Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure: It’s over

October 17, 2008

This picture shows one of my rescued, window sill-ripened Brandywine tomatoes perched on a rescued Cherokee Purple tomato that itself is perched upon a can of organic Ontario tomatoes. This pic was taken a couple of weeks ago but I saved it for today.

At this point, most of my readers (at least the ones in Canada) will have very little produce to harvest from their gardens. A cabbage remains here and there; a few carrots or beets, tops blackened by frost might still be salvageable; and, maybe a few of you in the warmer parts of Ontario like Pelee Island or in BC on Vancouver Island have some Brussels sprouts waiting for a good frost.

For the rest of us, it’s back to the produce section where many of the options are trucked in from warmer climes. While I will buy lettuce and other produce from around the globe during the colder months, I was heartened to see this can of tomatoes at Planet Organic. It’s nice to know that even if the growing season is over, that good quality local produce solutions can still be found if you look for them.

Will you try to buy products like these tomatoes now that the colder weather has arrived? Or will you put your locavore practices aside until spring?


Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure: A tomato rescue

September 18, 2008

When I heard this morning that our temperature had dipped to a lowly 8 degrees celsius last night I had a bit of a panic attack. My heirloom tomato plants (brandywines, cherokee purples) and my two big boy tomato plants have produced a plentiful but late-to-ripen crop.

So, today I staged a tomato rescue. I’ve spread this bounty out now on parchment-lined baking sheets to ripen. I’ll report back to you about whether these potentially delicious orbs ripen or atrophy. Keep your fingers crossed!


Dana’s Big Gardening Adventure: forming a tomato support group

August 29, 2008

 Occasionally, we all need a little help to stand straight (especially after tequila!) and it turns out tomatoes are just like us.

I’ve learned a lot with my big gardening adventure experiment. One of my recent lessons is that tomato cages aren’t strong enough to support a healthy tomato plant. Stakes, I’ve learned, are the way to go.

When I planted my tomato seedlings in late May they were less than 6 inches tall and the cages I found at the local garden centre seemed more than adequate support for the mature plants I envisioned they would grow into; however, as you can see above, I was wrong. So very, very wrong. This picture was taken right after I got home from holiday two weeks ago. While I was away in the Yukon, my poor tomato plants had fallen and couldn’t get up!

It’s so hard for me to believe that in April these bushes, now waist high and laden with heavy fruit, were but mere tomato seeds. Their growth is really astonishing!

I made an emergency run to the garden centre and picked up some lightweight but stiff metal stakes and some stretchy garden tape. After working the stakes into the soil near where the plants are rooted, I carefully untangled the arms of each plant and did my best to tether them to the stakes. So far my bindings are holding and within the next day or so I’ll be eating tomatoes!