Whether it's the desire to reduce the chemicals in our diet or save money, or as an excuse to get outside, more than one-third of Canadians grow food at home. But not all home gardeners are experts; some of us don't know what happens, exactly, after our seeds have been planted. How do you know when your veggies are ready to eat and what's the best way to get them onto your plate? In an excerpt from his book The New Canadian Garden, Mark Cullen shares his simple guide to harvesting and storing your homegrown veggies.
How long until harvest: What the package says 54 days
What to look for harvest: When the beans are about the size of a pencil. Beans that are allowed to grow too large will become chalky and lose their flavour.
How to store: Wash only once you are ready to use them. Brush off dirt and put in the crisper. Rinse in cold water and only cut right before use.
How long until harvest: What the package says 50–70 days
What to look for: Harvest before the plant flowers to retain maximum flavour. The package should say how large that variety will grow. Dust off the soil to expose the top of the beet and estimate its diameter. Pull when it has reached the right size.
How to store: Store in refrigerator with greens left intact if planning to use within two weeks. Can be stored in dry sand in a cool (1°–4°C), dry place if planning to store for longer. Only uninjured beets should be stored this way.
How long until harvest: What the package says 45 days
What to look for: Cut off the main head before it flowers. Side shoots will likely grow; cut them off when they are a size you can use.
How to store: Can be stored two to three days in the crisper after heads have been misted and wrapped in damp paper towels.
How long until harvest: What the package says 55 days
What to look for: Ready when leaves are about 20 centimetres long. Pick continuously throughout the season. Harvest from the outside and avoid breaking off the centre leaves.
How to store: Kale tastes best fresh from the garden. For short-term storage, wash leaves, de-stem if you wish, dry, and place on a paper towel. Wrap up the lot and store in the crisper for seven to 10 days.
How Long until harvest: What the package says 40 days
What to look for: Harvest leaves the day you want them. Can be stored for a few days in the fridge. Do not allow to flower, and pick leaves from the bottom up (or inside out depending on the variety), keeping some to continue photosynthesis.
How to store: Wash leaves thoroughly with cold water. Use a spinner or paper towel to dry leaves. Put dry leaves into a sealable bag and push out excess air before sealing. Stores well for up to eight days.
How long until harvest: What the Package Says 21–45 days
What to look for: Do not allow to flower. Harvest when top of radish has reached size specified on package. Radishes are very fast-growing vegetables, some only taking three weeks. Sow a few seeds every week for a continuous harvest.
How to store: Remove leaves and stems and wash well. Rinse in cold water; do not leave out to dry. Line a sealable bag with a paper towel and drop in the wet radishes. Add more paper towel if you have more than a few radishes. Refrigerates well for at least a week.
How long until harvest: What the package says 45 days
What to look for: Pick leaves from main stem as plant grows and you want spinach. Immature leaves tend to be less bitter. Do not allow to flower.
How to store: Pick and eat right away. Spinach can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Do not wash after picking; dry leaves with paper towel and store in an air-tight plastic bag lined with a paper towel.
For freezing: blanch, chill in ice water, drain, and package for freezing.
How long until harvest: What the package says; Cherry: 70 days; Moneymaker: 75 days; Plum: 75 days; Roma: 75 days
What to look for: Harvest when tomato is red (or has a firm but not hard texture). Some tomatoes will never turn red (they are yellow, brown, purple, or green when ripe, so it's always good to know your variety). If tomato is almost ripe and a large amount of rain is forecasted, pick the tomato to avoid it splitting from the excess water. Place not-quite-ripe tomatoes in a warm, sunny window and they will ripen.
How to store: Do not refrigerate freshly picked tomatoes. Pick and use within three days. If you have picked unripe tomatoes, let sit on windowsill. Remove dirt with a damp cloth but dry well before letting them sit on the counter.
Excerpted from The New Canadian Garden by Mark Cullen. © 2016, Mark Cullen. All rights reserved. Published by Dundurn Press.
Mark Cullen believes in giving back! All of the author royalties from the sale of this book will go to the planting of trees along Canada's Highway of Heroes.
Winter is coming—and with it comes dry, cracked skin that needs an extra dose of hydration. Try one of these body lotions for a little relief.
We all know that moisturizing is key if you want to make sure your skin is hydrated all winter long. But not all body lotions are created equal. Here are six products that will keep your skin soft, smooth and flake-free as the weather gets cooler.
Rocky Mountain Soap Co.
For a portable option, look no further than Rocky Mountain Soap Co. This body butter is packaged like deodorant, making it easy to apply and even easier to travel with. It’s also 100% organic and made by a Canadian company.
Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Unscented Body Butter, $14.50, rockmountainsoap.com.
Lotus Aroma’s Velvet Body Lotion is great for sensitive skin. Essential oils and botanical extracts pair with shea butter, sea buckthorn oil and moringa for a non-greasy cream that maintains hydration.
Lotus Aroma Velvet Body Lotion, $18, yesswellness.com.
This moisturizer is thick and creamy—and though you have to work it into your skin a little bit, it’s well worth the effort. Coffee seed extract, pomegranate, green tea and shea and cocoa butters work hard to keep your skin smooth and hydrated. Bonus: When I used this product it even helped tone down redness.
Frank Body Cream, $22, frankbody.com.
The Ultra Rich Body Butter by Skinfix is specially formulated for those with chronic dry skin. If you have flaking, dry and rough skin you need a product that will help to heal the skin barrier. Shea butter and coconut oil form the deeply nourishing base that helps to lock in moisture—and offers you some sweet relief from dry skin.
Skinfix Ultra Rich Body Butter, $18, skinfixinc.com.
You don’t have to spend a lot to keep your skin soft and smooth. Try Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion to keep your skin moisturized.
Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Unscented Lotion, $7, well.ca.
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps is a cult favourite. Rich, non-greasy and super hydrating, this lotion is formulated with cocoa butter and beta-carotene for a hefty dose of lubrication and vitamin A.
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps, $38, kiehls.ca.
Herb-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Fresh Sage Gravy<br>Photography by James Tse Credits: Herb-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Fresh Sage Gravy<br>Photography by James Tse
The easiest—and most affordable—way to update your fall wardrobe? Add a shot of the season's trendiest colour: red.
Whether you're bold enough to wear head-to-red red, or easing into the trend with a vibrant accessory, we've got 12 stunning picks that will have you turning heads all season long. The best part? Each item is under $100.
Top with tie, $48, additionelle.com.
Adidas Santiago red watch, $95, thebay.com.
HD in Paris Top, $88, anthropologie.com.
Cross body bag, $55, aldoshoes.com.
Moto jacket with trim, $98, additionelle.com.
Long sleeve tee, $55, bananarepublic.ca.
Novesta Star Master Classic, $80, asos.com.
Chunky knit sweater, $55, gapcanada.ca.
Asos Curve dress with low back, $32, asos.com.
Silence + Noise Mini Nylon Backpack, $64, urbanoutfitters.com.
Dress with frills, $70, hm.com/ca.
Skinny jeans, $70, mango.com.
For more fall fashion trends, check out our 7 best style bets.