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We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other. - E.H.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gardening - the Toronto edition.

I'm pretty new to gardening. Agata is more of an expert, the kind of gardener who constructs massive spreadsheets detailing what seeds to start when, when to reseed what - her garden plans look like architectural designs. I'll admit that that level of planning is not my strong suit.

I do, however, like digging in the dirt. There is something about the combination of sun, dirt and beer that really appeals to me. Our new house has a garden out back, and the presence of weeds leads us to believe that, if given the chance, it can support life. So, last Sunday we spent the day digging up the back yard and sifting through the soil for roots (it seemed like there were more roots then dirt, at some points).

                       the garden, mid-toil

I broke a pitchfork in the first half an hour of digging (in half! pretty impressive, I think), and a steady stream of neighbourhood types stopped to chat as we dug up the back yard.

We met a fellow who lives a couple of doors down who writes dystopic short stories about the future of Toronto where the power grid and all technology has failed, and Rob Ford is king. He invited us to a reading at a local bar, which he assured us is very open minded and welcoming to people like us - by which I'm going to assume he does not mean gardeners.

I had the chance to better get to know a fellow that I had met, somewhat unfortunately, a few days ago. At the time, he was screaming through my living room window about rabid dogs (one downside to having a living room that used to be a  storefront), making me cross my fingers and hope that he was just passing through the neighbourhood and not, in fact, our neighbour. I was wrong, of course.

He seemed to like us better when he realized we were planting a garden, and we made some neighbourly small talk over the fence. I felt like I was really making some progress, and maybe I was right, because he asked if he might bring a bucket and take some of our soil for his backyard.  He clearly didn't recognize how hard we were working for that soil.

Maybe one day, we'll reach a happy medium between yelling-through-the-window and popping by to borrow a bucket of garden. In the meantime, I'm making a mental note to draw the curtains.

While our storefront-living room may not be great on privacy, it does make a very effective greenhouse for starting seeds. We planted (among other things) marbled red onion seeds, which look like miniature disco balls.


It was exciting to plant some of the seeds we had saved from the garden last year. We saved seeds from the seven varieties of tomato we grew last year, as well as a couple of varieties of beans, peas, cucumbers and flowers. We even saved seeds from a blue hubbard squash that grew in our roommate's mothers garden and looks a bit like a dinosaur- and I'm excited to try and grow one ourselves.

Seed saving makes it feel like we're bringing a little bit of our old garden with us into this new space.


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