Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Bitter Melon: Ornamental Vine & Edible Fruit

Bitter melon vine, showing flower.

Bitter melon vine, showing flower.

I came across this beautiful vine covering a chain link fence recently. The fence itself was almost completely obscured, which is a good thing in my books. (Practical as they are, banishing chain link fences would be one of my first orders as Queen of the World)

The vine leaves themselves are exquisite, finely cut in a way that William Morris—the Arts & Craft designer who took his inspiration from nature—would have loved. The leaf veins, vines and tendrils add to the pleasing array of form. Not only is the vine good at beautifully camouflaging an ugly fence, but it has smallish yellow flowers with the sweetest jasmine fragrance—swoonworthy on a summer evening.

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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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Steam it on the Grill

Vegetables-In-Foil-Packets-Grilling

 

It’s hot outside. That makes it hot inside too, and other than going out for dinner, that makes cooking outside pretty much the only option. The idea of turning on the oven is scary, and who wants to turn their kitchen into a Turkish sauna by steaming vegetables on the stovetop? It might even be better to get a propane gas grill or the versatility. According to a review on Top9Rated, “The first consideration you need to make is just how large you want your grill to be. Size is where competing grills are going to differ the most. Number of burgers able to be grilled at any one time is a great way of comparing different sizes – after all grilling burgers is a typical activity for grill masters like yourself. ”

Cooking our meat and vegetables on the grill is your best bet in the dog days of summer, but not everyone is a fan of grilled vegetables. It’s true, there are those that don’t care for the blackened edges and charred taste of red peppers, portabello mushrooms and onions, and certainly the idea of grilling carrots or green beans or snow peas seems destined to failure. This leaves us with an altogether healthy, delicious and simple solution; steam your veggies on the grill. If you love steaming vegetables on the grill , you must check out mim for more tips. Continue »



Canada Blooms: A Learning Experience in Spring

Canada Blooms is a learning experience as well as a treat for the senses.

Canada Blooms is a learning experience as well as a treat for the senses.

Canada Blooms, starting this Friday, March 11th, isn’t merely a spring exhibit of gardens and a chance to smell hyacinths en masse weeks before they actually bloom in Toronto. (Although that is one of the best reasons to go: breathing in the glorious scent of spring.) One of the lesser known, but most valuable aspects of Canada Blooms is its educational opportunities from the many speakers and workshops at the event. Your show ticket gives you free access to Canada Bloom’s excellent speaker series which includes garden experts from around the horticultural world. Expert garden speakers this year cover topics like native species, pest and diseases, growing herbs for teas, planting for pollinators, fabulous foliage, (especially for shade gardens – insiders note, this will be a great one, it’s by gardener/photographer/Toronto Gardens blogger Helen Battersby who has awesome photos) growing vegetables and ornamentals in containers, butterfly gardens, low-maintenance gardening, gardening with kids, floral design, including wedding arrangements, small-space and schoolyard gardens, the importance of soil in gardens, gardening for wildlife, biodiversity and monarch butterflies, and landscaping, among many others.

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The End of Summer

flip-flops-on-towel-beach

Hey I fooled you. It’s not the end of summer. Just because the kids are back at school and a few overly enthusiastic leaves have started turning colour, it doesn’t mean summer is over. Not for another two weeks yet. A whole two weeks!

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