Gardening in Almonte: Come to Augusta Park Wednesday evening

David-Hinksby David Hinks

Augusta Park is the place to be in July! Every Wednesday for the rest of the month from 6 to 8pm features music and food. This Wednesday July 8 features a barbeque provided by our Civitan Club and musical talent featuring Terry Tufts, long time legendary songwriter and singer living off-grid in North Frontenac who has graciously agreed to be the headliner (I remember first hearing him at Rasputin’s in Ottawa more decades ago than I would like to admit!). In anticipation of the barbeques our Friends of Augusta Park have planted a row of lettuce that is just now reaching its prime. How much more local can you get than walking twenty feet to put a leaf of lettuce on your succulent burger!

IMG_6991Come and tour our greatly expanded garden, the new hard-surface path through the park, the new perimeter berm planted with 45 fruit-bearing shrubs and our new huge beautiful shed. The following photos provide some recent views.

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IMG_6995Abundant rainfall in late June followed by hot and humid weather has resulted in a virtual explosion in the growth of our garden plants. The following photos show lovely lush beds of vegetables in the garden at Augusta Park. To my eye they look at least as attractive as any ornamental flower bed particularly when they feature large architectural plants such as the Globe Artichoke. Bordering a bed of carrots with onions also provides eye appeal.

IMG_6996What is a weed?

My dictionary defines a weed as “a plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden”. The following photo shows my bed of sweet potato vines being overrun by tomato seedlings (which have self-seeded from the tomatoes that were in the bed last year) and by oat seedlings which have sprung up from the straw mulch used in the pathways. Both of these plants would be welcome in the right place but I’m sorry they have no place in my sweet potato bed. Luckily they are shallow rooted and are easy to pull. But are they weeds?

IMG_7511Another interesting ‘weed’ that is springing up everywhere in my garden and that is commonly seen around town is the Creeping Bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides). As seen in the following photo it is quite an attractive plant and in fact was introduced from Europe as a garden flower. It is of concern from an agricultural perspective as it is shade tolerant and is able to survive in crops. In my garden, I find it difficult to eliminate from places I don’t want it as it has a white creeping root (rhizome) that is somewhat tuber-like. Any piece of that root left in the soil will send up a new plant. So the roots need to be dug up carefully and it is probably best not to add those roots to the compost bin.

IMG_7459Rampaging Bambi

However gardening is not without its challenges! A thank you was recently received from a couple of deer thanking the Neighbourhood Tomato for thoughtfully providing shrubs with edible berries so that they don’t have to bend down. Their favourite appears to be the Saskatoon Berries (which no longer have berries) which is also a favourite of many birds such as the waxwings. The evidence that deer were the culprits, as shown in the following photos, is that leaves and stems are unevenly torn. Deer eat by tearing because they do not have upper incisors. One of our gardeners even managed to get a long-distance shot of the ‘perp’ – even more proof positive.

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IMG_6997Continuing Gardening Education

 The Neighbourhood Tomato will continue weekly ‘weed and learn’ session every Thursday through the growing season. Join us at Augusta Park from 10 to 12 in the morning or from 6 to 8 in the evening every Thursday for collaborative community gardening sessions as we share our knowledge, mentor new gardeners, weed our new garden and share fellowship. Master Gardeners will be there to help with your gardening concerns for both the Augusta gardeners as well as for any other gardeners in the community and will be doing short presentations on gardening topics at 7 in the evening.

“The Great Veggie Grow-Off”

 Many vegetables are now moving into large scale production, particularly cucumbers and zucchini – remember to bring your baskets of surplus produce to the Lanark County Food Bank at 5 Allan Street in Carleton Place and make sure that it is weighed and credited to Mississippi Mills as we compete against Carleton Place and Beckwith in the Great Veggie Grow-off. The Food Bank is open Tuesday 9 am to noon, Wednesday 7 to 9 in the evening, Thursday 9 am to noon and Friday 9 a m to noon. Try to drop it off first thing in the morning if possible. The competitive fever is heating up as I have heard through the rumour mill that Carleton Place is rapidly gaining on Mississippi Mills which still has a slim lead!!