Working the Land (2)
The remaining 250-square-feet of land was turned and planted with an assortment of 11 herbs (basil, thyme, and parsley), 5 cucumbers, 13 tomatoes, 5 eggplants, 8 cabbages, 4 kale, 3 rows of climbing beans and bush beans. All was tilled and planted in roughly 4 hours.
What was planted during the May long weekend is all growing well. Certain salads are ready for harvest, and will be available for this Thursday’s University of Toronto farmer’s market.
As stated in last week’s post, Roberto was intrigued with Damian’s intercropping technique, and suggested to transplant his garlic between the tomatoes. This practice goes contrary to our traditional approach, which believes that every plant should be planted in its respective location.
What was not mentioned in last week’s post was the decision to plant beet seeds between the salads. The technique is working, and within one week when the below pictured salads are removed, the tiny beet seedlings should have plenty of room to grow until harvest. Also seeded between the salad rows were ruby steak mustard greens and arugula.
Last week I stated that plant diversity and intercropping promotes resiliency. Known as companion planting, proper partnerships have the potential to make the respective plants stronger and healthier; basically a symbiotic relationship. So far I can say that the garlic is holding up well between the tomatoes, but I have no way of knowing if they are benefitting each other besides the assurance I get in a companion planting book.
At Fresh City Farms we are (re)learning the art of gardening according to nature’s rules, as opposed to controlling nature via chemical inputs. It may initially be a more complicated task requiring greater forethought and understanding of plant chemistry, but I am confident that an organic approach to successful gardening is possible. Yet when I speak to neighbours about our approach I am often told that certain plants, let us use apples as an example, have to be sprayed in order to produce abundantly. Yet these same people, and I speak specifically of Italian immigrants born before the Second World War, are forced to reconsider this statement when reminded that before WW2 they did not use nor have pesticide sprays, and their apple trees produced.