I started gardening this year for the first time in my twenty odd years of existence upon this earth, save for the time I planted tulips as a wee child of 7 or so years, or the time I scattered some carrot seeds out in the yard and thought that maybe they’d grow without any help from me.* (Spoiler alert: I’m still waiting.) But this year, I was bit by the gardening bug early May (literally and figuratively at this point, considering how much of a mosquito trap I am), and so towards the beginning of June, armed with a bag of potting soil and an egg carton in hand, I planted some tomato seeds and watered them diligently. Anyone who has ever planted tomatoes ever now knows how this is going to end: it’s August, and my tomato seedlings are nice and strong (and absolutely adorable), but it’s probably going to be too little too late for them to fruit fruitfully this year. They’ll probably grow just enough to give me hope before dying back down due to frost or lack of sunlight without ever having given fruit, even if I bring them indoors or otherwise attempt to lengthen the growing season. With this heavy knowledge in mind (the heaviness in my heart contrasted against the plant light from lack of fruit), I turned my efforts towards planning for next year, as clearly, my transgressions against Demeter this season were too great; I must revise my strategy and offer up new libations to the goddess of fertility.
Which is where Grow. Food. Anywhere. by Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon comes in! We’re just going to overlook the endpapers a little bit on this one, because they basically reduce all of Canada into one growing condition apart from some tiny slivers that are Toronto and surrounding Southern areas, as well as both the east and west coasts. It also neglects to note the tree line, which might be of some importance if you’re trying to grow food. BUT! The rest of this book is still incredibly useful as an introductory primer to gardening for beginners like me, covering a nice variety of different ways to garden, from growing veggies in your yard to a raised bed to pots and other containers to indoors. They also cover a range of different potential pests to your garden and what to do about them, ranging from insect to mammals (such as children)! While I’m holding out some hope for this round of vegetables in my garden, I feel much better equipped for the next round armed with this colourful volume.
For more resources on gardening in tight spaces and/or a sorely mistimed start to the growing season (and how to extend the season), take a look below the cut!
I know it was a couple months ago now, but did anyone else get the chance to go to TCAF earlier this year? I always want to buy ALL THE BOOKS, but physical limitations (e.g. do I have any more space on my bookshelf? No, no I don’t.) and financial ones (i.e. how much can I buy) coupled with moral ones (e.g. how much should I buy) always get in the way.
One of the graphic novels I had wanted to take a closer look at, but didn’t since I already nabbed a couple other titles, was Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki (co-author of This One Summer, which is on our Adult Summer Reads: Nostalgia list), illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. I follow Valero-O’Connell on Twitter (@hirosemaryhello), so it had been on my radar right from the start. Even with the positive bias in mind, this one sucked me in right away with the composition, the reduced colour palette*, EVERYTHING. Its cast included a wide variety of LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC characters as well, which I appreciated (the protagonist, Freddy, and her on-again-off-again girlfriend Laura Dean are just one of the many non-heteronormative relationships in this graphic novel). When I take a step back and think about this particular aspect of it, the openness of the characters and their relationships in their high school environment, it gives me a bit of pause and I can’t help but think this must all be taking place in an alternate reality where there is no longer any discrimination against LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC people. Seeing a portrayal of a world in which this is the case, but is still based on historical events rooted in reality, was both life-affirming and a bit crushing (because we’re not quite there yet, with some work yet to be done).
I might be a little bit late to this bandwagon, but I finally caught up and jumped right on! My absence from this said wagon was not for lack of trying, let me tell you: I’ve got two dead sourdough starters under my belt*, and so for the sake of all future sourdough cultures to be, I figured I should stop there and call it a day. This was two years ago, in the September of 2017, that this all took place, and I am proud to say that as of this year, 2019, I HAVE BECOME A SOURDOUGH MOTHER**.
I have to give credit where credit’s due, because it was upon picking up The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook by Jim Lahey & Maya Joseph that my desire to try embarking upon the journey that is sourdough baking was reignited. And, joy of joys, the recipe included within these pages yielded me my healthy, bubbling sourdough starter son, Leviathan (hereafter referred to as Levi; sometimes spelled Levy), who dutifully lifts up my heart along with my sourdough bread. If you’d like to learn a bit more about the culture of sourdough, read on below the cut!