Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Tomato Harvest Update

Author: helga

Biggest Tomato

I planted four varieties of tomatoes .  The Celebrity variety produced both the biggest tomatoes and the largest quantity. Some of the tomatoes were four inches across. The plant grew so tall and heavy the tomato cage couldn’t hold it up and tomatoes were still touching the ground.  The one Celebrity plant produced more tomatoes than the other three varieties combined. I can’t adequately compare the taste of varieties since they were  picked green and mixed together in the bin to ripen.

Tomato Harvest

Almost all the tomatoes ripened well after they were picked, even the small ones.  The first thing you notice when growing a garden is that vegetables aren’t  perfect like the ones in the store.  Remember, we’re not growing vegetables for magazine pages, we’re growing them for taste and nutrition. They are not models of perfection.

A few tomatoes had the lovely purple tint when they ripened.

I’m going to guess these were the Heirloom Cherokee Purple tomatoes. The plant only grew about a foot tall and produced maybe two or three good sized tomatoes. Perhaps it is  not suited to our northern climate. The tomatoes had a delicate, rich taste and I will definitely try to grow them again.

My favourite use for fresh tomatoes is chopped up with onions and herbs and served over pasta. Fresh and lightly sautéed, instead of boiled down into a sauce.

Fresh garden tomatoes with ravioli from the Italian Centre. Delizioso!

Chickweed and Watermelon

Author: helga


This is chickweed from my garden.  With recent rains, it has been growing faster than my vegetables. Surprisingly it is also tastier than some vegetables. Like we’ve done with dandelions,  for years we have been throwing this plant in the garbage along with it’s great taste and vitamins.  Chickweed  contains  calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, silica, sodium, phosphorus potassium and zinc, It also contains some Vitamin A, some B vitamins  and a little vitamin C.  It tastes  like a fresher, crisper version of watercress.

A super fresh dish to serve on a hot day is a salad of watermelon with chopped chickweed. So good!



Chickweed can be added as an extra to green to most salads, to smoothies and to stir fries. They are a delicate plant and don’t stand up well to much heat, so add just shortly before serving if putting them into a cooked dish.

Chickweed has been used for its medicinal properties in herbal medicine. It can be used in tinctures and creams.

Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Author: helga
Last year's green tomatoes

These are last year’s green tomatoes picked before the big fall frost. If I kept a garden journal, I would know what variety this is. What’s done is done. Now it’s time for this year’s tomatoes.

Siberian Tomato

Greenhouses, grocery stores, and  home improvement stores are all selling plants at this time of year. How to choose? Italians have perfected all methods of cooking tomato sauce, so  Little Italy seems like the place to go.

Manitoba tomato

Zocalo  has racks and racks of tomato plants including many heirloom varieties.

Celebrity Tomato

Zocalo’s blog describes only a few of the  varieties that are available for planting. The Cherokee Purple Tomato seems particularly intriguing.

Siberian Tomato

I hope I will have some good results.


A Garden Journal

Author: helga

Garden Journal

Gardens and kitchens have a long tradition of existing side by side. For many of our grandmothers all  vegetables came from the garden.  Today, there is a growing interest in urban gardening, even if it only consists of a patio pot of herbs or a balcony tomato plant. I’ve given in to the gardening urge by renting a plot in my community garden. I’m amazed how much food can be produced from a 10 X 13 plot and how much work it is to preserve it for the season.

Last year I planted one tomato plant and thought I would remember what variety it was. But a year later I have no idea which of the many varieties I looked at is the one I planted. (I blame all the internet passwords taking up space in my brain.)

A garden journal of some kind would have let me know what I planted and help me decide what variety might do better. There is no substitute for information from our own garden. Our climate is unique and every little patch of soil is unique in its characteristics and chemistry affecting the growth of  vegetables.

A journal can be as simple as keeping notes on your phone. It only needs to be  a record that you can look back on from one year to the next. It will be useful to know what was planted in previous years, how quickly it grew, how frost resistant it was, and let’s not forget, how well it tasted.  I’ve decided on a traditional paper journal, mostly because I am a compulsive buyer of notebooks.

There are gardening apps available for iPhone and iPad that look promising but I haven’t found anything for Android that looks useful.  Paper notebook it is.

If anyone finds a fabulous app for garden planning please do let me know.