May 22, 2016 § Leave a comment
Basil to go!
I’ve been doing a lot of gardening recently. It is the season for plant starts and the mad rush is on to get everything in the ground ready for summer. Gardening on a budget sometimes forces you to be creative, and that’s what spurred on this little idea.
Here is a simple way to recycle your used coffee/tea cups into plant pots in 5 easy steps:
- Give the cup a good rinse and remove any residual coffee/tea bits.
- Poke several holes in the bottom of the cup to allow for proper drainage.
- Fill with whatever loose airy soil you can get your hands on. Ideally you would use a sterile organic potting mix (Black Gold, ProMix, etc..)
- Place 2 seeds (incase one doesn’t sprout) on top of the soil and sprinkle a fine dusting of soil over top.
- Give it a good ol drink of water and place in a warm area in the dark.
Once the seeds start poking through the soil make sure you place the cup in a sunny window. This has worked exceptionally well for me. There is enough soil in a coffee cup to give the plant a good start before being transplanted into the main garden. Alternatively you can grow the plant to full maturity inside the coffee cup. This is ideal for shallow rooting plants, but not recommended for deep rooting species like tomatoes or carrots etc..
- King Edward
February 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
Last week I had a dream. This dream did not involve anything far fetched, it was not located anywhere particularly special, and it did not strike me as important… until I woke up. It was actually about 1 minute after I woke up that I realized this may be the most important dream that I’ve ever had. It went a little something like this…
Part 1 – I find myself wandering the streets in some mossy cobblestone European town. I find myself approaching a bus stop and I think about jumping on a bus to head home. As I arrive at the bus stop my feet keep moving and I continue on down this mossy cobblestone street. For some reason I stop in front of a 3 storey building which looks to be hundreds of years old. This building is constructed from large grey stones and has a staircase much like an old castle that leads you to the top. Upon reaching the top there is an old black iron gate which swings open revealing an outdoor gallery or sculpture garden of some kind. This is where it gets interesting.
Part 2 – As I look around I see what I believe to be Tiffany lamps and very intricately sculpted art nouveau metalwork wrapping around blown glass sculptures. No signatures, no signs, no idea who this unknown artist is. I think to myself “wow this stuff must be priceless and it’s all just sitting up here exposed to the elements!” This is when I woke up, and this is when it became even more interesting.
Part 3 – My alarm is ringing. Its 6:50am. Time to get ready for work. I get up and head to the bathroom. I take a sip of water and then EVERYTHING changed. This was the moment that I realized I had never seen any of those sculptures in real life before. I’ve seen Tiffany stained glass windows in person, but never lamps, and certainly not as intricate and large as the ones I had just experienced in my dream. I’ve never seen metalwork like that, and I’ve definitely never seen metalwork like that wrapped around large pieces of blown glass. I’VE NEVER SEEN IT! I’VE NEVER SEEN IT! I MADE IT UP!
Part 4 (The important conclusion and making sense part) – These magnificent and beautiful works of art were all created by my brain in a matter of minutes while I was sleeping. They were all meticulously detailed and finished to a degree of what seemed like museum quality priceless works of art. So why haven’t I made something like this in real life. What is stopping me from accessing this information. I am apparently capable of visualizing this kind of work, the only thing I have to do is take it from up here (points to brain area) and put it out here (points to empty desk). This realization really shook me up. It really really shook me up. To create something like what I visualized in my dream I need a set of skills. I can get those skills locally through a variety of specialized classes. The dream can be a reality.
I think this can apply to anything, and it’s very cliche and lame but here’s a Walt Disney quote for you to puke on:
“If you can dream it, you can do it” -Walt Disney
GO DO IT!
June 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
Today was THE day to chip up some bananas. I purchased a massive bag at half price (due to ripeness factors), so I got to work right away preserving my haul. Banana chips are quite simple to make. You thinly slice your little friends, then put them in a dehydrator, then turn the dehydrator on, then walk away for 8 hours. At the end you are rewarded with a stash of delicious chip friends. You are now free to cannibalize your friends at will, or store them in a glass jar and visit later on. You could also use up ripe bananas by freezing them (peel them first!) then food processing them into “banana ice cream”. But lets leave that recipe for another day. Today is banana chip day, and here is how it looks:
May 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
The pictures below were taken today, (May 27th) three weeks after the previous series of photos. The grass has taken off and the raspberry canes are shooting out plenty of leaves. A few small flower buds are beginning to develop, so an early summer harvest looks quite possible. I have started to stake the most productive patches and removal of grass and weeds has begun. I will be using a “chop and drop” approach, allowing the cut grass and weeds to act as a mulch. Eventually this material will act as a compost source for the raspberry canes. In addition I will be mixing in some sawdust and woodchips when they are available. The main objective for this piece of land is to promote the wild raspberries without disturbing the natural order of things. I am trying to keep as much of the existing plants and trees as possible. Anything that interferes with the raspberry leaves (thus depriving them of sunlight) will be removed. The stakes are there to hold up tall canes and allow them to stay clear of the ground cover.
Here you can see the grass and other native plants beginning to pop up in the patch.
This area has been staked and the de-grassing has begun.
And finally you can see the raspberry canes coming up through the grass.
So, that’s all for now. I will continue to update with pictures as I work my way through the tangled wild mess. There are a few different varieties mixed in there, so it will be an interesting harvest. I also have some very healthy blackberry canes developing, so I’ll get some pictures of that next time (for the blackberry fans).
May 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Recently I began working for Home Harvest Kitchen Gardens. They specialize in building raised bed gardens for the urban dweller. This is not all that we do but that’s my focus for this post.
So you may be wondering: why a raised bed garden? whats a kitchen garden? why should I grow my own food? Or maybe you already know all the answers! But I’ll respond to my own questions regardless.
Why a RAISED BED garden?
If you are new to growing your own food, you may believe that you have a “black thumb”. I know I fell in to that category a few years ago. The most fundamental thing to remember is: high quality soil = high quality harvest. Everyone knows the saying “you are what you eat”, well your plants are no different. Just like people, plants need a wide range of nutrients in their diet to be healthy and happy. Happy plants are stronger, more nutrient dense, and more resistant to pests. Getting your soil “cooking” takes some time, but it’s well worth the effort.
So to answer the question more directly- A raised bed is used in situations where the existing soil is nutrient depleted. It is essentially a box full of plant food! The plants don’t eat the soil, they just suck up the nutrients within it. That’s why it’s important to start off with a nutrient dense composted mix from organic sources.
What is a KITCHEN GARDEN?
This one is pretty simple. It’s a garden that you will build in close proximity to your kitchen. It will supply your family with herbs, leafy greens, fruiting plants, whatever you like to eat on a regular basis. Step out the door, pick some salad greens, a few tomatoes, some basil etc.. Then use all of your fresh picked organic goodness for the family dinner.
Why should you GROW YOUR OWN FOOD?
When you buy food from the supermarket you have no idea where it was grown, what the quality will be like, and most importantly what chemicals may have been involved during the process. Buying organic produce eliminates some of these mysteries but you still can’t ensure the produce is as fresh and as nutritious as your own home grown crops. You are also restricted to a very small number of varieties when buying from a supermarket. The farmers will only grow products that have the longest shelf life. They are interested in profits, not flavour. A lot of the produce will come from genetically modified plants, heavily sprayed with insecticides and herbicides. Also, if you buy something like apples, pears, or many other fruits, they are forced to pick them way before the fruit is actually ripe. A lot of the fruit in supermarkets will never ripen because of this. This leads to bland nasty tasting fruit and digestion issues. If you’ve ever bitten in to a rock hard pear, you’ll know what I mean. Once you start growing your own food you’ll be amazed at the flavours you have been missing in most fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens.
Here is a 12ft x 4ft Raised Bed, installed in Halifax, Nova Scotia by Home Harvest.
It’s so easy to start growing your own food! You don’t need anything fancy just start experimenting in small pots and expand from there. Happy growing!
May 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
So here we are, first gardening post of the season. This project is taking place at the back of my parents property, in an old abandoned raspberry patch. The raspberries have been growing wild here for many years BUT so has everything else! The project is pretty simple, promote raspberry production and suppress the competition. Using natural permacultur-esque methods I am gradually chop-drop mulching my way through the area and staking all raspberry canes. The two main competitors here are blackberries (which I’m confining to one area) and tall grass which I’m trying to mulch away.
The pathways are starting to come together. Underneath the pathways are sheets of cardboard to prevent any unwanted growth poking up through the trail. On top we have used woodchips from the local yard waste dump (just outside Liverpool, Nova Scotia). The rocks and logs will define our pathway borders. These pictures are from three weeks ago, but now everything is coming up green! I will update this post after the weekend to show the current condition.