Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Erin's Garden Journal October 28, 2005

I will start this post with a word of thanks to my chiropractor and massage therapist, who have helped me weather a long fight with a stubborn pinched nerve and - at last - have helped me recover enough to catch up on my administrative duties.

We started the fall with a strange golden period during which there was very little labour for upkeep, but lots to harvest. As the weather gets colder, we are working on putting the garden to bed - but only the most tender plants. As of this cold, rainy evening, The kale, broccoli,  peas, lettuce, chard, and even some nasturtiums are still going. 

Since my injury my notes have been much more haphazard then I would like, but I did jot down the things that struck me while I watched our faithful volunteers labour during our weekly Garden Together nights (thanks for all your work guys). Here, for posterity, is that scattered record:

September 29, 2015
Food bank harvest ^

So many things blooming with all their might even at the end of September: cosmos, squash, peas...

Wednesday September 30, 2015
The sign is here! I'm so pleased. 

Sunday October 4, 2015

We hosted soil specialist Glenn Munroe for a workshop titled "The Dirt on Soil and Climate Change" and a screening of the film Symphony of the Soil. I had to miss the first portion of the workshop (and I was heartbroken about that), but here are the facts that particularly excited me from the second half:
  • "The Real Gardener" hosts weekly chats about soil on Twitter under the hashtag #GroundChat. They are archived at
  • Toronto city compost is tested for metals, pathogens, foreign matter, & maturity. All documented.
  • "Brix" refers to the amount of solids (sugars, etc.) dissolved in a plant's liquid. Robust plants have high brix counts—and pests avoid plants with high brix counts
  • 30% of Ontario's target for carbon reduction could be met by reasonable & moderate soil management interventions
  • Engineer-turned-farmer near Lake Eerie gets 2x average Ontario yield for corn by never touching most of his soil. Using GPS, he drives his machinery over the same wheel tracks each year and plants each seed with pinpoint precision.
Tuesday October 6, 2015
Broccoli! This was a hard-won victory. 
Food bank harvest:

Wednesday October 7, 2015
Not much to do in this cool weather. 5 attendees. Plants still growing, but slowly. Leaves haven't changed yet.

Busy work: cutting off dead foliage, adding sticks along circumference of sheet mulch bed

We shifted a bunch of partly finished worm castings & food scraps to the end compartment and now there are sprouts reaching for the worm bin lid. We must have brought some seeds to the surface. Squash?

Lettuce no longer replenishing fast enough for weekly harvest. Cold frames would help, but will have to wait for my shoulder to heal or for someone else to take the lead on that

Looking at a few kinds of fungi in the garden path & edging, anywhere with wood mulch & sticks. Good sign for soil health!

Wednesday October 14, 2015
Mulched around the young fruit trees, protecting their root systems from the cold (they are most vulnerable to damage in the roots)

Cut off many of the chard/kale/mustard plants (the most tattered ones) ostensibly to feed Pat's guinea pigs, really to give the onions some more space before we harvest them

Cut off dead leaves from tomatoes, left them on the soil around plants. Hopefully the plants can channel all remaining energy into ripening green fruits.

2nd broccoli floret ready to harvest

Leaves starting to fall on some mature trees

Pulled tomatoes out of the carrot beds. HUGE plants. Will try hanging upside-down to encourage remaining fruits to ripen (someone said this works. Not sure if it needs warmth to be effective, but we don't have indoor space. Experiment!)

Harvest: 150 tomatoes
1 large bage of greens
1 zucchini
1 broccoli floret
12 peas
1 radish
1 beet

Wednesday October 21, 2015
After a few nights of frost, we knew it was time to get the remaining green tomatoes in. No notes were taken. No count was made. It was a race against the dark, with hundreds of tomatoes already bagged and hundreds still left behind to be nipped by the cold.

I should maybe mention that most of our tomatoes are cherry- and plum-sized, so "hundreds" isn't quite as dramatic as it sounds. But it's dramatic enough. And about a dozen of them were the size of my fist. Those ones fried up beautifully.

Sunday October 25, 2015
Permacutlure 101 workshop with Toyin Coker, Chief at Permaculture GTA. No notes taken, but plenty of information on their website:

We shared a salad made mostly with veggies and flowers from the garden. Nasturtium blooms are the best thing to ever happen to salad.

Abut 20 attendees for workshop, 10 for screening of the film Inhabit and 5 who stayed afterward to tour the garden

Squash(?) sprouts still striving in compost bin. How much light could possible get in the cracks?

Most of the tomato plants are black from frost now. Some nasturtium leaves also blackened, but some—the inmost leaves, it seems—are still perfectly healthy.

Fall colours are well and truly here.

Wednesday October 28, 2015
Rain, rain, and more rain. Three hardy souls showed up and chatted a while in the dry church basement. Then two of them (not the garden coordinator, who was less hardy and more attached to feeling warm) braved the wet to harvest the potatoes, which had been on the plan for this evening. Also some chard and kale. These potatoes were planted quite late, so we're impressed at how well they did.

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