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LivingGardeningGardening in Almonte:  Mayor Swears to Weed his Patch

Gardening in Almonte:  Mayor Swears to Weed his Patch


Another concert in Gemmill Park and more very welcome precipitation (at least from the perspective of gardeners!) I happened to run into the mayor again and we soon turned to discussing the states of our garden patches. The rainfall and heat has resulted in a veritable explosion of growth of heat loving vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant and zucchini. His Honour also observed that all those weed seeds that were lying dormant in our extended drought are quickly springing to life and how important it is to stay on top of them at the stage. (At least I’m assuming that his references to thistles, nettles and burrs were related to gardening!!)

What is a weed? My dictionary defines a weed as “a plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden”. My bed of sweet potato vines is currently being overrun by tomato seedlings (which have self-seeded from the tomatoes that were in the bed last year) and by oat seedlings which have sprung up from the straw mulch used in the pathways. Both of these plants would be welcome in the right place but I’m sorry they have no place in my sweet potato bed. Luckily they are shallow rooted and are easy to pull. But are they weeds?

What to do with all those weeds. The obvious answer is to compost them. Smaller pieces will break down faster than large pieces so chopping them up or pulling them when they are small will result in faster compost. Even if I don’t have time to pull all the weeds I at least try to clip off the flower heads before they are able to produce seeds. Many annual weeds such as Lamb’s quarters and pigweed are relatively easy to pull and break down readily. Perennial weeds such as quack grass and thistles may well survive in the compost pile so I treat them separately (tied up in a clear garbage bag for example).

Dealing with problems when they are small can save a huge amount of grief later on. A half hour of weeding or hoeing now will save hours and hours of effort later in the season. Many vegetables do not thrive when faced with competition from weeds.

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! This year features a stellar line-up of generous musicians that are all playing for free in this wonderful community park for our pleasure this July. The second show takes place this week on July 13th with an amazing group of musicians that includes Jennifer Noxon and Brendan Gawn and friends as well as the Ramblin Valley Band (also playing Bluesfest this year!)!

We’re also celebrating the 125th anniversary of the first game of basketball this Wednesday with the help of a few special guests. Jonathan Chang of NBA Canada, Jim Naismith (grandson of Dr. James) and Carla Qualtrough (Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities) will be there.

This week is a community potluck dinner because you bring such great food! What is your favourite summer supper recipe? Are you bringing it? Don’t forget to bring pie!

And speaking of Augusta Park, what is happening in the garden? Cucumbers, beans, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes are all doing well.

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The shrubs on the berm wintered well (except for the blueberries) and the Saskatoon Berries are developing a promising crop (if the birds don’t get them first).

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New this year is an emphasis on pollinators. A weird looking scare-crow provides a lot of habitat for pollinators.


And there are lots of flowering plants for pollinators including borage, gaillardia and bee balm (Monarda).

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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.

“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:


5:00 pm – 7:00 pm


9:00 am – 1:00 pm


5:00 pm – 7:00 pm


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.





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