Gaze upon this lineup of vine-ripened tomatoes I photographed last fall in my pal Amy’s garden. Remember fresh, ripe, sweet, rich, juicy tomatoes? On toast. With fresh, homegrown basil. Don’t forget to get your tomato seedlings started so you can enjoy these babies come August!
And if you’re in Toronto next week I’ll be giving a hands-on workshop on starting seeds at Grassroots Environmental Products Store.
Get your hands dirty and learn the ins and outs of starting veggies, herbs, and flowers from seed in this hands-on, organic growing workshop. Thrifty hints and tips for beginners, apartment dwellers and small space gardeners. Participants will each take a seedling-to-be home with them.
When: Monday, April 23, 2007. 7:30 pm
Where: 372 Danforth Ave, Toronto (at Chester subway)
$10 ($5 students/seniors/unwaged)
Pre-registration and payment is necessary to reserve a space.
Space is limited to 20 people. Register at either Grassroots locations or call (416) 466-2841.
Okay that’s gotta be the most ridiculous and possibly crass musical reference I have ever made. I love that song and Sam Cooke but I have officially maxed out the recommended safe usage of “CH-CH-CH-CHANGES” as a header/title.
You will notice that the homepage and some inner pages of this site have a new look. If the site still looks as it did last week or pages are crazily wonky please refresh your browser or cache. You may also notice a new archiving system to your right. It contains all of the old-school section headers (top and bottom of the page) with additional subheaders listed below. I hope that once implemented this new archiving system will make it a lot easier to navigate the site and locate older but very handy information.
There’s seven year’s worth of content on this site amounting to a WHOLE LOT of pages. Lots of information is good, right? Unfortunately, many of those pages were hand-coded by yours truly back in the day. You know, the olden days. As a result we have lots of work left to make all old pages reflect the new style and/or work within the new archiving system. Please excuse the mess while this integration is cobbled together. A crack team of tiny, kind of snarky, sometimes grumpy, but highly efficient elves are on the job!
And finally you will notice that the You Grow Girl site is no longer functioning as an online magazine with multiple contributors. There are all kinds of reasons for this but the short of it is that seven years is a long time and I’ve been slowly burning out. Moving the site in this new direction has reignited my spark and reserves some energy for me on a personal level. I will continue to write here regularly, and once the madness of the spring season rush and site changes have passed I will be recruiting guest posters to spice things up. I may even get to that newsletter thingy! Many who receive the newsletter have been emailing or stopping me on the street (I was surprised too!) to ask if I am okay and whatever happened to the newsletter. I didn’t know you cared. It is coming, I swear, but despite my efficient set-up those things take a surprising amount of time to write and prepare!
And last but not least I want to assure you that the forums are still running smoothly. In fact with spring in the air (except in my miserably cold and sunless part of the world, HELLO) the forums are in full swing.
-Peace out! (Is that still “cool with the kids?”) Gayla
Question: I just saw my first yellow and black ladybug! I live in Germany, but previously lived in North Carolina. Are the yellow and black ladybugs more common in Europe?
Answer: Yes, yellow and black ladybugs are native to Europe but can be found (although less often) in North America too. The Common Spotted Ladybird Beetle is probably most often seen in North America (with the introduced Asian Ladybird Beetle following behind) however ladybugs come in all kinds of colours and patterns with larvae that also differ depending on the species. The site What’s That Bug has a fantastic page of ladybug photographs to give you an example of the diversity out there.
Through the magic of online photo-sharing I have been catching a peak at little seedlings coming up all over the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve also been enjoying the smell of tomato plants sprouting fresh leaves right in my own home grow-op. The promise of spring smells good! And yet one thing disturbs me — ya’ll are too in love with those horrible peat pellets! Because I am so eager to get you off that dope I’ve come up with another seed-starting option that is mega-cheap and easy.
It’s so simple I almost feel like I’m talking down to you by providing directions. Simply get yourself a bag of seed-starting mix or mix up a batch yourself. I purchased a 10L bag for $3.99 CDN at my friendly local hardware store. I have seen seed-starting soil for a lower price however this mix is organic, chemical-free, and features compost and “sustainably harvested peat”. [Note: I am not listing the product because while I like it I am still looking into what "sustainably harvested peat" really means.] Regardless, 10L is more than enough to tackle Phase One of my frighteningly large and ever-growing list of seeds and should take me straight through to upsizing my wee seedlings from the starter and into transplant containers. If you’ve got too much save it for next year or use it to root cuttings. The fact of the matter is that you will need to replant into larger containers at some point in the seed-starting process regardless of whether or not you start in those horrible peat pellets or not so you might as well just save the dough, buy a bag, and forego the pellets altogether.
Next, save yourself some toilet rolls. Start a week or two ahead and you’ll have plenty in time. Ask your neighbours and friends! They will not assume that this gardening thing has driven you mad.
With a pair of scissors, cut 1/4″ wide strips all around one end of the toilet roll tube. This is the same method used to wrap a bottle of wine or a poster.
Fold each strip down. The strips should start to overlap each other creating a bottom that will hold soil.
Fill the tube with pre-moistened soil, tap lightly or push the soil down, and add more until there is about a 1/2″ or so left at the top of the roll.
Sow one seed per roll. Watch the sides of the tube for dryness and keep that soil moist!
You’ll need to transplant your tubes into larger containers about 2-4 weeks after your seeds have germinated. The best part is that you don’t have to remove the toilet roll or touch any delicate seedling roots. Just plop the entire thing into a larger container of soil (think 4″ transplant pot). The toilet roll with breakdown into the soil and be overcome by little plant roots in no time.
And since we’re on the topic of toilet rolls, start saving yours now so you’ll be stocked up when it comes time to plant your tomato seedlings out. I am yet to find anything better than a lowly loo roll to protect seedlings from cut worms.
Sooooooo……….. I’m ready for my intervention.
Approximately $80 worth of seeds (plus duty charged by Canada Post) showed up in the mail over the last few days. That would be in addition to the COUNTLESS seeds I already have. And the ones that are turning into little seedlings under lights. And the seeds I will trade for at tomorrow night’s Exchange Potluck Party. And the seeds I will impulse buy before the garden season is over. And let’s not forget the transplants I will purchase come planting time.
I must have been feeling very optimistic and ambitious when I ordered 5 different pea varieties.
Last night I organized the first batch into my existing collection, but couldn’t resist pulling it all out today to browse through the packages, introduce them to the newest arrivals, open each package to examine the seeds (beans are the most exciting), and generally revel in my wealth. I feel like I’ve won the lottery! Rolling around on the floor in all of the packages did cross my mind for a fleeting moment. Fully clothed of course.
Sure I say it every year but it has got to be said…. my garden/s is/are going to kick so much ass this year!!