put the seeds right into the ground, but i started them indoors and transplanted after the last frost and it was the best zucchini season for me to date. I say do them inside, just don’t start them super early, 3-4 weeks before they are about to go in the ground should suffice. Of course, you have experiment and see what works best for you.

This was my moment of glory in 2009. Everything was doing so well and i had an incredible amount of food come out of this garden. There was corn, beans, peas, radishes, chard, salad greens, several varieties of tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini, 3 lovely pumpkins, and herbs galore. I have to say that it did take a lot of work and up keep. By the end of the season i was unable to keep up, so the next year i decided i would cut back on the amount of things i would grow. It is very important for your garden to be enjoyable, never a stress and you must be very honest about what you think you can handle. So below is a picture from my 2010 garden, still lots of food, all the perennial herbs really filling in and the virginia creeper finally growing on the fence to cover up the very suburbian fence that both my neighbors put in. My past tenants left a mark that used to really bother me, but now i lovingly refer to it as the Garden of Navindra!!

Thanks for reading and until next time, hope you are all loving your gardens!!

1108 Queen St. W.
Toronto, ON
M6J 1H9
(416) 530-1100
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