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  • Matchbox Garden November Update

    Halloween And Snow, Oh My! I hope you all had a great Halloween, Samhain, and/or Día de los Muertos! Taking kids out to trick or treat, celebrating the high holiday of Samhain, or honouring and paying tribute to the ancestors, are all wonderful ways to have fun and connect with family and community at this time of year. In our area we even had some heavy flurries at the beginning of the night! As the days get shorter and colder we are reminded of the importance of rest and reflection to help us move forward in life. The garden rests and so do the gardeners. This is also a perfect time of year to think about how you can improve your soil for next season. There are lots of options out there from rock dust to mycorrhiza to help enliven your soil organically. To learn a little bit more about this, skip down to our November Growing Guide. For some other learning while we break from gardening, you can watch this tomato seedling video below. If you are thinking about doing your own seedlings this year, be sure to save this edition and come back to it when you're ready to transplant your own tomatoes. Matchbox Garden Update We have so much seed and it's ready to be packed up and shipped to you! The month of October was busy with seed cleaning, seed packing, and germination tests. This process ensures all the seed leaving the farm is up to the task of helping you create a bountiful garden! To get your seed for next year, click the Seed Shop button below. It certainly was a strange feeling cleaning the last commercial batches of seed this fall knowing that life will be much different this time next year. While I am not ready to share all the changes happening around here, I can tell you that I am looking forward with great optimism and excitement to the next chapter. I have the privilege of staying within the organic farming sector and working with new people on some exciting projects. This new opportunity also means that I will no longer be producing seedlings for the public. It has been such a joy to grow plants for you all over these many years. As you plan your own gardens for next year and begin to look for new sources to purchase your seedlings, I invite you to check out Trout Lily Nurseries and Urban Harvest Seeds. Both of these companies are women owned, certified organic, established farms that produce quality plants for gardeners. You can find their plants at locations from Guelph and Rockwood(Trout Lily) all the way east to Warkworth and Peterborough(Urban Harvest). Both of these farms bring plants into the GTA as well. As we move into the last 2 months of 2023, you can expect one more newsletter from me with a few more bits of advice and garden tips to help you get ready for 2024. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out! November Growing Guide A little lesson on mycorrhizae fungi! This is not a topic I have shared about before in any great detail, however, after having an inspirational conversation with owner and founder of Root Rescue, Bob Reeves, I feel compelled to share some of his knowledge with you this month. Mycorrhizae is a type of fungi that can be dated back 450 million years and plays a crucial role in plant life. Mycorrhizae operate in a symbiotic relationship with plants, attaching themselves to root systems and converting excess carbohydrates produced by the plant host through photosynthesis, into food. In return the mycorrhizae absorb nutrients and minerals from the soil and pass them along to the plant. In both cases each species makes otherwise inaccessible food readily available for the other. In the garden a healthy community of mycorrhizae make the difference of healthy and abundant plants. They also do this around the entire globe for almost all plant and tree species. There is so much to learn about these wonderful givers of life and the symbiotic relationships that define their existence! If you want to learn more, I highly recommend checking out Bob's videos and explanations over at Root Rescue. Holiday Season Is Around The Corner Choose From 13 Seed Collection Gift Boxes For Your Favourite Gardeners The gift that keeps giving long after the holidays have passed, my seed collections are designed with special themes in mind such as the Herb Garden, Babies First Foods, or Heirloom Tomatoes. To view my full line of gift box seed collections, click the button below.

  • October Newsletter - The Season Of Transition

    October is here bringing with it cooler weather, autumn colours, and some time to reflect on the season. At the farm we have wrapped up our seed harvests and the seed cleaning equipment is in full gear. This year, October has a different feel to it. There are many endings and many new beginnings happening, unlike any other autumn seasons in the recent past at Matchbox. As I look towards the future, I am filled with gratitude for all the years I have been gifted with the privilege of embodying my passions in my work. Without all of you, this never would have been possible. As a small thank you, here is a little sweet potato demo from last year harvest. As you look around your own gardens, what do you see that inspires you to think about what you can do next year? Are you planting garlic this fall? Do you have crops planted for harvests in the coming months? If these are topics that are at the front of your mind, you'll find lots of help in this months newsletter. Aligning with the seasons, we'll look at the following topics to help you get the most out of your garden now, and next year: Our growing guide - garlic planting and fall bed prep! Last Call! We are almost sold out of this years garlic crop, get yours before it's all gone! Big changes happening at Matchbox. Doors open for our October 15th round of Seed To Table Online course. If you'd like to share your garden experience, you can join our Facebook group Growing Your Organic Garden Oasis The End Of An Era In 2006 I took the leap of faith that every entrepreneur is all to familiar with when I started Matchbox Garden & Seed Co. It has been a fulfilling 18 years bringing food, seed, and education to the public, but I always knew I wouldn't be farming in this way forever. The past 4 years have been a huge roller coaster ride as all of us have experienced. The lessons of that great upheaval have not gone unnoticed at the farm. In fact, they have been a blessing, teaching me to reevaluate my life and how I want it to look and feel moving forward. As many of you know already, I have come back to the teachings yoga. I re-certified in order to start teaching again, igniting a passion for this old friend that is my yoga practice. This decision was the pivotal shift that has provided both insight and clarity for what I do next in my professional life and how I can continue to serve my family, community, and the greater world. With all of this in mind, I have made the decision that this season, 2023, is the last year that I will be producing seed commercially. What does this mean for all you gardeners that have come to rely on Matchbox seeds? No changes for your 2024 garden plans, I will have my regular line up of seeds available on the website, in fact I updated our inventory last week and there is already lots to choose from! Online programming will continue for anyone looking to learn more about gardening, but starting next year, my gardens will be smaller. They will have a different purpose, specifically, feeding my family and providing a place for grounding, inspiration, and healing. I will have more news coming as we enter the winter season and I look forward to sharing it with all of you! For now, you have my deepest gratitude, not only for supporting Matchbox, but for investing your time and energy into gardening in alignment with our natural world. October Growing Guide This month brings many of our final harvests coupled with cooler weather. Perhaps your daily harvest time shifts a little so that you can enjoy the afternoon sun and avoid the chilly mornings. It is another month of preserving and harvesting, and for many of us, we are in the middle of tearing down trellises, pulling up stakes, and generally tidying our growing space. In this newsletter, I'm sharing Octobers list of crops that I sow at the farm for early winter and the 2024 harvest. This round of planting is mainly focused on garlic at the farm. We also seed a few beds of greens for winter production and put season extension infrastructure in place. The following list includes species I plant for the following year as well as winter harvest: Garlic Lettuce Spinach To determine your best planting dates, find out your last frost date, the days to maturity for your crops, and add 2 weeks for the slower growth factor. Garlic! It's that time of year! Garlic is one of those crops that is great to grow yourself. If you want to learn how to grow your own, check out these graphics below to help you plant your best garlic

  • September Newsletter - The Final Month of Summer

    Can You Believe It's September Already?! Just like that, I blinked and today is September 1st. Much of this years seed crops have been harvested and the days are filling up with seed cleaning, preserving the harvest, and working on my fall garden prep. This months blog includes: Our growing guide - season extension and fall plantings. A link for you to get some of my garlic for your gardens or your kitchen(garlic is shipping nation wide this year!) Upcoming workshop at the farm Doors open for our October 15th round of Seed To Table Online course. I hope you find information that helps you in your fall garden prep! Before we move onto happenings at the farm, you can read on to discover some of my experience of the 2023 season. I always find September is a perfect time for personal reflection on how the season went. Where we thrived(the garden and I) and where we were challenged. It may only be the first day of the month but I can tell you already that this years garden thrived in both food and seed production with all the rainy weather we had. Disease issues have been present but manageable, and pest pressures, aside from those irritating squash bugs(!) have been very low. My biggest challenge this year was all the rain! As compared to last year, I did lay irrigation this season, but it was used only a handful of times. All the rain has meant more pruning for greater air circulation, flood management, and a change in seed harvest timing. However, it has also brought an abundance of production for which I am grateful for. So many cucumbers that we've managed to produce 36 jars of pickles, 12 jars of relish, many cucumber salads, AND lots of seed for the next few years! What has your biggest challenge been this season? What has been your greatest success? I invite you to take these early weeks of fall to walk around your own growing space. Notice your successes and challenges, learn from them, and allow them to help you create your plans for next years gardens! If you'd like to share your experience, you can join our Facebook group Growing Your Organic Garden Oasis Garlic For Your Garden And Kitchen! This year we have 4 varieties to choose from! Click on the link below to view one of our more popular ones - Jarvis Garlic , a hard neck garlic that came to us from a local grower in Jarvis, Haldimand County, Ontario. It was given to him by an old family friend who has been growing it … C$4.50 Fall Garden Workshop September 10th, 2023 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Price $50.00 Topics Covered Garden Maintenance - Getting the garden ready for winter. Fall planting - Garlic, Shallots, Fall seeding for over wintering crops. Season Extension - Low tunnels, hoop house crops. Seed Saving and Cleaning - Seasonally appropriate seed crops. September Growing Guide Welcome to September! This month brings more abundant harvests and hopefully, cooler weather. It is another month of preserving, harvesting, weeding, pruning, and for many of us, a final round of successive planting. In this newsletter, I'm sharing Septembers list of crops that I sow at the farm for mid to late fall harvest as well as over wintering crops. This round of direct seeding can be allocated to storage crops and extended season fresh vegetables for picking all the way into November and beyond, depending on your location and season extension practices. The following list includes species I plant for storage crops, overwintering crops, and late season harvests at the farm: Arugula Chard Kale Lettuce Peas(Shelling) Radish Rapini Spinach To determine your best planting dates, find out your last frost date, the days to maturity for your crops, and add 2 weeks for the slower growth factor. Once you have determined your fall season maturity or harvest dates, you can then start to look at your needs around frost protection. These can include: Low tunnel hoops over individual beds with temperature protection row cover or 6mml polyplastic. Cold Frames - a structure you can build out of recycled materials such as wood and window glass or plastic. Hoop House - An unheated greenhouse structure allowing you to grow in ground into the winter months. At the farm, I use row cover in the fields, you can get row cover products that offer up to 10C protection. So if the night time temps are dipping to -5C, your row covered crops will stay between 0C and 5C overnight. In my hoop house I like to use double protection. This entails setting up low tunnels in the hoop house to take advantage of the protection offered by the hoop house and increase temperatures by adding the low tunnel hoops and temp protection row cover. This method keeps us eating from the garden until Christmas AND we usually get our first years harvest shortly after Feb 1. I recommend holding all harvests between late December and early February as the short days signal the plants to stop growing until our days get longer. Harvesting during this time can lead to plant death or very slow grow back. These season extension methods are all great options for the crops listed above, AND they have the potential to keep you eating from your garden right into December and beyond. Talk about food security! The Fall Garden - Garlic, Season Extension, More! An overview of garlic planting, harvest and curing, fall bed prep, preserving, winter storage crop practices, and fall season extension! Self Paced Seed To Table And Back Again An online course that will guide you through the steps of creating, organizing, and implementing a plan for your own edible garden. October 15th - December 9th Learn More

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