June 3: The weekend’s shower brought growth galore and acted as a reminder that when watering a deep soak is more beneficial to the roots than a surface drizzle. (Also remember: its the roots that require the water, not the leaves.) Gardeners who has sowed seeds and not yet visited their plot may be surprised but the spurt in growth while all gardeners will now be able to assess whether or not they have provided enough growing space for their plants. Overplanted? Go down to the garden Wednesday night and see if any other gardener has room for it in their patch. Peas and beans may also now require staking. To see a heritage staking tip, take a look at the Risser Sickle Peas in the Officers’ Mess Kitchen Garden Page.
Herbs: More herbs were planted in the communal herb garden – different basils – including Genovese as well as Holy Basil and more. There is plenty of oregano to dry, freeze or use fresh. Lavender is coming into bloom. Tangy-tasting Sorrel has bolted and needs some pruning and harvesting. Two Goji Berry bushes were planted, but alas their health-giving properties seem to be much appreciated by the local feral population which promptly devoured the leaves of at least one of them. (Update: June 4: Both Goji Berry plants have now been defoliated!)
Seen & Noted: A vertical growing spinach – Malabar Spinach or Baseller Alba. Seen at Urban Harvest, but on Saturday there was only one left which possibly means that I wasn’t the only one intrigued. A vine, it needs staked, and if you want a bit of colour in the garden, blooms and berries are promised (I’ve been told these are also edible). A fun read on this plant here: http://www.growinggroceries.com/2008/08/malabar-spinach/
The To Do List: Tomatoes – Word has that only blooms appearing after July 4thshould be allowed to mature into fruit. Before that, pinch them off. While you are at it, nip off the suckers that develop in the crotch join of two branches – all they will do is consume the plant’s energy leaving less for the fruit! Once the tomato plant reaches about 3’, remove leaves from the bottom 1’ of stem. (Usually easy to detect, they are likely yellow and wilty). Also: Water deeply during the early part of the growth period. Once the fruit begins to ripen, reduce the water. This allows the fruit to concentrate its sugars.
Edible Flowers: To add colour to your garden why not add some edible flowers: pansies, nasturtiums and calendula look just as nice in a salad as in a posy. And calendulas are a great compatible plant with tomatoes (repels tomato worms and asparagus beetles).
Also, don’t miss the Encampment at Fort York. Part of Luminato. Visit the tents during the day and discover the “stories” of Toronto in 1812, or take in a family-oriented evening event. Or if you like food, take part in the Toronto Carretilla Initiative. Info here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3542151671/eorg. If you like to cook and/or eat it sounds like fun!