Photo by Gayla Trail All Rights Reserved

Mantis Watch 2009

As previously mentioned, I bought a praying mantis egg case at the Parkdale Horticultural Society Plant Sale the other day. It’s not exactly the most effective form of pest prevention in the garden for a few reasons: 1. Praying mantids are not discerning and will eat any and all insects in the garden, including the

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

More Reasons Why I Don’t Grow Edibles in My Street Garden

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

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

There’s Joy in Hard Work

I listened to this essay about the importance of physical labor by urban gardener Mary Seton Corboy yesterday morning on the This I Believe program and thought it was so brilliant I had to share. Listening to her talk about digging ditches made me want to run outside and dig something… except that it is

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Who Done It?

Look who showed up looking for lunch while I was out on the roof taking photos yesterday afternoon. He had absolutely no fear whatsoever. I could have reached out and touched him. I yelled and stomped around and he just looked at me like I was holding out a bag of peanuts. He ain’t care.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Mystery Tree in the Garden

I found an entire tree laying flat across the street garden this morning. Just, you know, laying there. How it got there or why is beyond me. Okay. Here’s the thing: The garden’s a mess. I have barely touched it since the last big incident. I just haven’t had it in me. Call in the

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

First Casualty of the Season

… a ‘Black Brandywine’ tomato taken before its time was up by an unknown mammalian critter. This kind of thing is like a right-of-passage for food gardeners. Unless you’re gardening in a sterile bubble, you have probably experienced the blow of crushed anticipation when a ripening tomato, eggplant, or pepper is snatched in the night.

Your Questions Answered: Black Bottomed Tomatoes

Question: I am having a problem with some tomato plants in my back yard. The plants are growing good and strong and small green tomatoes are begging to grow. I looked at the bottom of one tomato and it is turning black. Can you please tell me what is causing this. There are several tomatoes



This post (I kind of hate that word to describe writing here) is going to be piecemeal, a quality that is indicative of my life right now as I float or rather scramble from one task to another in an attempt to keep up with the season and my workload. I’ve been trying to write

Photo by Davin Risk All Rights Reserved

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

The garlic mustard population is really getting out-of-hand at the community garden this year. I’ve discovered loads of it in unused areas of disturbed, lousy soil and it is expanding rapidly into the edges around plot beds. I was diligent in removing much of it last year so the population isn’t big enough yet to

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Touching Tomatoes

They say that lightly brushing your hands against tomato leaves stimulates a growth hormone in the plant encouraging radial (aka stockier) growth. I’m still searching for a study that supports this but I chose to believe it regardless, which is why I spend some time each morning lightly touching my young tomato seedlings. I’m sure

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