Everything’s Coming Up Radishes

Everything’s coming up radishes…and peas and potatoes and shallots and onions and beets and lettuce. So much growing on and that’s just in one little red box! My square of beets are a bit of a mess. So many here, so few there…I may try carefully moving some about.

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Overall, things are growing well at the gardens. And I am learning some lessons about community in the process.

The other night I drove down to the garden to water. Upon arriving, I was secretly pleased to find no one else there. I sighed in contentment, looking forward to some solo watering time.

I had just finished uncoiling the garden hose and dragging it over to the boxes when a father showed up with his young daughter. The little girl was fairly leaping in the air with enthusiasm. I told them to go ahead and water their garden first, hoping they would then leave so I could carry on with my watering in solitude. Don’t judge me.

After they finished the little girl asked if she could water my garden and, of course, I told her that would be wonderful. She flew about spraying water here and there with unabated joy.

I’ll just water it properly after they leave, I told myself as I smiled and thanked the girl for all her help.

“You can leave if you like,” the father said unexpectedly. “We’ll put away the hose.”

The conversation that followed went something like this.

Me “No, no, I’ll do it. You’ve helped enough.”

Him “No, I insist.”

Me “That’s okay, I’ll finish up.”

Him “No, no, we’ll put the hose away. You can just go.”

What could I do? There was nothing for it. I left.

At first (did I already say don’t judge me?) I was a bit annoyed. But as I drove home I thought about that beautiful little girl helping me with my garden and I had to smile. It is a wonderful thing to see a young person taking an interest in gardening. It’s even more wonderful to see a young father taking time out of his busy day to encourage that interest. I hope to see them at the gardens again.

And that, dear Shannon, is what community gardening is really about.

And here I was thinking it was about deeply watered carrots. Pffft. Amateur.

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Grow Your Own Ketchup and Fries…From One Plant!

You can now buy a plant sold under various names (in Canada it is called Ketchup ‘n’ Fries™) that produces tomatoes and potatoes.

And no, it’s not GMO. Tomatoes and potatoes are from the same family, so are somewhat compatible at the outset. After lots of trial and error the industry has figured out a way to graft the top of a tomato onto the base of a potato. As you can imagine, it’s a bit of a nit picky process which demands that the circumference of both the potato and the tomato stalk be of similar size at the time of grafting. The plants then go through a bonding period before being released for sale. As a result, they don’t come cheap. The plants I stumbled upon yesterday in our local nursery were being sold for $25.99.

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By all reports from gardeners who have tried this plant in the past, you can expect modest yields of both tomatoes and potatoes. For the same coin you could easily purchase a bag of two dozen seed potatoes and a packet of at least a dozen tomato seeds. But that’s not the point.

This is a gimmick and a fun one at that. If you are short on space or just want to grow this one for a novelty and can afford to do so, then it could be fun project. Especially if you have children.

It could also be a way of thwarting thieves if you garden in a community space or are subject to garden raids in your front yard. Who would think to pull up a tomato plant to look for potatoes? If you lose all your tomatoes at least you can take comfort in harvesting a few potatoes instead.

Vegetable garden bed