Thursday, April 28, 2011


It's hard to know if anyone really follows a blog but suddenly I am off to Edmonton so please- if you are in the vicinity and you follow this blog come out and say hi and introduce yourself!

I will be at Audrey's Books on Jasper 6ish today - April 28 and Holes new location on Friday from 3-5 PM and finally at Greenland in Sherwood Park on Saturday from 11:ish AM - I will also give a talk there about my newest book No Guff Vegetable Gardening - at 1 PM April 30th.

If you get bored with the Royal Wedding look for me on TV and listen for me on CKUA. I will be around and about. Hope to meet my Edmonton fans!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mushrooms in my Garden

Morels are the spring mushroom - fleeting in nature and found in many locations but imagine my surprise when I found one while weeding my garlic bed in Qualicum Beach this week? Growing right beside an ancient built in board-framed bed. I confirmed it's identity (complete with hollow stem) and cooked it for supper with some dried Morels I had bought!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No Guff Mentioned in the Globe & Mail today

From the Globe & Mail Saturday April 16, 2011

“Garden coaches” Steven Biggs and Donna Balzer have written a vegetable-garden how-to book that is fact-based and fun-basted. If you are a new gardener and want to know when, why or what to plant, this is a terrific book, and it’s also a handy reference book for more experienced gardeners. The “he said” and “she said” is very clever; yes, there is more than one answer to any question. Kudos to illustrator Mariko McCrae for making the book even more user-friendly.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Perhaps I spoke too soon about April flowers and radish seeding.... Let's hope this heavy snow brings all the moisture we need to push those posies up and out in May. Please May. I only wish I had seeded my spinach. Oh well- maybe Satruday.

Radish Seeded Yesterday

There was a fleeting moment of sun yesterday and I optimistically seeded some new radish outdoors. I am also giving Topsi radish seeds away in my business cards to gardeners who come to my talks (Fish Creek Library tonight) because I want gardeners to remember me and to try something new. This new organically grown hybrid radish seed is supposed to be ready in 20 days from emerging and can be seeded into cold soil - up to a month before our last frost.

My partner and friend Steven Biggs is working at adding Environment Canada's last frost dates to our webpage. That info will help gardeners figure out when a month before their last frost date is and once their soils warm a bit the early seeds can go in the ground. Okay- if you are doing the math you are right- it is not a month but more like 6 weeks before the last frost date here but -heh- what's a few radish seed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wow- First Flowers in Bloom in Calgary

What a relief to stroll outside and see a Hepatica in bloom in the neighborhood. This is only unusual because it has been such a cold spring. Hepatica usually blooms by mid-April but we don't usually get this much extreme cold and have this much snow hanging on with more on the way.

Tonight I speak about No Guff Vegetable Gardening at Owl's Nest Bookstore and on Thursday I am at the Fish Creek Library. All good fun. Join in and meet me in person!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Finally the snow starts melting...

Finally the snow started melting off the lawns in Calgary and what is the first thing I saw? Snow mold - spreading over the lawn as the snow recedes. Of course I got out right away and used a fan rake to briskly but not deeply rake the lawn to break up the fungal mat. Here are a couple of pictures of the lawn yesterday.

By tomorrow we are supposed to have more snow. Is it worth spraying? NO of course not.
But it doesn't hurt to sweep or lightly rake as soon as the snow melts- and this could be on different dates depending on the direction your lawn faces. South facing slopes will be the first to dry out.