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Archive for June, 2014

Gardening during the Dog Days of Summer

Monday, June 30th, 2014

July can be a busy month in the garden, whether you’re tending to flowers, vegetablsummergardenes or fruit or a mishmash of all three.

Whether you have an avid green thumb or are just starting out in the garden consider the following pointers to keep your garden pretty and perky throughout the month of July and beyond:

Flower Power

Remove old blossoms on roses, perennials and annuals so that blooms will continue with a strong showing. Because many annuals such as petunias get leggy with long leaf-less stems by this time, you’re best to cut them back to encourage new growth and flowering.

Frequent pruning will keep most annuals full. Consider pruning back to a set of leaves on one stem per week per plant. Or prune all stems by one third which will leave you without flowers for a few weeks.

Don’t forget to pinch mums to encourage a full, colorful fall flower display. Give late-blooming perennials, such as sedum and aster a quick trim by cutting plants back by one-third.


Early-season bloomers, like delphinium, daisy, and campanula should be trimmed by one-half to one-third. You may be rewarded with a second blooming.


Be sure to keep an eye each day on the water needs of your containers as they tend to dry out sooner than flowers and plants in the ground.


Let it Flow

If you can, replace your sprinkler with a soaker hose or drip tube system as these do a better job of bringing water directly to the soil.

Keep an eye on your water. Watch automatic irrigation systems while they’re doing their job. You want to ensure that you’re not wasting water by watering sidewalks or driveways.

Rain barrels are great because they catch water runoff from your roof. Make sure yours has a cover to avoid little ones and animals from falling in.

Consider using a timer on sprinklers and automatic irrigation systems. Buy one with a rainfall shut-off device. These newer gizmos actually adjust watering frequency based on weather intel gathered from the local weather observation stations.


Edgy Veggies

Your vegetable garden should be thoroughly watered during the hot dry weather July often brings. Try not to water in the later afternoon or evening. Avoid wetting the undergrowth of plants, especially those that are disease prone such as tomatoes and squash.

If your veggies and fruit has rotted and fallen to the ground, pick them up and toss in your composter as rotting vegetables and fruit attracts pests and can encourage disease.


Control your weeds otherwise they will take over your plants and use up space, nutrients and water from your plants. Don’t add weeds to your compost. Try to mulch between your rows of plants. Try to mow away from your garden so that seeds don’t get a chance to invade your garden.

Think about extending our short garden season by preserving food. Root vegetables, potatoes and onions can be stored in a cool, dry spot. Try canning or drying.

July can be a busy month in your garden. If you’re not up to it, you can always try hammock gardening, the low-maintenance kind for lazy gardeners. More on that next month.

To Market We Go

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

Known as the city of neighbourhoods, Toronto today could easily be dubbed the city of farmers’ markets.

From Willowdale to Liberty Village and Etobicoke to Scarborough, the city is dotted with an assortment of farmer’s markets that cover off each day of the week with a wide variety of locally produced seasonal products.

Summer is the time of year when we swarm outdoors because, well frankly, everything is better in the fresh warm summer air. Farmers’ markets allow us to indulge two of our favourite pastimes, shopping and eating, in an al fresco setting.






















Let’s take a look at a few:

The Stop’s Farmers’ Market at Wychwood Barns offers sustainable organic products along with great music, community information booths and a café where shoppers can stop for a sandwich or bowl of soup. Open every Saturday from 8 to noon, this market was named the city’s best by NOW readers.

The Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market runs from 3 to 7 pm every Tuesday in Trinity Bellwoods Park at Shaw and Dundas. This food-only market supports local food producers and there is very little turnover among vendors.

The Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market is on rain or shine every Thursday from 3 to 7 pm at Dufferin Grove Park across from Dufferin Mall. From fish to sheep’s milk, from native plants to VQA wineries this market has something for even the fussiest foodie.

The Bloor/Borden Farmers’ Market, located in the parking lot at Bloor and Lippincott is going full force every Wednesday from 3pm-7pm. This market has been running since 2008.

Liberty Village Farmers’ Market runs each Sunday from 9 to 2 until October. This market is one of five certified markets featuring real farmers selling their wares. Bloor Borden, North York, East Lynn Park and CityPlace are the other four.

Sorauren Farmers’ Market is a one-stop shop in Sorauren Park on Mondays from 3 to 7 pm. Artisanal bakers, cheese makers and organic growers are on hand to sell their products and spread the word on sustainable eating.

The Junction Farmers’ Market goes from 9 to 1 on Saturdays at 2960 Dundas St. W. This small cozy market has everything you need from produce and pulled-pork sandwiches to preserves.

The Evergreen Brick Works Farmers Market 65 to 85 vendors at its Saturday market which runs from 8 am to 1 pm. On-site parking is available for a fee but free shuttle buses are offered regularly. See www.evergreen.ca for more info.

For more on the city’s farmers’ markets visit www.tfmn.ca, a website of the Toronto Farmers’ Market Network.

Historic Walk of The West Annex Neighbourhood!

Sunday, June 8th, 2014


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