Happy Halloween!

Halloween, of course, comes at the height of harvest season. We were pretty excited to get a nice pumpkin in the Withrow garden this fall. Strangely, none of the pumpkins we planted actually grew, but this guy just started growing in our herb bed and toughed it out throughout the summer. It also comes pre-carved by some garden critters, so it was ready to be displayed in the school office for the week.

Withrow pumpkin 2013

Garden Club harvest feast: pawpaw, roasted potato, roasted sunchoke and kohlrabi.

Garden Club harvest feast: pawpaw, roasted potato, roasted sunchoke and kohlrabi.

We also had a nice little harvest feast with the Garden Club this week. A few weeks ago, we dug up our potatoes and some sunchokes, so I roasted those up and we tasted those (the kids LOVED the sunchokes – also known as Jerusalem artichokes). And by popular demand, we harvested a little tasty kohlrabi, and snacked on some wee tomatoes and some broccoli as well. Yum!

A pawpaw tree in Toronto I harvested from a few weeks ago.

A pawpaw tree in Toronto I harvested from a few weeks ago.



A Greening Committee mom had also brought us some pawpaw fruits to taste. The kids were a bit skeptical at first (I’ve discovered there’s no elegant way to eat pawpaw fruits), but most of them tasted it and thought it was delicious. It got them excited about the newly planted pawpaw tree that’s in the other school garden, which focuses on native plants. I think I’ve written about pawpaws before… But a quick recap. They are strange and custardy fruits, which seem very tropical, but which are actually native to eastern North America – their habitat just reaches to Toronto. They taste really sweet – a bit like a banana or mango – and have large black seeds. They’re very hard to keep or transport, which is why they’re not well known, but you can sometimes get them at some Toronto farmers’ markets in September and October (Forbes Wild Foods tends to have them in the right season) – if you stumble upon them, I highly recommend giving them a try.


Frosty kale

Frosty kale

We had our first frost in the gardens this week, which I was actually quite ready for. Yes, the tomatoes were still sort of alive, but it was time for them to go. I’m glad we did a big basil harvest the week before at Blake, and made some yummy pesto. Of course some of the plants are still going strong, like the kale, which happily keeps growing despite the cold weather.

Withrow garden broccoli

Withrow garden broccoli

One of my weekly highlights was tasting broccoli with some grade 1s, during a Five Senses in the Garden activity. A small group of girls started chanting “Broccoli! Broccoli! Broccoli!” while a classmate came and told me “I think I’m starting to like broccoli again.” It’s amazing what they’ll eat (and get excited about eating) when they’ve picked it themselves.

Happy growing!


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