Fertilizer Facts – What, When, and How Often

In CategoryGrass Root Gardens NEWS

The key to successful gardening is definitely good soil. But what is good soil and how do we get it? This fantastic info-graphic from fix.com explains everything you will need to know to have thriving plants and gardens in no time. Please remember though that Grass Root Gardens uses only organic fertilizers and amendments which we prefer over chemicals. Sustaining a healthy world is our top priority.infographic explaining fertilizer facts, such as what, when, and how often we should fertilize our plants.
Source: Fix.com

New Plants 2015-Organic Heirloom Vegetable, Fruit and Herbs

In CategoryGet it Growing, Grass Root Gardens NEWS, Organic Vegetable Plants


Cosmos-Sonata Mix
Lavender-Ellagance Purple-(non-heirloom)
Lettuce-Red Velvet
Marigold-Antigua Mix
Nasturtium-Whirlybird Mix
Parsley-Dark Green Italian
Pepper-Hot Cayenne-Long Thin Red
Pepper-Hot Habanero -Maya Red
Pepper-Hot Hungarian Wax
Pepper-Hot Jalapeno-Raam
Pepper-Sweet Bell-California Wonder
Pepper-Sweet Salsa-Pimento
Swiss Chard-Rainbow
Thyme-Winter Thyme
Tomato-Black Cherry
Tomato-Bloody Butcher
Tomato-Bonny Best
Tomato-Chocolate Cherry
Zinnia-Lilliput Mix
Blueberry-Blue Crop-Organic-(non-heirloom)
Rhubarb-Canada Red-Organic-(non-heirloom)

New Plants 2015-Perennials

In CategoryGet it Growing, Grass Root Gardens NEWS

Like you, we too are eager and excited to add new perennials to our ever-growing list of plants we grow at Grass Root Gardens. Some of these perennials make the list year after year, for their popularity and proven track record with our zone 5 gardeners.

Type Description Common Name
tub. ASCLEPIAS-Tuberosa Butterfly Weed/Milkweed
dav. BUDDLEIA-Black Night Butterfly Bush
CALAMAGROSTIS-Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass
COREOPSIS-Big Bang™Mercury Rising Tickseed
CROCOSMIA-Lucifer Montbretia
dwarf DELPHINIUM-MagicFountains-Dark-Blue-White-Bee Larkspur
spe. DICENTRA-Spectabilis Old-fashion Bleeding Heart
pur. ECHINACEA-Magnus Purple Coneflower
rug. EUPATORIUM-Chocolate Joe Pye Weed
gla. FESTUCA-Elijah Blue Blue Fescue
GAILLARDIA-Goblin Blanket Flower
HELIOPSIS-Helianthoides-Loraine Sunshine Perennial Sunflower
HEUCHERA-Caramel Coral Bells/Alumroot
HEUCHERA-Obsidian Coral Bells/Alumroot
HOSTA-June Hosta
HOSTA-Frances Williams Hosta
HOSTA-Patriot Hosta
pan. HYDRANGEA-Limelight PW Panicle Hydrangea
ang. LAVANDULA-Ellagance Purple Lavender
sup. LEUCANTHEMUM-Becky Shasta Daisy
spi. LIATRIS-Spicata Gayfeather/Blazing Star
asiatic LILIUM-Buzzer (Sweet Lord) Lily
asiatic LILIUM-Landini Lily
oriental LILIUM-Star Gazer Lily
cardinalis LOBELIA-Queen Victoria Cardinal Flower
sin. MISCANTHUS-Graziella Maiden Grass
alo. PENNISETUM-Hameln Fountain Grass
x-ad. PENNISETUM-Rubrum Fountain Grass
PENSTEMON-Hot Pink Riding Hood Beardtongue
PHYSOCARPUS-Burgundy Candy Ninebark
grand. PLATYCODON-Sentimental Blue Balloon Flower
moss SAGINA-Subulata Moss
int. SALIX- Hakuro-nishiki Tri-Colour Willow
sco. SCHIZACHYRIUM-Prairie Blues Bluestem/Prairie Grass
SEDUM-Matrona Stonecrop/Tall
sie. SEDUM-sieboldii Stonecrop/Carpet
dwarf SYRINGA- Bloomerang™ Purple PW Lilac Bush-Rebloomer

Freezer Jam Workshop-Two Recipes, Too Easy!

In CategoryChild-Friendly Nature Projects, Grass Root Gardens NEWS, Ideas, Recipes

Our second workshop of the season went off without a hitch. This time I remembered to pack everything on my list, including my wonderful husband Don. He was such a doll to agree to show us  how to create delicious freezer jam from scratch. Who knew it was so easy to make a jar of fruity, fresh, wholesome goodness? I will never buy store-bought jam again. We learned that in just a few minutes of  time and a few ingredients, we too could create our own jam!  Mom’s in the audience were quick to point out the ‘no cooking involved’ recipes would make this a deliciously fun activity to do with their children! Mom’s are smart that way lol.

Anyhow,within an hour Don whipped up three batches of  jam for us. Two strawberry and one blueberry –a total of fifteen 250ml jars! We enjoyed the workshop, Don was great, his flare for food entertained and enlightened everyone.  The night concluded with  a sampling of our jam atop warm sourdough bread.  Add to that a great cup of Colombian coffee. We be jammin now!

1. Strawberry Freezer Jam

By The Canadian Living Test Kitchen



Tested till perfect

This recipe makes 6 serving(s)

*  8 cups cups(2 L)organic strawberries, hulled
* 1 1box light pectin crystals
* 3-1/4 cups(800 mL)organic granulated sugar


In large bowl and using potato masher, crush strawberries, 1 cup (250 mL) at a time, to make 4 cups (1 L). In small bowl, whisk pectin crystals with 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the sugar. Add to strawberries and stir to combine; let stand for 30 minutes.

Add remaining sugar and stir until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into six 1-cup (250 mL) airtight containers, leaving 1/4-inch (5 mm) head space. Cover with lids. Let stand undisturbed at room temperature until set, about 24 hours. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 8 months.
Additional Information:


Low-Sugar Strawberry Freezer Jam
Crush 8 cups (2 L) strawberries as above. Stir in 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) sugar; let stand for 15 minutes. Stirring constantly, gradually add 1 pouch (45 g) Freezer Jam Pectin; stir for 3 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Ladle into five 1-cup (250 mL) containers, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) head space. Cover with lids. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.

Makes 5 cups (1.25 L).

Per 1 tbsp (15 mL): about 16 cal, 0 g pro, 0 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 4 g carb, trace fibre, 0 mg chol, 0 mg sodium. % RDI: 12% vit C, 1%


2. Blueberry Freezer Jam

From start to finish, this delicious small batch of jam can be ready to enjoy in 30 minutes.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: n/a
Servings: About 5 – 1 cup (250 mL) Jars

* 4 cups (1 L) organic Ontario blueberries
* 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) organic sugar
* 1 45 g pouch of freezer jam pectin
* 2 tsp (10 mL) grated organic lemon peel


In large bowl crush blueberries to measure 4 cups (1 L)*. Stir in sugar. Let stand 15 minutes. Stirring constantly, gradually add pectin to the blueberries and stir 3 minutes longer. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in grated lemon peel. Ladle into 5 1-cup (250 mL) mason jars, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) headspace, apply lids. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year.

* Instead of blueberries any fully ripe berries or tender fruit (Ontario peaches, plums or apricots) can be used.



Spring Forward into Daylight Savings Time

In CategoryFlower Press, Grass Root Gardens NEWS

Are you  ready to spring forward: Clocks will move ahead 1 hour to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday at 2 a.m meaning we’ll lose an hour of sleep. Not to worry though, this just gives us more time to play in the garden. Enjoy the sunshine!


A symbol of the Geneva, Switzerland, watch industry of world renown, the famous flower clock, located at the edge of the Jardin Anglais (English Garden), was created in 1955. It is a masterpiece of technology and floral art. The Flower Clock is the pride and glory of the city, honouring the importance of the watchmaking industry as well as the skilfulness of its gardening team. It changes every year to accommodate the seasonal colours and requires around 6500 flowers, trimmed to the millimetre by horticultural specialists. Formerly only decorative with its sole dial comprising over 6,500 flowers, the new millennium provided it with decisive artistic dimensions thanks to the ingenuity of the gardeners of the Service of Green Spaces and the Environment.

Created in 1955, the clock has been captured through the lenses of millions of cameras every year. In 2002, because the sidewalk in front of it was not wide enough for tourists to capture the whole picture without being run over by passing cars, it underwent minor surgery and resurfaced with a new and more modern look. The seconds hand of Geneva’s Flower Clock is the largest in the world (it is more than 2.5 meters long).


The floral clock was truly enchanting. It had 12 divisions for the hours, and each hour would see the flowers in one of the divisions open or close. People who knew how it worked could leave their wristwatches at home when they visited this garden. A flower clock is a working timepiece. Floral clocks, as they are sometimes referred to, are public clocks, set in prominent locations, that not only display the time but the beauty of the season through the planting of flowers. Therefore at night time flowers are closed but with sunrise they open their heads. Round-the-clock schedule of petals movement is result of irregular growing of upper (inner) and lower (outer) their sides. If upper side grows faster then petals opens out and flowers opens. On the contrary, more fast growing of lower surface leads to deviation of petal inward and closing of flower.


However, there are flowers that open only at night, among them sweet-scented tobacco (Nicotiana alata), enotera, night beauty. This effect related to the fact that they are pollinated by night insects. Flower clocks are good only during sunny weather, during cloudy days they lie. Periodicity of opening and closing of flowers and inflorescences depends not only from nature conditions but from place of plant vegetation. Many plants have a biological clock, which regulates the time of day that their flowers open and close. For example, the flowers of catmint (Nepeta cataria) – also known as catnip – open between 6am and 7am; orange hawkweed follows between 7am and 8am; field marigolds open at 9am and varieties of Helichrysum wake up for 10am. Other varieties follow, with Convolvulus opening at noon.

As a part of beautiful landscape, flower clock brings us pleasant feeling at Wayfaring Travel Guide


Happy Holidays!

In CategoryDesserts, Grass Root Gardens NEWS, Recipes

It’s that time of year again, the red, green, and white time of year called Christmas! Where everything glistens and sparkles, and the smell of cinnamon, chocolate, orange, and peppermint waltz through the air. For many of us it is one of the most blessed days of the year celebrated with family and friends. A time to give thanks, to reflect on what we have and what we could do better. A time for peace and goodwill, gift-giving and good food.  Christmas season with all its many traditions is also one of the busiest times of the year and no wonder, the to-do list is endless. Families with young children are particularly hurried with homework, school activities, concerts, trips to see Santa, shopping, baking, cleaning and cooking. Would we have it any other way? Never! Could we pare it down some, enough to smell the mistletoe? Absolutely or should I say I hope so!

This year I decided to give it my best shot paring down the list. First I had to make a few choices, like do I really need to spend a gazillion dollars to have a great Christmas? Will Aunt Ida really care  that I baked one less dessert or that my usual formal dinner is buffet style this year? Do I really need to iron ALL the linens, clean every nook and cranny? Will my benefactors appreciate a less than glitzy store bought gift? I don’t know but I will soon find out. If they love me ha, ha,then they had better love my gifts!

So here it goes, I’m going to list them as I make them or when time permits. Remember I’m going for nice, easy and stress-free while reducing my carbon foot print this holiday season so please be patient with me.  Like ‘somebody’ once said “there’s always next year”. Seriously though most of these recipes, gifts, and projects can be applied and/or adapted to suit any time of year.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Chocolate Crackle-Cookies

Preheat oven to 190’C (375’F)

Makes 4.5 dozen cookies

  • 1 package  Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 15ml. (1 Tsp.) water
  • 75ml. (1/2 cup) Crisco
  • Icing sugar

Blend together dry cake mix, eggs, water, and Crisco with a spoon. Drop batter by 4 ml. (1 tsp.) into icing sugar. Coat well and roll into balls Put onto greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

I like to add vanilla, chocolate chips and coconut to the second batch for an extra rich taste. Replace the chocolate with chocolate mint chips for a whole other flavour!  I picked up some inexpensive cookie tins from the dollar store to add a festive touch. The great thing about tins is that they are so easy to reuse or recycle once the goodies are gone. Next year I may rethink my containers to incorporate a more natural look or maybe hand-paint recycled cardboard boxes. This year I’m sticking with the tins, they fit my theme and will look cheery and colourful in my gift baskets. Plus I hadn’t planned to make my own gifts this year until a few weeks ago so I’m sort of in a time crunch  before Rudolph comes calling!

Chocolate-Crackle-Cookies-How-To-Make-9GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens
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Chocolate-Crackle-Cookies-How-To-Make-5GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens
Chocolate-Crackle-Cookies-How-To-Make-8GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens




Peanut-Free Granola Bars

1/2 cup peanut butter or sunbutter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil (or another oil of your choice)
1 cup oats

Peanut-Free-Granola-Bars-How-To-Make-6GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens

1 cup of any combination of:  sesame seeds, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds,dried fruit, mini chocolate chips

  • In a medium sized saucepan, melt together peanut butter/sunbutter, honey and coconut oil.
  • Remove from heat and add one cup of oats.
  • Choose your favorite combination of coconut flakes, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit and mini chocolate chips, to equal a total of ONE CUP. Pour into oat mixture and stir well.
  • Spread mixture into an 8×8 or 9×4 pan.
  • Chill for two hours, cut into bars. For quick snacks on the go, wrap each bar separately in plastic wrap.
  • Peanut-Free-Granola-Bars-How-To-Make-2GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens
    Peanut-Free-Granola-Bars-How-To-Make-3GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens
    Peanut-Free-Granola-Bars-How-To-Make-1GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens
    Peanut-Free-Granola-Bars-How-To-Make-4GrassRootGardens | Grass Root Gardens










Meilland’s ‘Peace’ Rose

In CategoryGrass Root Gardens NEWS, Roses

The ‘Peace’ rose was introduced to the world in 1945. Today this is one of the most popular roses in the garden and cut flower trade with over one-hundred million sold as of 1992.  Much of the success of this beautiful rose lies in its perfect form, fragrance and colour; Large flowers, light yellow to cream color, slightly blushed at the petal edges with crimson-pink.  For me it is the history of its origin that captured my heart.

In 1935 at the age of 23, French horticulturalist Francis Meilland, developed a hybridized tea rose known at the time as #3-35-40.  In 1939 as war began in Europe, Meilland foresaw the impending invasion of France and secretly sent cuttings to friends in Italy, Turkey, Germany, and United States to protect the new rose. Rumor has it, that it was sent on the last U.S. plane out of Europe before the German invasion, to Conrad Pyle Company where it was successfully propagated during the war. For over five years, because of no communication due to the war, Meilland had no knowledge of what happened to the rose. It survived its clandestine journey under three separate names. In Germany- ‘Gloria Dei’ (Latin for glory of God), in Italy ‘Gioia’ (Joy), in the United States ‘Peace’ and in France, Meilland named it ‘Madame A. Meilland’ in memory of his dear mother. The latter name is recognized as the true cultivar while the others are the commercial names.

The variation of the commercial name ‘Peace’ was announced by the Conrad Pyle Company on April 29, 1945. Interestingly, on the same day that Berlin fell, which is also the day officially recognized as the end of WW2 in Europe. Later that year the ‘Peace’ rose was given to the delegates at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in San Francisco with a note which read “We hope the ‘Peace’ rose will influence men’s thoughts for everlasting world peace”.

It’s remarkable that sixty-six years later the ‘Peace’ rose is still the most enduring and beautiful hybrid tea rose on the market. Unfortunately world peace is still so elusive to our world today.


Nothing is more precious than peace. Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.

~Daisaku Ikeda

Peace rose image by Firegodess1-photobucket

Three Cheers to 2012!

In CategoryGrass Root Gardens NEWS

Wow, it has been quite some time between posts, I’m awfully sorry about that!  It was not my intention to be gone so long, but you know how life is, sometimes it drifts in other directions if only for a moment. I may have been gone for a bit, but you were not forgotten.  Closing up the greenhouses, covering perennials in thermal blankets and prep work for the 2012 season is hard work. Fun for me because I love what I do but hard just the same. Grass Root Gardens has been a one woman operation the last few years and I have become a ‘Jill of all trades’. Soup to nuts, I do it all. Probably not a good thing but there you have it!  The economy has taken a beating, road closures and detours in front of my business due to municipal and federal infrastructure forced me to cut expenses. I trimmed my inventory as much I could without affecting quality however that was not enough so I had to let my employees go. Hopefully the economy picks up for everyone so that I may relinquish some of my duties and rehire. On a good note I have been assured by the government that my road will NOT be blocked this year. Fingers crossed on that one because Grass Root Gardens just could not take a third year of road closures!

Thankfully I’m an optimist, any gardener can tell you this is one our most endearing qualities, so what’s a few obstacles, right? Pull up the boot straps, again and carry on. As my grandmother used to say “life is good if we don’t weaken” so three cheers to Grass Root Gardens as it embarks on its ten year anniversary in 2012 and cheers to you for coming along for the ride, I could never have done it without you.

Peace On Earth card

Give me love, give me peace on earth, give me light,

give me life; keep me free from birth,

give me hope; help me cope, with this heavy load,

trying to, touch and reach you with, heart and soul.

~George Harrison

The Journey from Seed to Harvest – Sweet Pepper ‘Marconi’

In CategoryGet it Growing, Organic Vegetable Plants, Seeds

Well the journey from seed to harvest this year regarding peppers was long and often times uncertain due to weather conditions. Too cold, too much rain and lack of sunlight slowed the peppers greatly. Many farmers across Ontario had to plant a second crop of peppers this year to make up their losses and to have peppers for you the consumer.  There were many days I spied black trays of dirt praying for any signs of life. It wasn’t until late May when sprouting began in earnest and some varieties didn’t sprout until June, a few didn’t germinate at all.  Next year I will start the peppers 30 days earlier than this year. Oh it’s the farmer’s life for me,  I wouldn’t want to do anything else, so if waiting a few more months for peppers has to be – so be it. All the more sweeter!


According to the Marconi seed cultural notes Marconi is an Italian heirloom prized for extremely sweet, large red fruits. Plants produce 3-lobed tapered blunt-tipped fruits that measure 3″ at the shoulder and up to 12″ long. Excellent for using green, in fresh in salads, and also for frying. 70-90 days from transplant.

My Observations

Some peppers were ready for harvest September 17th, 2011. There are four more plants with dozens of unripened peppers as of this date. I would suspect they need another four weeks to harvest. Normally from seed to harvest these peppers should take 150-160 days but this year they needed a longer growing time at 210-240 days. Proving 2011 was a poor year for peppers in Windsor Ontario, at least for my Marconi’s. Long red Cayenne peppers seemed to do just fine.


Sowing the Seeds 2011

In CategoryGet it Growing, Organic Vegetable Plants, Seeds


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