Augusta Park continues to be the place to be in July! Every Wednesday (and there are five this year!) from 6 to 8pm features music and food. This Wednesday is a pot-luck – come and share with your neighbours! Open mic is from six to seven (bring your guitar) and from seven to eight the featured musicians are Jennifer Noxon and Brendan Gawn. Last week was a great success with a Civitan BBQ and a Dixieland Band.

IMG_2721

IMG_2736

Many attendees also took the time to tour the gardens that are really looking good thanks to all the help from volunteers as well as serendipitous rainfalls. The Augusta garden includes a collaborative community garden as well as individual allotment gardens for which there is absolutely no charge. If you would like to be involved with the garden please let Jeff at Mills Community Support know that you’re interested. Jeff can be reached at jmills@themills.on.ca .

I hope that you took the time to drop in on the Almonte Fair this past weekend. It is truly a way to connect with the agricultural roots of the community. While much of the emphasis in the horticultural displays was on flowers, there was no shortage of vegetables in several classes including one for an odd-shaped vegetable that I would be hard pressed to name!

IMG_2789

IMG_2793 While it is about three weeks before I will harvest my garlic, it is already available from producers at local Farmers’ Markets. If you buy it you should be aware that it has probably just been recently pulled and has not been properly cured. While it is great for short term it will not store well.

 Is the garlic sick? Why does it need to be cured? Curing is simply a term used for the process used to preserve a product. In the case of garlic as well as onions it simply means to allow them to air dry in a warm place for two or three weeks. This allows the skin to dry and harden thus protecting the inner flesh from outer contaminants. Thus garlic needs to be ‘cured’ if you want to store it for an extended period. Shake off the loose earth (do not wash them as introducing moisture at harvest can invite rots and moulds) and dry in a sheltered but well-ventilated place – for example tie bunches together and hang in a garage or garden shed for two or three weeks, then trim off the roots and snip off tops to about 2 cm unless you want to braid it.

 My garlic will be ready to harvest by early August this year when most of the leaves have withered and died. They should not be left in the ground much longer as they can split their skins and then will not store well.

 Garlic does not store well in the refrigerator – it is too damp and the garlic will rot. It is best stored at just above freezing to about 5 C with relative humidity levels of 50 to 60 per cent.

 Stand by for the Garlic Festivals in Carp and Perth August 9 and 10 where garlic will be the main event. If you plan to plant garlic this fall buy from a local producer – you know that what you are buying was produced locally and is suited for local conditions. Garlic that is sold in supermarkets may have been shipped in from southern producers and may not be hardy in the Canadian climate – many of the imported varieties are easy to braid whereas the hardy stiff-necked varieties are not.

 The Neighbourhood Tomato hosts a weekly ‘weed and learn’ session every Thursday evening through the growing season 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Join us at Augusta Park for a collaborative community gardening session as we share our knowledge, mentor new gardeners, weed our new garden and share some fellowship. Come out this Thursday and help us set up the rain barrels, composters and storage structure.

 The Neighbourhood TomatoHeads are also working with TYPS to create intergenerational educational/hands-on gardening sessions Tuesday evenings at the TYPS garden behind the library from 6 to 8 pm. We have joined forces with several downtown gardeners to help develop additional garden space and are helping to provide gardening resources. This garden includes both individual and communal gardening opportunities. The garden is flourishing as the following photo shows – however the weeds are also doing a little too well. They could use your help on Tuesdays to pull a few weeds.

IMG_2828

IMG_2830

Competition continues to heat up in the “The Great Veggie Grow-Off”!!! The launch of the Veggie Grow-off took place May 1 in Augusta Park. The Neighbourhood Tomato Community Gardens in Mississippi Mills, and the Community Gardens at St.Gregory’s Next Door in Carleton Place, challenged the towns of Beckwith, Carleton Place, and Mississippi Mills to see which town can grow the most local produce for the Lanark County Food Bank in 2014. Bring your bags and armfuls of produce to the 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 Tuesday 9 am to noon, Wednesday 7 to 9 in the evening, Thursday 9 am to noon and Friday 9 am to noon. Try to drop it off first thing in the morning if possible. I dropped off over 40 pounds of fresh produce from Augusta Park to the Food Bank last week –which puts us significantly in front of Carleton Place! However our intelligence (and I use the word loosely) tells us that Carleton Place community gardens has planted a huge number of seed potatoes so will be donating hundreds of pounds of potatoes in the fall. We continue to need your help – plan to donate to the Food Bank (especially heavy stuff – like cucumbers or zucchini!).