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As a vegetable crop (as opposed to a grain crop), the potato is the world’s most important foodstuff, so there are many interesting facts about...

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As a vegetable crop (as opposed to a grain crop), the potato is the world’s most important foodstuff, so there are many interesting facts about potatoes. The starchy tubers of the potato plant are exceptionally nutritious and so rich in...

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Onions begin to form bulbs in response to temperature, but also the length of the day. In southern Canada and the northern U.S., choose “long-day” onions. Our summer days are much longer than our winter days. “Short-day” onions are better suited to growing in the south, where the length of summer days is less pronounced.

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Onions begin to form bulbs in response to temperature, but also the length of the day. In southern Canada and the northern U.S., choose “long-day” onions. Our summer days are much longer than our winter days. “Short-day” onions are better suited to growing in the south, where the length of summer days is less pronounced.

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With over 1,100 seed varieties to choose from, finding a clear path to the checkout can feel overwhelming. There are beginner mistakes to be made - as well as ways for seasoned gardeners to bite off more than they can chew. Here are Mark's top ten pointers to consider when planting a new garden.

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With over 1,100 seed varieties to choose from, finding a clear path to the checkout can feel overwhelming. There are beginner mistakes to be made - as well as ways for seasoned gardeners to bite off more than they can chew. Here are Mark's top ten pointers to consider when planting a new garden.

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Chard has been cultivated since at least as far back as the ancient Greek empire, and it was grown around the Mediterranean, particularly in Sicily. Some people still think of it as Sicilian spinach or spinach beet. Indeed, it is closely related to spinach (as well as quinoa, orache, and epazote) as a member of the family Amaranthaceae.

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Chard has been cultivated since at least as far back as the ancient Greek empire, and it was grown around the Mediterranean, particularly in Sicily. Some people still think of it as Sicilian spinach or spinach beet. Indeed, it is closely related to spinach (as well as quinoa, orache, and epazote) as a member of the family Amaranthaceae.

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Carrots are biennial plants, and store all of their first year’s energy in the long orange taproots we know so well. If left in the ground, they will flower in their second year, and produce quite pretty white umbels resembling yellow dill flowers.

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Carrots are biennial plants, and store all of their first year’s energy in the long orange taproots we know so well. If left in the ground, they will flower in their second year, and produce quite pretty white umbels resembling yellow dill flowers.

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Prior to the potato’s arrival from the New World, turnip was the root-crop of choice for cool, wet soils, so many northern European cultures have significant relationships with this vegetable. It says a lot about turnips.

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Prior to the potato’s arrival from the New World, turnip was the root-crop of choice for cool, wet soils, so many northern European cultures have significant relationships with this vegetable. It says a lot about turnips.

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Most of the vegetables we eat on a regular basis are cultivated adaptations from some older source. A good example is broccoli, which is the...

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Most of the vegetables we eat on a regular basis are cultivated adaptations from some older source. A good example is broccoli, which is the very same species of plant as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi. All of...

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Spinach also contains oxalic acid, which inhibits the absorption of iron by the body. The availability of iron in spinach is increased if it is eaten with foods rich in vitamin C and calcium, so mixing it with citrus juice or dairy makes it more nutritious.

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Spinach also contains oxalic acid, which inhibits the absorption of iron by the body. The availability of iron in spinach is increased if it is eaten with foods rich in vitamin C and calcium, so mixing it with citrus juice or dairy makes it more nutritious.

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Eggplant seeds are relatively slow to germinate, and will probably take 10 days or longer. Soil heated from beneath is likely to speed germination and help young plants develop. Aim for around 27°C (just over 80°F). Sow indoors as long as 12 weeks before the last frost to give them a really good head start.

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Eggplant seeds are relatively slow to germinate, and will probably take 10 days or longer. Soil heated from beneath is likely to speed germination and help young plants develop. Aim for around 27°C (just over 80°F). Sow indoors as long as 12 weeks before the last frost to give them a really good head start.

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There are some very interesting facts about tomatoes. No one can say for certain, but the ancestor of all modern tomato varieties appears to have...

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There are some very interesting facts about tomatoes. No one can say for certain, but the ancestor of all modern tomato varieties appears to have been a scrambling vine that was native to the highlands of Peru. Archaeological evidence suggests...

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Many varieties of maize are grown for dried, fully mature seed, which is eaten as a grain, but sweet corn is picked before the seeds mature fully, before its sugars convert back into starch. This is why fresh corn must be eaten fairly quickly after harvest, before it degrades and becomes starchy.

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Many varieties of maize are grown for dried, fully mature seed, which is eaten as a grain, but sweet corn is picked before the seeds mature fully, before its sugars convert back into starch. This is why fresh corn must be eaten fairly quickly after harvest, before it degrades and becomes starchy.

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The precursor to the modern Brussels sprout were likely grown in ancient Rome, and today’s vegetable was perfected and popularized as early as the 13th century, in Belgium, which explains their common name. By the mid-16th century, they were being cultivated in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe.

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The precursor to the modern Brussels sprout were likely grown in ancient Rome, and today’s vegetable was perfected and popularized as early as the 13th century, in Belgium, which explains their common name. By the mid-16th century, they were being cultivated in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe.

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Broccoli has quite a few close relatives and variations, and these are designated in botany by the use of “cultivar groups.” Kale and collards, Chinese broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi all share the Latin name B. oleracea, but belong to different groups within that single species. Broccoli itself has several varieties: The most common you’re likely to see in grocery stores is called Calabrese in the UK, and just “broccoli” here in North America.

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Broccoli has quite a few close relatives and variations, and these are designated in botany by the use of “cultivar groups.” Kale and collards, Chinese broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi all share the Latin name B. oleracea, but belong to different groups within that single species. Broccoli itself has several varieties: The most common you’re likely to see in grocery stores is called Calabrese in the UK, and just “broccoli” here in North America.

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Many people in North America think of kohlrabi as being a distinctly European vegetable, but it is actually a staple ingredient in many international cuisines. It is has been a popular crop, for instance, in Northern India and Kashmir since the 1600s.

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Many people in North America think of kohlrabi as being a distinctly European vegetable, but it is actually a staple ingredient in many international cuisines. It is has been a popular crop, for instance, in Northern India and Kashmir since the 1600s.

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Archaeological evidence suggests peas were grown as food crops in Neolithic Turkey, Syria, and Jordan, and in the Nile valley in Egypt as early as 4500 BC. Dried peas remained an important foodstuff in Europe into the Middle Ages, but some time in the late 1600s eating green peas (as we do today) became a culinary fad in France and England.

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Archaeological evidence suggests peas were grown as food crops in Neolithic Turkey, Syria, and Jordan, and in the Nile valley in Egypt as early as 4500 BC. Dried peas remained an important foodstuff in Europe into the Middle Ages, but some time in the late 1600s eating green peas (as we do today) became a culinary fad in France and England.

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Known since ancient Greece and Rome, the modern cabbage is a descendant of wild mustard. The Roman statesman Cato the Elder wrote of its medicinal...

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Known since ancient Greece and Rome, the modern cabbage is a descendant of wild mustard. The Roman statesman Cato the Elder wrote of its medicinal properties, “It is the cabbage which surpasses all other vegetables.” The seventeenth century English physician...

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Garlic has been used as both food and medicine since at least the 25th century BC, around the time that the pyramids were being constructed...

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Garlic has been used as both food and medicine since at least the 25th century BC, around the time that the pyramids were being constructed at Giza, Egypt. In his Ecologues, Virgil writes all about garlic being consumed by ancient...

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Whether the goal is to harvest tender, immature “new potatoes,” or to harvest fully mature potatoes for storage and use over the fall and winter,...

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Whether the goal is to harvest tender, immature “new potatoes,” or to harvest fully mature potatoes for storage and use over the fall and winter, it’s helpful to follow some basic guidelines on how and when to harvest potatoes. Our...

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The plant above is spinach, and it’s getting ready to bolt. As we approach the summer solstice, the spring garden is transformed into something quite...

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The plant above is spinach, and it’s getting ready to bolt. As we approach the summer solstice, the spring garden is transformed into something quite different. Various plants begin to behave in new ways. Growth really kicks in for vine-forming...

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It’s tempting to imagine, when planting a row of spring radishes, that they will be ready in perfect shape at harvest time, free from blemishes,...

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It’s tempting to imagine, when planting a row of spring radishes, that they will be ready in perfect shape at harvest time, free from blemishes, and wholly uniform in size and shape. Typically, though, this is not the case. There...

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The bean is an annual plant of the family Fabaceae. This is a huge plant family, with over 19,000 species, so there are many interesting...

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The bean is an annual plant of the family Fabaceae. This is a huge plant family, with over 19,000 species, so there are many interesting facts about beans. Only orchids and asters outnumber the members of this botanical group. Among...

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Last summer I planted a few rows of fall and winter harvest leeks in our demonstration beds at Kirkland House here in Ladner. We chose...

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Last summer I planted a few rows of fall and winter harvest leeks in our demonstration beds at Kirkland House here in Ladner. We chose the varieties described as “winter harvest” since they are bred to stand up to frost,...

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Certified Organic Plum Purple radishes Radish (Raphanus sativus) The genus name for this vegetable, Raphanus, comes from the Greek for “quickly appearing,” and it’s wholly appropriate.

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Certified Organic Plum Purple radishes Radish (Raphanus sativus) The genus name for this vegetable, Raphanus, comes from the Greek for “quickly appearing,” and it’s wholly appropriate.

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It is thought that there are over three thousand heirloom tomatoes in cultivation, from the very well known Black Krim to the rather more obscure...

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It is thought that there are over three thousand heirloom tomatoes in cultivation, from the very well known Black Krim to the rather more obscure Sibirskiy Skorospely (Early Siberian). With modern bred open pollinated and hybrid varieties, the number is...

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