chiltepin

Food Worth Growing: Chiltepin Pepper

Chiltepin (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum) aka (Capsicum annum var. aviculare) or bird pepper is a small, pea-sized chile that grows wild on 3-4 ft-tall shrubs in parts of Texas and Northern Mexico. Coming in at 50,000-100,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), this pepper is ferociously hot and pungently flavoured. The heat comes on violently, yet diminishes

sand verbena

Early Spring California Desert Wildflowers

I recently had the good fortune to visit the Mojave desert just after the area received a few days of much-needed springtime rain. The rain was followed by warm, springtime temperatures and sun, and you know what that means… FLOWERS!

Thrift Score Booklist

Thrift Score Booklist

In the centre of the living room inside my childhood home, a heavy 70′s era fake colonial-style coffee table sat on top of a grass green shag rug. It was a behemoth of a thing, all dangerous sharp corners and rock hard, pressboard edges. Its matching end tables were equally large and bevelled, and together,

Grapefruit Bitters and Pomelo Gin

Holiday Gifts, Homemade Bitters, and Other Tangents

A Way to Garden Radio – I recently appeared as a guest on Margaret Roach’s weekly podcast to talk about Holiday gifts to make using plants and things gleaned from the garden. Click here to listen for free. To get your Holiday gift giving started, Margaret is giving away two garden-themed tees from our shop,

backyard medicine

Backyard Medicine Book Winner (+Newsletter Giveaway)

Lara was randomly selected as the most recent book giveaway, Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal. I’ve decided to extend this giveaway to one person on the newsletter list. I’ll be randomly choosing a winner on the morning of Monday, July 22, so you have until

Linden Flower Tea

Foraging for Linden Flowers (+ Giveaway)

I live smack dab inside an urban forest of linden aka lime (Tilia) and at no time is that more obvious than mid-June-July when the trees are dripping with blooms. Their sticky sweet, floral scent is so strong, my bet is that even if you have never noticed the trees, chances are good that you

Sonoran Desert Food Plants

Books to Take with You to the Desert

T-minus just a few days before we leave on our 10 day desert trip and the madness is in full swing around here. I am never again going away on such a long trip at the height of planting season. Lesson learned. Still, I figure I will stop fussing and fretting about my own garden

Coffee dyed thread photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Dyeing Fibre with Plants

Last summer I resolved to try and make further use of the plants that I grow by employing them as natural textile dyes. When their season was through, I did a few experiments, dying various fabric scraps with the burgundy leaves and immature blooms of the large false roselle plants I had grown that year.

Pelargonium damaged by cold

Dear Margaret: a Letter to a Gardening Friend (+ Giveaway)

Dear Margaret: Those two words are how each “letter” in this new series will begin, whenever I write here to my friend Margaret Roach of A Way to Garden. Installments will include a letter from each of us, unplanned and posted simultaneously to our websites. It will be interesting to see how our correspondence develops

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Crispy Shallots, Shallot Oil, and Cookbooks

Recently, the addition of an island/counter that has suddenly provided me with more counter space than I have ever had before, as well as the well-timed arrival of an indulgent purchase of newly published cookbooks has us spending whole days in the kitchen. I am always drawn to the kitchen in other people’s homes. It’s

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

I Bought a Cleaver. In Fact, I Bought Two!

Emboldened by a cleaver buying guide in the book, “Vietnamese Home Cooking,” I set off to Chinatown on Friday afternoon with the intent to buy a cleaver. As a teenager, I worked a handful of sweaty kitchen jobs where I was taught proper knife skills and somehow, through the experience of chopping a hell of

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