Leslie St. Community Gardens is comprised of 200 individual plots and the gardeners who tend them range from novice beginners to seasoned experts. As soon as I started working my plot, I became aware that we were blessed with our very own allotment "Guru Gardener" - Michael Bradt. He has gardened at the allotments for 20+ years and has learned every trick, tip and recommendation regarding organic allotment gardening.
Just the other day at the gardens, a group of about 10 gardeners standing around the watering tap discussing whether it's the right time to dig up our garlic. As everyone was not sure, we all unanimously agreed that no one should start pulling garlic out of the ground until we consult with Michael. Everyone agreed that "Michael knows" and with that acknowledgement, we all went back to our plots.
Last week, I ran into Michael and asked him about whether it's okay to go ahead and dig up my garlic - he agreed that now is good but also proceeded to teach me about the meticulous craft of removing miniature garlic cloves from a garlic flower to encourage the seed production. I was enthralled with his technique, using dull tiny sewing scissors to extract the little cloves.
Michael is an expert tomato grower whose tomatoes are the envy of all of the Leslie St. gardeners. He harvest seeds and starts his plants indoors. Many of his favourite varieties have been passed on to him by fellow gardeners up to 20 years ago. It is wonderful to talk tomatoes with Michael - I never realized how interesting, nostalgic and inspiring a good tomato lineage story can be!
Equally impressive is Michael's love for flowers. He grows a combination of perennials, annuals and edibles.
I have thoroughly enjoyed learning from Michael, and have enjoyed swapping seeds and sampling many amazing veggies from the garden. Last week my husband and I grilled one of his awesome zucchini's and made a salad from his first crop of beans. I have to admit that I'm secretly waiting to sample one of his heirloom tomatoes that should be ready in a couple of weeks!
If you are perplexed with a garden dilemma, feel free to send me your question via: firstname.lastname@example.org or click on "comments" below this post and I will run your question by our Allotment Garden Guru :)
In the meantime, I invite you to tour Michael's amazing allotment garden featured on our website: