Thursday, August 24, 2006

Weeding, Watering, and Wandering

Spent yesterday morning over at the allotment garden. As you can see, the weeds have been enjoying the waterings, too, so it was time.

Time for the tools of mass destruction.

They made short work of the weeds, after which the edamame was a lot more visible.

As you can see, they've each got two round true leaves, and are starting to develop their sets of three leaflets. From what I've read, I think I can expect all the rest of the leaves to be compound triplets.

After weeding and watering, I wandered around the whole garden, admiring what people have done on their plots. I'll put up a bunch of pictures shortly on Flickr. Until then, here's a sample -- a bumblebee on a hollyhock.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


So now I've got sprouts happening.
I checked the glass at home, and 5 out of 7 soybeans have sprouted. OK, they're viable. That means that, in addition to watering the edamame today, I've got to plant the soybeans that I started soaking last night (just to give them a start on growing.

On my way out to the garden, I stopped by East End Garden Centre, and bought myself a watering can and a bag of vermiculite. More on the vermiculite later.

Here's what I was met with at the garden plot -- edamame sprouts! The cotyledons are above ground for more than half of them. I can guess at which of the little plantlets are the edamame based on the spacing.

I should have used the technique from "Square Foot Gardening" that really helps identify sown seed. Where you want to plant a seed, partially fill the hole with vermiculite. Water it. Plant the seed. Fill the rest of the hole with vermiculite. Water again.

Vermiculite gives the seed a good growing medium to start in, and it's *really* obvious compared to the soil. The plants should be easily identified: they're the ones in the middle of the pile of vermiculite! As you can see, I used that technique today when I planted the soybeans. A few rows here, a couple over here, one long one in the middle... lots of walking space around the plants.

48 plants of soybeans in all -- dunno what I'll do with the beans, if they actually grow! I want them mostly for their nitrogen-fixing ability.

That's it for today -- time to go eat some dinner (hmm... boiled and salted edamame? Nah, think I'll go for gourmet pizza tonight).

Monday, August 07, 2006

Finished weeding!

Excuse my hand acting as a lens hood -- one day I'll buy a for-real one (shows, though, that the look through my SLR is smaller than the actual image shot. I was really careful to keep my hand out of the viewfinder's frame).

So now that I'm done weeding, I've started an experiment. I've taken some soy beans that I bought for eating, and am testing if they're viable for growing. I'm doing this by putting 7 beans between a glass and a cylinder of paper towel kept moist. If they sprout, I've got seeds that might grow. If I've got seeds that might grow, I'll plant them in the rest of my plot, just to improve the nitrogen in the soil for next year.

I was finished by about 11am this morning: I've got an evening shot because I forgot to put the card back in my camera when I went out to the spit this morning!

Time for a glass of wine to celebrate

Sunday, August 06, 2006

One row of edamame planted

So here we are: it's Sunday, and I spent a couple of hours weeding today, and got accomplished what I thought I'd get accomplished. Tomorrow I'll tackle the Queen Anne's Lace.

Now you can see all the way back to the corner of my plot -- and I measured today, and it's 20 feet square.
The raspberry canes are more obvious now -- they're not lost among the weeds. Not sure if I'll keep them. They don't look too healthy. Maybe they just need pruning or thinning. I'll have to read up on them.

The one wet row of soil is where I planted the edamame seeds -- that was sooooo easy after doing all the weeding.
I'm not sure if the hose at the back of my plot is mine or not -- I'll have towait until I meet that neighbour. It would save me from either (a) buying a hose or (b) dragging my watering can down with me, which is what I did today.

So I'll be back out there tomorrow, finishing things off, and maybe watering the soybeans. And I might yank up one jerusalem artichoke, just to see how they're doing.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My own private bed of weeds.

Here are a couple of before shots. I've annotated one so you can get an idea of how many weeds there are. I think the garden plot measures 18 feet square.

And the romantic weed close-up (oooh, doncha love the lens flare)... there's Jerusalem artichokes, which I may leave until after frost to harvest, Queen Anne's lace, purple vetch, rudbeckia, plantain, and other assorted things that have to come out of the ground for me to plant some edamame.

Thank goodness for my Garden Claw. That tool's really doing the job for me. Although I probably looked strange biking over here, with big shears sticking out of my backpack and my Garden Claw balanced across my handlebars, I was able to get down here with the tools I needed under my own steam.

Here's after two hours of weeding. Progress has been made, but I think I've got two more weeding sessions like this one ahead of me. By tomorrow noon I should be able to plant the edamame in this section (which will be larger, and be pushed back to the raspberry canes).

Then on Monday morning I'll wear a long-sleeved shirt as well as my gloves to tackle the big Queen Anne's Lace patch on the west side: the sap can cause photosensitivity, so it's important to cover up when removing it. Notice the garden off to the right (it's fenced in). That's one of my neighbours, obviously.

Here's a better look at my neighbour's xeriscape. Creative, inventive, and I suspect (but I'll ask if/when I see them) low maintenance, now that it's installed.

I've got to go around and take some pictures of the different types of garden here: it's really everything, from herbs and vegetables to beautiful flower gardens of many different types.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Time to do some weeding!

I acquired (well, I'm renting) a garden plot in one of the community gardens in Toronto. I looked at it about a month ago , when I acquired it, and it's got 5' high weeds in it.

Since then, temperatures have been either intolerable, or the risk of thunderstorms has been great (and it's a wide open space, near the Leslie St. Spit). So the weeds have continued to grow -- I've probably ticked off all the neighbouring gardeners.

This weekend I'm going to clear the weeds out, and try growing edamame. I know that it's considered a spring planting item, and I'm running risks planting something with a 75 day maturity at this point in the summer... but, what the heck? If I fail, it's $5 worth of seeds.

If I succeed, I'll be able to freeze lots of edamame for tasty snacks through the late fall and winter.

I'll take before and after pictures tomorrow!