Thursday, August 30, 2012

CTV Morning Live Link! (And Northern Lights Tomatoes)

My biggest one so far - Northern Lights. Had to hold it to
give you a sense of scale. It's pretty hefty!
As promised, here is the link to my spot this morning on CTV Morning Live - click here to watch me speed talk with Heidi! :) Just choose the 'In the Garden' video and you'll be directed to the short clip. So much fun!

Also, I thought I would share the images of my Northern Lights heirloom tomatoes as the crop is starting to come in.. Such a unique fruit shape - rather pleated? - and lovely streaks of colour.. It's my first year for these, but I don't think it will be my last!
Two Northern Lights.. the one on the right is the big one
I'm holding in the top photo..

A handful of summer sweetness! Sungold,
yellow pear, black cherry, Ildi

A Japanese Mandarin tomato (from and
Purple Peacock pole beans.. Love the colour combo! (I swear
I didn't enhance the hues - they really are this beautiful!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tomorrow - CTV Morning Live at 7:45 am!

What a blast! I just spent a fun few minutes with Heidi from CTV Morning Live, here in Halifax talking garden veggies, heirloom tomatoes and sharing a recipe (my sister's!) for Caprese salad bites. Tune in tomorrow at 7:45 am Atlantic time to the show to catch my segment!

Don't you just love my 'deer in headlights' stunned look!! Or the fact that the decorative tree in the background looks like it's coming out of my head?? :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crazy Tomato and my latest Proven Winners Blog Post

I know you're probably tired of tomato photos, but I just can't stop snapping pix of them! Check out this tomato I just picked! It's called the 'Traveller Tomato', or Reisetomate and I got the seed from Baker Creek Seed Company. Here is what they say in their catalogue:

"The most novel tomato we have seen, this tomato is like a big bunch of cherry tomatoes all fused together: an amazing trait that had everyone here asking questions about the alien-looking, bumpy tomatoes. Also called “Traveler tomato” (“reise” is German for “travel” or “journey”) for the ability to tear it apart a piece at a time, with no need for a knife. This type of tomato traces its roots to Central America where the native people would carry traveler tomatoes on trips, to eat as they walked.
Bright red tomatoes taste--well, rather sour, strong and acid. The perfect tomato for those who love raw lemons, but who cares? They are still far-out and groovy."

We like the flavour and this is one big honking tomato! Can you even see my hand? I'll be taking this guy to my upcoming CTV Morning Live TV spot.. Stay tuned for more details!!

On a separate note, here is a link to my latest blog post for Proven Winners - Dealing with Drought! Please check it out if you get a chance and 'like' it at the top of the post..

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Today on The Weekend Gardener!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Tomato Harvest

It's not the greatest year for tomatoes - mainly because of my rampant neglect - but I'm getting a continual modest harvest. Here is what we picked this morning!

A big bowl of tomatoes.. Shall I make roasted tomato sauce? 

Sungold versus Woodle Orange - talk about size difference!

Mexico Midget - compare the size to the sungold in
the next photo.

Sungold. Simply the best.

More sungolds! Prolific even with early blight
and neglect!

What a bruiser! Check out Woodle Orange (my first
one so far) 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What's for supper??

I don't know what I'll make with all this bounty, but I know it will taste good!! How about a garden pasta?

Just picked.. 

Mandarin Cross tomato from Renee's Garden

Size comparison - Mandarin Cross, Sungold and Mexico Midget

Ha ha deer, you didn't get these!! Emerite and Purple Podded Pole beans

Donna - these have your name on them! :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Harvest Thursday - More Zucchini!!

It doesn't take much persuading to drag me away from my work (just weeks to deadline!) to stroll through the garden and see what's in bloom, what's ready to pick and what will soon be ready to pick. I'm super excited that the gourds are doing so well.. we'll have Caveman's Club for the first time this year! Plus, spinning top, snake, long dipper, cannon ball and more. Photos to follow as things begin to mature.

But, for now, it's zucchini harvest - again! We also did pick a big bowl of tomatoes including about 50 sungolds, which are simply the loveliest balls of sugar!

Another Trombetta summer squash - love the groovy shape. I think
it looks like a swan.

The just-picked zucchini.. see the little pattypan in the middle. I
stuck that plant in the leftover pile of my oxen manure and it is
growing like it is on steroids!
A closer look.. HUNDREDS to come..

A few cherry tomatoes - a pink one on left (hard to see the true colour),
yellow grape (forget which one.. need to check my notes), Mexico Midget and Sungold! 

The first Costoulto - Yum! Just picked three..

Ha ha deer.. you missed these last night!

Must get some of these in the ground today. The fall/winter

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Have you ever done the zucchini 'doorbell and dash'??

My just-harvested Trombetta squash from
Ah summer.. a bounty of beans, tomatoes and ZUCCHINI!! I know it's my fault.. it always is, but when those glossy seed catalogues arrive in January, I order forget that each zucchini plant will bear dozens of fruits! So, I order way too many varieties, start way too many seeds and plant way too many seedlings into the garden. Oops! That bounty has started rolling in - by the tonne - and each day brings about a dozen summer squash in every shape and shape. We have patty pans - in deep green, light green, yellow and green/white. We have the incredible striped Costata Romanesca with a mild nutty flavour. We have Astia, a compact container oblong-fruited cultivar. We have Clairmore, a Lebanese kousa type. We have Trombetta, that amazing trumpet shaped Italian heirloom. Is that is?? Lucky my Lebanese mother-in-law can't get enough of the summer squash.. Otherwise, we'd really be in trouble!

I harvest the oblong types when they're about 5 to 7 inches long, pattypan when they're 2 to 3 inches across and the Trombetta when they're about a 12 to 15 inches.

So many squash, so little time..

If you've never done the zucchini 'doorbell and dash', here is how it goes:

Place your excess zucchini at the front door of a neighbour,
family member or friend..

Ring the doorbell..

RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (heels are optional!)

Clairmore, Costata Romanesca, Astia and another
Costata Romanesca

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Check out these locally made chair planters!!

I thought these were pretty darn creative and wanted to share these with you.. Local artist (and gardener) Jo-Anne Donovan has been turning old wooden chairs into refurbished planters! She hand paints each chair and adds a mounted wire basket and plant.. very clever and creative!  For more info, you can e-mail her directly at

I think I like the 2nd one best.. no the 4th.. no..

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The spinning top gourds are almost ready

I don't typically expect to start picking our gourds until late September and sometimes closer to mid October, depending on the season. This has been such a hot dry summer, however that some of the smaller fruiting gourds are almost ready to pick. Check out these adorable spinning top gourds, a super easy variety to grow that produces many 2 to 3 inch teardrop-shaped gourds that can be spun like the popular children's toy.

One reason that I love our gourds so much - we grow over a dozen types - is that the darned deer don't eat them! Just got home after being away for 2 nights and both gardens have been infiltrated by the deer. Bye-bye beloved beans. Thanks for trampling the tomatoes. And I hope you enjoyed my gorgeous rainbow chard. Sigh.. ok, maybe I was wrong and that electric fence would have been a good idea.. Well, to be honest, I'm thinking about completely re-doing the veggie garden next year - I've been so inspired by the amazing designs that will be included in my next book (contributed by amazing experts from around the world!) - so, maybe I'll be working on a new plan this winter and will finally get an effective deer barrier.

Until then, happy gardening and don't forget to tune into The Weekend Gardener tomorrow - Sunday, August 12th for a fun show!

I'll be joined by Todd Boland, author of Trees and Shrubs of the Maritimes: A Field Guide, then I'll chat to Sara Katz about some of her favourite native plants for landscapes. Also, Steven Biggs, author of Grow Figs: Where You Think You Can't and No-Guff Vegetable Gardening will talk about getting the veggie garden ready for fall! Finally, we'll end with the always wonderful Craig LeHoullier, our tomato expert and get his take on the blights that have been affecting our Maritime tomato plants! Tune in on News 95.7 FM, News 91.9 FM or News 88.9 FM or listen live at wherever you are in the world.

Isis Garden Candy tomatoes - Yum!

Potatoes for supper.. Am loving these
fingerlings so much!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Quick Update

Hot and humid after this mornings rain. Just up repairing the darn deer fence (play hokey from book 2!) and found some treasures today.. thought I'd quickly share them with you..

The first Ardwyna tomato from Annapolis Seeds - Here is how they describe it:
"The beautiful, curvaceous red fruit are heart-shaped and huge, with some specimens measuring  7 inches across and weighing in at over one pound. Excellent for slicing and eating fresh or for canning/saucing. 4’ vines."

Mexico Midget! Hello you adorable pea-sized tomatoes you!

The snake gourd, an edible type is really starting to
put on fruit. Our record is 51-inches long. 

My peanuts (squashed by a 'volunteer' swiss chard seedling) are
beginning to flower!

In a cold frame, carrot seeds have sprouted - planted
just a week ago! As you can see, some 'volunteer' mustard
seeds have also sprouted (how do they grow so fast!?).
I'll move those to another cold frame and into the main garden. 

Mohawk peppers from the plants that I bought at Canadian Tire (couldn't resist!)
The tag said sweet and so do all the seed catalogues on the internet, but these
ain't no sweet peppers! They pack some heat.. so, what are they? 

Are you getting ready for winter??

Are you a grasshopper or an ant? I'm trying to be an ant, starting more seeds for the fall and winter garden. These big guys are ready to go into the empty spaces in the garden and the little guys will also join them in a few weeks..

Love getting back into that seeding groove!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tomorrow on The Weekend Gardener

Tomorrow on The Weekend Gardener, we have Karen Liebreich, one of the authors of The Family Kitchen Garden (Timber Press) - and I have a copy to give away! Karen will have plenty of inspiration to get your kids in the garden. Remember, it's not too late for the planting of so many veggies, so tune in for some fun ideas.

Also, Gardening Bren, the blogger behind the popular NS blog will join me to talk about her blog and her gorgeous garden (which has been featured in Gardens East -

I'll also have Carol Goodwin, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at NSAC to talk about.. well, everything! Carol is a blast and we'll take your landscaping/gardening questions, talk about the programs at the NSAC, including the master gardening program and the fabulous rock garden at the school..

Finally, we'll check in with Peter LaPierre from Home Harvest, a local company that builds veggie gardens. They donate their time and skills to a local community garden, which was just vandalized.. find out what you can do to help!

In NS, tune in at News 95.7 FM, NB and PEI at News 88.9 FM (Saint John) or News 91.9 FM (Moncton) or listen live wherever you are at