Tomorrow is the big day! Tuesday, Feb 7 is the official release date of my new book Easy Growing: Organic Herbs and Edible Flowers from Small Spaces. It’s the day that the book shows up on store shelves, pre-orders are shipped, and the online ordering button is switched from “Pre-Order” to “Order.” I’m not yet aware of all of the stores that will be carrying it, but we have made a list of the major online sellers here. Electronic versions of the book will be released in the near future.
In case you’re wondering about its contents, a “Look Inside” feature has been added to the Amazon ordering page, we have made a short Show and Tell video (seen above), and sample pages have been added to the book’s website.
In anticipation of its release, we have also added a number of printable downloads to the website that are related to projects contained within the book. For fun, I made a bonus pdf of a recipe (Spicy Blue Basil Vinegar) that had to be cut from the final print due to space considerations. I know that handfuls of fresh garden basil is a distant dream unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, but I do urge you to make herb vinegars (any herbs will work) when you get the chance. They’re a good way to add some fresh herbal flavour to winter meals. We’re currently enjoying the medley of vinegars I made last fall.
I’m going to be on Martha Stewart Radio tomorrow morning, Tuesday, February 7 at 10:30am EST to talk about growing herbs as well as some of the recipes in the book. If you have satellite radio, you can tune in to hear it at Sirius XM 110.
While I am on the topic of book releases, here’s a peek at the German translation of Grow Great Grub. I can’t wait to see it printed.
While it is still early days yet here in the upper regions of North America, many of us (myself included) have begun the process of buying and planting seeds for the 2012 gardening season. There are 12 years of resources published on this website, many of which even I have trouble locating, so I’ve compiled a list here to make it easier for you.
Caring for Seedlings & Planting Out
This morning, a group of farmers and organic seed growers have gathered at a hearing in New York City to present oral arguments as the first phase in what could turn out to be an historic lawsuit brought against biotech giant Monsanto.
The suit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto, was brought as a pre-emptive suit by a group of 83 co-plaintiffs that seeks, in part, to protect themselves against the alleged patent infringement suits that they fear they will face if their seed becomes contaminated by transgenic (aka GMO) genetics.
“According to the Public Patent Foundation, Monsanto has one of the most aggressive patent assertion agendas in history. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto admits to filing 144 lawsuits against America’s family farmers, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts.“
The trip to Rancho la Puerta begins and ends at the San Diego airport. This was my first time to Southern California, and since it turned out to be cheaper (due to the New Year travel rush) to stay a few days in San Diego than fly home straight away, we took advantage to enjoy a bonus day and a half in the city.
Having now had a chance to see first hand what gardening is like in Southern California, I can say with authority that I would move there in a heartbeat to enjoy that luscious, long-season growing. I spent the last few minutes before we had to head to the airport running from one neglected front yard citrus tree to the next screaming (mostly on the inside), “Dear god, look at all of these oranges!”
If it were not for the state of traffic and poor public transportation options, I would be cranking up the Zeppelin and packing my bags right now. I can’t live in a car dependent city, never mind the fact that my stomach was in my throat every time we got on the road. Since I’m being honest, the earthquakes freak me out a bit, too.
This garden was the first I saw when we arrived at our hotel. You’ll recognize the large clumps of blooming bird of paradise (Strelitzia). It seems to grow like a weed here and I noticed that it was a public garden planting favourite. But the real show-stopper, the plant that I could almost leave my bike-riding, public transportation utopia for is the giant Dr. Suess-like Fox Tail Agave (Agave attenuata).
My god, that is the most phenomenal agave I have ever seen in my life! Alas, I try my best to keep my little collection of potted agaves healthy, but what I wouldn’t give to grow a massive cluster like this.
There are several benefits to living and gardening in a southern climate, but it’s the promise of a killer agave garden that gets to me most.
Every year I try to buy at least one new amaryllis bulb. What seems like a needless expense in the fall when I am still coming down from a bright and plentiful growing season, is almost essential by the time the long grey days of winter kick in. That little boost of colour and life is worth every penny.
I bought this year’s amaryllis, Hippeastrum papillio aka Butterfly amaryllis back in late September while I was at a garden shop picking up spring flowering bulbs for the garden. I have been longing to acquire this beautiful variety for years, but the price — often over $25 per bulb — put me off. Ever driven by a deal, I threw caution to the wind when I found mine at a $3.00 discount. Hey, it was the last one in the bin!