No Guff Vegetable Gardening


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Sample pages from the book No Guff Vegetable Gardening by Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs.
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No Guff Vegetable Gardening

  1. 1. en Coaches Chat: No guff. Lots of fun. GardIllustrated by: Mariko McCrae
  4. 4. Closed Plastic YES YESComposter * For fruit and veg scraps from the kitchen. * For fine landscape materials and weeds. * Never turned. * Takes at least a year. * Instead, aerated with a broomstick. * Never turned. Does not get hot enough to kill weed seeds or disease. * After a year or so I spread it on shrub beds or garden.Open Air YES YESCompost Pile * For yard waste. * On occasion Donna makes a hot compost pile to use up extra yard waste materials. This is not contained—just layered and turned. * The heat kills weed seeds and bad bacteria.Rotating No YESComposter * Please…what a waste of money. * Takes all the green kitchen waste that might otherwise attract rats because it is rodent-proof. * Takes some leaves to get a good green-brown balance. * Does not get hot enough to kill weed seeds or disease.Worm Bin YES YES(see page 31) * Kitchen scraps, along with paper towels * Kitchen scraps, along with paper towels and tissue. and shredded paper. * All winter kitchen scraps go here, as the outdoor composter is frozen. * So far, it doesn’t take a huge volume of material. * In summer, they get just enough green and brown material to keep them alive. Some worms are added to rotating bin in summer. * Worms do not kill seeds of veggies.Bokashi* No YES * Donna gifted me a Bokashi, which I tried * Meat bits, bacon fat, bones and leftovers and because the concept is neat. anything not permitted in normal compost. * I stopped—too many compost systems… * Many municipalities now have pick-up of this kind of waste, but I keep all my own waste in-house by using a Bokashi.*Overflow… YES YES * Extra leaves can go in a pile behind * Extra leaves saved in garbage bags for composting the shed or some bushes. later or mulching around shrubs. * This is the same as my open-air pile. * Leaves are also piled in an open mesh-enclosed bin with layers of finished compost. *Bokashi is a sealed (anaerobic, or without air) system that digests kitchen wastes, including meat and dairy products. The waste 30 goes into a sealed bin, and is inoculated with microorganisms. “Finished” material coming from a Bokashi system is then either buried in the garden or added to a composter. So think of Bokashi as a pre-composting system. Bokashi is not fed to worms.
  5. 5. 3 WHAT’S RIGHT? There is no “right” way to plan your garden. Instead of focusing on what’s right, think about what suits your needs.PLANNING A VEGETABLE GARDENWhile commercial market gardening with the flowers. Luckily my dad DETOX FOR PERFECTIONISTSnecessitates the use of straight rows and was too busy farming to see whatuniformity, the home gardener is free my mom was actually doing in thefrom those constraints and can create agarden of any size, shape, or pattern. vegetable garden. If you think you might be too much of a perfectionist, think of vegetable gardening asMaybe your garden has the symmetricallayout of a commercial market garden, or Top 3 Sensible an antidote. It’s detox for perfectionists.the creative flair of an abstractpainting. Both are fine. Planning Tips The reason is simple: With gardening, you’re never fully in control. Whether it’s unexpected weather, a My Dad, Bob, grew up 1. be afraid to change your Don’t flock of birds, weed seeds from the neighbours, or plan and squeeze in new crops. a squirrel, there are always barriers to perfection. in a household that That’s fine. A well-tended but imperfect valued straight lines. For him, all those straight lines were begging 2. hide the vegetable Don’t vegetable garden will still yield well for you. garden—show it off. to be curved—so his garden beds are flowing and rounded, with not a straight edge to be found. Dad 3. advantage of any spot at Take Rabbits are a definite all—even if it seems too small. barrier to perfection for me! instilled in me a love of rounded unky garden (left) contrasts traditional, 90-year-old garden (right). beds…though I like straight lines Small f in my vegetable garden! My Dad, Harvey, was raised on rows. Straight rows. He did not tolerate curves or decorative vegetables and would not let my mother slip even a few ornamental vegetables in36
  6. 6. Let’s look at things from a high level. Grab apen and do some circling below. The Look Formal Informal Bit of Both The Workload Lots, I’m Keen In Between Minimal Work The Harvest Need Lots Need Some Enough for One The Future Will Expand Might Expand Won’t ExpandVegetable Garden The Future: If you have plans to expandPlanning Exercise the garden in future years, consider leaving space to expand. Remember this when planting small trees that might growThere is no right way to organize your vegetable larger and shade future If you think we’re trying to avoid Planning Considerationswriting a chapter on planning, we’re not. Wewant you to focus on your needs and wants.Focusing on your needs and wants will Now that you’ve thought about the look,guide you in the size and placement of workload, volume, and future growth ofyour garden, based on the “look” and your vegetable garden, let’s look at a fewamount of work (and harvest) you want. other planning considerations. Start with either form or with function—but ultimatelyHere are examples of how you can strive to bring the two together.apply your answers to the exercisewhen planning your garden: Access Within the GardenThe Look: If you’re attracted to a formal Kneel down and stretch out your arm and seeappearance, you might want vegetables in how far you can reach while digging with ablocks or rows in a dedicated bed, away from trowel. As you plan your garden, make sureornamentals. But if you prefer to keep things you can reach all areas of the vegetableinformal, you might go for a cottage-style garden garden bed from the edge, a pathway, steppingand dot tomato plants amongst your flowers. stone, or a spot left empty for footsteps. Top garden iThe Workload: We don’t begrudge spending When kneeling I can barelya lot of time in the garden: we write about dig a trowel into the middlegardening, so it’s our job. But you might not of a bed that is four feethave a lot of time. If that’s the case, keep it small across, and I am pretty tall— sand avoid techniques that take a lot of time. casua for a girl. Obviously shorter girls orThe Harvest: If you can use lots of fresh guys will want even narrower beds. l, whproduce, then it makes sense to grow i l e botto m g a rd e n h a s precisely melots. If you’re growing for one, you might asured rows.decide to keep the garden small. 37
  7. 7. If you keep beds to approximately 1 m(3.5 feet) wide you should be able to reachmost parts of the bed without stepping ontoit. Before making the bed, test the widthto make sure it’s comfortable for you: toowide and some simple digging might requirea balancing act of standing tiptoe on onefoot, with your trowel in one outstretchedarm—and the other arm propping you up. Stepping on soil ruins soil structure by squeezing out air spaces and compacting and ornamentals From left: vegetables wers add colour to clay—so always plan ahead so you co-exist; nasturtium flo traditional rows. won have to step on soil. ’t the vegetable garden; I like to use blocks of one square metre ShapeBlocks Versus Rows (one square yard) for Not big on squares and rectangles? ThenTraditional rows allow access with a hoe to most veggie crops. make rounded, scalloped, or variously shapedcultivate and control weeds. But that means The exception is tomatoes, which I gardens. Let the shape of the availablea lot of unplanted ground, which can be a put in a long row that is two plants space be your guide or in cramped home gardens. Planting wide. When they’re in blocks, thein solid blocks or wide rows doesn’t leave plants in the middle much space for a hoe, but is a better Sunlightuse of limited space. Once established, With few exceptions, veggies need sunlight—dense plantings choke out many weeds. Precision especially at midday—so don’t hide your garden Don’t get too caught up in precision! We think on the north side of the house, behind a fence,Some gardeners prefer blocks of rows, with it’s a waste of time. While seed catalogues or under a big tree and hope for success.crops planted in a block along the length of specify exact planting depths and spacing,each row, instead of several skinny single plant these are simply guidelines. Many crops can Grow taller plants where they won’trows. Both Donna and Steve play around with be planted by hand-scattering seeds and shade neighbouring smaller ones.this but—really—there is no right or wrong way. then covering with a thin layer of soil. Other Planning for Appearance seeds can be simply pressed into the soil. There’s no reason for a vegetable garden to be drab. There are many ways to enliven it. Here are a few ideas. From bottom left: red and green beets in a block; a row of colourful Swiss chard.38
  8. 8. Alternately, you might want to edge the bed to give a consistent look. At a minimum, vegetable garden with flowering herbs such you can contour the edges of your vegetable as lavender or plants with variegated leaves. garden to blend with ornamental gardens. I like to plant a few gladiolus bulbs in Planning the Unplanned the vegetable patch, Unplanned crops arrive in the garden from seeds something Shelley’s blowing in the wind, seeds dropped the previous grandmother taught me. I’m a big season, and seeds in composted kitchen scraps. fan of colourful mixed Swiss chard, which has great ornamental value. And that’s good news. I love red lettuce. A recentVary Textures Self-seeded lettuce makes favourite was Freckles, a red,and Shapes great use of space in the speckled variety of romaine vegetable garden. LikeSelect vegetables with a variety of leaf types lettuce that I bought as dandelion seeds, lettuce seedsto vary shapes and texture in the garden. grow attached to a silky parasol soon as I saw it for sale at theThis applies whether you have a dedicated that allows them to float aroundvegetable patch or whether you’re interplanting market. Of course I have not been on a summer breeze and nestleyour vegetables with ornamentals in the able to find it again! in garden nooks that you wouldflowerbed. Picture fernlike dill leaves poking never think to seed. So yourup from behind large, ruffled lettuce leaves. lettuce will pop up amongst Incorporate Landscape Themes the tomatoes, peas, potatoes, I grow asparagus as much By themes we mean things such as fences and and even in the asparagus for its ferny texture and pathways—permanent fixtures in the garden. patch. Where there is space, let bright red berries in the fall them grow: where there is not, Don’t be afraid to incorporate themes found in remove them. They will fill the as for the spears in spring. the rest of your yard. For example, if flagstones holes in your garden for you. are part of your ornamental garden, use them to s. d texture create vegetable garden pathways or a border urs, sh apes, an ale withAdd Colour around the vegetable garden. If you have a Mix colo m left: ruffled k wer;Don’t be afraid to add colour to your vegetable deck, you might consider a wood-framed garden From botto ce starting to flo ; lettu ves; po intygarden, whether flowers or coloured veggies. poppies chini lea ce. mo ttled zuc pointy leaf lettu n ions. green o 39
  9. 9. 4 MAKING A VEGETABLE GARDEN Top 3 Sensible Marking Where to Dig Not-So-Square Beds If you are planning curved beds, either Garden-Making Tips dig these out free-form or lay down Are you a Square Head? a garden hose to use as a guide. 1. Measure and mark the garden first. If you really want right-angled corners in Sodbusting your garden, pull out the high-school math. 2. Dig out turfprior to planting. or smother it with a flat spade You can use the Pythagorean Theorem. I was never a math scholar, The first step to making your vegetable 3. A garden does not need to be raised but one of my first jobs in garden is sodbusting. There are no two ways about it: removing or smothering the horticulture at the University lawn (or other vegetation) to make yourUse th of Alberta involved laying e 3 - 4- 5 vegetable garden takes a bit of work. rule to lay out out trial beds for new flowers and a square corner. vegetables. “Simple, said my boss, ” who proceeded to instruct me in the Smother It Cover the lawn with a removable covering use of the 2-3-4 rule (Pythagorean such as a tarp for four or more weeks, which T heorem) for making a garden bed! kills the lawn by blocking sunlight. Alternately, a2+b2=c2 cover it with a biodegradable covering such as newspaper or cardboard topped with layers of finished compost, lawn clippings, and leaves. Finish with a layer of garden soil on top of the You must be joking—the organic materials. The effect of this layering is Pythagorean Theorem in the to smother the underlying grass—but unlike the garden? I eyeball the corners tarp technique, this method also builds the soil. and refuse to measure in my own garden. As you’ve read, we believe that composting is the ticket to good garden soil. Making a new garden can be an opportunity for both 46
  10. 10. I love the newest hybrid tomatoesCoaches’ Thumbs-Up Guide: Crops To Make Guests Say Wow like Sungold—sweet, almost disease-Half the fun of growing veggies is sharing them with other people. And when you have free and early too.guests who are excited about your garden produce—or when you go to a potluck andpeople ooh and ah, then growing vegetables becomes especially satisfying. When I had too many Mexican gherkins to eat fresh, I brinedHere are some not-too-mainstream-yet vegetables that are sure to elicit glowing feedback. some along with garlic and dill, with delicious results.CROP WHY THE With many pole bean varieties being a bit longer and flatter than bush beans—and with yellow and purpleBeans (pole) varieties too—imagine a veggie platter with raw, crunchy, colourful beans that are perfect for dipping. Colour is a big part of the wow (the purple colour disappears when you cook them) so serve them raw. Again, colour is the trick. Carrots come in white, yellow, red—even purple. Serve an assortmentCarrots of colours, either fresh or cooked, and watch for the smiles on the faces of eaters. No, it’s not a typo. Yes, dahlia is an annual flower. But it also has an edible root—and we haveDahlia market gardener David Cohlmeyer to thank for putting us onto this “wow” crop. In addition to Florence fennel, with an edible bulb, there’s bronze fennel grown for the beautiful foliage, which dresses up aFennel plate beautifully. And then there’s the flowers on both bronze and Florence fennel— airy light yellow clusters sure to elicit questions and enhance salads. Though technically a fruit, the ground cherry deserves a place in the vegetable garden. People loveGround Cherries to unhusk the cloaked fruit—and then smile as they enjoy its pineapple-like zing. Size matters. In this case, the size is small, as Mexican gherkins (also known as mouseMexican Gherkins melons) are small, fingernail-sized, pop-in-your-mouth novelties for guests. Stripes, splotches, striations…tomatoes will give you a patterned delight to make guests say “wow.”Tomatoes Add to that varied flavours, and an assortment of tomatoes is very worthwhile. 53
  11. 11. SPINACH SUB PLEASETHUMBS DOWN: At risk of offending spinach lovers everywhere, let’s just say that fresh garden spinach is a true treat, but growing it can be…bothersome. You see, summer and long days makes it obsessed with flowering and setting seed, which result in leather leaves. So we’d like to throw out some spinachFAILURE TO WOW substitutes for you to try in the garden in between the ideal spinach seasons of spring and fall. SPINACH SUB INCIDENTALLY My daughter Kalen talks Amaranth Also called Chinese spinach. Related to the weed pigweed— about the asparagus peas which is also used sometimes as a spinach sub. she grew in Edmonton: Arugula In early spring and fall usually germinates more quickly than spinach.“T hey grew really well and werequite pretty with their bright red Beet Leaves Tolerates warm weather. Not obsessed with flowering likeflowers but the pods themselves spinach—and, of course, roots are edible too.(even at a very immature stage) Corn Salad (Mâche) Likes cold weather, so from a weather perspective,were woody and pulpy and tasted similar to spinach and not the best sub.neither like asparagus nor peas. It Malabar Spinach Glossy, reddish leaves on an attractive climbingwas confusing, and the whole row vine. Highly ornamental. Hates the cold.ultimately ended up in the compost Miner’s Lettuce Also known as claytonia. Highly cold tolerant.heap after some very unsuccessfulculinary attempts. Maybe there Mizuna Tolerates cold and frost. Deeply serrated leavesare special preparation techniques are very attractive. Peppery flavour.that need to be employed to bring New Zealand Spinach Also called tetragonia. Loves the warmth—hatesout their flavour and texture in a the cold—and will not bolt in hot weather.pleasing way, but for my money, and Orach Attractive leaves. Plants come in red, yellow, and green space, regular garden peasare by far the champion. In the Swiss Chard Use stalk on large leaves instead of bamboo shoots in stir-fry recipes. Tolerates warm weather. Not obsessed with flowering.process of ‘editing’ the garden overtime, asparagus peas were not even Weeds! Lamb’s Quarters is a cousin of spinach, and many claimconsidered for a second chance.” that, harvested young, it’s a good substitute. I, too, tried these, and they were tough and woody for Still have your heart set on growing spinach? Bloomsdale is an old, me. Thumbs down. dependable, open-pollinated variety. Market gardener David Cohlmeyer— who has grown a lot of spinach—says it is still the best variety. T humbs down for the New Zealand spinach. T here is a bitter aftertaste that stays in the throat. My hands-down favourite spinach sub is Swiss chard. 55
  12. 12. SEED TERMINOLOGYHeirlooms are older varieties that have become Some seeds are so expensive they are coated GMO DEMYSTIFIED Let’s step back for a second to point out thatless common as commercial producers switch to prevent loss in shipping and handling. lingo can be a stumbling block. What in someto newer ones. Many gardeners choose parts of the world is called genetically modifiedheirlooms for historical interest or novel Treated Seeds are coated with protectants (GM) or genetically modified organism (GMO)colours or flavours—and many people are such as fungicides to control diseases that is defined by the Canadian Food Inspection concerned about preserving the genetic hamper germination or kill young seedlings. Agency (which reports to the federal minister of diversity found in such varieties. If the seed is pink, good chance it is treated. agriculture) as genetically engineered (GE). I grow a tomato variety given Treated seed is not for the Genetically Engineered (GE): modified to me by my father’s cousin, organic gardener—the “treatment, ” using techniques that permit the direct whose father got it from an Italian depending upon what it is, may kill transfer or removal of genes, including neighbour named Franco, who recombinant DNA techniques. brought it from the old country. both good and bad fungi. For me, the Franco tomato is an I’m not ethically opposed Transgenic: You might have heard about heirloom because it has been passed to treated seed. It’s not a tomato with fish genes a few years from generation to generation, and inconsistent with my back. That is what can be considered it has a story. preference for a sterile seeding “transgenic,” and it is a subset of the mix indoors. Let’s put things into broader class of GE (or what many people My daughter Kalen grows her perspective: If I use foot powder know as GMO). While that tomato was a mother-in-law’s beans, brought commercial flop, a transgenic, GE crop for athlete’s foot, it controls the over from Bosnia. She now saves disease and also probably kills in common use today is BT corn, which them herself. some good microbes on my skin… has genetic material from a bacterium. but hey, that’s life. If you takeHybrids are nothing more than a cross our advice to try a cheater row Here’s some trivia for you: the Canadianbetween two varieties of the same plant: of beans in a cold spring (page regulatory system does not regulate GEthink of a cockapoo dog, a hybrid of a cocker Error! Bookmark not defined.), plants. That’s because it doesn’t regulate thespaniel and poodle. Along with improved there’s a decent likelihood of the breeding process—but instead regulates thevigour, hybrids can have traits such as combination of cold soil and rot final outcome, and any plants considered toimproved yield, flavour, colour, and disease organisms killing the seed—and have “new” traits are regulated.resistance. But…they do not yield seeds in this case, I would recommendthat are likely to resemble the parents. treated seed. Overall, though, gardeners are distrustful of anything withOpen-Pollinated varieties are stable, non- If Steve is worried about bad soil so little testing and because GMOshybrid varieties giving seed that grow into microbes, he needs to use compostplants like the parent. Cross-pollination by can be certified as organic and ’t tea to build in a natural defence can get mixed in with the gene poolwind or insects can happen. See page 158formore about self-fertile crops that come “true.” system with good microbes. of non-GMO seed, this gardener is trying to stay away from them.Organic: Grown following organic Untreated Seeds haven’t been treatedstandards on land certified as organic with fungicides. While some untreated For me the bigger issue forby an accredited organization. seeds may be organic, untreated is people to think about is that the not the same thing as organic. development of new crops has shiftedPelleted Seeds: These have been coated so away from government agencies andthat the size of the seed is large and uniform into the realm of large, multinationaland easy to plant by machine or a small child. companies. 57
  13. 13. “ R E A L” SOI L MI X ES 6 Olderbooks giverecip esforsteriliz I have don inggardens e this but th oilintheove inse cts are e smell is ba n. killed, le avin d! Besides, g the g ard in the proce soil with all ener with b ss, microbes the sa me p iolog ically “d and roblems of re e a d” g ard I’m ban ne g ular soil—p en d from pu oor drain a g section on tting soil i e an d stick harve st ti n the oven . Th y! p s , I am a at’s OK… a llowed carr s ots i n the w you’ll read i n our a shing ma chine .STARTING SEEDS INDOORSTop 3 Sensible Seed- 3. Unlessyoubakeitinyouroven, * Ibesuspiciousaboutwhatsortofhumus fthelabelsayshumus,butnomore,Starting Tips gardensoilisnotsterile.Sterility doesn’tmatterinthegarden,but you’regetting:isitcompostedbark, whenyou’restartingyourseason’s cowmanure,ormunicipalwaste? 1. Goodlightisthesecret worthofcropsindoors,itsuredoes. togoodseedlings. Manycommercialsoillessmixescontainvarying * Itopsoilanddoesn’tspecifythatit’s sthemixsterile?Ifitcontains combinationsofpeatmoss,perlite,vermiculite, beensterilized,besuspicious! 2. Speedupgerminationwithheat. groundlimestone,andnutrients.Theyare generallyfreefromweedseeds,harmfulbac- 3. Watergently. teria,andfungaldiseases—andhavealight Soilless Mixes And Seeding texturethatallowsmovementofairandwater.Supplies: Soil Werecommendusingcommerciallypre- Thesterilenatureofsuchmixesisparticularly paredsoillessmixwhenfirststartingseeds importantforgardenerswhodecidenottouse becauseitiseasytouseforbeginnersand treatedseeds,asitminimizestheriskoffungal practicalforexperiencedgardeners. diseases,collectivelycalled“dampingoff.”Soil(Less) Mixes It’sbuyerbewarewhenitcomestopottingsoil Therearesoillessmixesmadees-Themedium—the“soil”—weuseforstarting andsoillessmixes:there’salotofcraponthe peciallyforseeding.Akeyfeatureisseedsindoorsisfrequentlysoilless.Here’swhy: market.Wewouldn’twasteourtimeandseeds usuallythateverythingismorefinely 1. Fromthetimeaseedgerminatesuntil thearrivalof“trueleaves”(thefirst withanythinglessthanaprofessionalsoilmix. milled—justasbabyfoodispureed. leavesarecalledseedlingleaves),the Notsurehowtoreadthelabel? I like to use a specialty seeding youngplantisnourishedbynutrientsin Herearesometips: mix. It is good for small containers— theseed.Thatmeansseedsdon’tneed * Avoidanythingthatpromisesslow-or anutrient-richmediumtogerminate. and really good in seedling trays 2. Gardensoilpacksdown,makingroot growthmoredifficult,andlimitingthe timed-releasefertilizer.Somegranular fertilizerscanreleaseinbursts.While with small openings, where one clump of mix could bung up an entire notaproblemforlargerplants,aburstof entryofairintothesoil.Itisdifficultto fertilizercouldspellthedemiseofatender planting hole. I suggest newbies separateseedlingsfortransplanting seedling—killingitwithtoomuchfood. outofhard-packednaturalsoil. use the types of soilless mix78
  14. 14. Pricking Out and Transplanting Guidelines 1. Seeifyourseedlingsarebigenoughtotransplant.Afterthefirsttwo“seedling”leavesgrow, theyarefollowedby“true”leaves.Prickoutseedlingsoncetheyhavetwotrueleaves. 2. Preparenewcontainersforplanting(sothatseedlingroots areexposedtoairfortheshortesttimepossible). 3. Makelabelsandputthemintrays. When I first started growing plants from seed, 4. Inthenewlyfilledandlabelledcontainer,pokeaholeintothesoil I seeded only into fine vermiculite withadibbler.(OK,we’rebeingshow-offswithlingo:thisisjusta pointedimplementthatcouldbeapencilorPopsiclestick.) so that roots would be easy to tease apart...but I changed to peat- 5. Removeaseedlingfromitscrowdedhomeusingthedibbler. based mixes as my comfort with 6. Holdtheseedlingbytheleaves,notthestem.Tenderstemscaneasilycrush, transplanting increased. andtheplantwillneverrecover,whileitcanalwaysgrowanewleaf. If your space is unlimited and 7. Getasmuchsoilwiththerootsaspossible,thentransport friends are lining up around the thisonyourhand,anoldfork,oraPopsiclestick. block for your plants, go ahead and transplant every seed that 8. Ploptheseedlingintotheholeyoumadeinstep2. germinates. Otherwise, if 175 tomato 9. Youwanttheplanttobeatthesamedepthasitwaspreviously seeds germinate and the garden (exceptfortomatoes,whichcanbeplantedmoredeeply). can only hold 10 plants, thin and only transplant the best plants.10. Firmthesoillightlyaroundthestemusingindexfingersandthumbs. (But leave the others in the seeding11. Waterimmediately. tray until you are sure the ones you moved have survived.)Visitwww.GardenCoachesChat.comtoseeourvideoabouttransplantingseedlings. 87
  15. 15. From top: ladybugs mating; yellow ladybug eggs and white, stalked lacewing eggs; ladybug larvae are black. Nicotine, pyrethrum, and rotenone are among the more common botanical insecticides. Sometimes called “natural insecticides,” because they are extracted from plants or plant parts, many people think they have no effects on humans or non-target insects. It’s smoking taken to the next . level: when I sold greenhouse Alyssum fowers feed beneficial insects supplies, we sold a nicotine bomb that would kill everything in theExtermination greenhouse—applicators included ifWe’re not extermination fanatics. You’ve they didn’t get out in time.probably gathered that by now. Butsometimes it’s necessary to control abug infestation. Exterminating bugs can Microbial pesticides employ bacteria orbe done mechanically—by hand picking, fungi to kill offending pests. Bt is the namefor example—or can be accomplished used for a bacteria-containing insecticideby applying a product, an insecticide. that kills caterpillars of moths and butterflies such as cabbage loopers. Some microbialMechanical Extermination pesticides can be tricky to keep alive…This method is easiest with larger insects and are sold out of refrigerators!such as tomato hornworm or asparagus andpotato beetles. Pick off and squish adults, I only in favour of hand picking ’mand smear any eggs you find on the plants. insects. Botanical and natural My favourite memory of low- products are still killers of beneficial cost extermination involves insects. I have used diatomaceous my neighbour Dimitrios, who was earth in select cases, but a word of troubled by earwigs and would caution for the applicator: it can be catch them every night by leaving out bundles of twigs, in which they dangerous if inhaled. would congregate. Then, every I used to sell pesticides, so morning, he’d shake out the bundles I’m no stranger to them. But and do an earwig jig on the driveway I don’t advise using more than as he attempted to squish them insecticidal soap in the home veggie before they scurried away. garden. Why? Because I think that a home garden should be lowInsecticides input. I’m not convinced you’llInsecticides are substances that kill insects. save a bundle of money growingThere are natural or synthetic ones and vegetables—but you definitelybroad-spectrum and highly targeted ones. shouldn’t spend a bundle on pest-Soap is an example of a broad-spectrum control products, organic or not.insecticide that kills most insects. 117
  16. 16. 1 2 3 4 5 8 69 7 Clockwise from top left: (1) artichoke ready to pick; (2) asparagus; (3) broad bean; (4) beet leaves; (5) Graffiti, a coloured cauliflower; (6) plump beet root; (7) bush beans; (8) arugula in flower; (9) artichoke too late. 129
  17. 17. 1 2 3 4 5 8 69 7 Clockwise from top left: (1) squash flowers are edible; (2) sink full of summer squash; (3) Tiger summer squash; (4) spaghetti squash; (5) immature tomatillo; (6) Donna’s grandson Cohen picks a pumpkin; (7) Turk’s Turban winter squash; (8) colourful Swiss chard; (9) Bloomsdale spinach ready to pick. 143
  18. 18. Garden C bean broad 53Index harvest 128 bush 60 cabbage dryA family 65 harvest 128 frost hardiness 15 frost hardiness 15 harvest 130 planting date 20alfalfa pellets 111 pole 57;60 cantaloupeamaranth 59 harvest 130 frost hardiness 15amendment 19 beds 48 cardoon definition 22 edged raised 49 frost hardiness 15 raised 48 harvest 132ant. See pest unframed 48 carrot 57aphids 115 beet frost hardiness 15 frost hardiness 15 harvest 54;132artichoke 67 harvest 54;130 harvest 128 cauliflower leaf 59 frost hardiness 15arugula 53;59 beneficial fungus 31 harvest 130 frost hardiness 15 harvest 128 bioassay 28 celery frost hardiness 15asparagus 53;56 blanching 106 harvest 54;132 frost hardiness 15 harvest 128 blocks 38 celery root bokashi 30 harvest 132asparagus pea 59 frost hardiness 15 Borax 13 cell packs 80B broccoli 68 frost hardiness 15 chard. See Swiss chard frost hardiness 15bacteria 22 harvest 54;130 cheater row 20bark 33 Brussels sprouts Chinese cabbage harvest 130basil frost hardiness 15 frost hardiness 15150
  19. 19. cilantro containers 79 damping off. See disease frost hardiness 15 corn days to harvest 64climate and weather 14 frost hardiness 15 frost 14;15 harvest 132 digging 35;47 frost hardiness 15 double 50 microclimate 16 corn salad 59 harvest 134 dill 53 containers 171 harvest 134 make 17 cress zone maps 14 frost hardiness 15 disease damping off 78 Ecloches and hotcaps 18 crop rotation 65coir 91 crop selection 52cold frame 17;169 climate 64 earwigs. See pest early spring start 53cold-temperature injury 15 harvest after the first fall Frost 54 edging must-haves 54 lumber 49compost 27 no-sweat 60 activators 28 onion clan 58 eggplant coarse landscape waste 27 frost hardiness 15 perennial vegetables 56 fine kitchen waste 27 harvest 134 spinach sub 59 fine landscape waste 27 squash 55 electric fence 9 garden waste 27 to wow guests 57 grass clippings 27 electric heating cables 19 greens and browns 27 crumb rubber 33 in-garden 31 endive leaf 29 cucumber frost hardiness 15 F municipal compost 35 frost hardiness 15 pile 30 harvest 134 system comparison 30 cucumber beetle. See pest feeding tea 106 cutworms. See pest commercial fertilizers 110 vermicomposting 31 compost and casting 109 D worm 31 plants 109composter soil 109 rotating 30 dahlia 57 fennel 57compost pile 171 frost hardiness 15 151
  20. 20. harvest 134 greenhouse 20 transplant fertilizer 100 urban agriculture 148fertilizer 90 ground cherries 57 vinegar 122 fish 111 watering early 122 granular 90 guff worm castings 92 inorganic 90 bean planting dates 20 natural 90 beer 123 gypsum 111 H organic 90 blend kitchen waste 34 slow release 78 Borax 13 term 90 coir 91 water soluble 90 delayed planting 123 harvest 126 double digging 50 tips by crop 128flea beetle. See pest homegrown produce 148 hoses, soaker and drip 11 heirloom. See seedfluorescent tubes 81 hybrid seeds 67 herbicidefront yards 43 ladybugs 123 vinegar 113 Latin names. 11frost 14;166 loam 11 herbicide contamination average first fall 166 location 21 laboratory tests 33 average last spring 166 lumber edging 49 killing 15 herbicides 113 May 24 100 vinegar 113 natural balance 122fulvic acids 111 natural products 13 horse manure 19fungi 22 north-south rows 45 organic fertilizer 12 hoses, soaker and drip. See gufffungus gnats. See pest overplanting 100 hotbed 18;170G peat pots 92 planning 45 hotcaps 18 potatoes 34 raised beds 50 humic acid 111garden-making 46 save the world 12 hybrid. See seedgarlic 53 seed retailers 67 frost hardiness 15 sodium 122 harvest 136 soilless mixes 92 soil tests 10germination 78 start early 92GMO 61 tomato leaf removal 146 tomato pollination 146152
  21. 21. harvest 54;136I miner’s lettuce 59 lettuce 17;53 mizuna 59 harvest 136inoculate 28 head molasses 111 frost hardiness 15 mulch 32insecticides 117 leaf bark 33 soap 118 frost hardiness 15 crumb, rubber 33insects definition 22 lights beneficial 119 inert 33J indoors 81 plastic 33 lime 111 straw and hay 32 wood chips 33juglone 29 loam. See soilK M muskmellon. See cantalope mycorrhizae 24;88kale frost hardiness 15 maintenance 102 daily 104 N harvest 136 monthly 104 nematodes 119 spring 103kelp 111 thinning 104 New Zealand spinach 59kohlrabi weekly 104 north-south rows. See guff frost hardiness 15 Malabar spinach 59 harvest 136 nutritionL manure plant 107 animal manure 31 problems 109 green manure 32 products 111 O Hot Bed 170labels 81 mexican gherkins 57latin names. See guff microbe 106 okraleaf miner. See pest frost hardiness 15leaves to avoid 29 microbes harvest 138 soil 108leeks onion frost hardiness 15 Microclimate. meet the clan 58 See climate and weather 153
  22. 22. onion maggots. See pest shelling slug 115 harvest 140 spider mites 115onions 53 snap and snow tomato hornworm 115 frost hardiness 15 harvest 138 wireworms 115 harvest 138 unexpected 121 peat moss 32open-pollinated. See seed planning pelleted. See seedorach 59 access 37 pepper alleys and laneways 44organic. See seed frost hardiness 15 blocks 38 certified 12 harvest 140 colour 39 definition 12 poor germination 93 considerations 37 gardening 12 exercise 37 matter 12 perennials 56;62 front yard 43 timing 94 kitchen 41outdoor seeding pest landscape themes 39 drill 96 animal 120 paper 40 early spring 95 deer 121 precision 38 fall 95 rabbits 120 rows 38 methods 96 raccoons 120 shape 38 plant parts 94 smaller 121 size 40 scatter 96 squirrel 120 sunlight 38;42 scatter and poke 96 barriers, insects 116 textures and shapes 39 spacing 97 control, insect 116 trees 42 timing 94 insect water source 41P ant 123 cabbage root maggot 115 pollution lead 44 cabbage worm 115parsley 41 carrot rust fly 115 potato 34 frost hardiness 15 cucumber beetles 115 frost hardiness 15 harvest 54;138 cutworm 115 harvest 140parsnip earwig 115 seed 95 frost hardiness 15 flea beetle 115 potato beetle. See pest harvest 54;138 fungus gnats 91 leaf miner 115 potspeas 53 onion maggot 115 peat. See guff frost hardiness 15 potato beetle 115154
  23. 23. Spricking out 86 seeding indoors 78 calendar 81protozoa 108 containers 80psychology humidity 85 sage garden 102 labels 81 frost hardiness 15 large seeds 84pumpkin salt 35;122 light 84 frost hardiness 15 road 43 lights and timers 81R methods 83 screening 96 pricking out 87 seaweed 111 soilless mixes 78radish 53 temperature 85 frost hardiness 15 seed timing 82 harvest 140 exchanges 64 transplanting 87 genetically modified 61 trays 80raised beds 50 germination 97 watering 85rhubarb heirloom 61 when 82 forcing 56 hybrids 61 longevity 63 seeding outdoors 94 frost hardiness 15 mail order 64 transplanting 94rock dust 111 open-pollinated 61 seedling organic 61 care 88root-trainers 80 pelleted 61 feeding 89rotation retailers 67 watering 89 cabbage family 65 saving 62;63 crop 65 spacing 97 seedy Saturdays 64 simplified 66 starting 95 self-pollinating 62 storing 67rototiller 50 terminology 61 shade 42row covers 16 treated 61 untreated 61 slug. See pestrows 38 viability 73 sod stripper 47rutabaga harvest 144 155
  24. 24. soil 22 gender 146 tomato hornworm. See pest abuse 26 summer acidic 26 harvest 142 tool aggregates 26 winter hand-held seeder 107 alkaline 26 harvest 142 hoe 107 amendments 27 hoe, potato 107 stakes 107 leaf blower 107 compost 27 clay 24 sterilizing 80 transplant cracked 34 definition 60 definition 22 straw and hay. See mulch harvest-staggering 99 digging 35 succession crops 95;145 outdoors 98 fungi 26 outside, when 97 healthy checklist 22 sulphur 26 loam 11 transplants sweet potato 60 versus seed-grown 60 microbes 24 organic matter 23 Swiss chard 59 treated. See seed particle size 24 harvest 54;142 T pH 26 treated lumber recipe 23 wood preservation 49 sand 24 silt 24 tillage treated seed. See seed sterilizing 78 before seeding 94 tunnels 20 structure 23 digging 47 tests 28 newly cleared soil 47 turnip textures 24 rototiller 50 frost hardiness 15 harvest 54;144sorrel 56 tomatillo harvest 140spider mites. See pest harvest 142 tomato 57 U caging 105 untreated. See seedspinach 17;53 frost hardiness 15 frost hardiness 15 harvest 144 harvest 142 sprawling 105 substitutes 59 staking 105squash transplanting outdoors 98 family explained 54;55 trellising 105 frost hardiness 15156
  25. 25. V Zveggiephobia 43 zone maps 14vermicomposting 31 zucchini 54 frost hardiness 15vinegar. See herbicidevolunteer crops 94Wwalled vegetable garden 17walnut toxicity 42watering morning. See guffwatermelon frost hardiness 15weather data 14weeds 59;112 cultivation 112 edible 113 physical barriers 113 pulling 112wireworms. See pestwood chips. See mulchworm bin 30worm castings 31 157
  26. 26. Steve meets Donna; east meets west; boy meets girl;Gen Xer meets boomer; and the dialogue begins: We’re good at making { We’re professional communicators. So we take the theory and serve it up in yummy, { gardening delicious. digestible chunks. We’re the combined And our points of view are not always the same. Think of a coach’s commentary, or two { experience of TWO experts. gardeners yakking over the fence. We’re schooled in horticulture. We won’t shovel lots of scientific jargon at you, but we can We’re professionals. { make sense of products and practices and give you thoughtful opinions without guff. We garden A LOT—and we talk to A LOT of gardeners. So we don’t mind telling it as we see We’re frank and confident. it. If that means some age-old wisdom is guff, we’ll say so. “… I love your book I think it’s both funny “...this book is going to be snapped and useful. What a refreshing thing that is.” up in, pardon the pun, spades.” Marjorie Harris Holly Preston Globe and Mail columnist and author of Thrifty: Freelance journalist and author Living the Frugal Life with Style