Hello, and welcome to my back yard!


Greetings, friends! My name is Andreae and I will be posting here on the Root Cellars Rock page whenever I have something interesting to share about my adventures in gardening, foraging, preserving, and cooking local foods (so long as that's on a Thursday...). I grow vegetables, fruit, and edible flowers in my yard in downtown St. John's, and I have been known to force my children to gather fallen apples from roadside trees on at least one occasion. I love to cook - some of you might know my name from my old Food Nerd columns in The Scope - and I love getting the canning kettle out and packing away jars of gleaming jams, jellies, and pickles before the snow flies each year.

I grew up in downtown St. John's, where my mother taught me to gather mint and other herbs from the walking trails and rivers of the city. I spent weekends and summer weeks at my dad's house in Pouch Cove, where he raised chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and occasionally pheasants and rabbits on his hobby farm (by day, he wore a suit and worked with computers!). My earliest gardening influence was my mother's friend Margaret, who kept a beautiful veggie garden beyond her backyard here in St. John's. Picking peas in Margie's garden was a summer highlight, and it made me fall in love with the idea of having my own source of fresh food at my doorstep.

When I went to university in Montreal, I lived in a mainly Portuguese neighbourhood, and many of my neighbours were former farmers. In their tiny front yards, they grew tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and squash, all packed tightly between bursts of herbs, and often with grapevines hanging overhead. One neighbour used rows of broken hockey sticks to stake his tomatoes! A young woman in my building had dozens of tomato plants in pots, which she would move indoors every night and out again in the morning, from the back fire escape to the front steps as the sun crossed the sky. Even without a scrap of land of her own, she had created her own portable Eden. It was inspiring.

This is my second summer gardening at my place, and this year I will also be taking care of a bunch of vegetable beds at my mother's house, about a ten minute walk away. Given that I will probably have at least one of my three kids in tow at all times, hilarity is bound to ensue! I'll share what I'm learning, but I'll also be asking for lots of advice from city gardeners, country farmers, and homesteaders, so please, don't hold back if you see me making stupid mistakes. If you want to see more of what I'm doing, you can always visit my blog, Pleasant Street Victory Garden.

Now, to take advantage of the sunshine out there and plant something tasty...