Grubbing

In This Issue

Yellow Currant Tomato, Lemon Tree Winter Temperatures, Breeding Cold-Tolerant Teosinte, Figs in the NE

Welcome. I’m Steven Biggs, a farm, food, and garden writer and speaker. I share stories about the food chain. I look at how food is grown, harvested, and processed—and how it makes its way to our plates through the retail chain. This is my newsletter. Thank you for your interest in what I do.

GROW FOOD

Backyard Teosinte Breeding

Andrew Barney pushes garden boundaries by breeding unique and cold-adapted vegetable varieties in his garden in northern Colorado. On the last episode of The Garage Gardeners Show he told us about breeding teosinte and watermelon suited to his garden zone, which is dry and cool. NOT SURE WHAT TEOSINTE IS? Click here to tune in to an excerpt about teosinte.

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Teosinte. (photo: Andrew Barney)

How Cold Can Lemon Trees Get?

In this excerpt from my book Grow Lemons Where You Think You Can’t, I talk about how cold-hardy lemon trees are:

MY LEMON TREES DID VERY WELL when I moved into a house with an old sunroom that stayed just above freezing in the depth of winter.

Sadly (for me), the dilapidated sunroom succumbed to a house renovation and my precious lemons were banished to an insulated garage for the winter. Normally, I kept an electric heater in the garage that I could flick on if the temperature plummeted.

But while we renovated, there was no power to the garage, and during a particularly cold spell, the temperature inside the garage dropped well below freezing.

I was heartbroken to think I’d lost my lemons.

Happily, they survived. Only a few branch tips died. For plants that I associated with Mediterranean climates,

I was delighted to learn that lemons are amazingly cold tolerant! Click here to read more about how cold lemon trees can get in the winter.

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BIGGS ON FIGS

Figs at Dancing Bear Farm

I had a great chat with fig growers Trish Crapo and Tom Ashley from Dancing Bear Farm in Massachusetts about how they got into figs. Click here to listen.

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Tom Ashley and Trish Crapo grow figs in MA (photo: Liza Ashley)

Fig Note Cards

New in the shop on my website: Set of 4 fig note cards with envelopes.  Click here to find out more.

 

KIDS GARDENING

Great Tomato for Kids

In her latest kids gardening blog for Harrowsmith magazine, Emma Biggs explains why this delicious currant-sized tomato is also a great option if you fall victim to wildlife tomato theft.

This tiny tomato is the most minuscule I’ve seen, but it sure isn’t one to disappoint. It produces tons of pea-sized golden-yellow tomatoes.

The Yellow Currant tomato has a strong, sweet, and tart flavour, making it great for snacking on all by itself. It’s juicy, and its bright colour looks nice in salads, too.

SCHOOL LUNCH BAGS AND TOMATOES DON’T MIX. Almost every time I try to take one to school, they crack and tomato juice ends up everywhere! These tomatoes though, have a very thick skin. Put them in a container in your lunch bag, and it’s very unlikely that they’ll crack, even if they get shaken around a lot. If you or your kids like to take tomatoes to school or work for lunch, then this is the tomato for you! Click here to read more about Yellow Currant Tomato.

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NEW BOOKS

 

RADIO

Garage Gardeners Show

Our guests share tips on how to push garden boundaries. Live on Reality Radio 101, 2 pm ET, the first Wednesday of every month. Previous episodes are on the web page and Apple Podcasts. We cover subjects ranging from veg in the Yukon, edible flowers, container gardening, backyard chickens, year-round herbs, northern nuts, figs in the north, passive solar greenhouses, fruit on the prairies, straw-bale gardening, and year-round veg gardening.

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EVENTS

Mark your calendar! Here are some of the talks that my daughter, Emma, and I are giving over the next little while. Please say hi if you see us!

WeeFestival. May 20, 2019. Join us at our drop-in kids table from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. where kids can plant microgreens, make newspaper pots, touch worms, and make seed art.

Lee Valley Downtown Toronto. June 2, 2019. 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Join Emma for a kid-friendly demo as she explains how to grow microgreens. Perfect for kids—and perfect for adults who have only a windowsill for gardening. Book signing afterwards.

Lee Valley Vaughan. June 8, 2019. 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Join Emma for a kid-friendly demo as she explains how to grow microgreens. Perfect for kids—and perfect for adults who have only a windowsill for gardening. Book signing afterwards.

Lee Valley Scarborough. June 9, 2019. 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Join Emma for a kid-friendly demo as she explains how to grow microgreens. Perfect for kids—and perfect for adults who have only a windowsill for gardening. Book signing afterwards.

Lee Valley Burlington. June 15, 2019. 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Join Emma for a kid-friendly demo as she explains how to grow microgreens. Perfect for kids—and perfect for adults who have only a windowsill for gardening. Book signing afterwards.

Grace Anglican Church, Waterdown. June 22, 2019. Emma presents Gardening with Emma, ideas to make gardening fun for kids.

Mississauga Garden Festival. June 23, 2019. I present Edibles in Urban Landscapes at the Mississauga Garden Festival. Emma will be at a hands-on table for kids.

Cannington Horticultural Society. June 24, 2019. Join Emma as she presents Gardening with Emma.

AHS Youth and Children Gardening Symposium. July 12, 13, 2019. Emma and I are headed to Madison, Wisconsin to speak about engaging young people in gardening.

 

READING IDEAS

Canadian Gardener’s Guide

This is such a great book, covering such a wide variety of subjects. Emma interviewed the editor, Lorraine Johnson, about the book and about her thoughts and memories of gardening. Click here to read what Lorraine says.

 

Eat at Home

I love this book. I recently made Voula’s Chicken Ball Avgolemono from Eat at Home. Delicious!

Voula told me that one day she realized that her family was spending a lot of money having food delivered instead of cooking. So she started to focus on home cooking—and on embracing leftovers as a way to make home cooking manageable. Click here for more.

 

KEEP IN TOUCH