Now that I have a new appreciation for caladium….
This is the flower of the peacock plant (Calathea makoyana).
We popped over to the community garden yesterday afternoon with a frozen pail of compost. I thought I would take some pictures so you can see what it looks like in the middle of winter.
As you can see, not much is happening. Drab and dull. We stop using our plots between October/November and March/April depending on the season.
If I wanted to really maximize the space, I could construct some cold frames within my plot and grow cold hardy greens like kale, mache, and spinach. And I would, but unfortunately the lane-way that leads to the garden is typically treacherous terrain through the winter months. We haven’t had much in the way of snow and ice this winter — it’s the first year since joining the garden around seven years ago that I’ve been able to get to the garden gate with relative ease.
Instead, I grow edible perennials as a strategy for extending the season. Cold hardy, perennial herbs such as garden sage, oregano, marjoram, chives, garlic chives, mint, and ‘Egyptian Walking’ onion function as the bones of the garden, holding in the soil and offering up a harvest that starts in the early spring and lasts straight through to the late fall.
There are also a few self-seeders including calendula, chervil, bloody dock, lovage, shiso, lemon balm, and chamomile that pretty much grow themselves. They can be a curse or a blessing of plenty depending on how you look at it.
Over the years I’ve also added a few small fruit bushes including gooseberries and American black currant, and several strawberries (wild and alpine types) as a way to get garner yearly crops that don’t require seasonal planting.
This is a wild geranium that showed up one day. I always let a few survive since they’re not too invasive and I like their pretty little pink flowers. As you can see, it is also proof that plants don’t necessarily “die” during the winter, but stay alive in a dormant stage underneath the snow.
And it looks like we’ve had a visitor in our absence. I noticed new graffiti in a couple of spots along The Beer Store wall.
I’ve got a very busy week ahead. The best gardening event of the season, Seedy Saturday, is taking place this coming Sunday, February 21st followed by the Grow Great Grub Book Launch Party on February 24th.
Let’s start with Seedy Saturday, which is held on a Sunday this year but it is still called Seedy Saturday. Whatever you do, despite the name, do not show up on Saturday. No one will be there.
Now take a moment to absorb that confusing piece of information.
- Seedy Saturday… on a Sunday
Artscape Wychwood Barns (Barn #2)
601 Christie St.
As usual I will be there with a table selling our fun and irreverent garden-related wares. In addition, I’ll have lots of new products on hand including my new book, Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces, a yet to be revealed t-shirt design that is AWESOME (our best t-shirt yet and quite possibly my new uniform), and a bunch of new button designs.
Then, just a few days later I will be hosting the Grow Great Grub Toronto Book Launch Party. The event is free and you’re all invited!
1585 Dundas Street West
I have been feverishly preparing for this party. In fact, we started talking about it more than six months ago, only days after the final files were delivered to the publisher to print!
There will be music by DJ General Eclectic, delicious, locally produced nibbles prepared by The Local Cafe, a seed-starting station where you will be able to plant some seeds to take home, and I have secured a bunch of awesome door prizes (canning supplies, gardening tools, seeds, etc) that will be given away hourly. I will also be selling copies of the book, signing (of course), and answering questions.