List of Edible Flowers

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Anise Hyssop – Mild licorice flavour. Use in fruit desserts and tea or as a garnish for iced tea. Arugula – If your arugula blooms then it’s likely that the leaves are too strong to eat. But the little white flowers have a slight peppery taste and are flavourful on salads or on appetizers. Basil – This one should be obvious. The tiny white flowers can be used as seasoning and the whole blooming stalk can be used as a garnish for a drink or in soups and stews. Bee Balm (Monarda) – The red flowered variety of this plant …

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

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Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring substance that is made up of fossilized diatoms. These are a type of single cell planktonic algae that lived in the ancient oceans and freshwater lakes millions of years ago. Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, ancient, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Silica is very common in nature and makes up 26% of the earth’s crust by weight. Various forms of silica include …

How to Build a Vertical Garden

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Vertical Garden

The design of vertical gardening systems are limited only by your imagination, available space and your desired building materials. You can create your own design quite easily. I’ll share some ideas and a few easy projects to show the ease and versatility of doing it yourself.  Sourcing It’s possible to source out supplies to build your vertical garden right in your own neighborhood. Many nurseries have a free “pot” exchange. This is where people can drop off unwanted plant containers and then others can come and pick up desired plant containers for their own projects. This is a win-win situation. Call …

List of Tomato Cultivars

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Micro Tom Tomato

Here is a list of some of the many, many tomato varieties available. Depending on your region you’ll be able to find these varieties ans well as many others for sale in your local nurseries that are not listed here. Check each of their growth characteristics individually as you choose them to make sure they’re suitable for your region. There are more than 3000 heritage and heirloom tomato varieties actively being grown around the world. There are somewhere around 15,000 known tomato varieties in total. There are so many varieties of seeds that you can quite literally grow dozens and …

8 Steps to Growing Great Tomatoes

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Healthy Tomato Vine

Step 1: When you’re at the nursery, always choose the shortest and most stocky young plant you can find. The short stocky, thick stemmed seedlings are grown with care under very close proximity UV lighting. The short thick young plants show that the little sprouts didn’t have to reach for the light as they were spouting and beginning to grow. If the young tomato stalk you’re looking at is lanky and thin or even floppy, this is not a good choice and means that the light was too dim or too far away from the spouts to cause them to …

The Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

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Snowy Tomatoes

People, over the years have learned how to eat all parts of hundreds of different plants. This includes everything from the flowers to the fruit to the stems and leaves to the seeds and on to the roots too. Celery and rhubarb are stems Lettuce and spinach are leafy vegetables Broccoli is clusters of tiny flower buds that bloom if you don’t pick it Artichoke is a giant flower bud Potatoes and turnips are root vegetables Herbs are classified as vegetables Mushrooms are fungus Eggplant is a fruit and so is corn!  Now the tomato… Most people assume that the tomato …

Fiskars 18″ PowerGear Loppers

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Fiskars 18" PowerGear Loppers

Fiskars produces a wide range of tools for a multitude of different jobs around the yard. This is another one of my favourite choices. The PowerGear loppers. This handy little set of 18″ bypass loppers is very lightweight, easy to use and very tough. They are perfect for people with limited strength, small jobs and even for older kids who are eager to help out. This is a good tool for younger kids too, but supervise them accordingly. This tool may be small and lightweight but still makes short work of all the unruly branches.  The best part of this tool …

Top 10 Easiest to Grow Food Plants

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Purple Carrots

There are many, many food plants out there that are easy to grow and are suitable for beginners and kids. These plants are also great for anyone who wants a low stress, low effort garden. This list is just some of my favorite ones I’ve grown in the past and that I know to be very cooperative for beginners. There are many other plants available that I’m sure are easy 1. Basil – Annual – Can be grown indoors – Pinch to encourage new growth – Likes moist, but not wet soil – Edible flowers 2. Rosemary – Perennial in …

Felco F-31 Anvil Pruner

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Felco F-31 Anvil Pruner

You’ll never regret the purchase of any Felco hand pruners, guaranteed. They are a very high quality tool and the company stands behind their product. So if you’re looking for an anvil pruner that will stand up to the tough jobs, then look no further than this one. Felco is known for making high quality tools and replacement parts. The anvil pruner is really good for dead wood and chomping through piles of branches and debris. It cuts up to 1″ diameter branches. The blades are made of forged aluminium and all parts can be replaced if lost, broken or …

Felco F-2 Bypass Pruners

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Felco F-2 Bypass Pruner

Felco is a well known name and is considered the Cadillac of garden pruners. When you buy a set of Felco’s you can be assured that you are buying top quality from a company that stands behind their product. Felco has many different sizes and styles of pruner but the F-2 is the most popular one and it fits most hands. If you have smaller than average hands or you are buying these for a child, then I recommend the F-6 (Buy them here) Bypass pruners are most commonly used for the general pruning of live plants in the garden. …

The Crack Weeder

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Stainless Steel Hand Held Weeding Knife

The Crack Weeder which is also known as a patio knife and it’s amazing and very efficient at getting the weeds out from between paving stones that are otherwise unreachable with other tools. I own one of these tools and I use it for weeds between stones and many other tasks too. It’s very versatile and a little bit dangerous when it’s new. The blade is very sharp on one side which is needed for narrow crevices but it can cut you if you’re not careful.  I’ve used it for moving paving stones, it’s great for leverage in lifting heavy …

How to Keep Ants Off Hummingbird Feeders

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Umbrella Ant Moat

Feeding the hummingbirds should be enjoyable and shouldn’t be a battle against the ants. They love to live under concrete too so even if you don’t have any grass or ground space most likely you’ll still have thousands of ants.  The hummingbirds will love the feeder full of sweet syrup that you put out but the ants will love it too. They can be quite a nuisance and they’ll quickly clog up the drinking spouts with their drowned bodies and eventually the birds won’t come to feed anymore.  It’s not reasonable to try and kill all the ants to keep them …

How to Sprout Raspberry Seeds in Winter

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Backyard Food Growing Yellow Raspberries

Sprouting raspberry seeds in winter takes a little effort and patience but it can really be worth it because it allows you to grow different varieties of raspberries that are not available in the nurseries. This is a good project if you have extra fridge space that will be undisturbed throughout the winter, such as a garage fridge or basement fridge. Start this project in the late summer and you’ll see results in the early spring. Always choose a reputable place to acquire your seeds. Don’t buy seeds online from China. Seeds from China have a very low germination rate …

How to Grow Grapes in Containers

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Grape Bunch 2017

Grapes are most often seen growing in long rows in vast fields, lined up perfectly on rolling hills in the sun baked valleys of the landscape. It would be easy to assume that it’s impossible to have a grape vine growing in a small space or even in a container. This isn’t true and with a little planning and pruning it’s possible to grow grapes in containers successfully. They just need a lot of nutrition and minerals to be at their best. Micro Climates Micro climates are little pockets of weather and temperature differences within another climate zone. These can …

How to Make Seed Tape

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Commercially produced seed tape is great and very convenient but the drawback is that there aren’t very many seed types that are available this way. Seed tape is also quite expensive compared to bulk seeds in packages. The solution is to make your own seed tape and use any seeds you want. You can make your own seed tape by using unbleached paper towel or unbleached toilet paper. Learning to make your own seed tape will help you accurately plant tiny seeds that are difficult to space out properly just by sprinkling. Some seeds like lettuce, carrots, basil and radishes …

Root Weevils

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Root Weevil

I didn’t even know what a root weevil was for all the years I was gardening at my last place which is in a mostly rural setting. But then, 18 months ago I had to move on short notice. So I packed up, picked up and dragged my mature 12 year old garden in the mucky weather of February and I managed to move it in less than two months! We now have a cute little house right in the middle of town. Little did I know that this new house is completely infested with weevils and ants for that …