Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pattison Golden Marbre Scallop Squash for Summer and Winter

If you've ever grown summer squash, you know how prolific these plants can be in ideal growing conditions. Turn around, and six or seven more crookneck squash are ready to pick. Wait too long, and a zucchini will grow the size of a bat. Even your neighbors may start to look weary when you offer yet another bag filled with squashes. (Although your local food banks would appreciate any extra produce, no doubt.)

Still, summer squash can sometimes seem like too much of a good thing at times.

That's one reason I'm in love with 'Pattison Golden Marbre Scallop' squash. This rare heirloom not only produced loads of squash for me this summer, but also left plenty of winter squash too.

I direct sowed squash seeds in mid-May, after our last frost date. Before long, the bush plant started to provide small yellow scallop squash that tasted sweet throughout the summer. You can see an example of the scallop squash in the middle of the below picture.

Surrounding the 'Pattison Golden Marbre Scallop' squash
(from top, moving clockwise)
'Rosa Bianca' eggplant and greenish 'Ronde de Nice' squash;
blackish 'Little Finger' eggplants; 'Banana' pepper;
striped 'Fairy Tale' eggplants; 'Lebanese White Bush Marrow' squash;
green peppers and 'Calliope' eggplant.
Around three weeks before our last frost date in early-October, I stopped picking the squash. Or, at least, I slowed down picking fruit. (Squash is botanically a fruit, not a vegetable, by the way.) 

The squash eventually grew larger and developed a hard skin that couldn't be dented with a fingernail. That's when I knew it was ready for winter storage. So, I harvested the squash and left a couple inches of stem on each one. Now, the squash are stored for winter, and we've already enjoyed them in two separate dinners.

Today we had our first snow storm of the year. But I'm still enjoying 'Pattison Golden Marbre Scallop' squash, thanks to the amazing productivity of this unique and delicious heirloom.

I found my seeds at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. When I couldn't find information about how to grow both summer and winter squash from this plant, their seed experts were kind enough to answer my questions. Why not see for yourself whether this beautiful squash wins your heart too?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book Review: Edible Landscaping; Podcast Interview; Book Giveaway Contest

Photographs copyright © by Rosalind Creasy
These days, we take for granted that folks are becoming “locavores,” and growing their own foods in their backyards, side yards and front yards. Why, even the White House has a kitchen garden, for the first time since World War II.

But back in the early 1980s, you were lucky to see a few tomatoes growing in a person’s garden. You certainly weren’t finding the blue potatoes, spotted lettuces, pink beans, striped tomatoes and colorful kales you see today. The old heirloom varieties that we have grown to love now seemed forgotten and under-appreciated back then. But all that has changed.

Photographs copyright © by Rosalind Creasy
And for that, we have much to thank Rosalind Creasy.

It was Rosalind’s book The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping (Sierra Club Books, 1982) that became the bible of edible landscaping nearly 30 years ago. When she first started talking about mixing flowers with edibles back in the early-80s, she was called that “crazy, hippy lady from California,” as she recently told the National Gardening Association.

Fortunately, that “crazy, hippy lady” – who has gone on to write a total of 18 very successful gardening books – has helped change the way we garden in this country. So, it seemed only appropriate that she just launched her new edition of Edible Landscaping, as the nation catches up with her love of edibles.

With more than 300 color photographs, 7 color garden plans and 20 b/w illustrations, Edible Landscaping (Sierra Club Books, 2010) is as delicious looking as it is information rich. Rosalind not only shows ideas from her own famous Northern California garden, but also those of clever edible gardeners around the nation. Listen to our Nest in Style interview with Rosalind and enter to win a copy of this book!!!

Photographs copyright © by Rosalind Creasy
As Rosalind explains, "The whole atmosphere around edible landscaping is different now,” she says. “We have more varieties of attractive edible plants available than ever before. Twenty years ago, few people even knew about heirloom plants, for example. Now it’s easy to find and grow heirloom apples, tomatoes, melons—varieties that people didn’t even know they were missing.”

The design section mixes photography and practical tips to help you leverage Rosalind’s 30 years of landscape design experience. I particularly liked the way she showed how absolutely lovely and luxurious edible plants can be. If anyone you know needs convincing that edibles deserve a star spot in any garden – including your front yard – show them a few pictures from this beautiful book.

Photographs copyright © by Rosalind Creasy
Above is a double-barrel herb garden that Rosalind shows how to make in the book, complete with detailed instructions, materials lists and installation tips.

Another wonderful feature is the comprehensive Encyclopedia of Edibles that provides a concise A-Z of valuable information for growing a wide variety of vegetables, fruit and herbs, using environmentally friendly practices. There are loads of growing tips, culinary uses and recommended varieties. Plus, there is plenty of advice on growing your own food using organic methods.

I was interested to learn from Susan Harris on Garden Rant that Rosalind redoes her edible gardens twice a year, including the hardscaping. The reason is because these gardens are her photo studio, and it shows in her amazing pictures … whether it’s blue teepees supporting beans or passion fruit. Or edible flowers like chives, nasturtiums, arugula and calendula, scattered among equally lovely vegetables and fruit.

I particularly like this shot of blackberries contrasting beautifully with 'polka' climbing roses.

Photographs copyright © by Rosalind Creasy
The best compliment I can give Edible Landscaping is that I already find myself reaching for this book again … and again, whenever I have a question or need a little inspiration for my own garden. It’s almost like having a chance to talk to Rosalind directly. And who wouldn’t want that?
Speaking of chatting with Rosalind ... here's a behind-the-scenes shot of me and Jayme Jenkins interviewing the edible landscaping guru herself. You can learn more by listening to Rosalind Creasy's podcast interview on Nest in Style. Also enter to win a free copy of the newly released Edible Landscaping. But hurry! Time is running out...

Buy this book! (Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this book; but I would have bought a copy anyway.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Upcoming Speaking Appearances

This vintage card of Queen Mary is from riptheskull on Flickr
Seasonal Wisdom is traveling coast to coast soon to talk about gardening ... although not by ocean liner; just good old fashioned air travel.  Here are some places you'll find me speaking in upcoming months:

Idaho Botanical Garden's Rethinking Idaho Landscapes
Boise Centre on the Grove, Idaho
November 13, 2010, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • My presentation: "Simple Ways to Grow Food at Home"
  • Keynote speakers: Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden
  • Also appearing: Mary Ann Newcomer
2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show
Washington State Convention Center, Seattle
February 23-27, 2011
  • This huge garden show has the largest roster of horticulture presenters in the world
  • "Tips for the Time Crunched Gardener" will be presented by me and my NestinStyle cohost Jayme Jenkins on Friday 1:30 p.m. and Saturday 1:30 p.m.
  • The Garden Show's "Incredible Edibles" panel discussion - Saturday 3:30 p.m. Host: Lorene Edwards Forkner; Panelists: Graham Kerr (Galloping Gourmet), Willi Galloway and yours truly
2011 Boston Flower & Garden Show
Seaport World Trade Center, Boston
March 16-20, 2011
  • This impressive flower and garden show will focus on container gardening in 2011
  • "Growing Groceries in Containers" is scheduled Sunday, March 20 (time TBD). Presenters: me and Jayme Jenkins of NestinStyle
2011 Boise Flower & Garden Show
Centre on the Grove, Boise
March 25-27, 2011
  • This flower and garden show is celebrating its 15th year
  • "Growing Your Own Groceries" and "Edible Flowers" are topics I'm presenting on Saturday, March 26 (time TBD)
That's the latest. Hope to see you at one of these venues sometime soon...