Gardening in Almonte: Media Scrum at Food Bank!

[David Hinks]In just one more demonstration of what a caring community this is, I was very pleased to meet Mayor Shaun at the Lanark County Food Bank last week when he donated some fresh-picked produce from his own garden to the Food Bank. As the photos show, once Mayor McLaughlin got past the local media he very cleverly put his foot on the scale along with his bags of vegetables! While it is far too early to declare victory in the Great Veggie Grow-off, the current totals show that Mississippi Mills has developed a commanding lead over rival communities Carleton Place and Beckwith Township!

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Join the mayor and many other local gardeners and 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. The Food Bank is open Monday 5pm to 7 pm, Tuesday 9am to 1pm, Wednesday 7 to 9 in the evening, Thursday 9am to noon and Friday 9am to noon. Try to drop it off early in the week if possible – greens in particular if stored over the weekend when the Food Bank is closed do not look very appetizing by Monday! One other option is drop off your produce at the Almonte Library during regular library hours and volunteers will transport it to Carleton Place.

The globe artichokes are certainly having a banner year. Of the 20-odd plants that I set out at various locations around Mississippi Mills, virtually all of them are bearing fruit. I started them from seed in mid-February, grew them under fluorescent lights and transplanted them into the garden in mid-May. Some sources suggest that chilling during early growth will encourage them to produce as they are a perennial plant. My guess is that the cold weather and frost that we had May 23rd this year did the trick! Several gardeners have asked me if they will produce more than one head – the answer is in the following photo – this plant in the Augusta Park Garden has at least 12 secondary heads at last count!

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I often think of gardening as a very individual pastime. I appreciate the solitude to commune with growing things and connect with the essential elements of life. However humans (even gardeners) are social beings and often join with like-minded individuals to share their passion for gardening and to do good works together. The vegetable garden beds behind the library are a great example of a vegetable gardening community. Not only are the gardeners in the seven allotment gardens growing some incredibly tasty fresh produce they are also sharing gardening knowledge and techniques and stretching to tend a collaborative garden where food is being grown for the Food Bank. Harvests of beans and other veggies are in full swing as shown in the following photos.

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The library garden had a new addition last week further demonstrating the caring that is abundant in this community. A new neighbour to the community had grown a heritage apple tree from seed and was looking for a public place to plant it. A couple of the gardeners obligingly located a spot and helped her plant it.

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There are no stupid questions!

Come on out to Augusta Park on Thursdays. 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 and other very experienced 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.