Six Uses for Eggs in the Garden

If Easter has left you walking on eggshells and you don’t know what to do with all those leftover cartons of cackle berries and shells here are half a dozen uses for eggs in the garden!

4B Eggshell Pots

Use shells for starting seedlings in. They will appreciate the boost of calcium they receive from the shell. This is especially a good idea for those seedlings that don’t like being transplanted because they can’t stand having their roots disturbed. You can also easily write on the shell so you know what you’ve planted. Be sure to poke a hole in the bottom with a pin or a thumbtack so excess water can escape. When it is time to plant your seedling outside gently crack the bottom of the “egg pot” so roots can escape and plant the seedling shell and all. The transplants won’t even know what happened.


hands planting tomato seedling

2. Add crushed eggshells to the hole before planting your tomatoes. Tomatoes thrive on the extra calcium the shells provide. If you have a crazy amount of eggs here is a fantastic recipe for a  concoction your tomatoes will love.

  • 3.78 Litres (1 gallon) of sun warmed water (rainwater if you have it)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp.) of Epsom salts
  • 2 banana peels
  • 2 dozen eggshells

Mix the above ingredients in a blender and feed to your tomatoes once a week.

Crushed egg shell on white background flushed left


3. Crush up eggshells and pile them about a centimeter (half inch) thick on the soil surface in a ring around susceptible plants to deter slugs and cutworms. These little critters have soft bodies that do not appreciate sharp edges.


4. Add crushed eggshells to your potted plants for a boost of calcium. Every time you water calcium will be washed down to the roots.


African violet, Saintpaulia flower on window sill

5. Put 125 ml (1/2 cup) of eggshells in a 1 litre (4 cup) mason jar with a lid. Use for watering your houseplants. African Violets are extremely appreciative of eggshell water rewarding your efforts with beautiful robust blooms. Top off the jar up to half a dozen times before adding new eggshells.


Composting examples.

6. Simply add eggshells to your compost to enrich that magic mixture!


What are the Provincial and Territorial Flowers of Canada?

Canada’s Provincial and Territorial Official Flowers listed alphabetically first by Province and then by Territory. Includes the year the flower was officially adopted.


wild rose isolated

Alberta – The Wild Rose

Adopted in 1930





Dogwood (Cornus florida)



British Columbia – The Pacific Dogwood

Adopted in 1956




Spring flowers cutleaf anemone




Manitoba – Prairie Crocus

Adopted in 1906






Viola flowers



New Brunswick – Purple Violet

Adopted in 1936





Pitcher Plant


Newfoundland and Labrador – Pitcher Plant

Adopted in 1954








Nova Scotia – Mayflower Trailing Arbutus

Adopted in 1901






Trillium, Official Flower of Province of Ontario, Canada


Ontario – White Trillium

Adopted in 1937






lady slipper trio



Prince Edward Island – Pink Lady Slipper Cypripedium reginae

Adopted in 1947








Flower of Iris 7



Quebec – the Blue Flag (native Iris) replaced the white lily as the provincial flower in 1999








Wild lily (Lilium pensylvanicum) 8



Saskatchewan – Western Red Lily

Adopted in 1941










Northwest Territories – Mountain Avens

Adopted in 1957





Saxifrage flowers on the ground in the garden



Nunavut Territory – Purple Saxifraga

Adopted in 2000







Yukon Territory – Fireweed

Adopted in 1957







Colorful Canada map with provinces and capital cities

What was the First Vegetable to Sprout in Space?

The very first vegetable to ever sprout in space was the spud. That’s right, the lowly potato earned high flying status when Space Shuttle Columbia tested the production of seed potatoes aboard the shuttle in October 1995.

germinating potato

If you are interested in learning more about growing potatoes on space missions visit NASA’s post Space Spuds to the Rescue and learn about recent developments in  growing Quantum Tubers™


Biggest Tree in the World

Title for the biggest tree in the world goes to the cashew tree Anacardium occidentale.

Yup, the very same tree that gives us those scrumptious, expensive, calorie rich cashews.

The cashew tree has a unique growing habit somewhat similar to the Egyptian Walking Onion. As the branches grow they often become so weighty they bow down and touch the earth, sending down roots wherever they make contact.

In Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, this growth habit has resulted is one cashew tree that has spread itself across 7,500 square meters or 80,729 square feet; the equivalent of almost two acres.

In other words, you can’t see the tree for the forest.

This grove consisting of a single tree produces 60,000 cashews every year.

Did you know cashew trees also produce cashew apples? Find out more about them here!

Cashew apple on the tree

Biggest Pumpkins Ever!

The biggest pumpkin for 2015 weighed in at 2230.5 pounds (1011.7 kilograms). It was grown by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island. To date it is the heaviest pumpkin ever produced in North America. Despite its impressive size it fell short by almost 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of the world record set in 2014 by Beni Meier of Germany.

Beni’s pumpkin weighed 2,323.7 pounds (1054 kilograms).


Trip 103

A picture of a giant pumpkin with its regular sized relatives in its shadow. As big as this pumpkin is it would be dwarfed by the current record holders.


During the height of the growing season these hulking behemoths can put on as much as 50 pounds (23 kilograms) per day! Kind of makes me feel better about the four pounds I put on over Christmas. Not sure why, but it does.

Growing giant pumpkins can become all consuming with many people dedicating their lives to seeing how big of a pumpkin they can produce. With records being shattered year after year there doesn’t seem to be any limit to how big they can grow.

Interested in producing a giant pumpkin? Here are a couple books to help you get growing…

growing giant pumpkin


giant pumpkin

A border made of vine plants and a squash


Tree Ain’t Pretty Tree Just Looks That Way

The Tamarisk Tamarix ramossissima more commonly known as a Salt Cedar is a gorgeous tree with a voracious appetite for land and water. Introduced as an ornamental back in the 1800’s this tree has now naturalized itself over almost a million acres in the Western United States.

The salt cedar has been vilified as an introduced species that has displaced native trees and competes for water in places that have little to spare.

In other words, the Tamarisk R Us. Just as Europeans took over North America displacing its original inhabitants, so has the Salt Cedar thrived in its new surroundings to the detriment of those who were here first.

A mature salt cedar can consume 200 gallons of water per day. In an area that always thirsts for water these numbers sound scary. As so often happens when we are scared-and when faced with water shortages who wouldn’t be a little frightened-we react without knowing all the facts.

Common greek tree - Lonely Saltcedar (Tamarisk) - Crete


In desperation to return the land to its native condition humans have spent millions of dollars trying to eradicate the salt cedar with little success. But here’s another fascinating fact; turns out native species such as cottonwoods and willows are just as thirsty as their transplanted neighbour. Could it be that it isn’t the trees that are causing the water shortages, but the climate, the people and we have managed the land and the environment?

What is the truth and what can we do about it?

One of the best papers I have ever read on the battle with the Tamarisk and the facts behind it was written by Melissa L. Lamberton on 

It is well worth a read.




Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

EWG has a wonderful website worth checking out. They list the most pesticide contaminated products as the Dirty Dozen and the least contaminated as the Clean Fifteen.

Here are the ones that made their most recent list in 2015…

Fall Apple Harvest


  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Celery
  7. Spinach
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Imported Snap Peas
  12. Potatoes




  1. Avocadoes
  2. Sweet Corn (organic non GMO)
  3. Pineapple
  4. Cabbage
  5. Frozen Sweet Peas
  6. Onions
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangos
  9. Papayas (organic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Eggplant
  12. Grapefruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Sweet Potatoes

These lists help you make better choices at the market and if you have a garden spot, it can help you decide what to grow and what to buy.

Vegetable garden bed

It should be noted that even consuming the worst offenders is better for your health than eating processed or junk food so don’t use the dirty dozen as an excuse to give up on fruit and vegetables!

As EWG writes on its site “Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide™ to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally grown produce is better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.”

Hungry, Hungry, Red Wiggler Worms

So just how hungry ARE red wigglers? Hungry enough to consume half their weight in kitchen waste (vegetable scraps, fruit, coffee grounds, oatmeal, egg shells etc.) every single day!

Composting examples.

After consuming the waste the worms produce wonderful, rich, castings that make an awesome organic fertilizer. What are castings? Polite speak for worm poop.

Many urban dwellers are closet worm farmers. A fancy arrangement like the one shown below looks great and produces nutrient rich worm castings for your potted plants or balcony garden. This one is dubbed The Worm Factory and manufactured by Nature’s Footprint. It’s the one I keep in my apartment closet.

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How many worms do you need? Weigh out your daily kitchen waste to get an idea of how much you produce, divide by two and you have your answer. You don’t need to get them all at once, however. Start with a couple pounds of worms and they will rapidly increase (or decrease) their population to match the available food and space.

How many worm castings can one worm farm produce? A tower-type like the one shown above should produce at least one tray-worth of finished compost and castings known as “vermicompost” every three months.

If you want to save money and don’t care about fancy looks, a search on YouTube will show you lots of videos on how to make your own worm farms using Rubbermaid totes.


How do you use your compost and castings? As a fertilizer vermicompost can replace commercial products for adding nutrients to your potted plants. Worm castings are rich but will not burn your plants. You can work a few tablespoons into your soil before potting up a plant or add a few tablespoons as a top dressing around your existing plants. When you water the nutrients will be released into the soil and make its way down to the roots. You can also add a few tablespoons to your water to make a liquid fertilizer.


Not only do the castings provide nutrients they act as a fantastic soil conditioner. The castings increase the good microbes and stop any toxins from spreading. They also bind with any heavy metals and prevent them from being released too quickly. Worm castings act like a sponge, retaining excess water and releasing it as the plant needs it. Many pests and diseases can be prevented by the consistent application of vermicompost to your pots and garden.

Planting sage

Do you have to use red wigglers? Yes, yes you do! Dew worms and other earthworms found in many gardens will not thrive in the conditions offered by a worm farm or eat as much or produce as many castings.

Group of earthworms

It’s all about the red wiggler.

Milk Fed Pumpkins

In the early 1900’s feeding milk to pumpkins was a popular trend. The method was reported to result in huge prize winning pumpkins. The technique involved using fresh cow milk. The pumpkin grower would put about a quart of milk in a small bucket, place it on the ground and then cut a slit in the vine and insert a straw or rubber tube. The tube was then placed in the bucket. Another quart of milk was added each day until the pumpkin had reached its optimum size or the day of the Country Fair arrived…whichever came first!

Bucket with milk

Many growers reported that the vines liked the milk so much and became so used to their feeding schedule that they actually rustled their leaves when the person approached the plants with the milk!

A border made of vine plants and a squash



Squash Vines Will Move Towards Water

If you place a bowl of water a couple feet away from a thirsty squash vine (pumpkin, spaghetti, butternut etc.) during a drought or when the soil is on the dry side, the vine will actually move towards the water and eventually place itself right in the bowl.

It doesn’t take long. Usually if you set the bowl of water out in the evening a vine will have found its way into it by morning.

If this sounds a bit like plant torture, well, that’s because it is. But it is also pretty amazing!

A border made of vine plants and a squash