The latest Edible Vancouver is out, and with it, “In Anticipation of Summer,” my article on peaks and valleys, and the inevitable excesses of summer. It’s my favourite Edible Gardens column yet. I’d love you to read it and let me know what you think. Here’s a teaser:
There’s a rule among gardeners that no matter when someone visits your garden, it always looked better the week before. The week before, the roses were in full bloom. The week before, the mustard greens weren’t riddled with flea beetle buckshot. The week before, the weeds hadn’t yet surpassed the growth of your plants.
The latest Edible Vancouver is out, and with it, “The Virtuous Vegetable,” my article on getting drunk in Athens and my stint as a holier-than-thou vegetarian. It’s also about kale. Here’s a teaser:
I had a run-in with vegetarianism that started during tenth grade and ended, abruptly, in front of a fried-chicken counter in Athens. (It was carnival. There had been retsina.) Months later, back at university, I promised myself I’d once again forswear meat. And this time I’d do it right: I’d break my dependence on peanut butter and banana, mac and cheese. I’d actually eat—gasp!—vegetables.
I know it’s been a little — okay, very — quiet over here. Most of you probably gave up checking in months ago in favour of pinning cute earrings on Pinterest and obsessively checking Instagram. I know I have. You can’t spend all day online, after all. So to save all of us the time, I’m not going to get into why I’ve been a bad blogger, or promise to write more, or say any of the things I’d typically say when returning to my blog after a long absence.
The latest Edible Vancouver is out, and with it, “Making Friends with Favas,” my article on growing and enjoying fava beans. Favas (aka broad beans) are one of the few things you can actually sow in November. Plant ‘em now for a spring harvest.
After a gloriously long summer (we had our longest dry spell in over a hundred years), autumn has finally arrived in Vancouver. While most of the active planting and harvesting is over til spring (garlic and favas excepted), there’s still lots to be done in the garden.
We recently moved from our townhouse into a house (yay!), and our new street is lined with gorgeous old oak trees (double yay!). For the first time in my adult life, I’ve got leaves to rake (not sure whether I’m yay or nay about that task yet. It’s still new. Although I do know it means no more collecting bags of leaves from the neighbours for the compost!). Which means I need a rake.
Enter the Enviro leaf rake from Garant. Made with 25 percent recycled plastic and a handle made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified, sustainably-harvested wood, Garant claims a 14 percent reduction in manufacturing-related greenhouse gas emissions on this rake, shown above, compared to similar products made with virgin materials. This is a basic lightweight, flexible rake with a comfortable grip. It does the job nicely. No frills, but just enough thrill.
With all the renovations we’re doing (draintile, anyone?) I’ve also found the Garant Enviro square point shovel, shown above, helpful for moving quantities of sand and gravel. The shovel features the same handle design as does the Enviro rake, as well as a 20 percent recycled steel blade.
Another Garant product I’m enjoying is the Tubby, a flexible, lightweight tub that has seemingly endless uses. I use it as my weeding bucket, for holding grass clippings and leaves, and as a catchall for cleaning up the kidlet’s outdoor toys. It comes in 26L and 40L sizes and a ton of bright, fun colours. I could also see this used as the basket in a garden-themed gift basket, in kids’ rooms, or filled with ice and beers at a summer barbecue.
Garant products are affordably priced (under $20) and made in Canada to boot.
Full disclosure: Garant provided me with samples of the above products for review purposes. I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience with these products.
The latest Edible Vancouver is out, and with it, my article: “Hardy and Uncommon Fall Greens,” which is, you know, all about fall greens. In it, I provide tips on growing kale, collards, and arugula – the fall salad garden’s usual suspects – but also some of the lesser-known greens: claytonia, mache, and komatsuna, to name a few. Check it out – and plant a fall salad garden of your own!
Does your garlic look like this? Like it’s decided to shed its trustworthy girl-next-door image in favour of something a little more loose and blowzy?
Don’t worry: it’s cool. Just means it’s garlic scape time. If you planted a hardneck variety of garlic last fall, you’ll see a looping central stalk emerging right about now. Those stalks are called scapes, and they’re delicious steamed, stir-fried, or—my personal favourite—made into a pesto.
Instead of letting the scapes form a bulbil, lop them off just above the topmost leaf: not only can you eat them, but losing the scape forces the plant’s energy into producing a bigger bulb.
Ta-da! A garlic scape harvest (and all from a container on my balcony). There are about 10 scapes here: the perfect number for whizzing in the food processor with a little olive oil, Parmesan, and nuts (I use pine nuts or walnuts). Toss over warm new potatoes, or stir into pasta. Perfect.
The latest Edible Vancouver is out, and with it, my article: “It’s a Snap: Bean Basics.” Beans really are incredibly easy to grow, and you probably don’t need me to tell you how. But if you’re looking for reassurance, check it out for the lowdown on how-when-where of bean growing, as well as tips on what to do in your garden now. Happy almost-summer!
I’m happy to be taking part in a virtual book tour for Handmade Garden Projects, a new book from Timber Press and author Lorene Edwards Forkner.
I had the opportunity to meet Lorene and tour her wonderful Seattle garden last summer, and I was thrilled to see many snippets of Lorene’s very personal and whimsical garden appear in the pages of Handmade Garden Projects.
Lorene Edwards Forker’s Lil Loafer hideaway/garden folly – love this idea!
Lorene’s garden isn’t perfect—and I’d argue that any garden that can be described as such is therefore disqualified, anyway—but it has HEART. It’s full of charm and wit. Truly! It’s a witty garden, full of Lorene’s bubbly personality. I’m happy to report that her latest book is just the same: charming, effervescent, and yet, practical.
I’ll admit I opened the book with a bit of fear. Garden project books are often so same-old, same-old. Same projects, same approach. I needn’t have worried.
Lorene’s garden boasts this gabion-style coffee table. Handmade Garden Projects teaches you how to make your own.
What I love about these projects is that they’re so varied. There are projects, like a nail-head totem, that can be whipped up in minutes, and those, like a gabion-style coffee table, that you’ll complete over a weekend. Some, like the scrap metal window ledge, convey industrial charm, others, like the sleek succulent gutter, are well, sleek and modern.
Sleek succulent gutter in the garden of Lorene Edwards Forkner. Photo by Allan Mandell.
I also love that the instructions are so simple, and so easy to follow. But what makes this an extra-special project book is Lorene’s wonderful perspective on her subject. She lives this stuff, and has the garden to prove it. It’s an inspiration to someone like me, who often overlooks the impact that simple, personal touches can have on a landscape. Handmade Garden Projects is the perfect reminder.
Lorene’s garden is full of quirky touches, like this scrap metal shelf. Photo by Allan Mandell.
Want a copy? Timber Press is generously offering one lucky reader a copy of Handmade Garden Projects. Just leave a comment – by midnight PST on May 21 – telling me if you have any projects planned for your garden this year. I’ll select a random winner.