Edible Gardening

Babies, Voles, Tomatoes & other tips for spring.


It is the “Pastel Season” as my friend Betty Hill calls it, and one of the most exciting times for me in the garden.  Every day I go out there are wonderful new surprises.  Leslie Scher shared a big surprise last week too.  “Outside scooting around on my deck (with a broken foot) planting my seeds! Just took the plastic cover off my propagated hydrangea and camellia from the fall and THEY’RE ALIVE!!!”  These were from cuttings taken in our September propagation workshop.

Connie Kotis sent an adorable picture too (sorry, the Mac to PC translation didn’t make it).  Her newly propagated Hydrangea from our September class not only rooted but is IN BLOOM!  Connie took hers inside over the winter, and amazingly, Leslie left hers OUT.  Even those of us who never had kids feel like a new mother when this happens.  Congratulations to both of you!  Let me know who else has “baby announcements”!

Here is another valuable piece of news from a fellow student, Amelia Poole.  Did you know you can get rid of VOLES with Wrigley’s Juicy fruit gum?  Unwrap a stick of gum, twist/fold it in half and insert it into an active vole tunnel.  Voles eat it but cannot digest it and die.  She says that this is very effective (and non-toxic to our pets.)  Thank you Amelia!  I cannot wait to try it!

In our Shade Gardening Class the question was raised as to how to actually measure how much sun comes into each area of your garden.  After all most of us cannot stand around all day to check, and it changes month to month anyway.  So true!  Here is an tip from Fine Gardening’s website:

“Predicting the angle of the sun can be a difficult and challenging task. I remember planting tomatoes against the south-facing wall of our house one year. A full sun exposure in April turned into full shade by June because of the roof overhang.  My husband taught me a trick to help me anticipate the sun’s pattern. Go outside at midnight on the night of a full moon, and note where buildings and trees cast their shadows in the moonlight. This is approximately where the sun’s shadows will fall six months later. If you check the full moon’s shadow in December, for example, you will have a good idea of where the shadow of noontime sun will fall in June.”

OK, so this is interesting but I’m not sure it is much easier!  Candace, please let me know if our pilots have a better answer.

Tomato sandwiches anyone?   Linda Krebs, always the overachiever, has grown many more beautiful tomato seedlings than she will ever need – 17 varieties in perfect organic soil.  She is bringing them over to share, so stay out of the big box places for a few days until you see these babies!  (Her price is excellent too. )

This month’s Fine Gardening Magazine has an article on growing tomatoes that is definitely recommended reading!  Check their website for it and subscribe to this excellent magazine if you haven’t already.  (This is NOT a paid endorsement.)

Part of our July “Kitchen Class” will include a “Tomato Taste-Off”!  Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to bring a few of your favorite home-grown tomatoes for sampling.    You will ALL be judging the ‘Best of the Best”!

Make sure you label your tomato plants – you know how those plant tags get lost & faded over time.  Old metal mini blinds marked with a #2 pencil or a grease pancil hold up best for me.  Reusing the back of old nursery tags works well too, as does strips of a “red solo cup”.   Let’s have a party!

Happy Spring!