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For Sale: Buffet and hutch, $100

Buffet and hutch in excellent condition. Made...

Mississippi Mills Shuffleboard Tournament, 2024

The last remaining event from the week-long...

Answers to Diana’s Quiz – February 24, 2024

by Diana Filer 1.  The dog is the...
LivingGardeningGardening in Almonte:  Mayor forecasts rain!

Gardening in Almonte:  Mayor forecasts rain!


I happened to stumble across the mayor last week in a downtown Almonte bar. Inevitably the conversation turned to the drought conditions that are making life very difficult for gardeners and farmers. The mayor quipped that we can be pretty sure that we will have rain on Canada Day just in time for the town’s celebrations! However, all humour aside gardeners (and farmers) are desperately in need of rain – please do everything that you can to conserve water.

Delicious Garlic Scapes

The flower/seed heads that grow on a long stem from the middle of the garlic plant are called ‘scapes’. They can be snapped off and then minced and used in cooking. They have a strong garlic flavour. Connoisseurs recommend that they be used as soon after picking as possible as they become tough quite quickly.

While there is disagreement over whether tomatoes need to have the suckers removed, there is virtually unanimous agreement that if the scapes are removed the garlic plant will put more energy into the bulb which after all is the part of the plant that we want to harvest. Some gardeners pick it when it has one curl, others wait until it has two; I pick it whenever I get around to it.

And, speaking of tomatoes…

In very general terms there are two basic categories of tomatoes – determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. Determinate tomatoes grow to a relatively short height of three or four feet and much of the fruit ripens at the same time. Many of these are paste or Roma tomatoes and these are the tomatoes that you might grow if you wanted a lot of tomatoes at one time for processing or canning. Indeterminate tomatoes just keep on growing and tend to ripen just a few fruit at a time. At the end of the season the vines might be eight to ten feet in length. These are the tomatoes to grow if you just want one juicy red tomato to slice for your BLT sandwich at lunch.

In terms of pruning or suckering tomato plants there is a lot of controversy about the best way to grow tomatoes. Many people believe that suckers (the branches that develop where the leaves join the main stem) should be removed so the plant puts more energy into the fruit on the main stem and that lower leaves should be removed to help prevent blight. Generally I do not sucker or prune my tomatoes. I tend to believe that it is a waste of time and may even contribute to sunscald as it reduces the foliage canopy. The key to healthy plants is to set down mulch under the plants and have them all caged. This helps provide consistent moisture and keeps the fruit off the ground. That being said tomatoes are very vigorous and adaptable plants and whatever has worked for you is the best way of doing it.

Augusta Park – Five Wednesdays in July!

Augusta Park is the place to be in July! Every Wednesday (still called Five Wednesdays even though there are only four this year!) from 6 to 8pm features music and food. Come and tour our greatly expanded garden. Our volunteers have been busy pulling weeds, hoeing and spreading straw and chips.

This year features a stellar line-up of kind hearted musicians that are all playing for free in this wonderful community park for our pleasure this July. We are only a week away from the first show on July 6th! The list includes… Johnny Spinks, Gord St.Aubin, Earl Mousseau, Arlene Quinn, Jennifer Noxon, Brendan Gawn, The Ramblin’ Valley Band, Jimmy Tritone, Redneck Limousine, Judge a Book, and The Ragged Flowers!

There are no stupid questions!

It has become increasingly more apparent to me that there is a huge gulf between those that are new to gardening and those that have been gardening most of their lives – in my case more than sixty years. Things that are obvious to me – my eye an easily pick out just germinated carrot seedlings in a bed covered with weeds- to a new gardener those seedlings are completely lost in a sea of weeds. This was the theme in a column last year by Ottawa Citizen Columnist Steve Maxwell.

“I’ve never seen anyone learn to be a great gardener quickly. In my experience, getting good with soil, plants and sunshine is something that takes decades. That said, you can shave years off your learning curve if you keep your eyes open, keep your heart teachable and your mind alert to worthwhile ideas.”

And that is the opportunity we are trying to provide in Augusta Park on Thursdays.

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.

“The Great Veggie Grow-Off”

Please remember to drop off surplus garden produce at the 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 Tuesday 9am to noon, Wednesday 7 to 9 in the evening, Thursday 9am to noon and Friday 9am to noon. 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, 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’s food banks.





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