Photo of me in my community garden taken by Davin Risk.
Spigarello aka Spigariello is an old Italian heirloom leafy green that I grew last year. Some refer to it as broccoli rabe and others call it “leaf broccoli.” Both descriptions are apt. I’d put it somewhere between kale and broccoli.
The plant grows just like kale, but produces small broccoli-like florets late in the season. Every part of the plant is edible and tastes like broccoli. The new growth is tender enough to eat raw right off the plant. I sometimes munched on it as I worked.
It’s that time of year, again. Seedy Saturday and Sunday events have begun across Canada in anticipation of the gardening season.
In case you missed it, the Toronto event (this Sunday!) is earlier this year, and they’ve broken it up into three locations across the Greater Toronto Area in an attempt to manage crowds. Check out the flyer for details.
I am in no way, shape, or form prepared for it this year, but I will, as always, have a table at this Sunday’s event at Hart House on the University of Toronto campus. See you there!
At about 2 weeks old. I’m not sure if they are developing colour due to age or the lighting. They were much greener shortly after germination.
When we moved, I abandoned the cobbled together grow light setup I had been struggling with for years in favour of beginning again with a much improved, bigger and badder system.
In the old place I had to stuff the grow light shelving system into a corner nook of my office. Consequently, it couldn’t be more than 2ft wide. Have you ever tried to buy a shop light that is only 2 feet wide? Good luck. Yes, they are available, but they are built in a boxy shape and are meant to be wired in as under-cabinet lighting. I had to do a bit of precarious electrical wiring in order to attached a plugin cord to my lights. Because they were mounted and stationary, I had to lift my seedlings up to receive the necessary amount of distance between them and the bulbs as they grew. This meant regularly adding and subtracting stacks of books that I had placed underneath flimsy trays that wobbled and spilled liquid whenever they were shifted.
As you can imagine, this method did not always work out well for the books.
And then there was the shape of the shop light boxes themselves. Boxy shapes with sides that come down straight don’t reflect light well. I made due, but the set up was what it was. At the time I was happy to take what I could get.
So when we moved I abandoned that mess of wires and spare parts with the dream of something less ramshackle in mind. And then… work, life, moving, stuff. Finally, it all came to a head during the Holidays when the unheated front porch froze and several plants that should not have been out there but had no where else to go, froze. I needed a lighting system stat.
Here’s what I built.
Two of my oxalis plants are blooming and at least one more has buds that are on the way. First up is Oxalis obtusa ‘Buttercup’.
Here’s a photo of the plant, back in November when it was still in the process of emerging from dormancy.
I used to keep the oxalis in my unheated porch, but had to move them into the basement under lights when pots started to freeze. It’s still chilly down there (they like some cold), but I think it was the lights that prompted this big wave of blooms.