garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising scottish highland cattle in red deer county ab


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February 22

Young plants are so beautiful! The cotyledon is the first leaves that emerge when a seed germinates. A picture of a statice cotyledon is first - statice is the blue and purple flowers we use as dried flowers with garlic braids and the plants have hardiness, drought tolerance, attraction for bees and other pollinators and interesting winter colour (copper-coloured stems and any flowers remaining stay quite blue). They're a fairly hardy wildflower that grows from seed each year, so they need a hard seed coat to push through the soil early and that's what the picture shows - the first pair of leaves push the tough covering through to the warm sun. The second picture shows that another set of plain leaves emerges to feed the root strength and then the true leaves emerge - saw-toothed with a bit of red. The tomato shows it's plain cotyledon leaves giving way to the true leaves, basil's true leaves are the recognizable middle-creased oval shape, annual dill resembles a tiny palm, true leaves of the thyme show the typical oval spade shape and the rosemary is still the first (cotyledon) leaves - still waiting for their true leaves. Onions don't really have a cotyledon - they come up bent over and then spring up and now they're developing extra stems to feed their growing roots.

statice cotyledon at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising sustainable highland beef in red deer county ab true statice leaves at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising sustainable highland beef in red deer county ab true tomato leaves at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising sustainable highland beef in red deer county ab true basil leaves at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising sustainable highland beef in red deer county ab true dill leaf at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising sustainable highland beef in red deer county ab true thyme leaves at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising sustainable highland beef in red deer county ab rosemary cotyledon at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising sustainable highland beef in red deer county ab onions at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and raising sustainable highland beef in red deer county ab 

February 13

We decided to plant the rolls to allow the tomato seedlings to spread out. The tomatoes planted in jiffy pots then into newspaper pots were growing faster than the seedlings in the loo rolls and we thought maybe the rolls were not allowing the roots to spread. We're hoping that putting the rolls into soil will help the roll soften and dissolve and the roots will grow. In the past we've used compost bags to hold transplants that get too big for newspaper pots, or to put a newspaper pot into if the pot gets too fragile, so we're hoping they'll work. When planted outside the bags decompose over the summer. 

tomato seedlings at garlic goodness growing natural garlic, seasonal vegetables and sustainable beef near innisfail ab

February 9

We're going to do our best to make the loo roll experiment work out - then we can use the peat pots we've already bought, but minimize using peat as we go forward. With the next batch of seeds planted we'll cut the rolls in half - then when a root shows at the bottom we'll put the shorter roll into a newspaper pot to encourage wider root growth instead of restricting sideways growth (assuming the roll dissolves easily once inside a newspaper pot, which we think is likely but will find out!).

tomato seedling in a toilet paper roll as an experiment in 2020 at garlic goodness growing garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab

February 2

We've started onion seeds in the house and they're so cute - the bow shape is fabulous, then when they spring up they look so much more delicate. The first tomato seedlings have gone into newspaper pots - they're going to be the control for the loo roll experiment :)

onion harps at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab onions at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab tomato seedling in a newspaper pot at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab

January 20 + February 2, 2020

We’re doing a trial with toilet paper rolls (or loo rolls, as gardening guru Monty Don calls them) to see if we can use them for starting seeds. We love using newspaper pots for seedlings and the rolls might be similarly good – put to good use, dissolve into the soil and provide a good place for seeds to grow. This year we’ll try some tomatoes and herbs with long roots like parsley and cilantro – maybe marigolds later since they’re so vigorous. If they work out, we’ll use them more extensively next year. The soil is a mix of sterile Pro-Mix and rich worm castings from our worms last year. One thing I really like so far is that when you water the rolls you can see when the water is adequate – you can see the water mark on them, much like you can with the newspaper pots.

We’ve just started separating out the worm castings again. If anyone has any tips for this process or would like tips from us, please drop us an email.

tomato seedling in a loo roll at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables near innisfail ab  seeds in toilet paper tubes at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab

Last season’s garlic and onions are still nice and firm. We have lots of garlic in the ground for this year, and we’re planning to plant lots of vegetables this spring – and we planted the very first onion seeds yesterday, so the season has officially begun!

 garlic in january at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables near innisfail ab onion in january at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables near innisfail ab onion in january at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables near innisfail ab


January 7, 2020

We've had lots of snow this winter - should be great for the garlic! I've had lots of time for knitting and I think I'm happy with the design for the Scottish Highland motif cotton dishcloth :) I'm using Bernat 100% cotton Handicrafter yarn (made in Canada from American cotton) and I made the pattern myself. I may try to make a garlic motif cloth!

Scottish Highland dishcloth at garlic goodness in red deer county ab

November 28

Check out the photos page - we had lovely soft snow falling this morning and it was gorgeous.

snowflakes on the statice at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab

October 17

I saw a recipe on the Guardian UK website for carrot cake with beets (or beetroot as they call it). I tried it since we still had a few beets in the garden and I loved the colour - can't say the taste was much different from regular carrot cake, but that was good - I like carrot cake. I used my usual recipe and put half grated carrots and half grated beets. I thought the beets might make the batter pink so I stirred just enough, but you can see the cake doesn't look much different with the beets -- please drop me an email if you'd like the recipe.

carrot and beet cake at garlic goodness growing garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab carrots and beets at garlic goodness growing garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab carrot and beet cake at garlic goodness growing garlic and seasonal vegetables in red deer county ab 

Sept 14

Surprise! Lots of the beans that looked dead actually had big beans in their pods, so we've picked them and are waiting for them to dry. They're so beautiful - and hopefully tasty.

yin and yang beans at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables outside of innisfail ab white beans at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables outside of innisfail ab 

Sept 9

Recipe for basic Beef Stew

2 pound pkg of stewing beef, oil for frying it, water, salt and pepper, small clove of garlic, vegetables and herbs.

Brown the meat by frying in oil until it's cooked on all sides, then pour hot water over it just to cover it. Boil until the water almost all evaporates, then add water to cover it again. Boil again until water is almost all evaporated and taste a piece of meat. If it's nice and tender then you're happy - if it's still a bit chewy add another covering of water and boil again - this is the secret to stew meat that's tender - and it's a tip from a friend, Donna Arnold of the Henday Association for Lifelong Learning in Innisfail. Once the meat is well cooked, there's an infinite variety of choices, but the basic ingredients are garlic, an onion, bay leaves and parsley. Then add a couple of inches of water to the meat and cook the vegetables -- carrots and peas, potatoes until tender. If you like the broth/gravy thicker then stir a tablespoon of flour into 1/4 cup of cold water and add it to the boiling stew. My Mom used to make dumplings with our stew which we loved - send me an email if you want her recipe. 

Sept 3, 2019

We're so excited to have beans for drying! Our growing season was cut short by a frost on August 17th - shocking - but it was fairly light and the bingo beans in the garlic field survived. We'll plant more of them next year since they can prosper in our harsh conditions. They have a few gorgeous pods which we'll pick this week and dry. The beans inside are green and soft, but they'll dry brown with darker brown streaks. We're supposed to allow the pods to dry completely and then thresh them by hitting them in a sack to remove the pods :)

bingo beans in september at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal produce near innisfail ab

Aug 26, 2019

Our newest Youtube video is up showing our tried and true recipe for borscht.

bowl of borscht at garlic goodness near innisfail ab


Aug 19, 2019

We had a great time again this year at Open Farm Days - thanks to everyone who came out to meet us and look at the garlic growing. We're concentrating on watching garlic dry right now, haha - preparing for braiding and fall planting.

flat of culinary garlic at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal produce in red deer county ab  


July 25, 2019

We have found a great way to use our beet greens! Beet greens are so lovely at this time of year and we're trying to find new ways to use this nutritious, plentiful ingredient.

The Baba Bowl is a mix of raw and roasted seasonal vegetables - a prairie spin on a Buddha Bowl.  For sure the leaves can be added to other greens in any salad, but for the Baba Bowl they're the main base. I left the onions raw because they're so awesome at this time of year. We have deer eating our peas this year, so if we want any, we have to eat them before they fill out, so we used them like snap peas fresh in the salad - but shelled raw or cooked would taste great. Then we roasted vegetables to serve hot on top and drizzled dressing over all. We made a basic vinaigrette, but I also think a hollandaise sauce would work with the Baba Bowl.

I put the recipes on the garlic goodness facebook page on if you're interested in them. The recipe name is a tribute to the great Ukrainian gardeners I've known - their ability to make everything they could grow to taste great and to never waste a thing!


baba bowl at garlic goodness near innisfail alberta


July 5, 2019

We are eating garlic bulbs now!

early riser bulb at garlic goodness near innisfail ab

They have a super great taste and texture – crisp and slightly milder than they will be when fully grown and cured, but so much better than garlic that’s been shipped from elsewhere. Local and fresh is the best, right? They're $1 each - same as they will be when they mature.


garlic bulb early July at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables outside of innisfail ab

June 30, 2019

highland heifer at garlic goodness near innisfail ab

We are pleased to offer a small number of beef packages from our herd of Highland and Highland-cross cattle.

The Highland cross offers a superior-tasting well-marbled beef with a smaller carcass size than a commercial breed. There are well-researched health benefits to the Highland meat, including lower cholesterol levels and higher protein and iron content. We don't use any hormones and our grass is natural - no fertilizers or pesticides are used anywhere on our farm.

Please let us know if you’re interested in buying a side of beef. We have animals booked in for November 12th, and with a 14-21 day hanging period it will mean end-of-November or beginning of December for pick-up.

Please email for more information or if you have any questions.


Highland steer at garlic goodness

We are excited to have a few young highland cows with their calves at the farm. They are so beautiful.

highland cow-calf pair at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables near innisfail ab highland cow at garlic goodness growing natural garlic and seasonal vegetables near innisfail ab


If you haven't checked out our instagram feed please do when you have time - we're posting more regularly as of summer 2019.


June 24, 2019

Last week I attended a soil workshop featuring Dr. Kris Nichols hosted by the GWFA in conjunction with RD County. What a fascinating presentation – the value of topsoil can hardly be overstated and there’s a lot we can do to preserve and build up our soil. We want to add carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in the soil – increase aggregates, create and encourage mycorrhizal fungi – and embrace diversity. Dr. Nichols said we need a brown revolution.

Everyone who’s been out here knows we don’t spray for weeds or pests and we have a wide variety of plants growing everywhere. Our inspiration is nature – in the woods we see so many different shrubs, flowers, legumes and grasses growing naturally among the spruce and aspen. We see mosquitos, wasps, bees, dragonflies, flies and so many different bugs – both pollinators and food for the huge variety of birds we see along the Red Deer River. Small animals like mice, weasels and rabbits thrive and support the eagles and owls – it’s a complex and hugely diverse system that we use as inspiration in our planting.

Dr. Nichols said that if you lose soil health you lose food nutrients – maybe we instinctively understand that, but it’s the first time I’d heard it said from someone who studies the matter. Vegetables grown in dirt taste great – and maybe they’re actually healthier for us! She has a soil consulting service and a website www.KRIS-SYSTEMS.com which I recommend, and for anyone local I highly encourage membership in the Grey Wooded Forage Association – they have a wealth of information and they host really interesting talks.   




Our Red Deer County address is 35540 RR12

Lorraine & Kevin Bannister

403-506-2129

farm@garlicgoodness.ca




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