Yesterday I posted about the Cyclamen coum I was gifted by my friend Barry, and later that day I visited his cold greenhouse where his were in bloom along with many other botanical delights, including these Crocus biflorus ssp. isauricus ‘Spring Beauty’ (aka snow crocus) that he grew in a pot. The dark purple underside really makes them. I planted 20 in the ground last fall and can’t wait for my own to make an appearance.
Assorted and Sundry:
- Easy Growing is now available on the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.
- Sometime this month, YouGrowGirl.com turned 12 years old. I wanted to say more about it but 12 is an awkward age and my interest in acknowledging it beyond a hasty mention has fallen away. About a month or so ago, I wrote a longwinded piece chronicling what my life was like when I started the site, but I can’t find it on my computer now and it’s just as well as it suffered from a touch of navel-gazing-itis. Speaking of which, just yesterday I discovered that someone has posted the documentary television show about me online. I find it intolerable to watch myself now and won’t offer a link. If you find it, please be kind… it was shot 4.5 years ago, practically a lifetime has passed since.
- E-Junkie: Top 11 Garden Blogs
- Book Page Review of Easy Growing
- For those in Toronto, I will be selling books at the Scadding Court Seedy Saturday this coming weekend (12-5) as well as the following weekend at the Brickworks Seedy Saturday event (11am-4pm).
I can feel it in the air. Just today I noticed that a few more green bits had forced their way above the soil surface outside. Spring will be here soon and for some of you it has already arrived. In the meantime, these flowers have been helping me through. Their colourful, long lasting blooms have been a nice respite from the dreary monochromatic gloom of winter.
I have so much to tell you about the Ecuadorian food store in my neighbourhood that it was difficult working out where to begin. I’ve travelled in Southern Mexico and I’ve perused many Latin American food stores, yet this store was a treasure trove of exciting food stuffs I had never seen before, primarily from Peru, Ecuador and Columbia. The packaging was delightful, too. But that’s a post in itself.
First up is huacatay, a dark sauce in a jar that had me perplexed. The label identified the main ingredient as “black mint”, but the illustration on the front looked nothing like the black peppermint I am familiar with. If I had to take a guess, I’d say it was a marigold, but even though I eat marigolds (particularly the gem series), I do so in small quantities and could not imagine devoting it to a sauce. Because that seemed illogical, I chalked the illustration up to the sort of packaging that just has any old plant stuck into the design.
It’s become a tradition and now that I live in an Italian neighbourhood it’s pretty much a requirement. When my local Italian greengrocer set out the seed rack I did a little happy dance, and it was then that I knew I was doomed to buy more seed than I will ever have room to grow.
Cucumber ‘Spuredda Leccese’ – While not technically a cucumber (Cucumis sativa), this Italian melon (Cucumis melo) from the Puglia region (Southern Italy) is eaten like one. I have seed for several Italian cucumber/melon varieties and am quite taken with them. The poorly translated product description was also a selling point. “It has to be harveste the unripe fruit and consumpted in salad.” It’s either going to be awesome in a salad or bring about the consumption — I like the promise of a little risk.
Arugula ‘Selvetica’ aka rucola selvatica (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) – This is my favourite arugula, hands down, and even though I have several packets from other companies, I can’t seem to stop buying it. Just in case! If The Apocalypse comes in 2012 I will not be without.
Onion ‘Tropea Rossa Tonda’ – I am partial to red onion varieties and am more likely to plant them than white. It’s the colour! This one has an interesting shape and matures to red. I’ve long since started my onion seed — these will go in the second sowing. I believe these may be a short day variety so I don’t know what kind of luck I will have with them; however, we have no shortage for scallion usage so I’d be okay if they never reach bulb size.
At least a decade has passed since I first discovered and started growing cold hardy opuntia and yet it still comes as a surprise that they exist, like some mythical unicorn come to life. And there are so many of them! Some have thick paddles like the big opuntia that produce edible pears in southern climates. Others have thin leaves and stand tall — a lot taller than you’d think possible in freezing climates.
I used to grow winter hardy cactus in pots on the old roof garden, and I had small success (and mostly failure) growing them in the barren earth next to the building; however, moving to a place with a yard was an opportunity to give them a permanent place of importance and experiment with a dry garden bed, albeit on a small scale.