Win a Fokin hoe blade this week in the Gear forum!

Tracy Wandling

+ Follow
since May 30, 2016
Tracy likes ...
bee books chicken forest garden fungi hugelkultur trees

Tracy is an artist, graphic designer, musician, gardener and permaculture addict. She has recently moved to the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, and is enjoying getting to know a new area.
Sunshine Coast, BC
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Pollinator Scavenger Hunt
expand Pioneer Scavenger Hunt Green check
expand First Scavenger Hunt Green check

Recent posts by Tracy Wandling

June in the garden.

It's been a crazy late spring/early summer so far. Very little rain, and heaps of sun. It's a little overcast today, which is nice for being outside. I'm not really a hot weather kinda girl. : )

The garden is gorgeous. And delicious. Right now we are eating:

mustard greens and flowers (I let it go to seed, 'cause the flowers are yummy)
pac choi flowers (yummy flowers)
beet greens
green onions
mint (he likes it for tea)

Soon we'll be adding carrots and turnips to the menu. And the oregano and thyme are just about ready for snipping from. And the zucchini is getting ready to bloom. Can't wait for zucchini!

The beans are growing well. A few got munched by mysterious garden devils, but nothing catastrophic. The beans, turnip leaves, mustard greens, and pac choi are about the only things that show a little damage. Otherwise, it's been pretty good.

Rich is doing some chop and drop in the garden today. The magnolia is done blooming, and shot up like a rocket. So he's cutting it back, along with the purple tree (I don't know what it is), and I'm using the cuttings to mulch the paths. So that will let a little more of the afternoon sun into the garden.

Things are growing a little slower, because of our light situation, but it's not really hampering anything. The garden doesn't get light until about 10:30 am, and parts of it are starting to get shaded by 3:00. But I'm using that area to plant greens that tend to bolt in the heat. I've got mustard greens and pac choi planted, and will put in some spinach and lettuce shortly. It can grow by the leeks. It will be long gone by the time the leeks need the space.

All in all I'm totally thrilled with this first year. The produce is delicious, and I know it's better than anything we could get at the store. He likes going grazing in the garden. : ) He eats the flowers from the pac choi and mustard, and he loves mustard greens. Cool.

There are other things blooming, or getting ready to bloom, too - not just veggies going to seed. : )
Flowers I've planted: sweet allysum - such a yummy scent - nasturtiums, marigolds, calendula, borage, and a Pacific Northwest wildflower mix for shade areas, from West Coast Seeds. And of course there are the bloomin' weeds. But I don't mind them - they add color and diversity, and they feed the bees. It's all good. : )

And here are far too many photos of my garden growing! I like to keep a record of how things grow, but I'm not very good at writing it down - but a digital camera is awesome for keeping track of how my garden grows.

AND! I moved. I moved to the property where my garden is. Happy girl here. It's a cozy little shack with a high bed, so there is space for a desk underneath. And I got THE BEST chair for it. $85 at Habitat for Humanity. The comfiest chair I've ever had. It takes up a lot of floor space, but there's not much I'll be doing in there that requires floor space. I'm a curl-up-in-a-comfy-chair girl. : )

And we've been putting together an outdoor kitchen. I've always wanted an outdoor kitchen. We've got a little rocket stove made of firebricks that we've been experimenting with. Totally fun. We've cook rice, oatmeal, stir fry, Mexican food (black beans and spicy pork), and stew. Awesomeness. I've also got a little propane cooker, and a toaster oven. Someday I hope we can make a rocket oven!

The big black box thingy used to be in his old canopy. The part that is covered with (recycled) foam is a cooler (I'm going to cover it with something). Keeps my stuff nice and cool. And it's right outside my door.

Here's the view from my front steps!

All in all, it's been a lovely spring/beginning summer. Hope your gardening season is going as well as mine is!


1 week ago
A 30 minute long video featuring five different people demonstrating starting a rocket mass heater and talking about how they care for a rocket mass heater.

- paul wheaton ...  stuffs a lot of paper in and then uses a torch
- ernie wisner ...  a little paper, a lot of kindling and a lighter
- peter van den berg ...  starting a batch box rocket mass heater
- matt walker ....  paper towels with bacon grease and lots of kindling
- anthony aiuppa ... newspaper plus paper garbage plus kindling

1 month ago
Oh, how I love when it starts to feel like summer in the garden.

I've been eating heaps of greens, and am starting to get some sprouts from the rapini. Delicious.

The pea plants are huge, the zucchini are happily growing, the beans have leapt out of the ground and are growing gangbusters, and I've been tucking transplants and seeds in every available space.

We built another little garden that I'm going to fill with herbs. Had to use up all of those extra rocks left over after finishing the wall. : )

Speaking of the wall - it's gorgeous! And it's going to look even better when we get it planted with stuff. I'm pretty proud of it.

I'm really happy with the progress of the garden. Everything seems to be happy in its home, and the lack of light doesn't seem to be affecting it adversely. There will be some nice shady areas where I can still grow greens during the heat of summer, and when the fall veggies need more light, the leaves will have fallen from the magnolia and the sumac to bring more light to the garden again.

The only veggies that have been munched on by something besides us humans are the turnip leaves. Seems odd, but nothing else has had much damage at all. It's a pretty healthy garden with few pests. So far. : )

I hope everyone is enjoying the gardening season as much as I am.


1 month ago
This snail has been hanging out on this azalea for about a week. Really lovely.

1 month ago
Here's a good explanation of how the name came about - and why it's wrong.

". . . the English name came about through a mistranslation from Spanish.

The dish we English speakers know as refried beans is called frijoles refritos in Spanish: frijole being the Spanish word for “bean,” and “frito” being a Spanish adjective meaning “fried.” The translation error came about through the mistaken assumption that the prefix re- means in the same thing in Spanish as it does in English. Although placing re- before an English verb is a common way of indicating an action undertaken more than once (e.g., reschedule, reassign, redistribute), in Spanish that prefix is sometimes used as a form of emphasis. Therefore frijoles refritos are not beans that have been fried multiple times, but rather beans that have been well-fried, as Diana Kennedy explained in The Cuisines of Mexico:

Several people have asked me why, when the beans are fried, they are called refried. Nobody I asked in Mexico seemed to know until quite suddenly it dawned on me. The Mexicans have a habit of qualifying a word to emphasize the meaning by adding the prefix re-. They will get the oil very hot (requemar), or something will be very good (retebien). Thus refrito beans are well fried, which they certainly are, since they are fried until they are almost dry."

When I make beans for Mexican food, I don't fry them. I sauté up some minced garlic and onions, add the beans and water and spices, and simmer until they are in a thickened sauce. And I don't mash them.

mmmmm  I think I'll have to make up a pot of black beans tomorrow.
1 month ago
I am in the process of getting rid of the poisons in my life. I've started making my own toothpaste and deodorant, and while I've never been much for 'beauty' products, I have gotten rid of soaps and such, and am relying on the cleaning power of water as much as possible.

As for cleaning the house, although I am not sensitive to cleaners and scents, I surely don't want to be sucking chemicals into my body. So I don't use nasty stuff to clean my home. Water, a little lemon vinegar, and no paper towels!

Who else has traded in their Pine Sol for something a little more earth friendly?
1 month ago
Things are really growin'! The weather has been gloriously sunny, but night time temps are still cool.

But everything in the garden seems to be happy. And I'm happy. And what else matters, really? HA!

So, what's been planted in the garden . . .

pac choi
green onions
sweet alyssum
bee balm
lemon balm

In the grow shed, under lights (but taking a little holiday in the sun today):

sweet peppers
summer celery

In the greenhouse:


So my garden diet consists of greens right now - lettuce, spinach, kale, radish greens - and will soon be joined by mustard and pac choi. Perfect for stir fry!

The last seeds that need to be direct seeded in the garden are the beans. Then I'll transplant the zucchini at the end of May, and then it'll be all filled up!

Lots of succession planting going on. I've planted short rows of carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, beets, spinach, cilantro, and greens; and will just keep replanting every 2 or 3 weeks.

I'm also starting plans for the winter garden. I'll work toward having carrots, kale, kohlrabi, turnips, beets, brussels sprouts, rapini, and leeks going into winter. And there are plenty of greens that will grow well into fall and early winter here on the coast - spinach, mustard, cilantro, pac choi - and I'll have fall planted garlic as well.

Seed saving:

I think that seed saving is a very important part of gardening. Knowing how to grow food is an important skill. But knowing how to save seeds is going to be another important skill as we move into an increasingly uncertain future. I'm starting my seed bank now!

Because I have a lot of Brassicas growing in this garden, seed saving will be interesting. I think the best way might be to save seeds from only one variety each year, by only letting one go to seed. Although, if I time it right, I might be able to save from two, depending on when they flower. We'll see how it goes.

And that about wraps it up for April in the garden! I think things will be taking off really quickly with the warm May weather.

Happy gardening!


1 month ago
The only problem I've had so far is birds eating my pea seeds. But enough came up to make it worthwhile. For my fall pea planting I'll put a little cage over them until they sprout, or start them under cover.

The birds spend quite a bit of time in the garden eating worms. But they haven't bothered any of my transplants. So all is well. : )

Next week I'll be on the hunt for berry plants - I want to have raspberries, and perhaps some haskaps, along the edge of the garden. There are already plenty of blackberries on the property, so adding in a few other berries will be nice.

I picked a couple handfuls of greens for my first harvest! So fresh and delicious.

Happy gardening everyone!

2 months ago
I love spring. Green things are growing, things are blooming, and spending time outside in the garden is far more pleasant than slaving away over a hot computer. But I have to support my seed habit somehow. :)

So far in the garden these are green and growing:

kale, broccoli, broccoli raab, snowpeas, green onions, mustard, pac choi, radishes, cilantro, thyme, cilantro

And these have been seeded:

turnips, kohlrabi, arugula, parsley, spinach, nasturtiums, calendula, borage, carrots, sweetpeas, mixed greens, cosmos

I've also planted a couple of flower beds, and will be doing a couple more around the yard. Right now I'm just planting a wildflower mix for shade areas. But eventually I'll have some flowering perennials in there. Pretty.

Still more to be planted next month - black beans and zucchini. Yum. I've also got starts for tomatoes (Juliet and Gold Nugget), sweet peppers, marigolds, garlic chives, bergamot, leeks (summer and winter), basil, oregano, lovage, and celery.

The greens in the greenhouse are now ready for munching on.

The magnolia tree is blooming beautifully, and shedding its flowers on the garden.

It has been exciting sharing permaculture with my friend. He has really embraced it, and has become quite good at sourcing stuff for the compost. And he is learning about rocket stoves, too! Today he built one out of fire bricks, and we heated up some stew on it. It worked pretty dang good for his first try. He's going to keep working on the design, and learn more so we can build an outdoor kitchen. I think I've even convinced him to try building a rocket oven! Pretty excited about that.

I'm so happy that he is enthusiastic about permaculture. Just today we were talking about how we can use the greywater to water the flower beds, and he thinks he's figured out a good system. Awesomeness. And it didn't take much to convince him to pee on the compost. : ) He's quite a guy.

Stay tuned for further instalments!


2 months ago