Why leaving your leaves is loving your leaves

Why leaving your leaves is loving your leaves

We gardeners can sometimes do strange things in pursuit of our craft. There was once a time when I would “nicely” rake our neighbour’s lawns in the fall without asking. I even went so far as to coerce my roommates into helping me gather and haul garbage bags of leaves back to our yard. Traditionally,…

What happens when you plant seeds in November?

What happens when you plant seeds in November?

Gardening is all about curiosity and creative exploration. Sometimes, I try things that break all the rules, just because it’s fun and interesting. Like planting seeds in November. Last fall, I pulled out our tomato plants and was confronted with an empty garden bed. The “normal” options were to either throw some mulch on it…

What gardeners eat in the fall

What gardeners eat in the fall

Gardening is a year-round activity for our family. Although many people traditionally think of growing food as a spring-time pursuit, the reality is that, in our mild hometown of Vancouver, vegetables can be harvested almost year-round. Cold weather improves the flavour of many crops. It sweetens carrots and reduces the summertime bitterness of spicy greens…

VIDEO: How to plant garlic like a pro

VIDEO: How to plant garlic like a pro

If there ever was a low-maintenance crop, it’s garlic. Each fall, I plant a ton of it and then completely ignore it. By early summer, my neglect is rewarded with a harvest of stinky bulbs that are larger and more flavourful than anything I can find in stores.

Garden update: October 2015

Garden update: October 2015

Every week for the past month, I’ve arrived at the garden with the intention of taking our zucchini plant out, only to change my mind and leave it alone. The thing just keeps going. A new zucchini appears without fail every seven days. Zucchinis are piling up on our countertops and in the arms of…

How to do a fall garden cleanup

How to do a fall garden cleanup

The beginning of fall can often feel like a “second spring” in the garden. The other day, I discovered that our cantaloupes – a mostly failed experiment that yielded one perfect but tiny melon – had started to set fruit again. Crocuses are poking their heads out of the ground. Bees are coming out to…

How to save tomato seeds

How to save tomato seeds

Seeds are miraculous things. Inside a tiny and unassuming package, they contain the genetic material and energy stores needed to create new life. Seeds are patient. They know how to wait until the conditions are just right for growth.

Seeds you can plant in September

Seeds you can plant in September

Can you feel it? The chill in the mornings, the breeze in the air. Fall is on its way. Vancouver has experienced its first serious rain in what has been one of our hottest, driest summers on record. I, for one, am rejoicing. Rain means that my family and I don’t have to spend hours…

Living from our winter vegetable garden

Living from our winter vegetable garden

Beets, greens and other goodies in the winter vegetable garden. This year, we are trying to grow all of our own produce, year-round, in our urban winter vegetable garden. Here’s how we plan to get through the cold season. I haven’t bought any vegetables in six months. Okay, that isn’t *completely* true. We bought some…

Grow your own jack-o-lanterns

Grow your own jack-o-lanterns

We get over 500 trick-or treaters every year. Last year, we hit a new record at 531. We figure that our neighbourhood must be the Halloweeniest place on earth. We live in Strathcona, a tiny pocket near downtown Vancouver known for its old wooden rowhouses, wedged right in between Canada’s poorest postal code and one…

Preparing your garden for winter

Preparing your garden for winter

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I pulled our tomato plants out. There’s something about that moment that really signifies the end of the summer. My mom carefully picked any remaining green tomatoes from the vines, and I made a surprisingly delicious soup from them (I adapted the recipe for a vegetarian version)….

Integrating cover crops into your design plan

Integrating cover crops into your design plan

For a long time, I was confused by cover crops. Cover crops are seeds that are planted to build and protect the soil. Rather than producing an edible harvest, the purpose of cover crops is to give your garden a rest by replacing some of the nutrients and organic matter that your greedy veggies depleted over…

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