Sunday, June 1, 2014

Red Lily Leaf Beetle

The other day I noticed a bright red insect on the leaf of the Tiger Lily plant.  At first I thought, wow, cool little bug with the most vibrant red colour, looks beautiful against the bright green lily leaves.  Little did I know this is a dangerous littler bugger that can end up destroying your whole crop of lilies!

I started getting concern after seeing this insect on the tiger lily again a few days later, and then again the next day.  It made me wonder if this bug is specific to this type of plant.  With a quick Google research and voila, found out this is the Red Lily Leaf Beetle.  You can read about it here.  

Need to keep an eye out for them the next few days and hopefully catch a few of them before they get a chance to eat all the leafs and flower buds!

~ Rebecca

Friday, May 23, 2014

May Update

It's finally starting to feel like Spring!!!  The flowering bulbs are in full bloom and perennials and the perennials are coming out of the ground.  Here's a round-up of what I've seen so far in the front garden:  

(Starting from top left corner, across to right, and down)
1. Crocus "Orange Monarch", 2. Hyacinth "Oriental Mix", 3. Hyacinth "Oriental Mix" , 4. Nasturtium "Alaska Mix" , 5. Narcissus "Kedron" , 6. Muscari "Armeniacum" , 7. Tulip "Yokohama" , 8. Tulip "Orange", 9. Narcissus "Texas" , 10. Violets, 11.Daffodil "Sir Winston Churchill" , 12. Lamium "Herman's Pride", 13. Silvermound, 14. Phlox "Emerald Blue", 15. Tulip "Rajka".

One group of bulbs that did not come up are the "Libretto" Parrot tulips I planted in the Fall.  These were supposed to be tall, glorious, beautiful pink tulips so I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't come up.  Not sure if it was just a bad batch of bulbs or if the squirrels found them before it had a chance to grow.  

Otherwise, most of the plants in the garden survived the harsh winter we had this year.  One of the English lavender is a bit roughed up from the cold weather but I noticed that it's still alive (a few tiny green leaves) so there's still a chance to nurse it back to life.  

Next, it's time to tend to the vegetable gardens - divide,  re-pot, transplant, etc etc.  Updates coming soon!

~ Rebecca 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bye Bye April!

It's the last day of April and it's still so darn cold out.  This year we had a Winter that just won't go away, and now a Spring that feels like it hasn't actually arrived.  So far we've only had one slightly milder weekend,  just enough for me to spend the weekend cleaning the yard up and began to get the soil in the planters ready for seed sowing.

The Spring bulbs are starting to peak out of the ground and so far only these red tulips have bloomed.  I thought the Crocuses would come out first but I barely see any of them... maybe the squirrels ate them?  I'm guessing in another two weeks or so, more of the bulbs will start to bloom...  can't wait!

This year I decided to direct sow a bunch of cool weather vegetable seeds outside right into the planter.  I realized that I actually don't have enough space indoors to start seedlings for things like lettuce and radish.  Plus, I find the indoor-start lettuce and radish seedlings be on the weak/lanky side (due to the lack of daylight) so it'll be interesting to see if the direct sow method will yield better and strong crop.

With that in mind, this season I've focused most of my indoor seed starting energy to things like tomatoes (4 kinds!), herbs, snow peas, and cucumbers (and that's cat grass you see there in the center).  I probably will have to transplant some of the seedlings to bigger planters soon to encourage more growth.

Meanwhile, patience, patience, patience......

And let's see in 20 days if the first batch of "4 seasons lettuce" I directly sowed outside will be ready for harvest or not :)

~ Rebecca 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First day of Spring

It's officially the first day of Spring, but it's far from feeling like Spring.  We did have a few days of "warm up", and by warm up I mean just barely above zero.  Because it's been so cold for so long this Winter, even a degree of two above freezing actually feels "warm" in comparison.  I think we may have reached 4-degree Celsius yesterday and I was walking around without gloves and a winter hat!

Seedlings are coming along - more than half of the seeds have sprouted and I have transferred them to small containers of dirt.  Due to space constraints, I ended up putting two seedlings per pot, so when they get bigger in a month or so I will probably have to do another split and transfer.

The square planters I saved up from the annuals I bought last year actually comes in quite handy and they line up nicely in the cardboard box.  In the photo above, we have several kinds of tomatoes, along with some curly parsley and cilantro.

Last night I transferred a few more tomato seedlings to the circular pots.  Because we only have one South-facing window, I'm need to maximize the seedling placements as much as I can.  Here I'm trying out two-tiered placement (essentially taken over a good corner and door of our kitchen), hopefully the plants will like it.  I still have a few more seedlings to go (golden bell pepper and eggplants, those seeds takes soooo long to sprout!) so I'm going to have to work my magic and find a few more places to put those!

Happy Spring!    

~ Rebecca

Sunday, March 2, 2014


It's March and we are still in the midst of the deep freeze here in Toronto.  Snow, snow, and more snow.  I was reading through some of my old blog post from 2012 we were already seeing movements in yard with Spring bulbs and shoots peaking out of the ground by this time already (that was a rare/unusually mild Spring though).  

Seed starting began for me almost two weeks ago and the Cayenne pepper is beginning to sprout.  Added some eggplant seeds as well.  


This weekend is time to start the tomato seeds.  This year I am going to plant 5 types of tomatoes.  Technically I only need one seedling of each, but I always plant a few extras because there's always some seeds that don't start or the seedling doesn't survive.  And if I end up with more healthy seedlings than I can handle, my family and friends certainly doesn't mind :)  

~ Rebecca

Friday, February 14, 2014

Seed starting has begun!

Happy Valentine's Day!   And seed starting has begun!  

I might be jumping the gun with the seeds this year, but with this long cold Winter that just won't east up, I really needed to have some sense that Spring will (eventually) come by doing something gardening related.  And thus seed starting is the closest thing I can get to at this point.

According to the gardening book I read recently, peppers are the first on the list.  Here we have yellow bell pepper and cayenne pepper.  I haven't had a very good harvest with yellow bell peppers in the past few seasons and I think one of the main reasons is that I start the seeds too late.  And since our planting season is so short here in Toronto, the late starter pepper plant doesn't have enough time to fully develop and pump out a good crop of peppers.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that by starting these indoor a good month and a half earlier than I usually do, I will get a decent size plant by the time it's warm enough to transfer the plants outdoors.  

Keep your fingers crossed for me!  :)

~ Rebecca

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Time to get planning!  After reading a few excellent gardening books by Gayla Trail and learning about some excellent gardening hints and tips, I'm all ready to think gardening!  First, let's do some organizing....

With the slightly disappointing planting season last year (not entirely my fault - the weather really did not cooperate), this time around I'm going to start specific seeds as early as possible - in this case it's peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes.  I've started my seed starting and planting chart (above) to get myself organized,  but also to review my seed inventory and figure out what seeds I need to replenish.

Speaking of seeds, do other gardeners have the same problems of buying / collecting too many seeds?  It takes me a few seasons to fully finish using a packet of seeds, but every year I still have the urge to buy more (seed hoarder?).  I buy almost all my seeds from Urban Harvest - they carry heirloom and organic seeds with varieties that are tried and tested for planting in our climate zones (on top of that it's a good way to support local businesses).

Summary for today:
- seed planting schedule:  check
- buy new seeds - done.
- collect and clean planting vessels (this weekend)....

Almost there! :)

~ Rebecca

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