Spring has sprung and none to soon, the much anticipated warm weather is exactly what us Manitobans need to feel rejuvenated after our long winter.
Since the beginning of my flower farming career, I’ve been consumed with a desire to improve the clay soil that we are planting in. The past two years, our garden has left me feeling challenged, with great needs like aeration of the soil, fertilizers, irrigation, pest and weed control and the list goes on. Knowing from the beginning adding organic matter of any kind to the garden was always important to me, I just did not know more than that.
How to Improve Your Soil
This last fall the research began, “how to improve your soil”. This brought me to an article by Ruth Stout on “no dig gardening”; eliminating the need for digging, fertilizing and watering. Who wouldn’t love to garden like this? This has peaked my interest, continuing on the road to more knowledge, I found the no-dig gardening method is very popular.
Back to Eden Method
The Back to Eden Method of gardening is another form of no-dig gardening, following nature completely according to Paul Gautschi. He takes scripture as his basis for creating a natural garden the way the creator has designed for us. I love this method and he has a documentary teaching you how to grow your own food.
Lastly, the Lasagne Method of no-dig gardening, the layering of different organic materials, that will break down over time, resulting in rich, aerated soil that happens all on its own with the least amount of soil disturbance possible.
All of these no-till no-dig methods, allow the soil to create Mycorrhizal Fungi which is essential to have in the soil with host plant (flowers, vegetables, cover crops). It allows the plants to use nutrients and water from the soil. It is a sustainable natural way that plants receive moisture and nutrients.
What happens in soil if you till or turn over your soil, it decreases the mycorrhizae fungi drastically so the plants lack in nutrients and moisture, hence the need to compensate.
A New Season-A New Method
Moving forward, this year we will be concentrating on turning our 1/4 acre flower farm into a regenerative no-till farm. The goal would be to create the best soil conditions using natural layering of our organic, straw, manure (sheep & chicken) compost and a covering of either hay or wood chips.
In this form of gardening we should never have to use chemical fertilizers, no need for irrigation, and best of all very little weeding ( which my back will appreciate).
It may take a little while to get this all right, but my garden will not be tilled, so follow along this summer as we document the progress of this type of gardening at Thistle Lane!
We’d like to share with you, our favourite and super easy Christmas recipes. Your family and friends will love them. Enjoy!Magic Bars1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or peanuts, your preference
1 (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
Combine butter into graham wafers, pat into 9 by 13 inch pan.
Sprinkle chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, and coconut over crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk over everything. Bake at 350, for 25min. Or until golden brown. Let cool completely, then cut into squares.
Peanut Butter Crackles
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
Chocolate candy stars
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl beat butter and peanut butter until well blended. Beat in sugars until blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed. Shape dough into I inch balls. Roll in sugar. Bake in ungreased cookie sheets, at 360 for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and quickly press chocolate star firmly in the centre, cookie will crackle. Cool completely.
Christmas Mimosas- These are so easy and SO good!
2 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. orange juice
Sparkling white wine to fill the glassIn a Pitcher:
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle sparkling white wineFrom my family to yours Merry Christmas! Have a safe and happy holiday season.
Blessings from our Home to Yours!
The Christmas Market is guaranteed to set the Christmas mood for shoppers and vendors alike. Come and join us, to experience the joy of shopping, in a country atmosphere, all the while looking for that unique gift for yourself or someone you love.
Early Bird Market-
Friday November 10th
Dessert Night $15 (50 people max)
*Must have a pre-purchased ticket to attend*
Full Market-Open to the Public-
Saturday November 11, 1-5 pm.
Open to all!
$2 admission includes coffee, hot chocolate
Prairie Pine Decor- Born from our love of woodworking and our infatuation with farmhouse Decor. Specializing in handcrafted clocks and home decor.
Handmade with Love- Working with used materials as local findings to create vintage indoor and outdoor furniture and decor.
Golden Butterfly- We are all about unique handmade items for children and your home. Children’s accessories such as various types of head bands, bibs, scarves, baby blankets and pacifier chains. Home decor such as blankets throw pillows and wreaths are only a few items we live to create.
Chrystal Sabourin Soaps- Creating soothing and cleansing soaps, perfect for the holiday season.
Then & Now – Designs by Wanda- An expression of my love for painting and transforming old pieces into something new and refreshing.
Crimson & Violet- Specializing in Natural Skin care, as well as versatile bags made from reclaimed material.
Oma’s Quilt Shop- Selling aprons, and various quilt supplies ready made or made ready for you to create.
Old Church Bakery – What a treat to have once again Old Church bring their line up of speciality breads and some Christmas cookies.
Annie Lynn’s Custom – Creating home decor with a rustic modern touch, vintage inspired one of s kind items.
Artist Pivot- A variety of antiques in vintage and retro collectives. A flea markets dream, with an assortment of new and gently used items.
Rootsies Baby Muks- Re-purposed leather and fabric toddler footwear that is durable with barefoot like comfort.
Prairie Pickers – Antiques and rustic home decor are just some of the unique treasures that you will find and be able to add to your collections.
Dadirri Naturals- All natural alternatives for health and beauty at your finger tips. Quality ingredients and hand crafted products that are great for body and your world.
Barnboard & Pallet Creations- A rural Manitoba business specializing in Rustic, Repurposed, and Vintage decor.
As you can see, this line-up of artisans and vintage collections is going to be fantastic. We are so excited to host and create a special Christmas shopping experience for all of you. See you at the first annual, Thistle Lane “Christmas in the Country”!
Follow us on social media @Thistle Lane Bed & Breakfast for directions, special sneak peeks and more!
Finding myself in my second season as a flower farmer with a flood of mixed emotions. Comparison to last year with an abundance of rain three inches at a time, drainage ditches were incorporated to alleviate the year’s excess water. This year we are finding ourselves scrambling to add some form of irrigation for our dry field. Sharing this with my brother, a farmer of twenty years, laughed and he said “Welcome to Farming!”
Photo of our bouquets displayed at The Home Workshop Open House. Photo by Sawmill Photo Co.
This being said, the year is going better than last year as we have had plenty of orders to fill, along with sales at a few local spots we are encouraged to continue.
The nurturer in me loves to care for the flower field and is driven to provide the most fertile soil for the best blooms possible. We have a little ways to go yet with our heavy clay soil, having added six loads of new earth and lots of compost we still can use more.
On the design end of things, God has already designed the beauty of each flower, now it’s up to me to make the right combinations of blooms with foliage. With a few weddings coming up this fall we will be busy creating our flowers into the brides dreams.
It is a privilege to work with flowers, learning from others and seeing all the beauty that can be made from locally grown flowers is inspiring to say the least.
The farming aspect is a challenge, as a colleague of mine stated, if it wasn’t a challenge you wouldn’t do it.