Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sunshine and tomato plants...

I'm no farmer, nor do I claim to be one.

However, I do enjoy gardening, even if I am lousy at weeding and otherwise have a black thumb. Earlier this year, my friend, Helena, and I decided to rent a garden plot from the City of Ottawa. It's 1000 square feet of which 500 square feet are mine to use for the season. Use it I did. With what has to be the wettest spring we have had in a long time, I was worried about whether I would get the chance to plant anything. If going gardening requires the use of dinghy or life jackets then that's called fishing and I don't do that.

In joyful anticipation, or maybe just hope, of sunnier days to come (the days of dumping rain couldn't last forever I reasoned) I purchased 10 tomato plants. I already had a few organic potatoes, red onion sets, garlic and even some carrot seeds to name but a few, but wanted to try my hand at growing tomatoes once more.

To be sure, I had grown tomatoes before and had had some success there (some, just some) but I wanted to see if I could actually grow more than a token few. Besides, I had promised my kids that I'd make some home made tomato sauce for them and with the onions and garlic I had also planted I figured I would have the necessary ingredients.

The garden I'm talking about is the Kilborn Allotment gardens and it lies about 7 kilometres from our home. I could get there by bus or on foot but the issues of cost for bus tickets and both time and endurance for hoofing it surfaced. This is where the catrike would come in handy...very handy...

Armed only with a map and a fair degree of familiarity with the bike paths here, I managed to plot a course to the gardens which would only have me travelling on suburban streets. The busier roads like Conroy or Walkley would be taken on the bike paths. Long story short, getting from our place to the gardens would only take about 25 minutes.

Yesterday's venture also had Adam attach our bike trailer/kiddy trailer to his mountain bike. He had the unenviable task of transporting all those vegetable bulbs/seeds/plants while I only had to pack a good lunch and a healthy supply of water in both the panniers on my catrike. I remain perpetually impressed by just how easy it is to transport items on my catrike, especially after having watched some young man struggle with carrying books in his arms while riding a bicycle. In this day and age with panniers not only the norm but readily available, it makes less than no sense to me to try and carry things in one's arms while attempting to balance on two wheels. But, I digress...

So, after a fresh start on a cool but sunny morning we arrived at our garden plot. The ground was still very damp but the soil was not that grim, unsavoury muck. It was quite workable, despite the backbreaking heavy labour Adam underwent just to turn the soil. I hacked at each row, breaking up the larger clods of densely packed soil into something quite manageable. After a few hours and a good lunch break, we completed the planting of vegetables for the year.

Now, we have yet more rain in the forecast but also a lot more sunshine. That should make my tomato plants happy...I hope!


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