Winter Sowing for Wildflowers & Perennials

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Let’s talk about growing flowers from seed, shall we, especially those harder to germinate wildflowers and other perennials. Miriam Goldberger of Ontario’s Wildflower Farm explains:

Certain wildflowers won’t germinate unless they have the stratification period. It’s not the freezing temperatures of winter but rather the freeze/thaw action of early spring that breaks down the seed shells and serves as a catalyst for germination to occur.

Not waiting for spring and sowing now is called winter sowing, which is a special, yet fairly easy way of sowing seeds. Winter sowing creates conditions that mimic those the seed naturally goes through over the course of the winter, a process called stratification. Stratification providing seeds with a prolonged period of a cold, moist environment, usually for several weeks. Seed sowers can use the refrigerator to mimic stratification at any time of the year. But since we’ve got winter conditions right now we don’t need to monopolize the fridge.

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Staying Cool With Flavoured Ice

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The long weekend is here and you know what that means right? It is time to drink lots of liquids! And make sure those liquids are cold by using lots of ice. Plain old ice cubes won’t cut it this weekend. Bust out a few party tricks to kick your ice cubes up a notch. For a punch bowl you can make a fruit filled ice ring or try individual big block cubes flavoured with fresh fruit for cocktails.  Continue »



BBQ Like A Pro

We interviewed competitive barbecue chef Stephen Perrin about how to get the best results when cooking barbecue this summer.

 

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How did you end up becoming so interested in BBQ, was there one defining moment that made you fall in love with BBQ? 

During a trip to Whistler, I visited a local barbecue restaurant called Dusty’s and was fascinated by their smoking and grilling techniques and the overall concept of a BBQ joint. I was excited by the challenge to try out a whole new style of cooking since I was coming from a fine dining, classical style and decided to open up my own spot.  Continue »



A New Approach For The Grill

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In a recent issue of National Geographic devoted to food* I discovered some eye opening stats. Consider this-
 

“Today only 55% of the worlds’ crop calories feed people directly; the rest are fed to livestock (about 36%) or turned into biofuels and industrial products (roughly 9%). Though many of us consume meat, dairy and eggs from animals raised on feedlots, only a fraction of the calories in feed given to livestock make their way into the meat and milk that we consume. For every 100 calories of grain we feed animals, we get only about 40 new calories of milk, 22 calories of eggs, 12 of chicken, 10 of pork, or 3 of beef.”

 
You’re probably asking yourself – So what does that have to do with my backyard barbecue?
 

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Spring Chores: Dust Off The Plants

Dieffenbachia leaves, the larger the leaves, the more they trap dust.

Dieffenbachia leaves. The larger the leaves, the more they trap dust.

I’m into minimal household dusting—books and tabletops can wait—but house plants are another thing altogether. Too much dust on the leaves means that plants can’t perform their bodily (plantily?) functions all that well. All plants have holes in their leaves, called stomata, that allow them to breathe, and transpire. Carbon dioxide enters, and oxygen and water exit through the stomata. If those holes are clogged with dust, your plant won’t be healthy as it could be.  And neither will you. Those plants provide you and your home with fresh oxygen. Cleaning your plant’s leaves is like cleaning the air filter in your air conditioner, or your car. Plus they look much better when they’ve been wiped clean of all that dust.

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