Arts & Life

Spill the Beans: The greenhouse is a dangerous place

When I moved to the farm after 13 years of living in the city, my grandmother suggested I start small. You know, small garden, only a few chickens, don’t bite off more than you can chew…I didn’t really listen. Maybe I should have. But now, almost three years into my prairie farm life, I think it might be too late to heed her wise advice…

Spill the beans is a weekly column chronicling my attempts at a self-sufficient life on this small prairie farm.


I went to the greenhouse last week. I needed some seeds. No problem, I thought. I’ll just pop in on my way home from work. I’ll pick up the seeds and head home. I’ll have plenty of time to plant them. Easy-peasy.

So, upon arrival, I checked out the seed selection. It wasn’t nearly as good as I thought it would be; I’ve got to learn to order my seeds in advance for the best varieties. Seriously, I’m not really that interested in one thousand rows of packages of green beans and orange carrots. I’m looking of variety here, people. Purple carrots. Purple beans. Purple potatoes. All of these things exist, and many of them sold by Manitoban seed companies such as Mackenzie’s. You just wouldn’t know it shopping in my neck of the woods, but I digress. I thought to myself, Self: there would be no harm in looking at the vegetable plants. You know, just to see what they might have today.

I think these beans are going to be purple. Fingers crossed. Photo credit: Jamie Dyck


And suddenly, and I’m still not quite sure how this happened, I had my arms full of vegetable plants, dirt and mud all the way down the front of my work clothes and I’m shouting to a greenhouse employee to please find me a cart.

So I did end up with some of the seeds I was looking for….and two small cardboard flats of vegetable plants.

Some seeds require soaking before planting. Photo credit: Jamie Dyck


But I just hadn’t quite found everything I was looking for.

So I was just going to “pop” in to the other greenhouse, that’s sort of on my way home from work.

And this is how it goes. There’s something about all of those lovely green plants and cases full of seeds that I just can’t resist. All of that growing potential to feed SO. MANY. PEOPLE. It just seduces me into buying (and I might be off a little on the numbers here) twenty-two tomato plants*, twenty pepper plants* of varying spiciness, a variety of melons, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, butternut squash and couple of zucchinis. I just need to have it ALL.

Most of what I purchased at the greenhouse. Photo credit: Jamie Dyck


*Please let me be the first person to tell you that, despite that fact that I’ve got a small market garden going on this year, the amount of tomatoes and peppers that I have purchased is excessive. I will be canning tomatoes until the cows come home. Literally. I don’t plan on getting a cow or two for at least another few years, but I will have enough tomatoes to last until then, if I so desire.

But I left the greenhouses mostly satisfied. I was ready to plant. For real.

And now the real work begins.

photo credit: Jamie Dyck


Jamie Dyck is waiting for some rain. Follow her on Instagram @jamieontheprairie.