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The Plot Thickens at the Community Garden

The Plot Thickens at the Community Garden

I planted potatoes in my community garden plot this week. Then I read about how to do it correctly after I planted them. They are in a trench near the new raspberry bush. That’s wrong. You have to separate those two plants like one has Covid and one doesn’t. Potatoes can spread a disease called verticillium wilt. That’s bad news for raspberries.

  Don’t get the impression that I am experienced at growing edibles. I am not. I know about perennials and shrubs and trees. Vegetables not so much. 

  The plot is in a community garden not far from where I live. It is a desolate place that has seen better days. In fact I wrote about it in 2007 for a Toronto Star article. It was a far happier place then.

The community garden plot is a little down on its heels
Kathy Renwald photo

  I don’t know what has happened since then, some tale of woe that probably does not need repeating.

  The plot appealed to me because our garden is mostly on a hill that is hostile to growing vegetables.  When I got the plot in June of last year, it was full of weeds. I yanked them out, added some new soil and started planting.

First the weeds had to be cleared
The soil was improved and planting began

Easy crops to grow

  The crops were mostly things that didn’t need much tending. I discovered that arugula, mustard greens, and mizuna were ideal.  Every few days I harvested a bunch, and enjoyed them in salads.

  Tomatoes were so-so, the plot is not sunny enough. I planted a Fall Gold raspberry and got to eat two maybe three raspberries before the season ended. I am hoping for a robust second season. I also use the bed as a sort of layover for plants that I buy or people give me that may or may not mix happily in my own garden.

Mizuna, mustard greens and arugula were easy salad greens to grow in the plot

  So I got the idea to try potatoes after reading about them in the wonderful website calledThe Art of Doing Stuff (

Karen Bertelsen writes in a way that encourages you to take a flyer on such things. If they don’t work out I plan to challenge her to a duel in the streets of Dundas. I know she would be up for it.

  The community garden, I call it The Farm, is looking up this season. There are some new gardeners. One woman told me she lives in an apartment, and the garden is a welcome escape. She brings a lawn chair, sits in the sun and holds court.

  I told her to expect anything. A railway spur line passes very close to the garden. Engines rock by lugging stuff for nearby industry, sometimes you’ll get a wave from the engineer.

The community garden has some unique views

Litter of dubious origin

   Because the garden is secluded, surprise awaits the curious visitor. For a while, women’s wigs were flung at the entrance, and then full outfits, high heels, handbags and fashion items from the 60’s-the props from a Carl Hiaasen novel. Martha Stewart would not approve.

  At the very least, it’s a good place to restock your biodome while pawing through the vast microbes living in the soil. Stay tuned for potato updates.

For more gardening from Kathy Renwald

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