Friday, August 19, 2011

My favourite new veggie combination!

I love to try new plant combos to see what works and what doesn't. This year I finished my experimentation with garlic and finally gave in - garlic does not want to be interplanted. I tried scattering leaf lettuce seed, and in a separate bed, onions in between the garlic shoots. The difference between the garlic in its own bed (selfish veggie!) and the interplanted crop was dramatic.. so, garlic wins.. it can enjoy its own spot in the garden.

On the other hand, the corn and soybeans are doing fantastic planted together!! Love it.. Plus, the different foliage textures and colours look very ornamental. Too bad it's too late to add this combo to my upcoming book.. I'll save it for book #2! :)

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recipes from Executive Chef Chris Velden!

Executive Chef Chris Velden of Ryan Duffy's and co-owner of The Flying Apron Cookery has kindly shared some of his favourite ways to use fresh garden veggies.. For more info, check out or

Thanks Chris!

Fried Zucchini Blossoms
Make a Tempura Batter :
1 Cup cold water
1 cup ice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk
Salt, Pepper and some Chinese Five Spice

Mix the water with the Ice Cubs and let sit for 5 min.. Measure out 1 cup of Ice water. Using a fork stir in ¾ cup of flour and egg yolk into the water. The batter will be very lumpy witch is ideal for Tempura

Take your Zucchini Blossoms and inspect them for Bugs. Rinse them with a little cold water. Let dry on a piece of Paper Towel. In the meantime, heat up some sunflower oil or good canola oil in deep frying pan to 360 F. When oil is hot dip the Flowers in the batter, let  drip of some excess batter and fry until crispy and golden brown. Take out and place on a paper towel to drain off any extra oil. Sprinkle with Salt (Sea salt preferably) and Pepper and serve as a Vegetable garnish or on your favourite salad

Kale  Chips
1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Using a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.

3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

Sweet and savoury Kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
4 cups Kale, torn/rinsed and  stemmed
1/4 cup dried cranberries, Blueberries, Dates or any other dried fruit you like
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover, and cook 5 minutes until wilted.

2. Stir in the dried cranberries, and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half, and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.

Kohlrabi  in  Cream  Sauce with  Parsley
4 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons white pepper
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

1.Place the kohlrabi and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until kohlrabi can be pierced with a fork, but remains firm, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Place kohlrabi in a bowl, and cover.

2.Place the butter into the same saucepan, and melt over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and golden brown. Gradually whisk the milk and reserved cooking water from the kohlrabi into the flour mixture, stirring until thick and smooth. Stir in the cream, 1 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, white pepper, and parsley until well blended. Continue whisking until sauce thickens, then cook 10 minutes more. Stir in the kohlrabi, tossing to coat evenly with sauce.

Tomato Jam
6 large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut in half crosswise (about 4 pounds)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup grated onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeƱo peppers, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro         
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peel tomatoes and core stem end. Place peeled tomatoes in a two-gallon non-reactive stock pot. Do not use aluminum. Start boiling the peeled tomatoes; keep stirring and ladling off the thin tomato juice until what remains is semi-thick. Continue this process until most of the thin liquid is removed. While continuing to stir add all other ingredients. Keep stirring the mixture periodically to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Continue stirring until jam reaches the consistency you desire. 

Let the mixture cool until you are able to pour into sterilized jars. After thorough cooling; seal each jar with paraffin wax or boil sealed jar 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Simple Roasted Tomato Sauce
Serves 4-6
1 kg or about  2lbs of tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

**You can also add some fresh herbs before you roast, such as oregano, basil or thyme  if you want to spice it up a bit.

Preheat oven to 375F. Halve the tomatoes and lay them cut side up in an ovenproof dish.  Mix the garlic with the olive oil and spoon it over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened and  begin to char. Using a sieve, press the tomatoes and garlicky mixture  through to remove the skins and seeds.  Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as needed. 

Pour over cooked pasta and top with fresh grated parmesean.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Nasturtiums - Edible Flower Power!

I think I'm on a flower kick.. probably because they're among the only things in the veggie garden that the lone deer hasn't been eating.. He came back again a few nights ago and did re-eat the beans, soybeans and a few more tomato plants.. This weekend I think I'll look for a better fencing material than deer netting. Any suggestions? Something economical.. at this point, I don't even care about looks.. keeping bambi out is all that matters.

Yet, it's not all doom and gloom, we're still harvesting super sweet and incredibly crisp cukes, lovely pattypan zucchini, armfuls of basil and enjoying daily salads with over a dozen greens tossed in for colour, texture and flavour.

Here's a visual tour of some of my favourite nasturtiums - we've got about 8 different varieties this year.. they can be a bit aggressive, but I adore them!

Calendula from our recent trip to France.. so unusual!

I can't seem to capture this colour.. Double deep pink nasturtiums from Belgium. 
The 'black' nasturtium.. it is really deep coloured - very burgundy! Small leaves though.

Vanilla Berry nasturtiums from Renees Garden.. but, look at the colouring on the petal edges! I must save this seed!

A more typical looking Vanilla Berry flower.

Creamsicle nasturtiums from Renees Garden - very peachy!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Poppy Power - Part 2 (and the deer battle continues)

A few nights ago,  deer got into the garden - both gardens, actually, as my veggie plot is divided into two plots. This is because of the lay of the land and both have 9 foot deer netting around them. New deer netting, I might add, with new 10-ft tall supports! So, how did they get in..? I still have no idea. But, when I arrived home last evening, I wandered up to fertilize my giant pumpkins and lo and behold, who's in the garden nibbling on my peas, soybeans, pole beans and tomatoes? Yep, another deer. I chased him out (he ducked under the netting), but he hung around for over an hour waiting to come back. He had a taste of the good life and he definitely wanted back in!! I re-secured the netting to the wooden base around the garden, checked for any holes in the netting and kept chasing him away (rather loudly, I assume as my neighbours came over to help me shoo him away!)

After an hour, he still lingered, but darkness fell and I had to give up.. hopefully he didn't get back in, but at this point, I'm not sure. The lovely Bren had shared some of her tomatoes with me and one of them was a Granadero, a hybrid paste type with fantastic flavour.. The plant was laden with developing fruits, but now, that plant is gnawed off to stubs. No more Granadero and with the summer we're having (cool, wet, cloudy), I don't have much hope at this point for another flush of blooms.

Anyhoo, on a lighter note, I'm in love with my neighbours poppies.. I know I wrote about poppies last month, but they're just so gorgeous.. so, here we go again. I hope your gardens are deer free! Happy Gardening..

My poppies.. a new colour that has popped up. I've marked the pods for saving.

Love runner beans!! (and so do the darn deer)

Raylene's double poppies

Frilly and gorgeous

Add caption

Mauve and pink - a lovely combo!

OSU Blue Tomato (thanks Bren!)

My sad deer-nibbled pole beans

More sad pole beans!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

HortEast 2011 and the darn deer!!

I can't believe the deer got in again last night - both gardens!! With the NEW fence! My precious beans.. zucchini and peas.. even the soybeans.. ARGH! So, I have just spent the past hour lifting the deer netting, making sure there are no tears in the net and trying to nail it securely down in case they are trying to sneak under.. all things I did 2 months ago, but obviously, there is a flaw in my deer fence somewhere.. Anyway, I will snap some photos of the damage to post, but on a lighter note, here's some info that just came in.. HortEast 2011 is coming up this autumn and I have the official press release. It will be in Moncton, NB this year on Nov 21st to 23rd. HortEast is intended for anyone in the local horticultural industry - from landscapers to greenhouse/nursery operators to crazy people like me who write about gardening.

Doesn't this sound like a great line-up of speakers though?!

Will go snap those photos.. darn deer!

HortEast Trade Show Unveils 2011 Conference Program! 
Moncton, NB - July 11, 2011 – With only five months to go, the excitement is building for 
HortEast 2011, taking place at the Moncton Coliseum Complex (Moncton, NB) on November 
21st-23rd.  There will be lots of new and exciting offerings at this years event including six “mix 
and match” pre-show workshops on Monday for landscape maintenance, landscape design, 
landscape construction, retail garden centre, and nursery professionals, as well as a demo area 
on the trade show floor on Tuesday and Wednesday that will include free hands on 
demonstrations for staff and owners alike.  

“HortEast is your best way to connect with other industry professionals, to meet with suppliers 
across Canada and the US, and for company owners and their staff to get inspired and learn 
about trends and best practices from our top-notch speakers” states John Evans, President of 
Pro Care Lawn & Property Maintenance and Chair of the 2011 HortEast committee. 
The 2011 Seminars and Workshops include: 
“Beyond the Visual: Thoughtful Project Design” Landscape Designers half day 
workshop with Randy Tumber (Tumber & Associates, Orangeville ON) 
“Toxicology, Agronomy, and Mineral vs. Organic Soils" Landscape Maintenance half 
day workshop with Glen Sampson (Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Truro NS) 
“Planning and Planting for all Seasons of Interest" Retail Garden Centre / Greenhouse 
Grower half day workshop with Paul Zammit (Toronto Botanical Garden, Toronto ON) 
“Building Naturalistic Landscapes & Water Features That Will Impact Your Clients 
Lives” Landscape Construction half day workshop with Randy Tumber (Tumber & 
Associates, Orangeville ON) 
“Maintaining Turf Without the Use of Pesticides - Issues and Challenges, and New 
Products Available for Pest Control" Landscape Maintenance half day workshop with 
Glen Sampson (Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Truro NS) 
“The changing relevancy of our industry to today's demographics" Retail Garden 
Centre / Greenhouse Grower half day workshop with Brian Minter (Minter Gardens, 
Chilliwack BC) 
"Maximizing the value of every minute in your day - Improved Time Management", 
"Improved Communications for Increased Profitability" and "Strategic Planning for 
the Green Industry" seminars with Daniel Tremblay (LMI Canada, Moncton NB) 
“Plants that Like Hot: Both Tender Treasures and Hardy Garden Perennials” seminar 
with Paul Zammit (Toronto Botanical Garden, Toronto ON) 
“Water features: Design & Construction Fundamentals” and “What it takes to win a 
National Award” seminars with Randy Tumber (Tumber & Associates, Orangeville ON) 
"Food gardening - where it's going and its huge potential" and “Value Adding” 
seminars with Brian Minter (Minter Gardens, Chilliwack BC) 
"Sustainable Environmental Practices – for landscape, construction, horticulture and 
agriculture" seminar with Rod Fry (Envirem Organics Inc., Fredericton NB) 
“New Air spade tree transplanting technology” seminar with Stan Kochanoff (Environova 
Planning Group Inc., Falmouth NS) 
“Is My Phone Smarter than Your Phone?” and “New Media Strategies for the Green 
Industry” seminars with Bill Hardy (Northwest Landscape & Stone Supply, Burnaby BC) 

In addition to seminars, workshops and the trade show featuring 100 booths from industry 
suppliers across Canada and the USA, many different networking events will take place 
including a welcome reception on Monday evening, a grand opening ceremony on Tuesday 
morning with entertainment, politicians and local media, and our regular Kitchen Party on 
Tuesday night – “there are so many opportunities to network, share information, and learn from 
industry experts at this years HortEast Conference and Trade Show – horticulture companies in 
Atlantic Canada cannot afford to miss this opportunity taking place in their own backyard” says 
HortEast Show Manager, Rebecca Doutre. 

HortEast is Atlantic Canada’s trade show and conference for members of the landscape, 
nursery, greenhouse grower, and retail garden centre industry. The 2011 trade show dates are 
November 22nd and 23rd, with pre-show events on November 21st, 2011.  
For More Information: 

Rebecca Doutre, CAE  - HortEast Trade Show Manager   
7856 Fifth Line South | Milton, ON L9T 2X8  
Phone: 1.866.383.4711 / 1.647.724.8532 
Fax: 1.866.833.8603  / 1.905.875.1840 
Email:  | Website: