GFM Network News


Giving up the garden

First We Eat: After a lifetime of successful gardening Mom is now giving it up as it becomes difficult to manage

This spring, I stood in Mom’s backyard with a wheelbarrow and a shovel, digging out all the soil in her raised beds. “Take it all,” she said when I slowed down. “I’m done with it.” “Not even a potful of lettuces?” I asked, thinking of the preceding summer, when she’d grown more lettuces than she […] Read more

It’s an awesome sight to behold when plum tree blossoms are at the 
peak of their utmost beauty beckoning arrival of pollinating insects.

Singing Gardener: What home remedies have you tried and what has worked or not worked for you?

Plus, Ted shares what readers have written to him

My plum trees did me proud this year while in full bloom with hundreds of blossoms (see photo at top). There were so many flowers the trees couldn’t sustain them all and many never got pollinated. The good news is green plums about the size of large cranberries had formed up nicely as of mid-June. […] Read more


Doesn’t this rare Ganti Hungarian heritage tomato grown and held by Theresa Tanguay of Austin, Manitoba look scrumptious? There are other words to describe it too such as personal favourite, full-bodied flavour, delightful, outstanding, wonderful and even stylish. Big, bold and beautiful indeterminate Ganti is blemish free, great for tomato sandwiches and home canning. Average weight is 12 ounces (345 grams). Harvest begins about 75 to 80 days from transplant time into the garden.

Singing Gardener: Ted shares letters from readers

Plus, tips for growing peas

Are we all placed here on this planet for a single specific purpose, or perhaps several tasks to carry out during our lifetime? Maybe some have never come to such awareness or give it little thought. Finding life’s purpose can sometimes be a challenge. Such a discovery might be early in life — mid-life for […] Read more

Shown is a cluster of fruit produced on an Italian hybrid tomato named “Pozzano.” Large red fruits have no green shoulders and are attractively shaped, full of flavour and have a good tolerance to blossom end rot.

Singing Gardener: Draws for tomato seeds have taken place

Plus, what kind of weather should we expect after this cold winter?

Draws for the dozen packets of Cosmonaut Volkov heirloom tomato seeds took place on March 5. Winners can expect their seeds in the mail via Canada Post with names appearing in April 9 issue of Grainews. Endless thanks to each and all who participated. I’ll be checking the entries for comments and garden tips following the draws […] Read more


This traditional Ukrainian heirloom tomato was renamed to Cosmonaut Volkov in honour of a deceased Russian cosmonaut. Ted tells a whole lot more.

Singing Gardener: Fruits of the vine — heirloom tomato and heirloom melon

Don’t forget to enter Ted’s tomato seed draws

If you’ve ever attended live theatre, you may have experienced a curtain raiser. It’s a short, dramatic piece performed before the main play or event of the evening. That’s not to say there’s no such thing as live theatre in the afternoon as there certainly is. Now just imagine yours truly standing at the mike […] Read more

Dee Garrioch of Winnipeg describes the scent of fresh rosemary as gentle sweet and a bit gingery. The Singing Gardener says rosemary gives the impression of strength and overall health, a kind of inspiring vigour that gardeners and cooks like to have around.

Singing Gardener: Taking care of a rosemary plant in low-light time of year

Plus, how to make some liquid calcium from dried eggshells to use on tomato plants

For some time my thoughts have told me to write something about rosemary. An email with questions about wonderful herbaceous rosemary has spurred me on to say — today’s the day. I enjoy watching those TV commercials that say: “We’re egg farmers — we love what we do.” If that’s a signal I also love eating […] Read more


Note the attractive golden fall colour of this youthful “Delta” Hackberry tree. Its growth form is similar to our North American elm.

Singing Gardener: Get to know the ‘Delta’ Hackberry tree

Plus, a reader shares experiences with using sawdust in the garden

When are those startling and scary news reports about recalled imported fresh food veggies going to end? Maybe never! As I write this column some of the most recent recalls have applied to specific brands of romaine, leafy red and leafy green lettuces and whole heads of cauliflower. Who knows what’s possibly next? My theme […] Read more

This attractive potted Christmas cactus has been flowering annually for 20 years. Success is in the know-how and Ted delivers some ideas and helpful hints.

Singing Gardener: How to get Christmas cactus to put on its best bloom display

Plus, reader feedback on problem deer control

Thanks for taking time and coming by to join me with this my final Grainews column for 2018. December is the month when some folks are saying happy holidays but I hold to joining those who stick to established tradition by wishing each person a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Red is such a predominant colour […] Read more


Ladybird poppy always generates a lot of comment. Brilliant-scarlet flowers with central black blobs provide a wonderful splash of colour during early summer. Ladybird is a sow-and-forget poppy that self-seeds annually if it likes your garden.

Singing Gardener: Remembrance Day 2018

Plus, a houseplant that may help you get a good night’s sleep

Hey! Hello my fellow Canadians. By the time this issue of Grainews arrives in your mailbox, Remembrance Day 2018 will be close at hand. I’ve always appreciated a spot set aside in the garden for growing poppies, especially Ladybird Flanders poppy. Even during midsummer, poppies remind me of Canadian doctor, surgeon and teacher John McCrae who is best known for […] Read more

This striking mass of pink hibiscus-like lavatera flowers, also known as rose mallow are grown from seeds that Joan Ziegler got from her dad, but she doesn’t know the variety name. (Ted thinks they could be “Loveliness” or “Silver Cup.”) Joan also mentioned there are white ones tucked in among the pink lavatera. She tried starting them inside but decided lavatera do not transplant well and says they do much better when seeded outside directly into the soil. She always saves some seeds and also lets them volunteer.

Readers ask for more tomato info

Singing Gardener: Plus, farming couple shares photos of their flowers

All for the love of tomatoes opens the page in this my first Grainews column for 2018. I share an email from Alberta and a phone conversation with a farmer’s wife out of Unity, Sask. Am still out and about promoting the connection between five or more weekly servings of no-sugar-added homemade tomato juice, tomato soup, stewed […] Read more