This garden is coordinated by the Churchill Park Community Garden Collective a group of gardeners and community volunteers. We look forward to the upcoming season and hope that you will join our garden community. Please feel free to explore this website for more information.

If you have any questions or would like to join, please contact us at garden@opirg.ca.

April 4, 2013

March 30, 2013. Spring has sprung so just around the corner is our gardening and planting season at Churchill Park Community Garden. 

This is your interim Blogger, Joyce Killin (plots 61 and 62). I have never blogged before so wish me luck and if you have themes, topics or gardening lore to share please let me know as your help is essential to keeping this Blog going. 
Other ideas and different ways of doing things are welcomed and will be shared so we can all benefit.

Most topics will be taken up in brief and are provided to remind you of the current activities in the growing world. The web has extensive information and in much more detail than we can provide here. When possible books and web site references will be provided. 

Now for the Blogging. Seed starting is well underway and for some people even begun as early as January with winter sowing. For good information on this see the web site www.agardenforthehouse.com. For those of you who haven’t started seed yet, it is not too late. Here is a short description of how to get going. Tomatoes are probably the easiest, (as are marigolds and nastrurtiums which are good companions for keeping unwanted insects away). Just be sure to remember a few basics: use only sterilized containers. One part bleach to nine parts of water will do the trick, and be sure the containers are air dried before planting your seed in a soiless mix. Buy good quality seed and soil. My preference is William Dam Seed in Dundas, www.damseeds.com. Plant seed following the package directions and not too deep. Next, give your newly planted seed some water (see below) heat from below, a heat mat (for best results) or on top of the fridge and keep moist but do not overwater. Once germinaton has occured, when the first seed leaves appear, the baby plants must be moved into good light so they can begin to photosynthesize and make their own food. Sooner or later the young plants will need transplanting and a feeding of diluted fertilizer; but not until they have a good few layers of leaves about four or six layers in tomatoes. Remember when transplanting tomatoes they can be planted deep with the soil covering the stems upto the lowest leaves where roots will grow from the buried stems. I use large juice boxes with the tops removed and drainage holes in the bottom. Room temperature water that has been sitting at least overnight to remove the chlorine is best for watering the young plants. Be careful of damping off a fungal disease that is fatal to young seedlings often from unsterlized soil or containers. Prevention is the only remedy - do not over water, a small sprinkling of cinnamon over the soil surface may help as can a spray of camomile tea. See the Canadian Gardener magazine web site for more info. Always harden off young plants in warm day before palnting out and do not put them in the sun they will burn. 

Before we know it we will be able to get into our plots and the question of “to dig or not to dig”? arises.The most recent writings suggest digging in the fall is best, if at all. The idea being that the winter frost and snow will break up the large clumps of soil and any remaining organic matter will decay, plus it gives the microscopic life, usually found in the top few inches of the soil, time to regenerate. 
The queen of no dig gardening was Ruth Stout who used layers and layers of mulch then planted into it. Some of her books are still available. She thought we should follow the natural cycle that occurs in the forest where the leaves fall to lie on the forest floor where they will be moved and digested by the earthworms and microbes. 

For those who are interested in ornamental gardening the Hellebores (lenten rose) have been in bloom for a couple of months now, the snowdrops and crocuses are about and the daffodils and tulips on their way. For those keeners who planted a fall crop of spinach they may now be even enjoying it for dinner. How they do this will have to wait for another Blog.


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