I snapped this photo while out on a springtime walk a few weeks ago. This flowering bulb is commonly called Glory of the Snow, although the snow was long gone by the time I noticed any in these parts.Leave a comment
The garden as it happens with the seasons.
I went out for a walk yesterday and while we have had some warm and sunny days already, it was the first one that really felt like spring. One of my favorite spring blooms, the pasque flower was out. I’m so glad I caught them because they’ll be gone before I get a chance to go out walking again.Leave a comment
Before I begin, a confession: I did not plant garlic last fall. You are horrified. You are storming away from this website in horror.
Allow me to explain / make excuses. I managed to harvest my garlic early last fall and it was fantastic. The biggest and best garlic harvest we’ve ever had. I grew three varieties: ‘Music’, ‘Persian Star’, and ‘Siberian’. I think I liked the red skinned ‘Persian Star’ best. We had more garlic than we could eat in one season. I fully intended to separate the best and biggest cloves from the harvest to replant in the garden come October. But then October came. And there were deadlines. And I kept saying, I need to get that garlic in. But there was never enough time. I rarely left my desk. I barely had time to practice proper hygiene let alone plant garlic. And that is how the garlic did not get planted. Boo hoo.
Cut to early April when I spoke at the Seeds of Diversity 25th Anniversary. The event also hosted a number of seed and plant vendors, including a young farmer who raises and sells his own garlic. [Update: While cleaning my office, two months after the fact, I found the info sheet that came with the garlic. Wolf Grove Garlic, RR2, Almonte, Ontario] At the show, he was selling forced sprouted garlic that had already been hardened off (properly acclimated to the cold outdoors) and could be transplanted directly into the garden. I figured I might as well give it a try and bought eight plants in four different varieties: ‘Malpasse’, ‘Spanish Anatoli’, ‘French Red’, and a variety developed by his grandfather called, ‘Nono.’
This should turn out to be a fun experiment. I’ve never done this before, having always planted my garlic in the fall. I had planned to plant some cloves in the early spring, as soon as the ground could be worked, in an attempt to get some garlic this year. By this late season method, the most I could hope for were tender garlic shoots and very immature little bulbs at best. I had absolutely no expectation of raising garlic to full maturity this year. But now I do. As long as the plants transplant well, I should have mature bulbs just a little bit later than usual in late summer/fall. I probably won’t have bulbs worth transplanting in the fall of October 2009, but I will have garlic. That’s nothing to scoff at.
However, I did notice something interesting while digging holes to plant the garlic pots in. It turns out that I missed a bulb when harvesting last fall and I’ve got garlic growing after-all. Based on where it is sprouting, the variety must be ‘Music’. Unfortunately, the sprouts are all clumped together, but I’m going to leave them as-is as another experiment in what happens when garlic is accidentally left in the ground to grow on its own.
The snow has melted and it is time to take stock of what has accumulated in the street garden since the fall. In my neighborhood, gentrification is running rampant like a pack of drunken college kids and has brought with it bigger troubles than my little garden has seen in its decade-long existence.
I’ve decided to begin this one where I left off with the last post on this topic in April 2007. And then there was a 13th. I’ll wait for you to refresh your memory and then we’ll reconvene here and go through the newest additions together.
14. Years of accumulated alcohol-laden urine from bar-hopping dudes soaked into the soil: Thousands of liters and counting, since the number of bars and young dudes driving in from Ajax and Whitby hoping to get their “cool on” is sky-rocketing exponentially. Apparently, my garden is the number one outdoor public bathroom around. My question is: Do I get a shiny Public Service ribbon as a prize?
Forget “Gardening for the People.” Perhaps I should change my slogan to, “Beautiful Outdoor Bathrooms for the People.”
15. Now With Even More Butts: Because our new neighbors like to smoke their darts out the window and the garden is like a magical disappearing ashtray. Poof! The butts just go away! None of that annoying having to dump them in the garbage or see them accumulate all wet and nasty in the backwash at the bottom of a beer bottle.
I can make funny, sarcastic remarks about this, but in all honesty, my blood boils whenever I think about just how many butts are out there. I will inevitably waste an hour of my life because these people are too steeped in denial to take responsibility for their own mess. It sometimes surprises me just how dense adults can be. An apt metaphor for our overall disregard for this planet, I suppose.
Needless to say, I am waiting for a calm moment to knock on their door and discuss it with them. Going over there raging probably isn’t going to do much good. The only problem being that my rage isn’t subsiding. Perhaps I should send them a bill for both the cleanup and the therapy required to work through my anger around their butts?
Living in the world with other people isn’t always easy.
16. Cigarettes + White Dog Poo: I know both of these have already been covered, but I can only imagine that while they are both nasty separately, together they fuse into a toxic brew with which nothing can compete.
17. Spinach?: First there’s the brand name, “Topless.” Topless? Sounds like someone needs to put a paper bag over that spinach to protect the eyes of the innocent. Then there was that whole poop in the spinach/ecoli fiasco in 2006 that put everyone off the vitamin-rich vegetable for at least a few months. Can a bundle of spinach of unknown origin left in my garden be considered toxic waste? And last but not least, huh? I can only imagine that this is more of that bewildering “Back to the Source” logic at work. I am building evidence to support this theory. Expect my thesis in 2011.
Taking all of this into account, I don’t think I can face the cleanup alone this year. My heart rate goes up to dangerous levels by just looking at the disaster that has been enacted upon the garden. I am going to set aside my general inability to ask for help… and ask for help. If you have an hour to spare this Saturday afternoon, and have not been frightened off by the content of these posts, I would gratefully appreciate your help in cleaning this mess up. Beverages will be provided; however, you will need to bring your own Hasmat suit.Leave a comment
I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently from people looking to start a community garden in their neighborhood. What I’ve included below is by no means a definitive guide, since there are lots of publications on community gardening out there now. However, these are the publications I have read and can wholeheartedly recommend. Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments.