Squash and Cucumber Flowers

Diversity is Beautiful (and Other Tangents to See You Into the Weekend)

I’ve been thinking a lot about diversity in the garden. As I wander around, observing everything that is growing, the beautiful diversity within each family and genus, and even within the same plant amazes me. I don’t have anything super profound to say about this right now, it’s just something that I am appreciating in

Bay Laurel Grown in a Container

Growing Bay Laurel in a Pot

Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) is a Mediterranean tree whose leaves are most famously used as a flavour boost to soups and stews. I bought econo-sized bags of scentless bay leaves for years before I was converted by my first experience with the real thing. Bay has a sweet and heady perfume with a spicy nutmeg

A range of open-pollinated garden squashes and zucchini

Cucurbits From My Garden

Over the last few years I haven’t been growing enough cucurbits (namely squashes and cucumbers) to meet our eating demands, so last winter I resolved to dedicate more garden space to a range of types in the 2013 growing season. This meant cutting back a bit on my beloved tomatoes, but alas… While I was

Urban Garden Balcony Garden

Urban Gardenspiration

We’ve hit midsummer, a time in my area when the garden tends to go downhill. While there is much bounty to be had, many plants begin to suffer in the heat. Or it is just their time to go. Or we’re just too darn tired/hot/fed up/over it to keep up with garden chores. Sometimes we

storing freshly picked apricots

A Way to Store Fresh Apricots

This is how my friend Abbey stores a large quantity of freshly picked apricots over the short term. She uses recycled egg cartons to prevent the fruit from touching, which she says decreases their chances for rot. Brilliant, don’t you think? And a great way to recycle egg cartons, too!

pilar squash aka zapallito redondo de tronco

Food Worth Growing: ‘Pilar’ Squash

I bought the seed for ‘Pilar’ aka ‘Zapallito Redondo de Tronco,’ an unusual squash variety two years back from New World Seeds and Tubers. I tried to direct-sow the seed outdoors twice in that first year, but was unable to coax a single seed to germinate. This spring I over-sowed indoors underneath light to be

purple shiso aka perilla

Refreshing Shiso Iced Tea

Shiso (Perilla frutescens) is a beautiful herb that self-seeds with abandon. It’s flavour is hard to pinpoint, something akin to mint meets a savoury herb like caraway with a hint of citrus. I’ve been growing it for years, but it’s aggressive nature always seemed to be curbed on the roof where conditions could be exceedingly

thyme drying in a paper bag

Davin’s Patented Herb Drying Contraption

It has been unbearably hot and muggy here over the last few days. If you’re living with the same conditions, I recommend waiting for the humidity to lift before attempting to air dry any significant quantity of herbs. However, the other night Davin picked too much thyme for a meal and spontaneously constructed this contraption

amorphophallus_bulbifer

Beautiful and Wretched Voodoo Lily

The voodoo lily’s (Amorphophallus bulbifer) reputation as a real stinker precedes it, and I have to admit that I have always been a bit hesitant about introducing something that smells badly to my home. Still, as the bulb drew closer to blooming, it was curiosity, and the worry that I would miss the event that

ammoghiu: Sicilian Herb and Garlic Pesto

Heck Yeah! Sicilian Ammoghiu

Last night we enjoyed dinner at The Black Skirt, a Sicilian/Calabrian Italian restaurant here in Toronto. Before the meal, we were served slices of Italian loaf, as is the custom in most Italian restaurants. But where most restaurants tend to provide a plate of good quality olive oil for dipping, The Black Skirt offered something

homegrown lavender salt

Lavender Sea Salt

I have a bit of an obsession with salt. I went through a phase tasting every kind of salt I could find, and I still get excited when I come across new types in specialty food stores. Last summer we happened upon a store called The Meadow in New York’s West Village that carries over

Making Plant Hydrosol with an Alembic Copper Still

Experiments in Plant Hydrosol Distillation

Oh, how I love my alembic copper still! I’ve been having such a great time experimenting with it over these past few weeks. The process of distilling plant matter in water to make hydrosol is creative and right brained, but it also engages my left brain in just the right way. It feels like alchemy,

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