Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Elderberries

My friend Barry has an elderberry tree in his yard. Last summer he offered up the harvest in exchange for a sampling of the end product. I collected a lot of berries and was a bit unsure about what to do with them. Raw elderberries have a somewhat unpleasant scent and are not edible so

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

First Lunch Courtesy of the Garden

Recently, our meals have been peppered with ingredients gleaned from the gardens; however, today’s lunch is the first that is all garden grown. Here’s the breakdown: Chive Blossoms: A hardy perennial that has been growing for about a decade in a big container on the roof. Lemon Balm: Eat the fresh leaves in the spring.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Tripod and Pea Staking

Staking is one of those topics that I was sadly unable to cover in the Grow Great Grub book due to space considerations. I covered it pretty thoroughly in You Grow Girl and I have to say that years later, and having experimented with other methods, my go-to cheap and cheerful method both in the

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Special Order for Comfrey

I recently wrote about the nutritional benefits of mulching and fertilizing with sea kelp. A commenter mentioned using comfrey, to which I replied that I am a big fan of comfrey as a fertilizer and would recommend it as a mulch, although I would suggest chopping it up or drying first since the leaves are

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Preserving Spring Ramps

Ramps, aka wild leeks, are a wild North American onion-like plant that pop up in forested areas in early-mid spring. The season for ramps is short, typically no more than a few weeks between April and May depending on your location. Believe me when I say that they are GOOD. Ramps resemble scallions except that

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Stinging Nettle Tea

In my world, foraging goes hand-in-hand with gardening. Maybe it’s because the compulsion to do both comes from the same place in my brain (a fascination with the natural world and an interest in knowing how things work). Or maybe it’s because I am thrifty and can’t stand the idea of so much good stuff

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Fight the Spread of Invasive Garlic Mustard (& Eat It Too)

Another spring and a new crop of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is setting up camp for the season. We found a few small plants in the street garden cleanup last week and several at the community garden, many that were already much larger and lusher than any of the other cold hardy perennials growing there.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Things I Learned While Camping

Homesteading — the kind that involved living in tents and no machinery — was terribly difficult. I’m sure of it. Of course I already knew this, camping merely drove that point home in a new way. Simple tasks take longer, requiring more planning. Who wants tea? Well, first you’ve got to make a fire. This

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Blackberry Season

I took these pictures while foraging for blackberries just around the corner from our campsite in Massassauga Provincial Park. The park is a Unesco World Biosphere Reserve. The second biosphere I have visited this year! That smush on the right Polaroid is the remains of an unfortunate mosquito. I like nature, I really do. But

Photo by Davin Risk All Rights Reserved

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

The garlic mustard population is really getting out-of-hand at the community garden this year. I’ve discovered loads of it in unused areas of disturbed, lousy soil and it is expanding rapidly into the edges around plot beds. I was diligent in removing much of it last year so the population isn’t big enough yet to

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Nettle Soup

In the spirit of Be Nice to Nettles Week, we tried our hand at a batch of nettle soup using the site recipe as a basis. Let me tell you that a half pound of nettles is a whole lot more than you’d expect. I harvested enough young nettles (stems included) to fill a small

Be Nice to Nettles Week

I first discovered stinging nettle one day while book shopping on Harbord Street, a popular used book area of Toronto. One of the stores had a selection of herbs sitting out front. Anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for herbs and am impulsive about touching them. You should see me at the

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