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Gardening 2013

The garden club started up again in February -- time to start the bedding plants. 2013 was an excellent gardening season all over the park.

Garden Drop In Times: Sunday, Nov 3, 3 - 5 pm and Wednesday, Nov 6, 3 - 5 pm.

With cold frames on the beets and kale, tomato and bean trellises down and garlic planted, the garden season is drawing to a close but never fear, there is still work to be done. This week we'll be moving into the perennial beds around the park, getting them prepared to face the cold of winter. There is still kohlrabi, swiss chard and kale to be harvested in the veggie beds for those with a taste for hardy greens that taste better with a nip of frost. Carrots too!

Gardening Sessions: Sunday, Oct 27 3 - 5 pm & Wednesday, Oct 30, 3 - 5 pm

We'll continue putting the gardens to bed over the next while and harvesting the hardier crops. This Sunday we'll finish picking the rest of the ground cherries and we'll dig up the sweet potato crop that shares the same container. It'll be interesting to see how many sweet potatoes have grown underground from the four slips we planted way back in June.

The gardens have attracted all kinds of avian visitors this season. A Red-tailed hawk visited frequently in search of tasty treats of the rodent variety. A hummingbird was spotted sipping on the nectar of the nasturtiums and goldfinches liked to nibble on the sunflowers. We are also seeing migrating visitors. A flock of slate coloured juncos passed through this morning and a woodpecker perched on the garden shed at Wednesday's session.

Gardening times this week: 3 - 5 pm on Wednesdays and Sundays

Green Thumbs Ahoy!

In our gardening session this weekend, we will be celebrating Green Tomatoes. We are going to harvest green tomatoes and make a Green Tomato Pie, fry some Green Tomatoes Southern Style, and maybe make a Green Tomatillo Salsa. Gardening and eating are closely linked after all!

We'll also continue the task of putting the vegetable gardens to bed that we started on Wednesday, pulling out spent and non-producing plants, weeding, dismantling trellises and adding compost that has been quietly cooking all summer long, to add nutrients to the garden. The compost will continue breaking down all winter to provide healthy beds for spring.

Please note the new gardening time of 3 - 5 pm on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Gardening times this week: Sunday Oct 6, 4-6 pm and Wed, Oct 9, 4 - 6 pm.

The days are shortening and the temperature cooling but we are still harvesting in the gardens. Last week we picked greens, tomatoes, beans, carrots and kohlrabi, and tomatillos. Many thanks to all you brave souls who braved the nettles and cleaned up the tree nursery area.

This week we'll harvest more and begin pulling out the spent plants. It looks like we'll have a healthy crop of green tomatoes too! Anyone have good recipes to use them up? We might preserve them in a relish or green tomato mincemeat in subsequent weeks.

Please note we'll begin gardening an hour earlier the week after this one to take advantage of the warmth and light of the sun.

Gardening times this week: Sunday September 30, 4 - 6 pm and and October 2, 4 - 6 pm.

This past week we have been harvesting tomatoes, Mexican sour Gherkins, basil, chard, kohlrabi, beans and kale. Our concord grapes that grow on the fence next to the skating rink are still coming along and we have two buckets full thanks to the intrepid volunteers on Wednesday that clambered up and down ladders to harvest them. The grapes will be turned into grape charlotte for dessert for tomorrow's Friday Night Supper at the park, the last of the summer /fall season.

On Sunday we will be harvesting again and moving into the perennial beds to begin the task of tidying them up for fall.

Gardening times this week: Sunday Sept 8, 4-6pm and Wednesday Sept 11, 4-6pm

Never mind the cold weather, the gardens are still a good place to be. We're excited to say that this week we'll harvest our corn! The grapes are also ready to be harvested and turned into jam, juice, pie, or just enjoyed fresh.

Also, make sure to check for some Mexican sour gherkins growing on the teepee trellises in the gardens - they look just like tiny watermelons and taste like sour cucumbers. And then there are still tomatoes, basil, swiss chard, beans and other greens to harvest.

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven. Make sure to stick around after the garden session for the feast, and to take home some of the fresh harvest!

Gardening times this week: Sunday Sept 1, 4-6pm and Wednesday Sept 4, 4-6pm

Thank goodness for the last few bouts of rain we've had - they've allowed us a little break from the watering regime. The corn in the gardens is plumping up, and for that matter all of the vegetables are responding well to this hot humid weather by ripening up nicely.

This week we'll continue harvesting, seeding and weeding. Come join us for what in some ways is the most satisfying time of year in the gardens!

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven. Make sure to stick around after the garden session for the feast, and to take home some of the fresh harvest!

Gardening times this week: Sunday August 25, 4-6pm and Wednesday August 28, 4-6pm

With this dry sunny weather, we've spent much of our time over the past week(s) watering the smaller trees and the vegetable gardens. Last Sunday we also seeded peas, beets and greens in containers and empty patches around the gardens, and some sprouts are already starting to come up!

This week we'll continue to water trees and gardens around the park, and we'll also spend some time harvesting, weeding and seeding fall crops.

I'd like to take this chance to announce a new addition to our garden team - my second daughter Margaret was born on Thursday evening. We'll make sure to come by and cheer on the gardeners soon.

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven. Make sure to stick around after the garden session for the feast, and to take home some of the fresh harvest!

See you in the garden,

Gardening times this week: Sunday August 18, 4-6pm and Wednesday August 21, 4-6pm

This past week we started harvesting in earnest - we found tomatoes, patty pan squash, radishes, basil, chard, beans, a few carrots and, of course, salad greens. We also watered some of the smaller trees and made a first plunge into the weeds in the Savannah garden.

What's coming up this week is more harvesting, seeding (including a second crop of peas), watering and weeding - a nice variety of tasks.

A reminder that the Wednesday time has changed to 4-6pm now that it's getting cooler and darker a little earlier.

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven.

Gardening times this week: Sunday August 11, 4-6pm and Wednesday August 14, 4-6pm

We're approaching the middle of August and the gardens are looking great - this past week we got to some much-needed weeding along the path in the gully and in the front gardens. By clearing the space taken up by weeds, we give our plants access to more sun, we increase airflow around their leaves to discourage disease, and of course we make it easier for people to see the flowers!

This week we'll finish up with the front garden and then get to some seeding and harvesting in the vegetable gardens.

Please note that the Wednesday time has changed to 4-6pm now that it's getting cooler and darker a little earlier.

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven.

Gardening times this week: Sunday August 4, 4-6pm and Wednesday August 7, 5-7pm

In case you haven't made it to the park recently, it's worth a visit - you'll find a vibrant place where all kinds of activity emerge and interconnect in the park's setting - whether it's at the farmers' market, a Friday Night Supper, the busy playground, or in the gardens.

There has certainly been an abundance of things growing and gardeners working. This past week we rolled up our sleeves and got more seeds in the ground, tied up the tomatoes, and weeded in the vegetable gardens. We also turned the compost, which means we have a bin resting to be added to the gardens in the fall, and a new empty bin ready to fill with more kitchen scraps (just one way that our garden program connects with the other park food programs).

This week we'll start by tidying the gardens in the gully in the SW part of the park, where we'll also check out the new sign on the fountain garden. Then we'll head up to the front gardens in the NW of the park outside of the rinkhouse to do some weeding, and we'll finish in the vegetable gardens with some seeding and harvesting.

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven (check out the beautiful food from last Sunday in the photo).

Gardening times this week: Sunday July 28, 4-6pm and Wednesday July 31, 5-7pm

Last week we managed to get a good amount of pruning, weeding and tidying done in the southeast part of the park, and were rewarded with some sweet juicy raspberries from the patch behind the cob.

We still have some patches of the vegetable gardens to fill, although mid-summer can be a tough time for starting new plants. So partly as an experiment because we have the space, and partly to try for a good fall harvest, over the coming week or two, we'll do our best to help some kohlrabi, beets, and greens seeds germinate and grow. We'll also keep guiding tomatoes, squash and cucumbers up their trellises, and continue pruning and weeding as necessary.

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven.

Gardening times this week: Sunday July 21, 4-6pm and Wednesday July 24, 5-7pm

As you can see from the pictures (thanks toJared, our volunteer gardener-photographer), we found a bumper crop of garlic in the garden last Sunday, and with a good crowd of volunteers, we harvested it all in no time. We spent the rest of the session in the vegetable gardens pruning tomatoes and basil, seeding greens and planting some hardy ground cherry seedlings. On Wednesday we also added to the bean trellis and planted some more salad mix in some shady spots.

This week we'll be starting the Sunday session in the SE part of the park, near the children's garden, pruning and tending to plants in that area. The raspberries are ripe so we might get a chance to harvest a few of those while we're there, and maybe we'll even be able to save some for the post-gardening snack! Speaking of red berries, our red currant bush is producing very well this year, and we should be able to collect more of those this week too.

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven.

Gardening times this week: Sunday July 14, 4-6pm and Wednesday July 17, 5-7pm

This week we began by doing some (rather stormy) pruning in the gully and wishing bon voyage to Rachel as she heads out on her South American adventure for the rest of the summer, have a great time Rachel! On Wednesday we returned to the vegetable gardens to finish the bean trellis, and found that our garlic is big and ready to be harvested!

So, this week we'll spend Sunday in the vegetable gardens, harvesting the garlic and pruning the tomatoes and basil. The great garlic harvest will open up beds for new seeds, so we might get some seeding in too if time allows. Then on Wednesday, we'll check on a few other areas of the park that need pruning and return to the vegetable gardens to plant more seeds.

The garden times are always followed by some tasty snacks including freshly-picked salad and bread or pizza from the wood oven.

bean trellis with carrots
germinating under wet burlap
Gardening this week: Sunday, July 7, 4-6 pm and Wednesday, July 10, 5-7 pm

The good thing about all this rain is how little watering we have to do! This week we have been taking the vegetable gardens in hand - tying back tomatoes, weeding, expanding beds, narrowing paths, and packing in a bunch more seeds for bigger crops of radishes, beets, carrots and greens. It's been a lot of fun harvesting service/saskatoonberries and cherries and eating them during our after-gardening picnics as well! Our peas are ripe for harvest too and red currants and garlic are getting close.

This week we will make our way around the park again, pruning and staking some trees and revisiting some of the perennial beds for some more weeding and thinning fun!



garlic growing in a bag

Savannah in the City: one of several
pollinator gardens at the park

PS. Clement Kent, a honey bee researcher at York University who has been a great support and advisor for our pollinator gardens at the park, shared these links about the global bee colony collapse and its impact on Ontario beekeepers. This is important stuff, take a look: ctvnews

The Star: Saugeen Country Honey

Gardening this week: Sunday, June 30, 4-6 pm and Wednesday, June 26, 5-7 pm

Hello everybody. Can it be that the Canada Day Long Weekend is upon us and we still have spaces to fill in the vegetable gardens ?!? With more and less success we strive to reach a balance in our gardening sessions as we make our way around the park trying to beautify the various gardens we tend for the enjoyment of park users, and at the same time keep the vegetable gardens humming along!

So this week we will be filling up the nooks and crannies with in the veggie gardens with more tasty things that will hopefully catch up quickly! Also we will be changing the gardening session time on Sundays to 4-6 pm (rather than 2-4), as we usually do around this time of year. Those of you who ventured out last Sunday afternoon will know the reason why..That was some serious heat!! You were all troopers : )

Gardening this week: Sunday, June 23, 2-4 pm and Wednesday, June 26, 5-7 pm

Hi everyone. Thanks so much to all of our participants for making our workshop last Sunday such a success! It was a lot of fun (and a lot of mucky hard work!) chatting about buried rivers and planting all the new native plants in the marsh garden. By the time it was time to eat I think we were all rather ravenous - but the results were worth it (See photos below : ) We were also assisted with the project by Gene Threndyle (who originally built the garden 15 years ago!), the Horticultural Societies of Parkdale and Toronto, Ecoman Landscaping, and Connon Nurseries.

Wednesday's session was spent back in the vegetable gardens where we planted a bunch of seeds and harvested garlic scapes. This week we will be doing more seeding and weeding in the vegetable gardens and planting some perennials that we just acquired at the Foodshare Plant Give Away on Wednesday.

Gardening this week: Sunday, June 16, 2-4 pm and Wednesday, June 19, 5-7 pm

Hi everyone. How about that rain? : ) The last few gardening sessions we have been migrating a fair bit - giving some attention to the different community gardens we care for around the park. Last Sunday it was the children's pollinator garden and roof garden at the cob, and Wednesday we did some seeding in the vegetable garden (we made a mound for corn, beans and squash, and seeded salad greens and radicchio) and then went down to the fountain garden to get a jump on clearing out the weeds to make way for the native plants that we'll be planting during Sunday's workshop (see the attached flyer for details). Fingers crossed that the rain in the forecast will go somewhere else that day!

Gardening this week: Sunday, June 9, 2-4 pm and Wednesday, June 12, 5-7 pm

Hi everyone. We have been very busy in the park this week. Last Sunday we had one crew installing a climbing bean trellis, and another one building and installing a new raised bed (see photo), while yet another crew was renovating the herb garden. On Wednesday we took on the challenge of weeding the perennial garden beds in front of the rinkhouse and planting annuals there. This week we will be focusing on the south end of the park, rebuilding the pathways and weeding in the children's pollinator garden, and weeding the green roof amongst other things.

See you in the garden...Rachel

Upcoming Events:

Pizza Days have started up again at the park, and conveniently they are running from 12-2 on Sundays now (Wednesday Pizza Days start in July). So by all means, come early for the gardening session and make a pizza with toppings harvested from our vegetable and herb gardens!

Remembering Garrison Creek Discussion and Planting Party: June 16, 2-4 pm (next Sunday's gardening session)

We have been very fortunate to receive funding from the Horticultural Societies of Parkdale and Toronto to revitalize the Garrison Creek memorial garden in the gully on the west side of the park (where the Garrison Creek tributary, Denison Creek, one of Toronto's lost rivers, once ran). This will be a hands-on workshop involving a discussion about Toronto's ravine topography and the buried rivers on which much of the city has been built as well as a planting session of moisture-loving native species in the garden.


Gardening this week: Sunday June 2, 2-4 pm, Wednesday, June 5, 5-7 pm

Hi everyone! We've spent the last 2 sessions planting seedlings in the vegetable gardens and there are still lots of more seeds and seedlings to plant. We'll be doing more of that on Sunday and we'll start tackling the prolific weed situation at the park this week as well.

There are a few other things happening at the park this weekend that you should check out as well. Tonight there will be a fundraiser community supper at the park in support of the Children's Storefront, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Dinner will be served by the outdoor bake ovens.

And this weekend is the annual Dufferin Grove Clothing Swap, Saturday and Sunday from 10-2. Bring your washed but not no longer useful (to you) clothes to swap tomorrow and you'll get a ticket for each item that you can then use on Sunday to 'purchase' some new clothes. Fun right?

Gardening this week: Sunday, May 26, 2-4 pm and Wednesday, May 29, 5-7 pm

Last Sunday our vegetable gardens were a veritable beehive of activity! We weeded, we turned the soil and we sowed lots of seeds in the newly prepared garden beds and around our already well-established crop of garlic. We planted beets, carrots, arugula, orach, chard, salad greens, and nasturtiums. By the end of the session, as you can see, a much needed meal was thoroughly enjoyed : ) On Wednesday's session we managed to get some weeding and pathway clearing done in the gully before the rain thwarted our efforts. It also watered the vegetable gardens for us - so no complaints.

Meanwhile we have been hardening off our seedlings, bringing them outside every couple of days, so they'll be ready for this Sunday's planting party : ) All hands on deck!

Gardening this week: Sunday, May 19, 2-4 pm, and Wednesday, May 22, 5-7 pm

Hi everyone, That was some strange weather we had last Sunday. It was so strange to see everything blanketed in hailstones...brief though it was!

This week we've been quite busy...We've continued repotting seedlings and started hardening them off outside. We've also been pruning rosebushes and weeding the vegetable gardens, and laying woodchip pathways down as well. This Sunday will be somewhat of a seed sowing frenzy in the vegetable gardens. Leslie will be making a tasty treat for us with the rhubarb from the garden again too...It should be a lot of fun : )

Gardening this week: Sunday, May 12, 2-4 pm, and Wednesday, May 15, 5-7 pm

Hope you are all well (and dry)! Last Sunday we spent most of the session repotting our tomato seedlings. It was a big job - thanks for sticking with it! This week we will be continuing with garden bed cleanups, pruning, weeding, planting seeds - the whole shebang! It's that time of year when everything is happening all at once. Including the trees blooming! It's been strange to see magnolias, pears, cherries, serviceberries, and apple trees all in bloom at the same time. Blooming times are not as predictable as they used to be - not this year at least.

So as you will have noticed from the subject line, we are starting up our 2nd weekly drop-in session this week - on Wednesday afternoons from 5 to 7 pm.

Gardening this week: Sunday, May 5, 2-4 pm

What fine weather we are having! It is such a pleasure to be outside this week : ) The park gardens are gradually getting tidied up (as shown above, as some of our volunteers completed a very hefty clean up of the savannah garden a couple of weeks ago - see how empty it looks? We should have gotten a before photo to show the drastic improvement) and we are gradually getting vegetables seeds planted in the ground as well. Last week we planted a bunch of peas and radishes. This Sunday's session we have a lot of repotting to do for our vivacious tomato seedlings that need to be divided and put in bigger individual pots so they can keep growing for a couple of more weeks indoors. We also need to tackle our many rosebushes around the park. So it will be a pruning and potting day primarily.

Gardening this week: Sunday, April 28, 2-4 pm

Hi everyone! We had another great session last week with some indoor seeding of wildflowers, squash, watermelon and musk melon seeds, then moved outside to plant spinach and salad greens, and then did some spring cleaning in our naturalized savannah garden as well. This week we have received a donation of vegetable seeds from the Toronto Community Garden Network in collaboration with Green City and Quest Seeds so we'll plant some peas and more salad greens and continue cleaning up our perennial beds.

Gardening at Dufferin Grove: Sunday, April 21, 2-4 pm

Last week we had a great session that started off with an inspiring introduction to permaculture from Rosa Shoel. Thanks again Rosa! It was so inspiring to think about how permaculture principles can be applied not just in the garden but to social interactions as well - and, of course, how interrelated everything is! It was a nice prelude to Earth Day this weekend.



For those of you who attended - and those who didn't also - I have attached some of the photos that Rosa shared with me this week showing some examples of innovative solutions for maximizing space for food production in the garden. It will be fun to try some of these (or some of our own inventions!) out in the gardens this season : )

This Sunday we will do more seeding in the rinkhouse, more garden bed clean up outside, and some seeding in the vegetable gardens too.

Gardening this week: Sunday, April 21, 2-4 pm

Gardening this week: Sunday, April 14, 2-4 pm

This Sunday we will start the session off a little bit differently with an informal discussion about Permaculture led by Rosa, one of gardening club regulars! It should be very interesting as I know that many of us have been wanting to learn more about it. Afterwards, we'll head out to the gardens and continue cleaning up the beds around the park.

Gardening at Dufferin Grove: Sunday, April 7, 2-4 pm

Hi everyone. I hope that you had a relaxing long weekend and did not pack your winter coats away this week as I did....brrr.. I always jump the gun! Anyways...This weekend the gardening session is back on, Sunday from 2-4 pm. There will be more seeding to do in the rink house and then depending on the weather there might be some perennial bed and vegetable garden clean up as well. Dress for the weather just in case : )

Gardening this week: Sunday, April 7, 2 - 4 pm.

Seed starting workshop! Sunday, March 24, 2-4 pm

So the official time for our seed starting workshop will be this Sunday, March 24, from 2-4 pm. It will be a hands-on workshop and we'll be going over some seed starting basics as we get seeds started for the community gardens. Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and collard greens will be our highest priority since they all need a good head start indoors before they get planted outside.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday...Please RSVP..(RSVP's aren't required for our regular drop-in sessions, but they are helpful for workshops so we can have enough tools and handouts ready)

Hi everyone, thanks to all who came out for our inaugural session last Friday night - it was good fun and we ended up seeding a few more herbs than we had originally planned (basil and chervil along with the parsley). Our next session will be next weekend (not this weekend) and will be a full-fledged 2 hr session - in fact it will be our annual seed starting workshop as we get some of our heat loving plants going (tomatoes, eggplants, etc) that really need to be seeded soon!

One thing we would like to know from those of you who plan on attending sessions regularly this season is your preference for the weekend session time:

Saturday mornings, Saturday afternoons, Sunday mornings, or Sunday afternoons

If you could email me back as soon as possible with your preferred time (as detailed as you want) and we will do our best to accommodate the majority.

I will email everyone sometime in the next few days to let you know the official time and day for next week's workshop.

In the meantime, enjoy the last days of winter (hopefully)...

Dufferin Grove Community Gardening Drop-In Info Session on Friday in the Rink House, 7pm

The Dufferin Grove gardening club will be having our inaugural meet & greet in conjunction with Friday Night Supper at the park this Friday, March 8.

Supper starts at 6pm in the rink house, and we will begin the gardening chat around 7pm over coffee and dessert. We'll have a chat about what we've been up to in the gardens over the past season, what plans we have for this year and to learn what kinds of activities people would like to be a part of this season. We always like to get our hands at least a little bit dirty during our gardening sessions so we will do some parsley seeding as well.

See you there!

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