Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weeds or Wild Edible Plants?

A few of us gardeners recently had an interesting discussion on what to weed.  Were some of these pesky weeds actually worth harvesting?  With a growing food movement that encourages eating foraged wild plants it seemed worth it to look into.  

Of specific interest is pigweed or Amaranth as it grows well in our garden.  Pigweed is a cosmopolitan perennial plant that often is ready for harvesting in mid-summer.  It generally has alternating green leaves and the greenish-red stems become more red in colour closer to the tap root.  Before the plant goes to seed its leaves are fairly comparable in taste to spinach.  They can be picked and stir-fried with a little oil or water in a frying pan, some may even eat them in salad.  The seeds are also edible but I am less familiar with how to harvest and eat those.  

However, if you are interested in learning more about wild edible plants go to this website: Edible Weeds and learn more about some potential harvests you could be enjoying this summer!  

As exciting as wild harvesting is, it should be noted that if you choose to harvest wild plants it is very important that you know what you are eating.  So make sure you can properly identify plants before you put them on your plate!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Does a community garden mean harvesting is open to the public?

The answer to this question is usually "No."

Some of the first harvests of Sandy Hill Community Garden have already been lost to non-garden members this year.  A lovely rhubarb plant that was being cared for diligently by one gardener was harvested without his permission the day before he went to harvest it himself. His family's dessert plans were ruined.  The frustration he felt that day is only the beginning and he knows it.  As the green tomatoes on the vine ripen some gardeners feel that it will be a race to harvest their produce. This feeling is unfortunate.  What if you want to let your squash get big?  Or you went away for the weekend and didn't get a chance to pick your ripened tomatoes?  Does this warrant theft?  Is it fair that the time you invested to water, nurture and care for your garden is rewarded by missing harvests?

In order to prevent this from happening our gardeners will be putting up some polite 'no picking' signs on garden plots that are for personal use.  We also have a communally gardened/food-bank plots that we will leave sign free.  We hope that all hungry garden visitors will leave individual plots alone and harvest ripe vegetables from the sign free plots. 

If you have any ideas on how we can minimize vegetable theft please leave a comment.   

Sandy Hill Community Garden Update 2013

After a somewhat extended hiatus from blogging we decided an update was in order!

Although we had a late start to the garden this year,  we are happy to report its up and running.  Gardeners hit the ground running in mid- to late- June shared seeds, and seedlings and have had success in generating some healthy plants.  A big thanks to Greta's Organic Gardens (http://www.seeds-organic.com/) for supplying us with about 30 seedlings that have been planted in our communal plot and distributed amongst the gardeners.  The seedlings were hearty and have been flourishing! 

Also, we've had a change over in garden coordinators.  Our new coordinators are Ann Balasubramaniam and Shehzad K. Ghani.  If you need to reach them please email us at: sandyhillcommunitygarden@gmail.com