…Of which there are many when it comes to gardening since I can so easily convince myself they are for “work” rather than enjoyment. Nope. No enjoyment here. Purely for work. Incredibly necessary for The Very Important Work.
Clockwise from top:
- Herbs: Partners in Life: Healing, Gardening, and Cooking with Wild Plants by Adele G. Dawson
- Gardener to Gardener: Almanac & Pest-Control Primer – A Rodale book.
- The Edible Ornamental Garden by John Bryan and Coralie Castle – It’s a bit old-school (copyright is 1974) but I like that it profiled plants that fall outside the norm like Spanish chestnut and birch.
- Pantyhose, Hot Peppers, Tea Bags, and More-for the Garden – I generally have a really hard time looking past boring black and white gardening books but have really made an effort recently.
- Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew – I haven’t read it yet but figured I should since so many other people seem to love it. On first glance it looks sort of like my method in that they are both about making economical use of space. However I am all about interplanting, or gardening in groupings rather than rows. My method is really informal yet logical. However, the day I pull out a string to measure or section off a row is… inconceivable.
- A Book of Wayside Fruits by Margaret McKenny and Edith F. Johnston – This beautifully illustrated hardcover is from 1945. The concept of fruit is used less literally here to mean “fruit-bearing” plants rather than edible fruit bearing plants. Page 41 features a stunning illustration of one of my favourite poisonous berries, Bittersweet Nightshade.
- Blue Corn & Square Tomatoes: Unusual Facts About Common Garden Vegetables by Rebecca Rupp – It’s almost embarrassing to admit but I love books that get into the historical and cultural tidbits that are so often overlooked or forgotten in the pursuit of how-to’s and growing facts.
…And apparently it’s me! Thanks to Sarah who pointed me to this article in today’s National Post newspaper promoting next week’s Canada Blooms line-up including one of my two talks on growing food in the city.
Friday, March 9, 2007.
12:30pm. Room 714
Topic: Urban Potager: Growing Food in Small or Difficult Spaces
Saturday, March 10, 2007.
2:30pm. Room 714
Topic: Pretty Delicious: Beautiful Food Gardens
Swing by the Toronto Botanical Gardens booth (on the 700 level) directly after both presentations where I’ll be signing books and hanging out.
While grunge was over more than a decade ago, I just might start rocking that title a little. You know, for the selling out and such. As Sarah says, if it can work for “New York’s bad-boy chef” Anthony Bourdain (whom I just happen to LOVE) then… although maybe I’ll have to start actually cultivating a grunge demeanor. I’ve got the potty mouth (however the worst I have ever uttered in a presentation was “crapload”) and have never given up layering over thermal shirts given that I live in the cold north. I will definitely need to change the title to something a little more, ummmm, hardcore like say, “Bad Ass Gardening” or “Get to the Growing Motherfuckers.”
Question: I bought several cheap bags of daffodils and tulips on clearance this past December but didn’t get them into the ground on time. Spring is right around the corner, can I still plant them?
Don’t toss those bulbs! Despite all the fuss about proper planting times, most bulbs are hardy little packages that can be saved with some minor intervention. Heaps of bulbs are hard on the wallet — off-season specials are a smart way to create an endless parade of spring blooms on the cheap. Of course, some bulbs are on sale for a reason, so choose firm, plump bulbs and leave shriveled or moldy bulbs at the store.
Dutch bulbs such as daffodils and tulips require some chill time before spring planting. Daffodils require approximately 12-16 weeks, while tulips call for a lengthy 14-20 weeks. Stash your bulbs bare inside mesh or paper bags and pop them into your refrigerator’s crisper drawer. Keep them away from apples or other ripe fruit since the ethylene gas they emit can cause your bulbs to rot. Take a peek every once and a while to be sure they haven’t mummified in the bag — good ventilation is key. Don’t freak out if they start to grow gnarly sprouts — a living bulb is a good bulb! And if they do nothing: that’s okay too.
To give your bulbs an added edge, try pre-planting them into containers of potting soil. Chill in an unheated garage, cold cellar, or shed and water them now and then to help form roots right in the pot.
Try and wait until the minimum chill time has passed before planting your bulbs out in the garden. Needless to say, you stand nothing to lose if they have to go outside early. Most bulbs won’t survive a year in regular storage so better late than never. Bloom time is bound to be off schedule this year, or won’t happen at all. No worries, your plants will reschedule themselves and produce heaps of flowers next spring.