Friday, November 20, 2009

It Itches - Book Review

"It Itches" is a hilarious book of cartoons and essays on the mysterious ways of a knitter and their stash. When reading it I laughed a lot seeing in each page a reflection of myself or someone I know. Franklin's essays and cartoons hit the mark, his obvious knowledge of our strange ways from living among the herd of wild knitters who are skittish by nature.
Favourite parts: The Man vs Skein essay & the mid-Victorian ideas about gender cartoon.

This book would make a wonderful gift for the knitter in your life.
Daughter #1

Friday, October 16, 2009

50 High-Impact Low-Care Garden Plants -- Book Review

Looking for tough love, then this is the book for you. Tracy Disabato-Aust's "50 High-Impact Low-Care Garden Plants" book will make you fall in love with these tough and reliable plants. This is just not another book about perennial combinations, as a fine example of this is Tracy's choice of the Paperbark Maple. This is an easy to care for maple that looks nothing like a maple. It has cinnamon coloured exfoliating bark and red autumn colour. She states it's ultimate height and width light requirements,hardiness and best of all what plants look good with your Paperbark Maple.
This is not to say that Tracy Disabato-Aust's book "50 High-Impact Low-Care Garden Plants" does not include perennials and grasses because it does. The colour pictures are colour accurate, large and inspiring. Each plant comes with a check list of it's atttibutes. For example long-lived, tolerates heat and humditiy, minimal or no pruning, drought tolerant and many more.
"50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants" is published by Timber Press is a good read and will become a well loved addition to your personal library.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Green Flowers Unexpected Beauty for the Garden, Container or Vase -- Book Review

Do you need a respite from the garish colour of your garden then transform an out of the way part of your garden into a restful green and white garden. Alison Hoblyn's book "Green Flowers" will help you pick the right green flowering plants to add unexpected beauty and flower colour to your garden. Add green and white foliage to create filler shape and texture to your peaceful and meditative garden. Then with the addition of green flowering plants you will add an element of surprise to your garden experience. Alison suggests Euphorbia, Daylilies, Rudeckia's and more green flowers in her book green flowers. The photographic work is excellent. You can also use these green plants to create a transistion between different flower colours in your flower border. A four start book from Timber Press. A keeper for my personal library.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Family Kitchen Garden -- Book Review

The Family Kitchen Garden by Karen Kiebreich, Jutta Wagner, and Annette Wendland is the book that you will need to guide you and your family though the entire year in gardening. The basics are well covered so that even a novice gardener can be successful in the month by month segment. You are told what to do; what to harvest; what to sow; what to plant and most importantly what to eat when. We all must be rewarded for our efforts, in June we eat fruit ice pops or a fruit granitas with or with out vodka or creme de cassis. There is also a recipe for making fruit leathers. Tell me what child or person young at heart can resist fruit leathers. The rest of the Family Kitchen Garden is about vegetables, herbs, but also about some flowers, the charts in the back of the Family Kitchen Garden book will help you to know the spacing of your plants and your expected harvest and so much more. A very important note for North America, your times will need to be shifted to 1-2 months later. A must practical gardenng guide.

Friday, August 14, 2009

President's Choice Gigantico "Stokes Best" Vegetable Tasting

Great day at the President's Choice Gigantico "Stokes Best" vegetable tasting. Had a beautiful day, even if it was a little hot in the trial gardens. At least it was not raining. Now this was the way to spend the day!!

This is what Julie thought of the tastings.

Big Beef
Big Beef is a meaty red beefsteak tomato weighing 10-12 oz/280-340 g. The flavour is outstanding with a good sugar to acid ratio. Disease tolerant plants will flower, set fruit and ripen continuously during the growing season. Staking is required.
My thoughts: Beefsteak tomatoes are not my favourite. To me they are too watery and lack in flavour - OK

Carolina Gold:
Beautiful, unique, tangerine/gold tomatoes have a nice, mild acidic flavour and add colour to salads, sandwiches, etc. This beef tomatoe is very adaptable, and its strong, determinate plant produces 8-10 oz/227-280 g fruit thoughout the season. To maximize yield potential, staking is recommended.
My thoughts: Large, meaty, less acid. LOVE IT!!! Rivals Husky Gold - Great

Ultra Sweet:
An early medium sized (10oz/280 g) red beefsteak type. Firm, crack resistant fuit have an outstanding balance of sugar/acids that results in excellent flavour. For best results, stake plants.
This tomato is from Japan. The male parent is a pink tomato. It has less acid and has the 'nipple gene' (the bottom of the tomato has a point) This reduces but does not eliminate bottom end rot.
My thoughts: Love this tomato!! We have Ultra Sweet tomato in our garden & it is performing extremely well even in this wet summer!! - Great

This heritage variety is considered by many as one of the best tasting tomatoes ever. Fruit are huge (10-16oz/280-454 g) and pinkish red with some striping. Easy to grow, Brandywine tomatoes are a boon to any garden and are sure to give you a bounty of big, juicy tomatoes blessed with old fashioned taste. Semi-determinate potato leaf plant should be staked.
My thoughts: Brandywine is in our garden. Have been harvesting it for the last 2 weeks as we transplanted our tomatoes on May 9, 2009. Some catface, typical of heritage tomatoes. Watery. Bruce says it tastes like Brandywine. - Do not particularly like Brandywine.

Window Box Roma
Window Box Roma has been specially bred to produce yield after yield of wonderful, pear-shaped, 2-2 1/2 oz/56-70 g fruit with excellent flavour and extra-long shelf life. Dark green foliage on an upright, dwarf plants looks as pretty as a picture in containers, planters & patio pots.
My thoughts: This tomato is in our garden. Doing really well. Meaty, roma tomato. Great for dehydrating!! - Great

Patio Hybrid
Compact and upright, determinate plants require only 2 in/5 cm stakes and produce their fruits from the bottom of the plant. Bushy, 25 in /63 cm tall, dwarf plants are compact and grow well in containers. Vigourous and productive with 4 oz/102 g deep oblate, medium-sized fruit. Very easy to grow.
My thoughts: OK

Health Kick
Heavy yields of brilliant dark red paste tomatoes that average 4 oz/112 g. High in lycopene. An excellent meaty tomato for salads, paste, sauce or to sun dry. Determinate plants - may need staking.
My thoughts: LOVE, LOVE this tomato!! This tomato has been a staple in our garden for quite a few years. Meaty, excellent for dehydrating!!

Plum Crimson
Health Kick will not be available in 2010 - substitute for Health Kick is 'Plum Crimson'
My thoughts: I do not think that Plum Crimson is a good as Health Kick. - Must find Health Kick!!

Golden Honey Bunch
Vigourous plant produces vines with clusters of 10 to 20 fruits. The oval shaped fruit averages 1/4 oz/9 g and are very sweet. First golden grape tomato - Kids will gobble these up!
My thoughts: LOVE LOVE this tomato!! This tomato is in our garden & we absolutely love it. Definitely sweet like candy!!! It does crack with this wet summer!!

Cupid is an indeteminate fresh market grape tomato. It has a vigorous platn that sets clusters of 16 small 3/8 oz/10 g grape tomatoes with a high sugar content. The oval-shaped fruit have an excellent red colour and a sweet flavour.
My thoughts: This tomato is in our garden. Not performing very well. It could be the wet summer. Could be discontinued for 2010 & substituted for "Red Candy" or "Peppolino"

Brand new, cherry red tomato.
My thoughts: Great meaty. Daughter loves this tomato!!

Red Candy
Brand new, cherry red tomato.
My thoughts: Meaty

Basket Vee
Open pollinated, heritage tomato. More disease resistant.
My thoughts: Meaty, OK

Hanging basket or container plant
My thoughts: OK

Primo Red
Brand new, beefsteak type tomato. Has nipple gene.
My thoughts: Did not get to taste this one as it was still too green. Looked meaty.

Kapia type. NOT a bell pepper, more like a Shepherd. Sweet, excellent for containers.
My thoughts: Love this pepper. Daughter likes this pepper and she does not like peppers!!

Bell Boy
This All America Selections Winner has very thick smooth walls. Large 4 1/2x 3 1/2 in/11x9 cm fruit ripens dark green to red. An excellent pepper fresh or stuffed.

Orange Grande
Good yields of green, turning to a beautiful orange jumbo 5 1/2 /14 cm peppers. Fruit have nice thick walls and remain firm at maturity. Either colour tastes great!
My thoughts: Very nice pepper.

Great tasting early bell pepper. Redstart has fantastic yields of dark green 3 3/4 in/9 cm thick walled fruit. Ripens to a dark red by September.

El Jeffe Jalapeno
Very high quality jalapeno fruit has thick walls, a small cavity and is more cylindrical in shape than most. Matures dark green to red and has good disease tolerances.

This All America Selections Winner is an excellent slicing cucumber with notable yield, dwarf plant habit and improved disease tolerances. These high quality flavourable cucumbers grow to a length of 8-9 in / 20-23 cm. A great variety for container gardening as it is easily trained to a trellis.
My thoughts: Compact plant. Great for containers. Crisp, love this cucumber.

Tasty Bright
An extra early burpless non bitter type that can be grown outdoors. Tasty Bright has crisp, dark green fruit with a mild flavour. Lenght averages 9 in/23 cm, with 1 1/2 in/3.8 cm width. Similar to the long narrow English-type cucumbers that come shrink-wrapped in the grocery store. The plants will grow much better, with longer and straighter cucumbers if trellised.
My thoughts: OK

Radiant is a medium-green zucchini hybrid with smooth, cylindrical fruit. It has a small plant that sets well for high yield potential. Very smooth skin is medium dark green with attractive flecks. Straight, slightly tapered fruit average 7-8 in/18-20 cm in size.
Less prickly hairs for when picking!

Classy Chassis
One of the best tear drop type eggplants. Deep purple, glossy black fruit average 8 1/4 in /22 cm deep, 4 in/10 cm wide with green calyx. Plants are 36 in /90 cm.
My thoughts: Great looking upright plants. Great for containers. Nice looking tear drop fruit

Milan is a perennial ever-bearing strawberry with excellent yields. The plants are attractive with dark green glossy leaves, prettywhite flowers and medium sized very sweet berries. Attractive planted in pots or containers, but they need to be transplanted into the ground to over-winter.

Peach Drambuie Jam

Peach Drambuie Jam

4 cups finely chopped peaches, about 5-6 medium
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp Drambuie
1 pouch (85 ml) liquid fruit pectin

Combine Drambuie, peaches, lemon juice and sugar in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan.
Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in pectin.
Ladle into sterilized jars and process in a water bath for 5 minutes.

Makes 6 cups (1.5 L)

The Beginner's Guide to Preserving Food at Home - Book Review

Absolutely Excellent book!!

This is one of the best books on Preserving Food at Home. I love the way that it has recipes at the back of the book so you can use what you have canned. Great idea.

Excellent chapters on choosing equipment, root cellar storage, sun drying fruit leathers, canning as well as freezing & many others.

Tried the boiled Chicken recipe and it turned out absolutely wonderful. Now must try the Meatloaf and Meatball recipes.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms - Book Review

The scariest book I have ever read. It is scarier than the works of R.L Stein or Stephen King. This is a book by Nancy J. Turner and Patrick von Aderkas. If you lack common sense or are even only slightly paranoid - DO NOT read this book. It will scare the manure out of you. That being said, this is a book every parent should own.

The North American Guide of Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms by Nancy J. Turner and Patrick von Aderkas With a forward by Brian Saunders, M. D. covers poisonous native plants, houseplants, garden plants and mushrooms. Each have a colour picture, descriptions & say if there are related plants poisonous or non-poisonous.

The North American Guide of Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms explain the parts of the plants that are poisonous and the effects that the poison has on animals and humans. While the focus of this book is not on carcinogenic and multigenic plants, if they are also poisonous they are stated to be so.

This book is being added to my personal library.

The North American Guide of Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms by Nancy J. Turner and Patrick von Aderkas With a forward by Brian Saunders, M.D. is NOT a bedtime reading book unless you want to have nightmares.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ontario Pesticide Green Sign

Ontario has a new pesticide law as of April 22, 2009. Only Class 11 pesticides may be applied.

This is the new Green Sign.
This sign must be posted when a Professional Applicator applies a Class 11 pesticide in a public place. (Eco Clear is Horticultural Vinegar)

Lets Dance Hydrangea

Lets Dance Moonlight hydrangea is doing very well!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Canadian Vegetable Gardening - Book Review

Douglas Green's Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening is succinct and lacking the usual verbal diarrhea. It is obvious that Doug knows that the manure belongs in the garden not on the printed page.

His writing style is an easy gentle and informative read. The centre section of this book focuses on intensive vegetable production. Here Doug covers crop rotation, interplanting and even those vegetables to grow in less than full sun.

His alphabetical list of vegetables and herbs are each distilled ot the necessary information. For me the fun part of the book was the additional information Doug provides on each plant.

Douglas Green's Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening is a fine addition to my personal horticultural library.


Progress on our Tomatoes as of Today

Progress on our Tomatoes as of June 19. These monsters are outgrowing their cages.

These are the first tomatoes on our tomato plants. The varieties are "Golden Honey Bunch" & "Windowbox Roma"

Now we need hot weather to get these to ripen!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Backyard Homestead - Book Review

I really like the book "The Backyard Homestead". It gives you all the possibilities, then lets you decide what you can do and have room for. I also liked how it showed you what you can do with what you produce & how best to keep the produce fresh. It really peeks the imagination. I felt motivated.
Now I want chickens, rabbits, ducks & bees. Unfortunately no one else in my family agrees with me.

Daughter #1

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Progress on our Tomatoes

These tomatoes were transplanted on May 9, 2009. Yes I know it is too early for tomatoes to be planted but they were planted with protection - in their own plastic greenhouse kit.

These are the tomatoes that were growing so well that they pushed off the tops of their greenhouses.

Today, we put the tomato cages on the tomatoes. They are actually concrete reinforcing that have been made into cylinders. They work great for the tomatoes that are indeterminate!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Stokes Seeds Meet & Greet!

Stokes Seeds
296 Collier Road
Thorold, ON
Saturday, May 9, 2009
12 noon - 2 pm

Bring all your gardening questions
Plant, bug & disease samples

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Official Blog of the Open-Line Garden Show

Welcome to the Official blog of the Open-Line Garden Show.

The Open-Line Garden Show is heard exclusively on 105.1 fm The River
Streaming live at