Gaze upon this lineup of vine-ripened tomatoes I photographed last fall in my pal Amy’s garden. Remember fresh, ripe, sweet, rich, juicy tomatoes? On toast. With fresh, homegrown basil. Don’t forget to get your tomato seedlings started so you can enjoy these babies come August!
And if you’re in Toronto next week I’ll be giving a hands-on workshop on starting seeds at Grassroots Environmental Products Store.
Get your hands dirty and learn the ins and outs of starting veggies, herbs, and flowers from seed in this hands-on, organic growing workshop. Thrifty hints and tips for beginners, apartment dwellers and small space gardeners. Participants will each take a seedling-to-be home with them.
When: Monday, April 23, 2007. 7:30 pm
Where: 372 Danforth Ave, Toronto (at Chester subway)
$10 ($5 students/seniors/unwaged)
Pre-registration and payment is necessary to reserve a space.
Space is limited to 20 people. Register at either Grassroots locations or call (416) 466-2841.
Living room gardeners needn’t be limited to corner-store variety orchids. Paphiopedilum, aka ‘slipper’ orchids (not to be confused with the cold hardy North American Lady’s Slipper) are an exotic tropical that produce a stunning, solo blossom sometime between late fall and spring. Each bloom lasts as long as 2-3 months and many varieties have dramatic, mottled foliage providing interest in between blooms.
Grow It: In the wild, Paphiopedilums (Paphs for short) grow underneath trees where they received indirect, filtered light, making them the perfect match for those of us cursed with small windowed apartments. Look for yellowing leaves as a sign of too much light. Repot your paph every two years with light and airy orchid bark. Give your plant a quick soak, pot and all, in room-temperature water. The bark mix should never dry out but should not be constantly soggy either. Choose a hardy hybrid variety like ‘Maudiae’, or ‘Gold Dollar’.
Check out The Orchid Mall to find a local vendor or The American Orchid Society for more information.
See more photos of my favourite paph: Paphiopedilum Maudiae ‘Claire de Lune’ x Minnie May – How’s that for a race horse name!
The blackberry bushes have been incredibly prolific at the Community Garden this year. I’d swear the plants have doubled in size, each vine exploding with fat, juicy fruit. I had thought that perhaps our cold winters curbed their invasiveness but I’m starting to discover that they can take over in this climate too… albeit somewhat less insanely than in temperate climates like San Francisco. I have never and don’t expect to see blackberries like that here in Southern Ontario. Those bushes are the kind of plants that inspire cheesy horror films… gaining ground while suckers like me naively hang about gorging themselves, even pushing further into the bush in a greedy attempt to get at the best, ripest berries before being sucked in alive. Bwahhahaha!