Friday, 8 November 2013

Fall Photographs & How To Plant Garlic: WHCI & Elmbank Gardens

As the season came to an end, and we harvested the last of our edible crops, we found some special things in the gardens. Our first time trying to grow artichokes produced this lovely specimen!
 In October, we observed lots of ladybugs and wasps covering a few sunflower plants at the Elmbank Children's Garden. Is this an example of parasitism?

 WHCI students pick apples in the nearby park during our after school gardening program

Still lots of harvesting to do throughout October - all food was donated to the Jamestown Community Food Centre, which serves the local community twice weekly

Picked lots of tomatillos!

Tons of green tomatoes, taken off the vine before frost. Many will ripen at room temperature on the kitchen counter or window sill. There are also lots of ways to cook with green tomatoes in the kitchen!

Lovely colours of pie pumpkins, Blue Hubbard, Delicata, and Butternut Squashes. Leeks, carrots, and beets are wonderful fall crops too

 Thanksgiving harvest of leeks, carrots, celery and celeriac (below)


 Giant Daikon radishes that were sown in the spring!

Fall is a great time to save some valuable seeds for next year! We saved many types of bean seeds including bush and pole varieties. Bean seeds are ready to harvest when the shell of the bean turns papery and dry. 

Have you heard of the Toronto Seed Library? Imagine a seed library in all of PACT's partner schools, or even in all schools! What a great way to save, and share seeds, and promote organic gardening in our neighborhoods.

How To Plant Garlic

Garlic is an amazing plant, and very easy to grow, harvest, and plant! Mid to late October is a great time to plant garlic in Southern Ontario.
We harvested our garlic in July from our Emery CI school garden. The garlic plants were bundled and hung to dry in the WHCI garden shed over the summer. In October we clipped off the stems, leaving 1-2 inches of stem to make it easy to break apart the cloves.

 Separate each clove of garlic

 These are some nice big cloves!

 Plant each clove separately, as each one will grow into a whole head of garlic next year. Plant the cloves about 2-3 inches deep, and 6 inches apart. You can use your hand as a measuring tool to space the garlic cloves about 6 inches apart. Space the rows about 8-12 inches apart.

 Make sure to plant cloves with the pointy end facing up, so the sprout will start growing in the right direction.

 Cover your garlic patch with 4-6 inches of mulch. We used straw, but fallen leaves work just as well and are widely available at this time of year. Rake some up, or grab a brown bag full off the curb! Mulching will help prevent any heavy freezing that might occur over winter from heaving your garlic cloves out of the ground.

 Elmbank Children's Garden - put to bed for the winter. Garlic beds are planted and mulched by Ms. O'Brien's Grade One class, and cover crops are acting as a living mulch.

Common Milkweed pod bursting with its seeds on a windy fall day

-- We look forward to gardening with you next year! Please contact us at for volunteer and internship opportunities in our school gardens in the spring --

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