by David Hinks
Last week I talked about efforts by the Neighbourhood Tomato to create a vegetable gardening community. Raised garden beds have popped up all over town and vegetables are being very successfully grown this season. But a big part of creating this community is to share knowledge gained from years of experience. This is not theoretical knowledge from a book but is the result of trial and error, of successes and failures, and of having tried lots of different things in our own very peculiar climate and geology. The Neighbourhood Tomato Education Committee has announced a series of four gardening workshops to be held in September, three Thursdays and one Saturday, with workshop facilitators who have had a lot of hands-on experience. The poster will be posted shortly so mark the dates on your calendar, come and share your experience and meet other enthusiastic vegetable gardeners.
By the way I stopped in briefly at the Almonte and District Horticultural Society Harvest Show on Saturday at the MississippiValleyTextileMuseum in Almonte. There were many beautiful flowers and fabulous arrangements in dramatic colours echoing the colours of the tapestries on the walls of the museum. There were also more vegetable entries than I had expected to see but there was a serious gender imbalance – I saw only one entry where the entrant appeared to be male. Check out their program on their website –they meet the fourth Monday of the month and are always happy to welcome guests and new members.
We are now getting into the waning days of summer and many vegetables are now ready for harvest and are truly beautiful in their own right.
The eggplant has finally put on a growth spurt with the recent warmer weather.
Sweet peppers are finally starting to turn red.
The late zucchini, planted June 20, are finally starting to produce.
One vegetable that I have grown most years and that is generally very easy to grow and generally very successful, is tomatillo. They have been grown in Mexico and Central America for centuries and are an integral element in many Latin American dishes.
I planted the seeds April 16 and grew them under lights until transplanting to the garden in early June. They are now healthy plants nearly a metre in height and loaded with 5 cm pale-green fruit covered with a paper husk. The plants tend to sprawl so I try to direct them with some tomato cages.
The fruit is usually harvested when it is a deep green and the husks are tan-coloured. Husked, it can be eaten raw or cooked. It can be substituted in any dish demanding whole tomatoes where it provides a different colour (green) and a mild flavour. It is often used in a green salsa.