No-Guff Blog

Our No-Guff Blog serves up bite-sized helpings of gardening grow-how.

Donna Balzer and Steven Biggs

Monday
Jun062011

Growing GIANT Tomatoes

I met some keen gardeners and aspiring gardeners when I talked about growing tomatoes at Sheridan Nurseries in North York and Scarborough this past weekend. Sheridan Nurseries has a Great Tomato Contest, so along with tomato-growing pointers, we talked about is how to grow GIANT tomatoes.

Growing a GIANT tomato isn’t rocket science. Here are some pointers:

  • START WITH THE RIGHT VARIETY, one known to produce very large fruit.
  • THEN LOOK FOR THE RIGHT PLANT, which means it has deep green leaves and no bugs.
  • GIVE OPTIMAL GROWING CONDITIONS, which means lots of light, lots of heat, and enough space. (In a cold spring, you can put a wire cage around your plant, and then cover that with clear plastic to make a warm mini greenhouse for your plant.)
  • BUT DON’T BE TOO KIND: Give adequate moisture and nutrients—but not too much, or you might end up with all leaf and no fruit.
  • BE CONTROLLING: That means keep only one main stem and pinch out “suckers,” which are the side shoots that will grow from the main stem. (I suggest that you stake your plant, so that your prize-winning fruit will be off the ground, where slugs and other critters might snack on them.)
  • BE RUTHLESS AND THIN fruit clusters so that only one fruit remains per cluster.
  • BE EVEN MORE RUTHLESS and allow only 2 or 3 fruit in total to remain on the plant. (You’re doing this so that your plant devotes more energy to those 2 or 3 fruit…making them as big as possible.)

 

Friday
Jun032011

Biggs and Balzer on the Radio Sunday June 5

This Sunday, 11:05 Atlantic time (10:05 ET), tune in on www.news957.com or listen live online as Donna and Steve chat with Niki Jabbour on The Weekend Gardener. (It airs across the Maritime provinces on the three Rogers stations.)

www.news957.com

Friday
Jun032011

Talking Tomatoes in Toronto, Saturday June 4

If you're in the Toronto area, come out tomorrow to hear Steve talk about growing tomatoes.

Sheridan Nurseries Scarborough (10 a.m.)

Sheridan Nurseries North York (12 p.m.)

 

For more information, visit the Sheridan Nurseries website: http://www.sheridannurseries.com/events_and_locations

Thursday
May192011

Live Chat Today

LIVE TODAY: Want some gardening 101 tips? Join Donna on CBC live chat on Thursday May 19, between 1 pm and 2 pm ET. http://bit.ly/m7xr5l #liverightnow

Monday
May092011

Win A Free Book

Help other gardeners weed out silly advice by sharing your own!

WIN A FREE COPY of No Guff Vegetable Gardening by sharing your favourite vegetable garden Guff on the Garden Coaches Chat Facebook Wall. http://www.facebook.com/GardenCoachesChat

The authors of the 3 Guff postings with the most “likes” will win a copy of No Guff Vegetable Gardening.

Garden Coaches Steve and Donna will tally up likes on May 2, 2011. (Maximum one book per Guff-poster.)

Garden Coaches Chat: No Guff. Lots of Fun!

Tuesday
May032011

Potatoes Planted...a la Donna

                 

Potatoes planted here in waterlogged Toronto!

This year I took Donna's advice (which I hope is not Guff) and simply placed my seed potatoes on the garden, then covered them with a thick layer of semi-composted leaves.

My reason for doing so were twofold: (1) laziness; and (2) the black walnut tree nearby, which adds juglone to the soil. Because potatoes don't like juglone, my reasoning is that not burying them will expose them to a bit less of this stuff.

Steve

 

Tuesday
May032011

Week 4...

Week #4 as the #1 non-fiction book on the Calgary Herald bestseller list!

Wednesday
Apr202011

A Soggy Start for Steve

Well, it's a soggy spring here in Toronto. Luckily, I planted pea and broad bean seeds before the latest deluge.

Check out the picture. If you've ever wondered why raised beds are worth the effort, this is why: higher, dryer ground.

I make my raised beds without any edging--but they're a good 6-8" higher than the low ground nearby.

Steve

Tuesday
Apr192011

win a copy of No Guff Vegetable Gardening

Monday
Apr182011

#1 for 2nd week

#1 non-fiction on Calgary Herald Bestseller list for the 2nd week in a row!

 

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Calgary+Bestsellers/4629851/story.html

Monday
Apr182011

Alberta Weather Data up on www.gardencoacheschat.com

We have posted averagle first and last frost dates for Alberta and Newfoundland. Other provinces soon to come...

http://www.gardencoacheschat.com/canada-frost-dates/

 

Thursday
Apr142011

No Guff Vegetable Gardening is #1 !!!

This week.....#1 non-fiction book on the Calgary Herald bestseller list!

Thursday
Apr142011

No Guff at Toronto Green Living Show

Stop by to say hi to Steve at the Sheridan Nurseries booth at the Green Living Show in Toronto, where he’ll hang out on Saturday and Sunday.

The Sheridan booth is focused on growing vegetables and herbs (with a good selection of herb plants and veg seed)—and they are selling No Guff Vegetable Gardening.

STEVE WILL BE THERE to sign books and chat. Come by to say hi and ask questions!

(The Green Living Show takes place April 15-17, at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto. Sheridan Nurseries is booth #1014.) 

Monday
Apr112011

Steve and Donna on Breakfast TV

Check us out on Breakfast TV Calgary, teaching host Tara how to transplant tomatoes: http://video.citytv.com/video/detail/897326847001.000000/no-guff-gardening/

Sunday
Apr032011

#2 !

#2 non-fiction book on the Calgary Herald bestseller list!

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Calgary+Bestsellers/4550894/story.html

Wednesday
Mar302011

gardentoronto.ca Canada Blooms Video

Mark Disero who runs www.gardentoronto.ca has made this great video of Canada Blooms 2011. Thanks for your great work Mark!

Wednesday
Mar302011

Toronto Star Review

Wednesday
Mar302011

Gabriola Sounder Review

Wednesday
Mar302011

Canadian Gardening Review

Thursday
Mar242011

Canada Blooms 2011 CP Interview