Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Starving Antelope eat Junipers

While on book tour to Drumheller, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge locals I spoke with told me this is the first year the snow is so deep antelope are breaking their fragile legs trying to get through it.

Fish and wildlife people have found 40 dead antelope in Medicine Hat gardens. Apparently in a rare move antelope have come into town and have eaten gardens but are unable to digest all the strange food - they are dying with stomaches full of juniper.

It is so sad. I just read in National Geographic magazine about migrations - it said that antelope can't jump fences so the farmers have started cutting out the lower strands to help them crawl under but I guess that doesn't help when the snow is this deep. Thankfully it is melting now. These are such beautiful animals - they look more African than Albertan and they are truly a breathtaking sight to see.

Photo above is taken in a more normal winter when the prairie north of Medicine Hat, Alberta is dry.

Speaking at the Calgary Garden Show

Check out the schedule of the Calgary Horticulture Society's big garden show coming up in less than two weeks...

See to see when you can see us on stage (okay - it's 12:30 PM on Saturday if you are impatient).

Closer to the big date we will give you more information.

And Now we have a Facebook Page for book!/pages/Garden-Coaches-Chat-No-Guff-Lots-of-Fun/197867170233485 is our new facebook page.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Canadian Press Interview at Canada Blooms

Steven Biggs and Donna Balzer were interviewed in Toronto at Canada Blooms about their new book No Guff Vegetable Gardening. Follow the link to see what they had to say:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Stores onside...Type Books

After our talk at Canada Blooms in Toronto Steve and I visited the Toronto city core checking out booksellers for our fabulous new book, No Guff Vegetable Gardening. Here, Joanne at Type Books poses enthusiastically with our new book at her Toronto store.

We will be adding booksellers as they come on to our website so check there if you want to know all the places our are available or to order your copy online.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Silliest Veggie Transplants

If you are thinking of starting seeds this spring be smart about it. I came across these silly carrot pots- "ready to Transplant" at a garden center last spring.

Plan to attend the Healthy Homes Sustainability Series in Calgary on March 22 (see elsewhere on this blog for details). At the seminar I will be giving details about seeding and helping new growers get started with simple tips and ideas.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Read the Calgary Herald for a Sneak-A-Peak

Here is advance notice that the Calgary Herald has started running excerpts from my newest book - No Guff Vegetable Gardening- in this Friday's Calgary Herald. Check out the Life Today section of the Herald for the first excerpt on Friday March 18th.

Pick up a copy of the book at your closest independent bookstore or garden center, and let me know what you think. PS Thanks to all my friends who have been buying books and sending me notes. I really appreciate the support.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tomatoes Started

I like to start my tomatoes mid-March because that gives them 8-10 weeks to grow before they go outdoors to face summer. This year I started some greenhouse tomatoes (Cobra with medium sized fruit and Juliet because it is new) way back in February. I did this because I wanted them to grow big enough to be planted out in the greenhouse at Easter in Qualicum Beach. If you were following along, my 88 yr old mother minded my tomatoes last year. She kept reporting back that they were fine until she had her cataract surgery. Well, that was last year and every gardener knows a new year is a fresh start and a clean slate, so I am optimistically started seed again this year.

The outdoor Calgary tomatoes did not get started until yesterday - in between talk planning and media stuff (for the new book). It is good to take a rest and do something almost mindless. Some people read or watch tv- I like to walk the dog or garden if I have free time. So, I had picked up a bale of pro-mix at garden retreat last week in anticipation of this big event and I pulled out my new plug seeding trays and I was ready. Then I read my diary notes from last year. I know perfectly well that anything germinated over heat sprouts quickly - sometimes in just a few days. Last year I started lettuce just before I went away for work and when I got back it was long and white and thin. Ok - it was disgusting.

Put two and two together and you'll see me in Toronto this week which means I won't be home tending tomatoes. So to slow down their germination I put my twelve little seeds in soil but did not put them over heat. Instead, I put them up in my office- a place I wear my new fingerless gloves (thanks Katie) in the winter.... If these Sungold tomatoes are not up by the time I am back I will pop them downstairs on the heated floor and push them a bit. I do have a class to teach about seed starting next week in Calgary. Guess I won't have any germinating seedlings to show for that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Volunteer Gardeners needed for Reader Rock Garden

Here is a notice about volunteer jobs this spring for Reader:


Are you passionate about gardening and find plant identification interesting?
Are you a personable, outgoing person who likes teaching and socializing with others?
If so, The City of Calgary Parks is looking for a few individual volunteers to assist with gardening duties at Reader Rock Garden, Riley Park/Burns Rock Garden and Central Memorial Park. Along with strong gardening skills the successful candidates will enjoy learning historical information about their preferred site and interpreting that information to park visitors. Site specific training will be provided and program orientations are required. The time commitment will be 2 hours/week (minimum) with flexibility given for volunteers’ holidays.
Please contact Sonia Gonsalves at (403) 221-4636 or for more information or to register.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Where's Waldo?

Yes- the books are partially here... and guess what? My name is missing in one really key place! OOPS!

In good news, we have been showing No Guff Vegetable Gardening to book stores prior to the bulk shipment of books arriving (the big load of books were delayed so we only have a few in our possession and the rest won't arrive now until next Monday). One bookstore owner commented that it looks like graphic novel meets gardening book. It's true - this is a very unusual book. But every child is special isn't it?

Speaking of children and good news, my tomatoes have their true leaves now and the leeks are finally coming up from their early February sowing... even though it is more than 30 below outside it is cozy under the grow lights.