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.
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.
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.
So I got the idea to try potatoes after reading about them in the wonderful website calledThe Art of Doing Stuff ( https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/)
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.
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