Press mentions of You Grow Girl, Gayla Trail, or her work and books.
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 was on Martha Stewart Radio today to talk about my new book about growing herbs and edible flowers. The question was asked, “What is your favourite edible flower?” and I replied, without hesitation, “Nasturtiums, hands down.”
Of course, now as I am typing this, I am hesitating, “But wait… what about roses? You really like roses. Don’t forget violas! You lose your mind over them in the springtime. Scented geraniums… you can’t live without them.” And so on…
No, really. I often choose nasturtium when asked this question and I think it comes down to the unexpected. Most people expect edible flowers to taste kind of sweet, floral, and a little bit weird, which is how many flowers smell. When I hold out a nasturtium, which does not have a particularly strong smell, and ask a friend to eat it, no one ever anticipates that their tongue will be met with a burst of sweetness and a spicy, radish-like kick.
Nasturtiums are fun, perhaps more-so than other flowers.Leave a comment
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.Leave a comment
Like last year, I will be putting together a series of edible gardening articles (writing and photography) for the Globe & Mail that will be published in both the national portion of the printed paper and online every other Saturday until fall. The following, on growing strawberries is my first article of this season. If you’d like to see what I wrote last year, it looks like articles have been archived on the Globe and Mail website (scroll down the page to the title “How to Grow Veggies”).
While I’m being self-promotional: My next Toronto-based workshop (and likely my last until the fall.), “Growing Tomatoes in Containers” is this coming Saturday and there is still one or two spaces left.
The Summer 2010 issue of Country Gardens Magazine (which I love because my gardens are about as urban as one can get) has an interview with me in their “Over the Garden Gate” feature. Hello, if you have come from this mag!
Okay, enough of that. Here’s the article.
Next week I will post a strawberry/herb container planting that didn’t make it into the newspaper or online versions.
The Real Dirt: Bigger isn’t better when it comes to strawberries
A really good or even decent strawberry needs to be slow-ripened in the sun: They are literally tiny buttons of distilled sunshine. This is why the store-bought imposters, picked while still under-ripe to maximize time on the shelf, will never pass.
Fortunately, strawberries are probably the easiest fruit crop to grow. Anyone with a small patch of sun, whether it touches down on a backyard, a front stoop or a window ledge, can grow a little taste of summer. Individual strawberry plants are generally pretty small, with shallow root systems. As a result, they’re adaptable to growing in tight spaces and even smaller containers where few other fruits will thrive. I once grew a strawberry plant in a repurposed soup can. Sure, it produced only a couple of berries, but by God they were delicious little morsels — and better to have a taste of the good stuff than none at all.
Growing up in the fruit belt of Ontario, I was under the mistaken impression that all strawberries were the same: the bigger the better. But it turns out that the tiny, wild types are superior when it comes to taste. It’s as if all of the flavour of a big berry is super-concentrated and then jammed into a smaller package. Wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca) and their cultivated cousins, known as alpines or frais des bois, last forever in the garden too, while the gigantic hybrids (Fragaria x ananassa) tend to fizzle out and stop producing after a few years. Of the hybrids, try a day-neutral variety that will set fruit throughout the growing season (‘Seascape’ is one) or ‘Mara des Bois’ for a flavour and fragrance bred to compete with wild types. For something decorative, choose varieties that have colourful flowers — such as ‘Lipstick’ and ‘Pink Panda’ — rather than the typical white.
To get ripe berries this season, buy a hanging basket of mature plants that will be ready for picking through the summer. To grow a long-term crop, begin in the spring with mature bare rootstock or leafy plants — don’t bother with seed unless you want to grow a big crop of alpines. Dig the plants in so that the crown (where the leaves meet the roots) is just above the soil line. If it’s too deep, the crown will rot; if it’s too high, it will dry out.
Strawberries require a bright and sunny spot with excellent drainage — they are one of a few edibles that will thrive in moderately sandy soil. In a less than sunny spot, try the ‘Mignonette’ variety, an alpine that turns out loads of charming, pointy little fruit set against toothy, ornamental leaves.
More important than sun, strawberries grow best when the soil is kept moist, but not soggy. Lay a thick blanket of straw mulch around the plants to moderate the soil moisture and keep weeds out. Add a little bit of compost at planting time but don’t overdo it with fertilizer or you’ll end up with boring, bland berries.
Except for alpines, all strawberry plants reproduce aggressively by setting off tiny plantlets known as runners. Come fall, you can encourage runners to take root and quickly double your initial investment with a bigger crop next year. Keep your plants alive through the winter by tucking them in with a new blanket of straw. Shallow window-box plants probably won’t survive, but you can transfer them to the garden or into much deeper planter boxes or plastic pots and repot next spring.Leave a comment