Fort York is a blanket of dandelions…But in our gardens, the flags of yellow marking our plots are usually marigolds. Already, In many of our Fort York plots, marigolds are found in soldier like rows, their golden bloom offsetting a a tomato seedling..or bedded next to a pepper. For yes indeed, when it comes to a plot, nothing beats,the good fellowship of the marigold. A nice companion to most things, but particularly the potato and tomato, the roots of the Mexican Marigold release an oil that is said to discourage eel worm. While the entire plant is said to attract the hoverfly, whose larvae in turn eats those pesky leaf-destroying aphids. Planted next to strawberries they will help the roots being destroyed by nematodes… Next to cabbage, they might also dissuade those aptly named cabbage white butterflies to rest on their bloom instead of the cabbage (you don’t want caterpillars in your soup, do you?). Adjacent to tomatoes, they act as a repellent to white fly. Choose French Marigold or Mexican Marigold and plant away… Marigold petals can also be used as a colourful topping for a salad. In the fall, dig the marigolds under and the may help to keep the roots of your strawberries and other perennials healthy.
A substitute for Marigold can be the Calendula. Also edible, and a herb, calendula can substitute for marigold in the garden.It functions much like marigold and is said to also repel snails and slugs. Its herbal use is as an anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic. A must to grow if you are into medicinal herbs or natural cosmetics like creams. Plant round the border, or in between rows. A bit of folklore: planted in a pot it is said to dissuade dogs from peeing in the area…HOWEVER, a recent discovery…Something likes to behead the calendula and eat the leaves….Rabbits, groundhogs? If your plot is in a wild spot, you may want to stick to marigolds!
DANDELION (from the french “dent de lion”, lion’s teeth)
Eating dandelions has grown in popularity over recent years. Their nutritional values are high and their taste is also enjoyed by all those who like the bitter greens. Mostly we buy it at the markets/supermarkets (where it usually comes from Texas), but in early spring you can forage locally for those first green leaves that are the most tender. Don’t harvest from dog-walking or heavily polluted/trafficked areas – the dandelion’s once-upon-a-time name was the Shakespearean sounding piss-a-bed. But, hey, those little leaves sprouting in your plots might be worth a nibble. Eat in a salad, or cook as you would spinach. Or blend with fruit, water and honey into a vitamin-rich drink.
Please feel free to contribute (via comments) any more information or input you may have about any one of these yellow delights.
Fort York Community Garden would love to hear from you!
Plants…Gardening…Who’s not interested?
On July 19 at York Woods Library..1785 Finch Avenue
Maria Kasstan, a volunteer at Seeds of Diversity will be discussing a variety of
urban garden topics including vegetables, composting and seed saving.
Runs 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm.
Call 416 395 5980 to register or in person.