Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vegetable: Poaching Perennials

The response received since starting this blog has been overwhelming. Not only from the people interested in following and reading the blog, but more so from the enthusiasm people have to become involved in the farm, and offer their own gardening tips,and experiences. What's been even more surprising are the number of people who have contacted me to offer plants to be put in our garden. Particularly since my mention of lacking perennials.

The first offer came from someone very close to me, my Grandma, who having just moved out of her house and into assisted living had many plants on offer from her former garden in Scarborough. The plant I was most enthusiastic to get my hands on is the main ingredient in her incredible soup, Sorrel. I was sure to transplant a portion of this amazing perennial before the house was sold so that I can continue to enjoy this soup with my Grandma.

While the gift of sorrel from my Grandma was a given, with or without the blog, the rest of the plant donations have come from people who may not have known this project existed had the blog not been made. One very exciting new perennial is a Gold Hop plant from a friend named Alex Jarvis Squire, lead singer of the Whole Entire Universe. Alex is a horticulturalist by day and has an amazing garden. Fortunately for me he felt the Hops plant was taking up to much space. When he offered the plant to me I jumped at the opportunity to grow my own Hops to be used for flavouring my home-brew. Having just undergone a transplant the shrub is looking a little bit sad, but hopefully, with some tender loving care, will spring back to life.

One of my favourite perennials are sunchokes. Franka provided me with some really good advice about growing sunchokes through a horror story of hers. Franka suggested that when planting sunchokes I create some sort of barrier around them to prevent them from spreading throughout the garden. She learned this the hard way when the root system of a sunchoke plant spread under the grass of her lawn, only to be torn up by squirrels in search of the tasty tuber. Franka was particularly adamant that I take this advice because of the proximity of our sunchokes to her garden. To create this barrier I used the old recycling bins with the bottom cut out. Franka was pleased with my ingenuity and rewarded me with a couple of chive plants to accompany the one that I had left from last year.

Another plant that we hope to be giving a home to is a raspberry bush from a friend who lives up the street from us named Krista. For this plant I am having considerable difficulty finding space. As much as I love raspberries, sunchokes and loads of other perennials I do find them challenging to incorporate into the garden because of how large they get. WIth a garden as small as ours it becomes difficult to incorporate these plants without having them take over the entire plot. One good option for the urban gardener to enjoy things like raspberries and blueberries is to forage them wild, which I hope to do this summer.

Hopefully getting these plants in the ground and taking care of them will stave off my desire to get an early jump on vegetable planting before the recommended May 24 weekend. Also, soon there is going to be enough sorrel for a delicious sorrel soup.

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