Tuesday, November 25, 2008

november hot pepper harvest

here are some hot peppers i harvested this week. i brought my plants indoors when it got cold
they have sitting on my radiator in a bright window
and continue to ripen, flower and fruit . . . plant pictures to come . . . .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Seed Saving Workshop Map

**click to enlarge**

Here is a map of all the places I have been lucky enough to visit over the fall. I provided hands-on seed saving workshops with all of the gardens, and educational booths at each of the farmers markets. I met many lovely folks from across the city who were willing to share their knowledge and experiences saving seed, and many eager gardeners who were eager to learn the techniques.
For more information about the garden and market visits, keep reading. to learn about the specific groups, check out the link lists to the right.

Monday, November 17, 2008

High Park Seed Collection

Yesterday, Nov. 16th, I had the honour of meeting with the High Park Volunteer Stewardship Program. These lovely folks invited me to participate in one of their seed collection events that take place periodically throughout the year. I was shown around the area by some extremely knowledgeable Toronto Parks staff who pointed out the bounty of plants that flourish in their nursery, 'swamp', and grassland areas throughout the year.

We collected some cup plant, bergamont, butterfly milkweed seeds and surveyed many of the native grasses that were still looking lovely! Thanks very much for showing me around folks!!
Afterwards, I attended a lively potluck full of at least 40 volunteers who had spent the morning battling against buckthorn and collecting seeds.Despite reports of blustering snow, the sun was shining, and so were the faces of the participants. The potluck was full of diverse and delectable food that even included heirloom veggie hors d'ouvers made with shaved purple carrots stuffed with cherry tomatoes. Delicious.
this fabulous group is full of enthusiastic volunteers, but is always looking for more. over the winter they will be holding some educational events, as well as a seed cleaning event. This group does fabulous work promoting, preserving, providing and educating people native plants and their importance in the city and beyond . . . for more information or to participate: check out http://www.highpark.org/vsp.htm - i will post the link on the side of the blog as well

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dagmar's Potato Listing- As mentioned in Edible Toronto

The following is a table created by dagmar baur. It represents a cross-section of many of the potato varieties that are being grown and preserved throughout ontario. The table provides excellent information on the appearance, source, possible usages, and traits of each variety

*** Please click on tables to enlarge ***

Thursday, October 30, 2008

heirloom potatoes

**photo by Julian Hasford**
i have been bitten by the potato bug . . . looks like i may have found another addiction in the world of seed saving. Garrett Pittinger offered me some potato growing advice that i will share with you:
(a) each variety will respond to soil conditions differently. experiment to find potatoes that grow well in your garden!
(b) the soil should not be too acidic. he rotates gardens with his corn crop. one year a garden has new manure and corn is planted, the next year the potatoes grow in the aged manure.
(c) your root cellar should be dark (too much exposure to light will turn the potatoes green), and within the temperature range of 4 to 6 degrees Celsius. if the temperature drops below 4 degrees, water will expand in the potato, turning the starch into sugar. the potatoes will caramelize when cooked. too warm and the potatoes will start to sprout.
the blue potatoes are great for baking

the following is some of the potato varieties that he is growing:
ailes roses, bauer grun's rotes auge (oblong yellow potatoes with lovely pink eyes), bc blue, belgium, bintje (yellow-great for roasting), buckskin, carola, congo (the darkest of all the blue potatoes, great keeper), corne de mouton (unique hazlenut taste), crotte d'ours, digby heavener's peruvian, early rose (pink-skinned and white inside), elmer's blue, epicure, ernest cameron's, french fingerling (oblong red), grote aardapple, irish cobbler (an endangered variety), kifli krumpli fingerling, la veine rose, matsuyama, mrs. moehrle's yellow fleshed, norland, papas negras, princess c, pugh's purple, red bintje (dutch variety with red skin and yellow flesh), red dutch, rode eersteling, siberian (keep there shape in soup), six weeks, and stueben.

**Thanks to Julian Hasford for the use of his lovely photos.
** The potatoes pictured above were displayed at the Toronto Urban Farm Festival. All varieties were donated to Solomon Boye, by Garrett Pittinger. They were grown, harvested and enjoyed by the dedicated folks at the Toronto Urban Farm.

*for more information on these potatoes and others like them, look for dagmar baur's upcoming article in Edible Toronto.

"after i had been doing this for awhile, the potatoes just seemed to find me" Garrett Pittinger

**photo Julian Hasford**
i had the privilege of meeting garrett pittenger. for a seed nerd like me, this is a big deal. he is a founding and integral seeds of diversity member. he lives on a beautiful piece of property and grows over thirty types of heirloom potatoes with great dedication. i was lucky enough to visit him, get a tour of his property, and talk seed saving (and life) over tea.
when we entered his root cellar, we were greeted by highly organized boxes of potatoes, everywhere. different types ranging in colour from yellow, to pink, to blue and in every size imaginable were all gorgeous and chilling at a temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
each box was labelled with a stake, but garrett hardly needed them. you could tell he was intimately familiar with each potato. he identified each variety, while sharing stories of their colouring, history, taste, where he originally obtained them.
we soaked up the information and knowledge garrett was kindly sharing with us. he has been doing this for over forty years, and as he described so eloquently:
"after i had been doing this for awhile, the potatoes just seemed to find me".
smart potatoes, if i was a rare heirloom variety of a potato, i would certainly want to be in garrett's custody . ..

*this trip wouldn't have been possible without the organization of dagmar baur (another dedicated SoDC member), and barb (an avid and interested gardener who was nice enough to drive us!)

**sadly my camera was malfunctioning that day, so i don't have pictures of the experience. i have included some of the pics from the Toronto Urban Farm Festival, where gardeners were reaping the harvest of some of Garrett's potatoes. Thanks to Julian Hasford for use of his pictures.

from fruit to pulp to seed . . .

here are some of my last tomatoes beginning their fall transformation to seed . . . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oriole Peanut Community Garden: Seed Saving Workshop

I was recently sent these pictures by Emma a kind workshop participant and oriole peanut garden worker.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bell Manor Community Garden Workshop

on sept. 10th I was invited by the Stonegate Community Healthcare Centre to give a workshop about seed saving in Bell Manor Community Garden. It was a beautiful fall night. People from all over came to participate in the workshop. Many of the folks were from the community garden, but some had come all the way from Australia!!

There were lots of things going to seed in the garden, and we had a chance to collect many flowers, herbs, and other veggie for planting next year. We talked about other how-to's and why's of seed saving. thanks Julia for inviting me to this fabulous garden. It is over 15 years old and right in the middle of a park that serves 70 low rise apartment buildings in the area.

North York Harvest Food Bank- Garden Party

After my lovely morning at Withrow, I headed North West to a garden party. The folks at North York Harvest Food Bank had tonnes of amazing food available, free seeds, and produce to take home. Beyond being an amazing food bank that provides fresh produce to its clients, they are well into their second year of having a fabulous community garden!!

I was asked to come and talk to the folks about how to collect and save seed from the garden. There were plenty of seeds ripe and ready, and with lots of great questions, I think we all learned a lot. Thanks Fatima for inviting me to the fabulous garden!!

Heirloom Festival - Withrow Park

On Sept. 6th, I attended the Withrow Park Heirloom Festival. The Seeds of Diversity booth was stocked with information. I was lucky enough to have Joseph there to talk about Pollinators, and Dagmar, who brought her amazing collection of heirloom potatoes, as well as her vast knowledge of seeds. There was beautiful and diverse vegetables available. brought in from farms all over the region.
Despite the threat of rain there were many shoppers from the neighbourhood wanting to talk veggies, seeds, gardens, pollination and everything in between. Live music, children's events, and Wayne Roberts talking about his new book made this a wonderful event. Thanks to Roberta and the Withrow folks for having us.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Adanac Garden

The lovely folks at Adanac garden were kind enough to have me to a community garden potluck on Sept. 2nd There was lots of good food and conversation to be had. After eating, we walked through the garden, talked about seed saving and, together we collected next years crop of lettuce, herbs, peas and bean seed. thanks to katrina and all the gardeners for sharing your evening, stories and lovely garden with me!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oriole Peanut Garden

I had the honour of doing a seed saving workshop for the lovely folks at the Oriole Peanut Community Garden on Aug. 20th. The garden which started out with 40 plots, has now grown to 120!!! The garden is located on an island between busy roads. When you are in the garden you are at peace, and barely notice or hear the traffic. There are gardeners who speak at least ten different languages and many wonderful things growing in the gardens. You can look at www.osca-toronto for more info on the garden or contact me . . . . Thanks to Marian and Kate and everyone for having me!! the garden is truly amazing. here are some pictures of some the produce ripening into seed.