Monday, July 8, 2013

Am I a farmer yet?

Growing one’s own veggies to supplement the bought groceries from the store has always been, not so much a dream as a passing fancy over the years.

When my children were small, about thirty five years ago, I had the notion to do just that. I held down a day job, and the youngest of my three children was not even in school when I had this notion. I am known for having notions.

Our abode at the time was a high rise condo apartment on the twentieth floor in North York. Not exactly conducive to any kind of plantings. I had window boxes of petunias and a few pots of geraniums, but they did not get enough sun or it was too windy to attempt anything horticultural.

My notion came to fruition when the city of North York placed an ad in the local paper. “Allotments for rent from the City”. For twenty five dollars a year I could rent a 20x20ft plot that was located near the hydro right of way at Victoria Park and Eglinton Ave. The city would supply the water; you supplied the labour to plant what you wished. My application was in the next day.

My husband worked shifts and commuted from the airport so was not on hand to watch me gather up the kids, borrowed shovel and rake and a zillion packets of seeds. We only had the one car so it was the bus for us as it was too far to walk.

The kids were excited as I had promised them they would have their own garden to look after. I borrowed some string from another gardener and staked out my lot. I felt like a pioneer. Loads of advice from the neighbors who obviously had been doing this for a while, but it fell on deaf ears. If I just read on the packets how to plant these little beauties I would be fine. I’m not very good at reading instructions.

Was I ambitious? Carrots,lettuce- lots of different lettuce. Zucchini, squash, cabbage and tomatoes. My thinking was if I had lots of lettuce I would need lots of tomatoes but...25 plants!

Seeds take such little room. Plants will take over your life. The kids had a small corner, and they grew runner beans that we planted beside the fence for them to climb on.

It was a long hot summer. Many evenings the kid’s enthusiasm was on the wane. They would rather play at the pool or with their friends. My gardening buddies would water my plot if I did not show up by six o’clock. Some evenings I was just too tired to make it and fretted about how my Garden of Eden was faring. On w/e’s my husband joined us and I was spared going by bus with my hoe and all my equipment. There was nowhere to store our equipment.

By August the area was a sea of green. Before me was row upon row of my fellow gardener’s beans and tomatoes and everything in between. Then I came to my dominion.

Who knew that you had to thin out lettuce? And the cabbage..if I just leave it a while longer. And what was I going to do with the two foot Zucchini? They were a big success if I could think what I could use them for. But it was the tomatoes! All 25 plants flourished and had more tomatoes than my whole apartment building could use. That’s it! Light bulb moment. Who doesn’t like tomatoes?

So I started harvesting the cherry and stake tomatoes and every other kind on the planet. My favourite were tiny yellow grape tomatoes. We all ate more of these than I gave away. The people on the bus went home happy when one of the kids presented them with a bag of fresh picked tomatoes and a zucchini.

And the moral of the story is...less is better.

Some basil and parsley to go with my two tomato plants.Heaven.

Not quite enough to make tomato sauce but sufficient for us. When I'm not watering these lovelies I am reading. 

Books that I have finished this summer are:

The Book of Stolen Tales                      D.J Mcintosh.

Threaded for Trouble                             Janet Bolen

When the Saints go Marching in.          Anthony Bidulka

The Dead Hour                                       Denis Mina

The Christie Curse                                 Victoria Abbott

A Small Hill to Die on                              Elizabeth Duncan

The Whisper of Legends                      Barbara Fradkin

These are in no particular order and I will review them soon. I can recommend all of them.

This is the schedule and lineup for author Interviews.

Monday July 15th               R.J. Harlick  discussing her Meg Harris series.

Friday  August 2nd            Vicki Delany - tune in to hear about her new book.

September TBD                Rob Brunet

October       TBD                Anthony Bidulka

November    TBD               C.B Forrest

You will find the archived Interviews on the right hand side near the top of the page.

If you are interested in reading an interview from your favourite author please let me know.

Talk soon,

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