Make Your Own Homegrown Smudge Sticks

Gifts from the Garden: Homegrown Smudge Sticks

Smudge sticks are tightly bound bundles of dried woody, resinous herbs, that are slowly burned as a way to purify and cleanse the air. While the roots of burning a smudge stick, or smudging, is in North American Native purification rites and ceremony, they can be used by anyone to bring the woody smell of


Hanging Tomato Plants to Ripen Indoors

Since moving to a house with a basement three years ago, I have been experimenting with hanging whole tomato vines before the frost to ripen indoors. I’ve tried this technique in varying conditions: in a cold, dark basement; in the darker corners of an unheated porch; right up in the windows of the same south-facing

Winter Squash and Pumpkins

40 Year Old Woman is Buried Alive Beneath Gorgeous Fall Pumpkins

Yesterday afternoon 20 gorgeous, and very large pumpkins/winter squash arrived on my doorstep courtesy of my friend Uli. She had gone out of her way to purchase many of them from a local farmer to use as Halloween decor, and a few others were given to her for free. Knowing that they would only rot

Japanese Maple Red Dragon

Autumn Acers on Fire

Colourful fall leaves collected from the 7 small Japanese maple trees I am growing in my garden. The colder days and nights of fall have really brought the city’s Japanese maples (Acer) trees into full form. Lately, as I walk through Toronto neighbourhoods, I am blown away again and again by the vibrant reds, oranges,

My Garden September 2013

Dear Margaret, We Dance This Mess Around

UPDATE: Marilyn is the chosen-at-random winner of this giveaway. Please feel free to keep adding your words in the comments. Dear Margaret, Lately, I’ve been thinking about this short passage, an exchange between writer Alice Walker and her mother that appears in her memoir, The Same River Twice. “…”You(‘re) a little mess, ain’t you.” Meaning

Aloe Pink Blush in bloom

Blooming Aloe ‘Pink Blush’

It was the day of our 20th anniversary, but I COULD NOT miss the annual Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society sale at the Toronto Botanical Garden (a different account of this story appears over here). Davin entertained my desire to go — an anniversary gift of sorts and one that he has been

Shallots, onions, leeks, and other edible alliums

Growing Bonus Onions in a Small Space

I have a “stick them wherever they’ll fit” attitude towards onions, shallots, garlic, and leeks. While most edible alliums grow to be their biggest and best when the soil is rich and the sun is bright, I often start the season with more allium seedlings and sets than ideal space in which to plant them.

Gayla Trail harvesting Pilar Winter Squash aka Zapallito Redondo de Tronco

Food Worth Growing: ‘Pilar’ Winter Squash

Back in late July I told you about a two-for-one squash from Argentina called ‘Pilar’ aka ‘Zapallito Redondo de Tronco’ that can be harvested young as a zucchini, or left to ripen and enjoyed later in the year as a winter squash. Well, three months have passed and I have begun harvesting and eating the

Mixed Succulent Pot

Mixed Succulent Container

I went all out for succulents this year and had some fun putting together a range of containers using tender plants. I live in a colder climate where tender succulents must be brought inside to overwinter, and for this reason I have tended to stick to making mixed plantings of hardy succulents only (with the

propeller plant Crassula falcata

Succulent Fever: Propeller Plant

With flat and fleshy, bluish/silver/green leaves that reach out horizontally as if the plant may take flight, Propeller Plant (Crassula perfoliata var. falcata) is an aptly named South African succulent that I think you’ll love. For those who are curious, according to “Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners,” the Latin “falcata” or “falcate” means

Pepper Trinidad Perfume

Food Worth Growing: ‘Trinidad Perfume’ Pepper

I love the idea of hot peppers much more than my body likes it when I eat them. For that reason I am always on the look out for what West Indians call “seasoning peppers.” That is, varieties that impart the flavour of hot peppers without the heat.* One of the best seasoning peppers that

Grow Write Guild: Creative writing prompts for gardeners

Grow Write Guild #13: Endings and Transitions

I’m beginning to see the end*. Gaps are appearing where summer annuals have been yanked. Seed heads are quickly replacing flowers and colour in the garden comes more from the green leaves that are shifting towards yellows, reds, and browns. The world is in transition. I’ve been thinking about this lately. The way I focus

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