The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter
Welcome to the fifth issue of The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter! Janet Melrose and I are keeping you up-to-date on everything related to our book series Guides for the Prairie Gardener, letting you know about what other Prairie gardening-related projects we’re working on, and throwing in some gardening trivia and newsy tidbits, just for fun! If you like what you see, please follow us on our social media and hit the subscribe button on Flowery Prose.
Book News and Events
Janet’s chat on CBC Radio’s Daybreak
On August 15, Janet did an amazing interview with Russell Bowers on CBC Radio’s Daybreak programme, talking about our books in the Guides for the Prairie Gardener series and what to watch out for in the garden in late summer! Take a listen to the interview here!
Request for reviews!
Do you have a copy of either of (or both of!) our books, The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases? If you do, can you please help us out and take a couple of minutes to give us a rating and review on Amazon.ca/Amazon.com? Don’t worry about leaving a lengthy review…two or three words is honestly all Amazon requires. If you’re on GoodReads, leaving a rating over there would be wonderful, as well! Thank you so much! We are so grateful for your support and encouragement and we hope you are finding the books informative, useful, and fun!
In Our Gardens
Well, the first frost has already happened here in Calgary and so I’ve been watching the forecast like a hawk and covering the tomatoes as required. I swear, my tomatoes have been covered nearly the whole growing season – first, to protect them against the threat of multiple hailstorms, and now this! I have already harvested a pleasantly sizeable yield of ripe and ready currant tomatoes and my husband and I have been enjoying them in salads and I’ve been taking them to work just to snack on. I’m still waiting on my precious ‘Black Krim’ tomatoes, though…they are still green and I’m waiting on a bit of a blush to happen. If you pick them when they are TOO green, they won’t ripen indoors…you have to reach that special threshold.
I have picked quite a few lovely zucchinis over the past several weeks and they’ve been cooked up in various ways in my kitchen. Did you know that you can shred zucchini, drain the excess water from it, then pack it into bags and freeze it for later use? It’s a good solution if you’re swimming in summer squash! I saw a great tip in the Alberta Gardening group on Facebook last week from a gardener who goes one step further and freezes the shredded zucchini after packing it into the cups of a muffin tin. When it’s ready, she just snaps out the iced zuke pops, bags them individually, and puts them back in the freezer. Nice and tidy and ready for that chocolate zucchini cake at a moment’s notice!
And I’ve been saving seeds…calendula, dill, nasturtiums, beans, and sweet peas so far. I can’t stress enough the importance of labelling the plants that you want to save seed from so that you can easily locate them later on when they’ve stopped blooming. This year, I just tucked in some old wooden skewers I had kicking around and fashioned a tag with a piece of coloured tape. I wrote the colour of the flowers on the tape – for example: a calendula with DBL (double flowers) with BRN CENT (brown centres). I planted several types of calendula this year and wanted to differentiate the doubles from the singles, and identify the colours. I also had several colours of nasturtiums, so I tagged them to remind myself where the red ones were in the sea of cream-coloured ones. You’ll be sure to come up with a labelling system of your own – just remember to do it in advance, as it makes seed saving much easier. I always think I am going to remember the exact location of everything but I never do….
If you’re planning to save seed from your sweet peas, I’ve done up a little video with some tips – check it out:
And I’m talking about saving dill seed here:
Did you know…that hawthorn berries are not really berries at all? They are pomes. (Apples and pears are pomes, too). Hawthorn berries are commonly called “haws”; rather reminiscent of the ‘’hips” from roses. (And, in fact, hawthorns are related to both apples and roses – they’re in the same family). Right now, you’ll be seeing the bright red fruit on hawthorn trees growing on the prairies – they look a bit like tiny ornamental crabapples or indeed, like oversized rose hips. I’ve been experimenting with making jelly from hawthorn berries…stay tuned for a blog post containing the recipe!
Get Social with Us!
‘Til later! ♥Sheryl and Janet