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LivingGardeningGardening in Almonte:  Gathering Intelligence in Carleton Place

Gardening in Almonte:  Gathering Intelligence in Carleton Place

David

Having heard through the ‘grape vine’ that competition is heating up for the coveted trophy in the Great Veggie Grow-off, I decided to see for myself what was growing in Carleton Place. While we have much more farmland in Mississippi Mills and a mayor that supports the community with donations from his own garden, it is far too early to be complacent.

The Carleton Place Community Garden beside St. Gregory’s Public School is under new management and as the following photos attest, new beds have been added and growth is rampant.

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And activity is also obvious downtown on Allan Street where the new Hunger Stop gardens are burgeoning with fresh produce, including beans, cucumbers and zucchini.

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The side garden was originally designated for raspberries. The ten new plants will obviously take some time to fill up the whole 40 foot bed, so a bit of infill, on a temporary basis, was allowed. Three tomato plants did not get the memo telling them to respect the space allocated – they have overgrown their cages and threatened to overwhelm the raspberries. Severe pruning was undertaken and eight-foot stakes were attached to the building to help direct their growth.

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So, please remember to drop off surplus garden produce at the Hunger Stop (aka Lanark County Food Bank). All you have to do is bring your 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:

Mon:

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Tue:

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Wed:

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Thu-Fri:

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Try to drop it off first thing in the morning if possible.

The Great Veggie Grow-off Community Challenge, now in its third year, has expanded this year to include gardeners in communities across Lanark supporting all four of the food banks in the County. It started in the municipalities of Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place and Beckwith, the towns supported by the Hunger Stop, and the results were amazing. We saw an increase in people in these towns growing food and sharing it with others. Over two tons of healthy local produce was donated to the food bank last year and the feedback from recipients was extremely positive.

This year we are challenging all Lanark communities plus Smiths Falls to grow and donate to their local food bank. Presently all four food banks (Carleton Place, Lanark Highlands, Perth and Smiths Falls) take donations of freshly grown produce. They have been asked to weigh and record the community of origin of locally grown donations of food from May 1st until the final weigh-in at Thanksgiving. Bragging rights will be given to the community that donates the greatest amount of locally grown food as well as to the community with the highest amount of freshly grown food donated per person with the big winner always being our community food banks.

Augusta Park – Five Wednesdays in July!

Augusta Park is the place to be every Wednesday evening in July! Music and food is featured every Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm – it is still called Five Wednesdays even though there are only four this year – it would be a shame to change such a great logo! The fourth and final show takes place this week on Wednesday July 27th

Bring a favourite dish for the pot luck and enjoy the music of Judge a Book and the Ragged Flowers at our last show this year.

There are no stupid questions!

Master Gardeners will be in the garden on Wednesday to show you around and answer your questions. As well hands-on educational opportunities are available weekly throughout the summer. ‘Weed and learn’ sessions take place every Thursday through the growing season. Join us at Augusta Park Community Garden from 9 to 11 in the morning or from 4 to 8 in the evening every Thursday for collaborative community gardening sessions as we share our knowledge, mentor new gardeners, weed our garden and berm 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.

Gardening advice will also be available Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 at the garden in front of the Food Bank at 5 Allan Street in Carleton Place.

Garlic – Ready to Harvest?

Garlic harvest always seems to sneak up on me. I pull it when the majority of the leaves have turned brown. The bulbs should not be left in the ground much longer as they can split their skins and then will not store well. It seems to me that this year the garlic that suffered the most from drought conditions is the first to turn brown – if the tops are still mostly green I am leaving them but anticipate they will all be pulled over the next two weeks.

Garlic is fantastic freshly pulled from the soil but if you want to store it longer it has to be 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.

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 13 and 14 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 or China 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.

 

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