Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Planting a Sempervivum Trough

Sempervivums or Hens and Chicks as they are commonly called, are an incredibly hardy, and drought tolerant succulent that can take a fair amount of abuse, yet when I was starting out on my roof, they were the last plant I wanted to grow. I’d come to associate them with the few that had been

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

What Makes a Good Gardener?

This year, more than any other year in the last decade, I have heard from more burgeoning or wanna be gardeners admonishing themselves or simply stating, “I can’t garden; I kill plants.” Statistically, a huge number of people have taken up gardening for the first time over the last few growing seasons (hooray!) so it

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Repurposed for the Garden: Forceps

The other day, while shopping in the plant section of the Montreal Botanical Garden’s gift store I came upon a long pair of forceps that a staff member must have forgotten, left sitting among the cacti. In that moment it occurred to me, aha, yes, THIS is just the tool I need to help wrangle

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Worm Food

Sometimes, when I’m feeling too lazy to hand chop, I give dinner’s assorted vegetable scraps a quick whiz in the food processor before feeding the gruel to the worms in my kitchen wormery. I liken it to cutting the food on your kids’ plate into sizes that are manageable for their little mouths. I imagine

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Letting Go

A sad mess of dessicated branches soon to meet the compost bin is all that remains of my beloved ‘Chinese Ornamental’ hot pepper plant. I had grown fond of this little hot pepper plant and was sad to let it go. I started the plant from seed two years and lovingly nurtured it through the

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Extending the Harvest

This piece was originally published in The Globe & Mail over the weekend as a part of my series on kitchen gardening. Regarding using burlap and burlap sacks: Just to be clear, do keep them away from the crowns of your plants since they can get awfully heavy when wet. In fact, they are best

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Fruits of Passion

The other day I happened upon a store that was selling four different types of passion fruit (passiflora) simultaneously. While I have tried some of these types separately before, finding four at once posed an excellent opportunity to judge them against each other. Then I figured why not try to collect the seeds and grow

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

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Mulching with Fresh Kelp

I traveled to Rhode Island a few weeks ago on what was a whirlwind 24 hour (including transport time) trip to shoot a food gardening segment for the show Cultivating Life. I’ll tell you about that some other time. They had ducks! However, what I would like to tell you about today were the planters

Mid and Late-Season Planting

My latest Globe and Mail Microfarming article came out on Saturday. I’ve included the text below. My editor sent a photographer out this time so there are some pictures in the printed version not taken by me, and one of me planting arugula online. I didn’t lay chickenwire over the flat as protection after planting,

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

How to Compost and Reduce Waste

Since The City of Toronto is week three into a city workers strike that includes garbage collection, it appears (see above) to be a very good time to reintroduce some resources on small space composting. One sure-fire, easy way to compost that I haven’t included here is to dig a hole. Yes, like the infomercials

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