Saturday, May 30, 2015

Many schools have started to grow a school garden.  I have been so lucky to see some of them.  Here are two pictures of a wonderful garden in Smithers, B.C. at the Bulkley Valley Christian school, where I talked to the students about my book "Kids Who Grow Their Own Food."  These kids are becoming great gardeners already.

What a beautiful school garden.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Eggshell seed growing for kids. 
 Fun experiments for the family

Spring is the time to plant seeds for delicious fresh vegetables in the summer and fall.  Here's one easy way to give them a good start. 

The hole in the bottom of the empty eggshells is so water can drain. Place egg carton on a plastic tray.

Fill with a good all-purpose potting mix and place a seed in each eggshell starter.  Mark each shell with a label or write the seed choices on the carton lid.  Water well for the first few days and wait until the seeds sprout.

Water according to how dry the soil feels.  Don't overwater.  Different seeds have different germination times.   For example kale, peas and cucumbers sprout in a week or so while cabbages and beets take two weeks or more.

 When roots show through the hole or the seedling is big enough, carefully crush the eggshell and plant the seedling and the eggshell in a pot if it's still too cold to take it outside, or plant it in the garden if the weather has warmed.  Hardy plants like lettuce, peas, kale and cabbage can go outside quite early, but cold-sensitive plants like tomatoes, cucumbers and beans can't handle frost.

Sometimes it's fun to see the roots growing so, as an experiment, plant a seedling in a clear plastic container.  Make holes in the bottom.  Watch as the roots come up to the sides.  
The plants in this container (bean and corn) are for an experiment only.  Normally they would be planted out in the garden or in a large pot by the time they are this size.  Corn does not do well in a pot.  Good pot plants would be lettuce, green beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers and fruits such as strawberries.  Try this experiment and have fun eating the results.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

growing winter beet greens indoors.
Have you ever taken a big beet from the garden and planted it in a pot?  Add a little soil, water it occasionally and it will grow leaves that you can pick and eat fresh.  
Here's a picture of an ugly big beet that is giving me fresh food from the plant right to the plate.  Who says ugly isn't beautiful.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Berlin Wall, a novel for young people

The Berlin Wall, a novel for young people about a daring escape.

In Ann Alma's novel SKATEWAY TO FREEDOM eleven-year-old Josie escapes with her parents from East Germany to the west just before the Berlin Wall comes down.  Read this gripping story and learn more about the fall of the wall and the history around it.   A great read and a happy ending.  Also a great read for any skater.  Enjoy. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bees, honey and honeybees, mason bees and bumble bees too.
      There are all kinds of bees.  We need them to pollinate our flowers.  If we didn't have pollinating insects we would have almost no foods left to eat, since foods grow from seeds that grow into plants that bloom and thats' where the bees come in.  Seeds for next year's crop can't be made if bees don't do their job of taking pollen from flower to flower.  They do this while they get the sweet nectar.
     Honey bees make ... you guessed it, honey.
     In this area (Kootenays, B.C.) we have a number of honey bees, bumble bees and also the native mason bees.
Mason bees don't make honey for people.  but they are great pollinators.  
I have put my mason bees' nest box up for the season.  Any place that has hollows, like old tree trunks, are places where mason bees may build their nests.  We have to make sure we don't disrupt the bees while they work.


Monday, February 3, 2014


for vegetarians, vegans or anyone who loves a thick and tasty soup

Remember the homegrown carrots I stored in a hole in the ground (earlier blog)?  I made soup with some of them, along with my homegrown acorn squash and onions.  The onions were small this year since I planted them too close to the cabbages which grew big and shaded them.  The squashes on the other hand had lots of sun and two plants (I planted four seeds and kept the two best seedlings) gave me 25 acorn squashes.  Amazing vegetables, squashes.  And they keep so well.  I just left this one (in the picture) on the floor in a spare bedroom where there is no heat and it still looks almost as good as when I harvested it in October!  
So, here we go for yummy soup. 

1 acorn squash, peeled and chopped into small squares.
3 carrots, peeled and sliced.
2 small onions, peeled and chopped.
2 sticks of celery (optional).
1/2 cup lentils, sorted and washed.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste.
3 cups chicken broth (water for vegans) or more for a thinner soup.
1 cup coconut milk.
salt and pepper to taste.

Saute the onions in the olive oil.
Add the carrots, squash, (celery) and lentils.  Stir over medium heat for a few minutes.  Add the broth (or water) and spices.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils and squash are soft.  Add coconut milk.  Can be eaten as is or blended to a creamier soup.  

Great with rye crisps (and goat's cheese).
Picture from the book KIDS WHO GROW THEIR OWN FOOD, facts, notes and helpful hints.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My wonderful ad from Gardens West.