The Chicago Flower and Garden Show

By: Jodi Torpey
March 11th, 2014


WesternGardeners.com will help usher in spring at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, presented by Mariano’s Blooms March 15-23, 2014.

Chicago Flower and Garden Show,"Evening in Bloom' at Navy PierGardeners at any level can learn about the latest, hottest plants, products and ideas for beautifying their green spaces at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, presented by Mariano’s from March 15-23, 2014 at Navy Pier.

I’m so pleased to be part of the action.

I’ll be presenting my Edible Spaces in Small Places program on Sunday.

I’m just a small part of the show that includes two-dozen stunning featured gardens, a full-scale “Marketplace” filled with leading industry suppliers, nationally-recognized experts conducting sensational seminars, “Garden Gourmet” events featuring top chefs, a “Kids Activity Garden,” and amazing, professionally-decorated “Tablescapes” of outdoor beauty brought to your dining table.

The idea of planting in small places fits perfectly with this year’s show theme: ‘Do Green. Do Good.’


 

 

Plant Sweet Seeds for Valentine’s Day Garden

By: Jodi Torpey
February 5th, 2014


Celebrate Valentine’s Day with something sweet for the gardener in your life. 

Valentine's DayIt’s surprising how many fruit and vegetable seeds have either a sweet-sounding name or they have a sweet taste.

I’ve rounded up some of the sweetest and wrote about them on my VegetableGardener.com blog.

The list includes Lake Valley Seeds offerings of Sweetie tomatoes, Sugar Baby watermelon and Hearts of Gold Cantaloupe.

Sweet peas and Honeydew melon from BBB Seeds.

Valentine mesclun and Stevia from Botanical Interests

And a new gourmet chard from Renee’s Garden called Peppermint Stick.

You could create your own basket of sweet-sounding plants as a different kind of Valentine’s Day gift. Add a few chocolate roses and you’re set.

If you have any sweet suggestions to include on the list, please add them here.


 

 

Results of My Grafted Tomato Trials

By: Jodi Torpey
January 14th, 2014


The results of my grafted tomato trials last summer may help you decide if you want to plant grafted varieties in your garden this year.

Grafted tomatoes 2013When I planted my tomato garden early last June, I wasn’t sure what kind of tomato season it would be. The winter and early spring lacked any measurable precipitation and the cool night-time temperatures delayed planting by several weeks.

It seemed like perfect timing to conduct a side-by-side trial of grafted and ungrafted tomatoes.

Harris Seeds invited me to participate in another round of home garden trials and the company sent three varieties of tomato plants to grow in my garden. There were grafted and ungrafted San Marzano, Pink Brandywine and Cherokee Purple.

Summary of Results

The San Marzano grafted tomato plant produced more tomatoes than the ungrafted plant.

The Pink Brandywine ungrafted tomato produced more than the grafted plant.


 

 

Hot Spiced Gluhwein for the Holidays

By: Jodi Torpey
December 15th, 2013


Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the familiar spices that flavor our favorite cookies, breads, nuts and so much more. Here’s where these traditional spices originated and how to put them to use in a recipe for hot spiced wine.

Christmas Spices

While you were mixing the ingredients for that batch of gingerbread cookies, did you wonder how the ginger and cinnamon found their way to your kitchen? And I don’t mean by way of the supermarket.

It’s easy for us to take for granted the many baking spices we rely on for our holiday sweets and other recipes. But each took a long road to reach us.

The crusaders returned home from their travels in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and brought with them the spices we still use today. Our holiday baking wouldn’t be the same without the nutmeg, allspice or cloves they brought home.

Here are some of the most common Christmas spices used in holiday treats and where they originated:


 

 

Six Great Gardening Gifts for 2013

By: Jodi Torpey
December 2nd, 2013


If you’re looking for gardening gift ideas for the gardener in your life, here are my top six for 2013. I can vouch for all of these items because I’ve either tried them or read them. Many companies send me free items to try and review and these are the ones that landed at the top of my list:

Baker Creek2 2014

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has produced the “World’s Largest Seed Catalog” for 2014. The catalog is much more than a list of seeds for sale, it’s like a must-have heirloom vegetable encyclopedia for gardeners. The same company that’s sold heirloom vegetable seeds since 1998 has produced this very special catalog for $7.95 (the company’s free catalog is also available). If you love heirloom vegetables as much as I do, you’ll love this book-like catalog for the 2014 gardening season.


 

 

Fifty Years Ago

By: Jodi Torpey
November 22nd, 2013


It was during the 2010 Garden Writers Association Symposium in Dallas, that I skipped breakfast and walked a few blocks to Dealey Plaza. It was my first chance to get a closeup look at the place where JFK was shot on November 22, 1963.

Nov 22 2013I spent time walking through the park at Dealey Plaza, the birthplace of Dallas. That’s where the first house was built, and it served as the first courthouse, post office, store and fraternal lodge. I took pictures of the street Kennedy’s motorcade traveled, the Book Depository, the Grassy Knoll and The 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.But of all the images I captured that day, the most poignant one was the framed photo of the Connally family on the wall near my room in the Hyatt Regency Hotel.


 

 

Gettysburg Evokes Powerful Memories

By: Jodi Torpey
November 19th, 2013


Today marks the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. I thought it would be fitting to take time to revisit some of the images from the battlefield and reflect on this important day in history.

Gettysburg1
This is the monument at Gettysburg National Military Park that commemorates Lincoln’s brief, but powerful speech. The spot where he delivered The Gettysburg Address is some distance away. When I was standing here in 2004, I remember it being a beautiful and solemn September day.

Gettysburg2

Near the monument is a field of headstones of those lost during the battle in July 1863. The headstones are numbered and laid out in row after row after row.

Gettysburg3

Alongside the roadway leading through this part of the park is a series of small markers. Each contains several lines of a poem memorializing the soldiers who fought and died at Gettysburg.

Gettysburg4


 

 

Dia de los Muertos Celebrates Life

By: Jodi Torpey
October 31st, 2013


The Dia de los Muertos holiday begins at the stroke of midnight on October 31.

Calaca Jodi y John webThe Day of the Dead is a time to celebrate life and to poke fun at death.

For two days in early November, families prepare to welcome the souls of their departed loved ones back to the world of the living.

Homes are decorated with special altars and flowers.

Sugar skulls, pan de muerto (Day of the Dead bread) and other favorite recipes are carefully prepared to celebrate the holiday.

Folk art, most featuring skeletons in everyday activities, is also an important part of the celebration.

Where does this holiday have its roots? Learn more at “What’s Day of the Dead without Veggies and Bread.” 


 

 

A Record Year for Growing and Giving

By: Jodi Torpey
October 18th, 2013


Gardeners set a record for vegetable donations in 2013 as part of the Plant a Row for the Hungry-Colorado campaign.

PAR 2013We all know gardeners are a generous bunch, but this year area gardeners set a vegetable-donation record…

10,941 pounds–more than five tons of produce!

The Plant a Row (PAR) campaign got off to a great start early in the season with several big kickoff events.

PAR sponsors provided the gardening give-away items that gardeners received at The Denver Post’s Garden Night and the Denver Master Gardener’s annual plant extravaganza.


 

 

Nosiest Eggplant is 2013 Weird Veggie Winner

By: Jodi Torpey
September 23rd, 2013


The results are in for the 2013 edition of the Weird Veggie and Funny Fruit gardening contest. Entries came in from across the country, but in a strange twist (absolutely fitting for an oddball vegetable contest) the first and second place winners are from Colorado.

Gardener Geri Koncilja has judged the Weird Veggie contest since it started in 2009. She received the photo entries by email after the contest ended on Friday and had no idea where any of the wacky fruits were grown.

First place goes to The Nosiest Eggplant, submitted by Ashley Grabb. The eggplant was grown on Shepard Valley CSA farm located outside of Boulder, Colo. The farm also sustains the Farmer Cultivation Center called Everybody Eats!

1st Ashley Grabb eggplant 2013

First Place-The Nosiest Eggplant, Ashley Grabb, Boulder, Colo.


 

 
contact us Disclaimer
© Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved