Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spring 2009- the beginnings of a garden!

As soon as it was warm enough I was outside digging in the dirt. Our downstairs neighbours have previously done a bit of gardening and the landlord provided them with some topsoil but it didn't take long to realize that it was a very shallow layer on top of the previous gravel parking spot- shades of my former back yard...Using the piles of old bricks that seem to come with every yard space in Toronto, I extended the previous garden by another 10 feet and began to scrounge for good soil to fill it in with. I hadn't been able to bring much compost from our previous place so I had to get resourceful. First stop - Environmental Days sponsored by the city! Every year they dump huge piles of leaf compost free for the taking at various spots around the city. Leaf compost is not ideal nutrient-wise but it's free and it adds bulk to sandy soil. At some locations there's a line-up to get to the pile and fill your wagon /bundlebuggy/ garbage bags. This year I even saw people wheel up their huge recycling bins on wheels and I was jealous that we didn't have one yet. Never the less my friend and I filled multiple garbage bags and loaded them in a borrowed vehicle. Next stop was the High Park Zoo! There we managed to score some 'zoo poo'- slightly smelly and mixed with bedding straw but a great start to the new composter I had built in the yard. Still needing more I was forced to purchase some bags of 3 way mix and manure to get about 4 inches worth of decent soil. It was a beginning.

Outside the garden was already stirring- the magenta violets survived and a few bulbs from a previous tenant emerged. The best news was a large patch of rhubarb appeared near the base of the sumach tree, in a spot hat I hadn't dug up thankfully! Inside my lovely sunporch the seedling trays and wintered over plants were happily doing their thing until the weather warmed up. With the wall of south-facing windows basking everything in hours of sunlight, I was astonished to see how well everything did inside this winter- my former space was lacking in both light and heat so growing seedlings was a challenge and I lost many plants every previous winter. You can imagine my surprise when a morning glory not only grew but flowered inside in April. I even sprouted an accidental tomato in January that was looking lovely and healthy until someone opened a window and it got frost nipped. it was a long spring this year so although I was able to set trays and pots outside often in April, some of them got nipped and nothing went into the ground until well into May. Which left me time to work on other projects - like building things!

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