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American Persimmon in Toronto

American Persimmon fruitRead my article about American Persimmon and other edible North American natives in the latest edition of Edible Toronto.



On TV Cooking Spanakopita (chard, sorrel and leeks)

On TV Cooking Spanakopita (chard, sorrel and leeks)Last fall I cooked spanakopita with chard, sorrel, and leeks on Live Healthy Now TV show.

Sometimes it's a challenge for new veggie gardeners to cook crops they haven't before used in the kitchen--things such as chard, leeks, and sorrel.

One simple approach, as I did in this recipe, is to replace ingredients you normally use with garden crops. So for spinach, use chard; for onion, use leeks; and for lemon, use sorrel.

Click here to see how it's done on the video.


Husking Walnuts Simplified (and Fun!)

Talking about edibles in the urban landscape, and black walnuts.I enjoyed talking about Edibles in the Urban Landscape at the Stratford Garden Festival last weekend.

I talked about crop ideas for looks, intrigue, and tight spaces--and also talked about edible things that might already be growing nearby.

One of these already-there crops is black walnuts. I talked about how, the first time I collected them from a neighbours tree and husked them, it was a lot of work, and how my hands were stained afterwards.

After the talk, an audience member came up to tell me a simpler (and kid-friendly) way to husk walnuts. Let the husks start to discolour, and then rake the walnuts into a pile. Next, dress the kids in rubber boots and old clothes, and let them jump on the pile--which causes the husks to come off.

Sounds like a great idea to me--and I hope to test it this summer.


Dahlia Bread

I really enjoyed talking about Crops that Wow for Lake Simcoe South Master Gardeners and Guests at their Plant, Grow, Eat event on Saturday.

I figured my anecdote about seeing dahlia tubers (as a water chestnut substitue) at a market garden would be the only mention of dahlias that day....but fellow speaker Marjorie Mason also had a picture of dahlias, and said that grated dahlia tuber can be used instead of grated zucchini to make bread...dahlia bread instead of zucchini bread.

The Lake Simcoe South Master Gardeners had a great veg basket, pictured. You'll see the black radish at top. I like it because it's a good keeper. The rapini is a great follow crop for garlic.


Upcoming Gardening Talks

I've been busy booking gardening talks for 2013.

If you want to take in a gardening talk, click here to see my upcoming talks.

Need a gardening talk for your club, association, or business lunch-and-learn? Give me a shout or click here to see talks I offer.

New for this year is my talk about Brugmansia, a.k.a. Angel's Trumpet!



I was honoured to win an award for Monthly Press Reporting (Silver) for my article Their Success is No Secret at the 2012 Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards in September.


Fig Blog

Read my guest post about growing figs on the blog of garden writer and year-round veg growing expert Niki Jabbour.


The Fascination of Figs

I had a great turnout for my talk about growing figs in Stratford, Ontario this past weekend. What surprised me was the number of people in the audience who have fig trees!  

A lot of the questions I answered afterwards had to do with how to overwinter fig trees. Luckily, there are so many different ways to do it. As I pointed out in the talk, the great thing about fig trees is that they go dormant in the winter--and that makes them very easy to fuss needed while they sleep.

My book about growing figs will be out soon...stay tuned!


Talking Vegetable Gardening on TV

Spring is close at hand! If you're starting to think about vegetable gardening, check out this video of me talking about vegetable gardening on Rogers Daytime TV last spring.


Stratford Garden Festival

I'm looking forward to the Stratford Garden Festival, where I'll be talking about growing figs in Ontario.

Here are details about talks at the festival:

The Speaker Series

Everyone from the gardening novice to the seasoned green thumb will learn something at the ongoing Speaker Series where Ontario’s top garden gurus will give you the real dirt on gardening.  Carson Arthur of HGTV’s Green Force will talk about “The 30 Minute a Week Garden;” Virginia Burt of Visionscapes will speak on “Healing Gardens”, Garden writer, blogger and garden coach Steve Biggs will give two presentations – “Growing Figs in Ontario Made Easy” and “Success Growing Veggies in Small Spaces and Containers” while Lorraine Johnson discusses “The Weird and Wonderful”.  David Hobson will share his experience with “Botanical Gardens from Buffalo to Bangkok”Other presentations during the four days include All Things Lavender, garden photography, the care of roses, and garden ponds as well as Seasonal Flower Arranging demonstrations.

Read about the gardens, marketplace, events, and other details here:

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