Last of the carrots

A nice surprise when I dug the garden. The carrots never really got thinned and pretty much got lost under the tomatoes and arugula.

Saugeen Slicers & Beans

Saugeen Slicers & Scarlet Runner Beans

I picked the first ripe large tomatoes from the garden today. They’re called Saugeen Slicers and came from seedlings I bought from the Saugeen River CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). They’re pretty good, not as sweet and tastey as the cherry tomatoes I got from them.

My organic farmer neighbour Cam was over and spotted the large, ready to harvest beans growing on the scarlet runners I planted along the deck railing purely for decorative purposes. So I picked them and added them, sliced, to a ratatouille stew I made from Cam’s organic onions, zucchini, eggplant and garlic along with my organic tomatoes, basil and thyme. I forgot to photograph the plate; I was so hungry I just dove right in before even thinking of the camera.

Scarlet runner bean plant

Lorraine Johnson: City Farmer

Author Lorraine Johnson, "City Farmer"

I’ve got to get this new book by Toronto urban-farmer-guerilla-author Lorraine Johnson titled City Farmer. Lorraine is an old friend who has written a ton of great books on sustainabable gardening, care for the environment, native plantings such as The Ontario Naturalized Garden: The Complete Guide to Using Native Plants; Tending the Earth: A Gardener’s Manifesto; The Natural Treasures of Carolinian Canada to name a few.

I met Lorraine for lunch about a year ago and learned from her then that she had a chicken coop in her backyard, which is in the Annex, a very urban part of Toronto. She had four laying hens in the coop and she presented me with four lovely blue, edible eggs. At that time her adventure in backyard chicken raising was relatively new, she had the support of her neighbours and she was agitating city hall to make it legal. In an interview on CBC radio this morning she mentioned that the City of Toronto has still not okayed it for folks to raise chickens in their backyards.

Publishers Greystone Books describe City Farmer:

City Farmer celebrates the new ways that urban dwellers are getting closer to their food. Not only are backyard vegetable plots popping up in places long reserved for lawns, but some renegades are even planting their front yards with food. People in apartments are filling their balconies with pots of tomatoes, beans, and basil, while others are gazing skyward and “greening” their rooftops with food plants. Still others are colonizing public spaces, staking out territory in parks for community gardens and orchards, or convincing school boards to turn asphalt school grounds into “growing” grounds.
Continue reading Lorraine Johnson: City Farmer

First cherry tomatoes from the garden

First cherry tomatoes from the garden

Today I picked the first ripe cherry tomatoes from my garden. They’re from seedlings I planted May 24, purchased from Cory Eichman who runs the Saugeen River CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) ( 314399 Highway 6, Durham, Ontario (519) 369-3567). They’re organic and named Peace Vine Cherry. I bought these last year from Cory and they are delicious and sweet and tender. I’m waiting for the larger tomatoes to ripen, named the Saugeen Slicer, also purchased from Cory’s farm. Anyway, there are about a thousand small ripening cherry tomatoes on the vines now so in a week to two I’ll be inundated with them!

New cherry tomatoes in pasta sauce

Tonight I cooked them up into a pasta sauce along with patty pan squash and garlic from my organic farmer neighbour Cam Pyper, onion (not local), chirizo (from a local sausage maker) and basil, cilantro, fennel leaf, thyme and arugula from my garden. Along with a glass of Italian Pinot Noir and it was heaven on earth.

In the yard last week

Porcupine checking out the basil in my garden this spring.

My yard is a favourite hang-out for the local porcupines. This young one was in my garden several days running, checking out the basil and lettuce. I think he was eating slugs off the leaves. Thanks! The rest of the time he was up the pear tree.