Hardening Off Sweet Peas….and a Delicious Peanutty Dressing for Fruit Salad

I had a lovely afternoon puttering about the deck preparing the various containers and trugs for planting. I even managed to plant some herb seeds–cilantro, chives, and oregano. I also transplanted the heather and marigold plants I bought last week into some hanging baskets–it’s always nice to have some colour early on in the season…

I also decided to take a stab at hardening off some of my little seedlings today. I chose the sweet pea flowers because I have tons of little seedlings, so I snipped off one little ice-cube tray of about ten and placed them in the mini greenhouse to see how they fare.


If I’m being fully honest, I was ready to by-pass the hardening off stage and just plant them straight into one of the hanging baskets, but James suggested I forego “the Pooley method” and not throw my little sprouts “into the deep end.”

I’m quite certain he was referring to the story I told him of the first and only time my dad took us to the crowded public pool in Cedar Park. I was five at the time and couldn’t swim yet, so was clinging to my father. At a certain point, he decided he’d had enough, so he tossed me in the air and I plunged under the water, only to be rescued a moment later by my older brother, Tony.

DAD, she can’t swim!” he said, “She’s only five.”

In my mind’s eye, I picture my dad as he always seemed when I was a child: looking far into the distance likely wondering how he came to be responsible for this motley passel of raucous children. I also picture him with a pipe in his mouth, yet I’m quite sure that part can’t be true.

“Ah,” he responded to my brother, “I didn’t know that.”

I’ve never been sure whether “that” referred to my age or the fact that I couldn’t swim.

So my sweet peas were saved from the deep end by James, who seems to have taken on the role of the conscientious older brother in this scenario. It’s a little disconcerting that I’m my dad in this imaginary scenario.

As penance for my (almost) neglect, I watched a couple of videos on growing sweet peas and learned that you have to pinch off the growing tip, but only AFTER the seedlings have four sets of double leaves.

Ah, I didn’t know that.

Anyway, after all that gardening, I needed a hearty snack, and a fruit salad seemed just the thing. I’ve recently discovered a rather delicious (and very straight forward) fruit salad dressing.

Peanutty Fruit Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 – 2 TBS maple syrup

That’s it–throw it all in the magic bullet and blend until smooth and creamy!

I also topped my fruit salad with some pumpkin and hemp seeds–yummy!

Oh, and in defense of my dad, he did eventually teach me how to swim one afternoon in the indoor pool at the Island Hall Resort in Parksville, BC. I recently told him both these stories–that he almost drowned me and that he taught me how to swim–but he remembered neither!

Anyway, here he is smoking his pipe with that faraway look in his eye. We’re with my grandmother–his mother–and my brother, Tony, who dragged me from the bottom of the pool all those decades ago.

I’m the squinting, slack-jawed little hillbilly in the foreground.

Oh, and we had an entirely Jamie-made amazing dinner this evening: vegan pulled “pork” in freshly baked pitas! Check out the ubiquitous Buster photobomb:


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