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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #325 - Marvel at this zucchini that climbs to great heights
August 22, 2018

It’s been a while since the last issue of Dallying. My annual Garden Communicator’s conference was in Chicago all last week and upon my return Son and Grandchildren from NFLD were in town to visit. They left today and the rain wouldn’t let me start on the forest of weeds that magically appeared in my absence so here I am writing. The Assistant Gardener did a fine job of keeping everything alive while I was gone but the weeds were not on her list. Some of the things that she kept alive were all of these seedlings that were downstairs under the lights. I like to put a beautiful picture at the top of the page and I think this promise of an abundance of autumn vegetables qualifies. The trick now is to keep them somewhere where the rabbits etc. won’t find them until I have the time to get them into the garden. Most will go into subirrigation containers with the excess in one of the fenced areas. Behind the plants that are visible there are also a couple dozen Lettuce plants. The cool days of autumn will produce a variety of delicious crops such as Kohl Rabi, Cabbage, Fennel, Pak Choi, Napa, Broccoli and a variety of Cauliflowers. I actually saw a few of these in my local garden centre as they are slowly catching on to the fall vegetable market.

This magnificent growth is a container of Morning Glories that I have been watering and cursing all summer. Amazing growth but apparently too many plants in one container as they have been wilting if I didn’t water them twice a day. If you look closely in the picture you can see the first flower just fading away. There appears to be many flower buds developing and that better be true because I will be truly annoyed if twice a day watering for 2 months doesn’t yield a spectacular display. Heavenly Blue Morning Glories may be my favourite annual flower and the definition of true blue as a flower colour. They are always somewhere in the garden but this is the first year in a container. They may look a little chlorotic but Morning Glories flower much better in poor soil so I stopped fertilizing them a couple of weeks ago hoping to produce more flowers and slow their growth and demand for water. We wait patiently!

Speaking of amazing growth, this is the climbing Zucchini, Zucchini trombata That is one plant that has now found its way onto the third trellis. If you look to the left of the picture, between the trellises, you can see one of the fruit developing as fast as the plant grows. If I don’t pick this meter long fruit it will soon be twice as long and four times as fat. I had one that weighed about 7 kg last year. The beauty of these huge squash is the bulbous ends. All of the seeds are in that bulge and the long part is solid flesh with no seeds. You can make enough Zucchini loaf to host your own bake sale from one of these.

This collection of Eggplant is one of the packages I put up for sale through Seed Voyage which is a web page that connects home gardeners with neighbours looking for delicious home grown vegetables. When I produce too much of something, which seems to happen regularly, I just post it to Seed Voyage and eaters in my area are notified. They can then purchase the produce on the web page and come and pick it up from the designated location. This Saturday I’m hosting a Seed Voyage event in my garden. Anyone can come and see the garden and see how I put my excess up for sale and learn all about how the process works. It has a few kinks that we are working on but it works quite well and I have sold a few items. I’m not really trying to make a lot of money but rather share my excess and maybe have the money to buy next year’s seeds. Drop by between 9 - 11 am on Saturday or listen to Marjorie Mason’s Let’s Get Growing at 9:00 am on CKDO 107.7 fm. She will be talking to me from the garden for part of her show.

Now here is a plant that I have featured before. Bloomin Easy Peach Lemonade Rose is a small shrub rose that has flowers that start out a peach colour and fade to the light lemon you can see in the picture. It blooms all summer and usually has flowers of both colours at the same time. I like this Rose because of its toughness. I’ve carefully taken the picture so that you can see the asphalt of the road just a few cm from where it is growing. The soil under the pea gravel mulch does not have much to recommend it but this Rose is now in its second year having survived the winter snow and salt from the road and the deluges of rain water that flow past it towards the catch basin just down the street. I can only imagine how well it might perform if I actually gave it a decent place to live.

Now it’s time to answer a few of my reader’s questions. To ask a question just “reply” to this ezine. Don’t forget to check the front page of the Website for frequent short ideas for current gardening activities.

Beverly Asks? Love your newsletters, keep up the excellent writing. We have 2 large apt terrace gardens, 75 containers. How can I extend my purchased potting soil, can I save in a large lidded garbage can over the winter, beginning in the fall to add kitchen compost finely chopped, and could I add a small amount of sleep manure?

Ken Answers! I dump some of my container soil into large garbage cans but I also leave the soil in many of my containers over the winter. I tend to stack or gather some of them so that I can cover them to keep them from getting too soggy from the snow. I just loosen them up in the spring and maybe add a bit of my own compost. I empty and store the terra cotta ones as they don't like the freeze thaw cycle. Plastic or concrete ones are where I leave the soil in.

Mary Asks? That green " grass" in your begonias... is infesting my lawn... mostly where the grass is severely damaged by the drought. Is it dangerous? Will it self seed? We usually put on a fall fertilizer to strengthen the " good" grass... suggestions?

Ken Answers! Yes it will self seed. Try mowing often enough to avoid it developing seed heads and keep on fertilizing the good grass so that it stays thick enough to keep out these pesky annual grasses.

Carol Asks? Ken, in the past we've had blossoms on our potato plants. Seems we have huge plants but no blossoms this year. Is there a blossom-less variety or do we have duds?

Ken Answers! I don't think I have ever seen a Potato that didn't bloom. Possibly too much fertilizer that kept them in a vegetative growth rather than blooming but Potatoes like lots of fertilizer??

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