Friday, 13 February 2015

March Workshops

Sign up now for workshops in March as they fill up fast!

Green Zebra tomatoes growing in my greenhouse
Tomato Seeding and Growing Workshop ~ $25

When: Sat, Mar 14th
This Workshop is currently full. Thank you! 

However, please let me know if you are interested, so that I can place you on the cancellation list. Also, if enough interest, I may put on a second seeding workshop.    

Time: 1pm till 4 pm
*snacks and bevvies included
From seed to harvest, how to grow great tomatoes. This is a steal of a deal! 

Choose from a huge selection of heirloom seeds here at NGG.
Sow the seeds here at the greenhouse. We go over the best medium to use, the correct watering, lighting, feeding, etc.. 
Then you take the seed trays home and grow them on. You will be equipped with all the how-to information to successfully take them from seed to harvest.

*Optional - purchase a $40 supply package to help you with your growing needs; heat mat, seeding dome, fertiliser,  etc...

Great pic of edibles living in harmony with flowers from

Edible Landscaping ~ $20

When: Sun, Mar 22
    OR   Sun, June, 7th

Time: 1pm till 3pm
How to integrate edibles into the ornamental garden/yard.

How to grow food in amongst your flower beds. No need to make a special veggie plot, learn how to add all kinds of edibles into your existing landscape.
Gorgeous colour and texture for visual appeal, while keeping your family stocked with fresh fruits and veggies, too. Also discussing companion planting. 

Take home some seeds/plants to get you on your way.

 The Nitty Gritty Potager 2014

Grow Your Own Food aka Kitchen Gardening 101 ~ $50

When: Sun, Mar 29th
Time: 10 am till 3pm
 * light luncheon and bevvies included.

How to plan your potager, create the vision, choose great plants for successful crops and have awesome soil to grow them in.

Learn how to make your own potager/kitchen garden. Will cover info on watering and fertilising, plus composting and companion planting. 
Everything you need to know, from beginner to experienced. Food for thought, for body and for soul.

This workshop is a comprehensive one that goes over a bit about everything you need to know to start your own potager (kitchen garden). 

Includes organic heirloom seeds to get you started.
Hanging basket at the greenhouse...
Join us for all kinds of planting workshops this spring, too!  

Many more workshops available, both tutorial how to's and hands on diy's that allow you to create your own spectacular designs. 
Please see the new website for more information HERE! 
To sign up, please send me a message, an email, or call me. Contact information can be found HERE! 
Please note that all workshops must be pre-paid. 
  Corn and dill growing at our first acreage potager in Bon Accord, Alberta

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Potager, The Greenhouse, & Me.

Most of you readers know what the Nitty Gritty Potager is, but might not be familiar with the Nitty Gritty Greenhouse? While we're at it, who am I exactly and what am I all about?

The Nitty Gritty Potager- 

A potager is an Integrated kitchen garden with a blend of edibles and ornamentals.

This is my personal kitchen garden, where I sow and grow food for my family and extras to share with friends. Is a blend of edibles and ornamentals growing in harmony, providing us with a healthy, vibrant, and thriving organic garden. Fruit trees and ornamental ones, too, berries and vegetables blended with all kinds of flowers. The potager is located right beside the greenhouse, and is open for one and all to poke about and see how things are growing. 

The gardens and yard are completely organic, the veggies are heirlooms, the annuals and perennials chosen to attract pollinators and good bugs, repel bad bugs, house the frogs, bats, birds, and lizards. An organic garden is ecologically friendly, relying on the symbiotic relationships of the soil, the plants and the critters, to keep the yard and gardens healthy and thriving.

I have seven 40' long beds where I grow all the goodies to eat fresh foods daily, plus freeze, can, or dry the rest for healthy organic foods during the winter months. I also have two extra beds, 25' long, for garlic and winter gardening.

I am not so much concerned about how many pounds of food I can get from each plant as I am about growing a balance of foods that my family eats and enjoys, plus finding and growing the heirloom varieties that thrive best in our locale. 

My passion for potager growing came from our four year military posting to Lahr, Germany in the early 1990's (hubs is retired military). Small Potagers and Urban Homesteads are commonplace in the small towns in and around the Black Forest.

The Nitty Gritty Greenhouse

This is my very small, mom and pop specialty nursery in Nanaimo, BC, on the fabulous wet, west coast of Canada, where I am all about providing folks with the plants they need to successfully grow organic, healthy, happy and beautiful kitchen gardens/potagers.

     The nursery and greenhouse

Assortment of zucchini's. 

 Edibles!  Of all kinds!

Seeds, spuds, asparagus, shallots, horseradish and other bare root veggie stock start out the year in early spring, followed by heirloom veggie seedlings and starter plants of all kinds. You name it, I probably grow it!
Heirlooms are old heritage cultivars that have been saved for many generations, are open-pollinated and come true from saved seed each and every year.

I am absolutely in love with growing heirloom tomatoes. Love the stories behind them and the taste simply cannot be beat!
I sell 40 to 50 varieties annually of cherries, slicers, pastes, and beefsteaks in every hue imaginable. from red to yellow, orange, pink, purple, and black.
Each year I make a list of my top performers and tastiest types on my 'Tanja's Top 10 Tomatoes' list.
See here for the top ten heirloom tomatoes in  2014 and 2013 and 2012.

Fruits and Berries!
A fabulous assortment of fruiting shrubs ... gold, black and red raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, grapes, currants, tayberries, boysenberries, fig trees, and strawberry plants, too.
The recent addition of the Brazelberries dwarf container fruits makes it possible for even the smallest of property owners to access their own berries.

Soul Food aka Ornamentals!

I adore roses... growing them, smelling them, cutting them for vases, tucking them here and there in potagers and gardens ...
Roses that smell divine, are disease resistant, and look spectacular ... from David Austin English tea roses to hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras and mini's, too.   

Annual flowers!
Annuals, companion plants, planters, pots, and fabulous hanging baskets.
While I sell all kinds of ready made hanging baskets and planters, the diy workshops are very popular. Folks love to come hang out here, pick out their own colour combo's, and create their own fantastic masterpieces. 

We do tutorial workshops here in the Garden Shop, as well as lots of hands-on diy planting ones.
See HERE for the 2015 workshop list. 

The Nitty Gritty Greenhouse encourages you to try something new, step outside your comfort zone, by growing your own citrus fruits, figs, teas, or olives! 

  Fabulous array of fall garlic varieties for eating or growing!

Me, aka Tanja!  

There are no other employees, is just me sowing, seeding, cutting, growing and selling. 
I rope the mister in to help out with the heavy work.. building new raised beds, trellises, tunnels, digging, moving things around, and more. Occasionally my daughter, Baby Girl, helps out with workshops, baking and set up.

For the most part, however, is just me, with the help of our two slobbery English Mastiff greenhouse mascots and meeter-greeters, Penelope and Ruby Tuesday.

I truly enjoy getting to know the people who come here to my wee greenhouse. We chat gardening, share stories, and often even share the fruits of our labours. Don't let that intimidate you if you prefer to shop and look around in solitude, I won't chat your ear off unless you begin to ask me questions or start a great garden chat ; ) 
I am filthy from working in the gardens
hanging out with my best friend, Little 'Lilah.
My background!
I have been growing food and flowers near forever, but with a real purpose and passion for the past 25 years. Though I have taken all kinds of courses throughout the years, on pruning, grafting, growing, pest and disease identification, roses, annuals, perennials, fruits trees, mostly I have learned how to grow through doing. 

My life within the greenhouse industry began back in 2000, at Hole's Greenhouse and Garden Centre located in St Albert, Albert, where I was known as the 'Information Girl' as well as Nursery and Garden Centre Superviser. As 'Information Girl', you would find me at the Info Booth, in rain, snow, sleet, hail, or sun; talking your ears off, giving advice, helping folks grow, plant, learn, and most often, figuring out what had gone awry when plants/trees failed to thrive. Some of my hints and tips were even published in one of Mrs Lois Hole's gardening books! Even today, I can and will, given time and opportunity, talk your ear off!

From there I moved on to be both the Nursery and the Perennials Manager at Prairie Gardens and Greenhouses, in Bon Accord, Alberta. Still the Information Girl, as well as grower, trainer, mover and shaker, a woman with so many hats. During this time, I wrote a monthly blurb in the Morinville Gardening Club newsletter, organized guest speakers, was often a guest speaker myself, and taught learning programs at the greenhouse.       
During my last years at the greenhouse in Alberta, I developed a neurological issue which still affects my balance to this day. Therefore, upon moving to the paradise that is Nanaimo, BC, I decided to start my own wee greenhouse biz where I now sow, grow, sell and teach, with with the hopes of spreading the joy of organic, heirloom potager growing to everyone. No plot is too small!   

Look forward to seeing you all soon at the greenhouse and potager, and visiting with you here via the blog : )

Globe Artichokes

Monday, 2 February 2015

February Ramblings

Things are starting to feel and look a lot like spring here on the island... daffodils are up, tulips are poking through, the sun has been shining and the weather has been delightful.

But please do not get fooled by Mother Nature! She is tricky, she is mean, she wants you to start seeding and sowing and planting away, with visions of summer dancing in your head... and then she is going to blast you with a huge dump of snow, or ice, or a week of freezing cold temps! Something to thwart all those visions and thoughts.

Snow fall in February last year and the year before! 

Please remember that February is often the month of snow while March and April, and even May, tend to be wet, cool, and grey.
 Artichokes coming up in the garden.

So then, if you are not seeding and planting and sowing and growing, what are you actually able to do in the month of February?

Indoors where it is nice and dry and warm...

- Planning, ordering and making notes and lists are a great way to prepare yourself for the upcoming growing season. 

- Take some great gardening courses and workshops!
See HERE! for this years workshops at the Nitty Gritty Greenhouse.

- Browse through pictures, start a new Pinterest board of ideas for your potager, jot down notes and pictures in your journal, read through last years notes and see what worked and what didn't, make changes.

In your low-tunnel covered beds or cold frames, you can be seeding or transplanting in the following plants ...

- Greens .. like mache, arugula, mustards, Chinese greens, etc...
- Spinach
- Lettuce
- Radishes

Seeds to start in the heated greenhouse... 
- Asparagus (Yes, they grow well from seed, however, will be 5 years till you harvest!)
- Artichokes (hurry!)
- Brassicas that you can plant outside in 6 to 8 weeks time (broccoli, cauliflower, collards, etc...)
- Herbs of all kinds, especially chives, parsley, oregano, and thyme.
- Hot peppers, sweet peppers and eggplants. 
- Flowers from seed .... petunias, geraniums, verbena, pansies and violas, lobelia, snapdragons, sweet peas...
- If you did not start your leeks and onions from seed last month, hurry and do it now! (or pick up some seedlings from me in March or April ; )

If you are interested in starting seedlings from seed now, read the back of your seed packages. You can sow anything that says to start 12 or more weeks before the last frost date. Do NOT plant anything yet that requires less time than that. 12 weeks for anything planted now, and 8 weeks if planted towards the end of the month. 

Other garden related chores... 
- Check your over wintering bulbs (glads, dahlias, begonias...) If you see any that are mouldy, soft or mushy, remove them before they spread the rot to the other bulbs. If you see any that are starting to sprout, it is time to pop them into pots or planters. Transfer them to the garden when all risk of frost is over.
- Prune your fruit trees before the end of the month. 
-Spray your trees with a lime sulpher/dormant oil mix to kill any over-wintering pests and diseases. This also applies to any rose bushes to prevent black spot and other pest and fungal issues, as well as most all hardwood hedging like cotoneasters.
- Weed your pathways, run a hoe through the wee weeds before they end up huge and out of control with roots down to heck and back!

At the Nitty Gritty.... 

 The last of the carrots from the winter bed, Parisian Market Carrots. 

Once again, I have pretty much run out of carrots for my girls (the dogs).
They are having a really hard time understanding that the carrots no longer come from the garden beds but instead come out of a bag in the fridge!


 Purple Sprouting Broccoli in my winter garden

The purple sprouting broccoli is beginning to sprout ; ) Is a crop that is planted in summertime (July) for harvest the following spring.

Bonus! Peter Rabbit, the bunny that lives out back, has not yet found these guys, though he has demolished the kale and lettuce, and is currently working on the celery. 

  Hyacinths - Highly scented and so pretty. 

Ruby Tuesday enjoys the last carrot that she found buried deep in the garden bed.

Moving Thyme

Sadly, the Nitty Gritty Potager blog is no more... but the good news is that I can now be found at my new blog called the Olde Thyme F...