Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Cutting back

Garden Update #6

The Ministry of Urban Agriculture has finished analyzing the historical numbers while also taking a real time appraisal of the garden and decided it is time to "cut 'r down". It is that time of the year again where frost has taken the last of the tomatoes that did not turn red, and when the only thing green and edible is the brussels sprouts. It is time to get serious - cut back everything that is not growing and shore up the stuff that is still alive so it will survive the fall and possibly the winter.

The Dirty Hands project, the educational program where the younger citizens literally get their hands dirty with garden work, has provided some footage of the cutting down event.
The first phase of the 'Take Down' was pruning of the raspberry bushes. Here is an educational video produced by the Dirty Hands Project.

After this video, one of the eager students was given sharp cutters and sent in, past the thorny branches, to cut down the old raspberry stalks. What great hands-on experience! 

Sometimes you need to saw through the bigger stalks.

The student made sure to dress in appropriate clothing; his pajamas, a pair of rainbow magic gloves, and a baseball cap.
After the hour of hands-on, hand scraping, experience, he was sent out to find a recycle box full of leaves to use as mulch. Boy, was he proud to get that job done. Just check out the look on that student's face!

This part of the garden is ready for winter.

It is important that the old raspberry stalks and leaves be removed from the garden to prevent any disease from setting in next year. The student was offered another memorable experience of piling the thorny branches in the corner of the yard until they could be taken away and composted somewhere else. Another job he was proud to accomplish (with little to no blood).

Anybody need some thorn covered branches?

Next, the Dirty Hands Project worked on providing some support to the brussel sprouts, in hopes they will continue growing into the fall and possibly the winter. This exercise started with filling a recycling box full of leaves from the neighbourhood trees. Eager E sure gained some raking experience that day. Here is a little video of the mulching process.

The finished product is something to show off - here it is.

Mulched and propped up with a stick - this thing is sure to withstand the cold Canadian winter!

The tradition, that started last year, of having brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving continued again in 2014. A little helper was brought along to carry the basket as the Head Master of the Dirty Hands Project picked the sprouts off the plant.

Lil' Oskie likes those green things so much he even tries to eat them raw!

Even though there was a basket picked, the per plant yields of brussels were very low compared to last year. It was expected that this year, with six plants compared to one last year, that yields would be five times higher. It does not appear that yields will even be two times higher, which is very disappointing. A committee has been set up to look into this matter.


  1. Looks like you have some great helpers there. Our beds have been put to sleep too, except for the fall garden, and the raspberries. We are still getting a handful here and there so we will give them another week or so.

    Hope that committee can figure out the Brussels sprouts issues for next year :)

    1. There are many theories on this year's bad yield, but, most lead back to the use of space. Too many plants were crammed into our small garden. We are more ambitious than the space will allow, I guess. Next year we will make sure to give each plant plenty of room, which will mean less plants but hopefully more vegetables.