Forsythia Means Planting Time 

forsythia in bloom

Even before most trees leaf out, forsythia flowers emerge.

Forsythia means planting time.

When the forsythia is blooming it’s the “all clear” sign: a bright yellow beacon telling us that the soil and daytime temperatures have warmed up enough for us to start planting our gardens. Not everything, mind you, but we can plant a lot:

Plant when Forsythia blooms
  • Hardy perennials, shrubs, trees and roses.
  • Annual sweet peas. Annual pansies, violas.
  • Edibles: peas, spinach and cool vegetable crops.
  • Berry bushes and perennial vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus.
  • Hardy bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, in a container for a seasonal display.
  • Pre-planted pots of flowering bulbs can be planted right into your garden. They’ll put down roots and come up again next season. It’s a good trick for those who didn’t get a chance to plant bulbs in the fall. (Like me!)
  • Perennial Herbs: sage, thyme, oregano
Wait for May 24th, or later
  • Heat-loving annual vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant cucumbers and melons.
  • Tender herbs like basil

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Rooting Your Own Mint

Rooting mint

Rooting mint in a small decorative vase.

There’s nothing like having fresh mint on hand, and I don’t know about you, but when I buy a bunch of mint, I tend use it a couple of times for a specific recipe, or to add to the best gin and tonic recipe anywhere.

Best Gin & Tonic Anywhere

Mix up whatever ratio of gin and tonic you prefer, with ice cubes.

Add to it, a generous squeeze of fresh lime, a couple of slices of cucumber, and a mint leaf or two. Swirl. Enjoy the taste of summer.

But after making my gin and tonic or whatever, I generally toss the remaining mint bunch into the fridge where it often dies because I forget it’s there. Pulling a squishy bunch of decaying mint out of the fridge is always sadness-inducing. And the last thing we need is more sadness in January, the month that contains the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday.

Fresh mint showing root development.

Fresh mint showing root development.

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A Jubilee of Cherries!

 

DSC_0528

 

We here in Ontario are in the latter stages of cherry season. Have you indulged yet? Whether you opt for the large sweet plump cherries –perfect for eating fresh, and wonderful in fresh fruit salad- or the smaller, tart Sour Cherries that are great for baking and making jam, Ontario cherries are one of summer’s true delights.No county fair would be complete without a cherry pie competition, and is there anything better on a sultry night than cherries jubilee? Continue »



Saturday is Canada Parks Day!

 

Banff National Park, Alberta

Banff National Park, Alberta

 

It’s July 15 and the kids have been out of school for a fortnight now. So how are you holding up? Trying to get the kids enthused about outdoor activities may be a little trying these days, but luckily there are lots of options out there for you to spend quality time with the brood, across the province, across the country and across the street. Saturday, July 16 is Canada Parks Day, so what better time to get thinking about getting in a little fresh air and fun in the great outdoors? Continue »



The Original lemon: the Citron

 

cedrat

 

Perhaps you have seen a certain large, oblong fruit that looks like a big lemon, laying about in the shelves of our produce section. And maybe you have wondered, “What is that, a mutant lemon? What do I do with it?”

The fruit in question is called a citron, and it is indeed, the granddaddy of lemons, the original lemon from which many other, more familiar cultivars have been developed through the centuries, either through mother nature’s natural selection or through the tinkering of botanists. It’s name, the citron, may be a little confusing to us as we know that in French, citron means lemon, so this fruit is also known as the cédrat, and just to keep you on your toes, we will use both names when discussing it. Continue »