Recently in My Garden + Assorted and Sundry

July was painfully hot and dry. The garden suffered and there were days when I was sure that I would lose a few plants as a result.

August, on the other hand, has been wet and somewhat cool. I really can’t complain. I don’t remember the last time I watered anything other than the pots and many plants have bounced back from the extreme conditions. The only drawback is that the earwigs and slugs have regained traction and some of my tomatoes split on the vine due to the rapid shift overnight from extremely dry to wet. I don’t like knowing that summer’s days are limited, but I do like that I can get out into the garden without burning to a crisp!

Clockwise from Top Left: 1. My garden on August 9, 2012. 2. We made Stuffed Squash Blossoms last night. First batch of the summer and SO SO good. 3. Yesterday also marked the first big batch of homegrown Roasted Tomato Soup of the season. It was a day of delicious seasonal firsts. 4. I am in love with ‘Rattlesnake’ pole bean, a beautiful and delicious heirloom that I inherited from my friend Margaret at The beans come on fast and grow large quickly, yet I’ve been able to snack on them raw despite their size. Oh dear. ‘Trionfo Violetto’ has got some work ahead if it is going to hold onto its title as my go-to pole bean favourite.

Assorted and Sundry

  • Over at HGTV Gardens where I have a weekly Q&A column, I recently wrote about how to help zucchini plants that won’t produce fruit, gave advice on how to plant during a heatwave, and offered solutions for overcoming blossom end rot.
  • The Homegrown Tomato Juice recipe from our new pocketbook, “Drinking the Summer Garden” is available over on Treehugger.
  • If you’re in Toronto this week for the Urban Agriculture Summit (or just cause), I’ll be signing copies of my books along with other urban ag authors at an event called “Growing the City” at Toronto City Hall. When: Thursday, August 16, 2012. 6:30pm-8. Where: Toronto City Hall Rotunda, 100 Queen Street West, Toronto. I hear there will be free refreshments as well as a tour of the green roof before the event between 6pm and 6:30.
  • On Friday, August 17 at 10:30am I will be chairing a session on diversity (or the lack of) in urban agriculture called, “Urban Food Production and Social Inclusion” with speakers Shewat Zeru from AfriCan Food Basket and Malik Yakini, the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.

    I believe that tickets are still available to attend this conference. There are tiered rates for students and small businesses and non-profits available as well as skills-based workshops that can be attended individually and without a full conference pass.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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10 thoughts on “Recently in My Garden + Assorted and Sundry

  1. I am recently in love my Thai White Beans… They are huge 2ft beans! I just love how they crazily stick out this arm and grow two or three long beans out of the mass of vines. Great in stir fries!

  2. Hi Gayla,

    My zucchini was annihilated by cucumber beetles, and this was after I destroyed a few mating pairs of squash bugs. I wonder if the problem was a susceptible variety or unusual cuc beetle pressure.
    What pests have you had to ward off this year?

    • Cucumber beetles have been particularly prolific this year. I think it is the combo of the warm winter and flip flop weather this season.

  3. Finally, a name to go with the beans I’ve been eating for the last three years! For a few years now we’ve allowed a neighbor (older Hmong woman) to use our water to grow food in the vacant lot next to our house. (We just recently legally acquired the land but no one cared that we gardened in it before.)

    Anyway, she grows these beans every year and new plantings are from saved seeds. Because of the language barrier I’ve never been able to ask her what the names of the vegetables and greens are. They really are great beans though and I eat them raw all the time.

  4. This year my garden suffered!!! I can be honest and say it was the weather and it was also me….Where are all the bees??? I hardly got any tomatoes and eggplant flowers to do more then blossom and fall off!!! I have to say Gail….your garden inspires me not to give up!

  5. I’ve been enjoying the break in the heat too. My garden is doing pretty well, and my tomatoes are really taking off! I planted some Zapotec Pink Pleated tomato seeds I bought from your etsy shop and should be harvesting soon! I wrote a short blog post about it and have a picture of my plant @

    I also bought the Haley’s Comet seeds for my mom in St. Louis, and she has had a lot of success with her plants too! Says the tomatoes are delicious and have a really interesting color.

    It’s been a really cool experience to grow the tomatoes from seeds – from tomatoes that you had in your garden! It’s my first experience with seed sharing, and I’m really enjoying it.

  6. I have been growing rattlesnake pole beans for three years and have given up on bush beans because of them. Their window of ‘delicious raw’ is so big it’s ideal for our family with young children, sometimes we don’t find them all when we pick and sometimes they just can’t get enough. When they are mature they shell and dry nicely for soups and stews. The kids love that the seeds are striped and that they loose their stripes when they are cooked. An all-round great bean!

  7. I use my canning jars for seeds saved, heirloom beans, small french soaps, pencils or and for jams. I LOVE the wide mouth jars you featured and the fact that the seal is reusable. Thanks for all your helpful ideas!

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