Showing posts from 2014

Why Are We Here?

A short sentence, one many of asked and many answered but have we found the truth?  Let us start here. Why does earth exist?

Does earth exist to serve humans or do humans exist to serve earth? Perhaps both are wrong.

I am taking a break until 2015 but will be back with a story, for now I will leave you with this one.

an ancient tale:

One day a man leaves his village for a short walk. His attention is captured by the scenery and he soon discovers he has taken an unknown path. Up ahead he sees a tiger and the tiger spots him. The man tuns and flees. in his haste, he misses the turn and soon finds himself at the edge of a cliff. the tiger is approaching. The man jumps.

Fortunately, there is a tree growing out of the side of the cliff, he grabs a branch and holds on. He starts to pull himself up but hears the tiger growling above. Looking down he sees another tiger at the bottom waiting for him to fall. He looks around and spots a wild strawberry bush. He plucks one, and eats it. It is the swe…

What is permaculture, anyway

There seems to be a battle among permaculture designers over the nature of permaculture. Why, who knows or cares. Permaculture is a nature-inspired, holistic design system that draws upon current technologies and ancient roots to create sustainable human environments.

Permaculture was originally intended to grow food in a manner that did not harm the earth,as industrial agricultural system did and are still doing, but to nourish and replenish it.

I apply my design skills to creating community gardens, school gardens and anyone who wants to grow food in a sustainable manner.

I also apply the skills to create the invisible structure, committees, worker coops and so on. 

I believe societies and individuals are living a false story, one they have all agreed upon, knowingly or not. As a storyteller and gardener I am planting a new story. Want to help?

Buy Books For Christmas

Hi, books make a great gift, anytime of the year. What better way to purchase a book than from an Independent Publisher. For a wide range of books on a variety of topics, all; from independents visit here.

Two Blooms: Amaryllis


Amaryllis Beginning to Bloom


Amaryllis Day 10


Book: Organic Pest Control

With growing consumer awareness about the dangers of garden chemicals, turn to The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Pest and Disease Control (by Fern Bradley) as the most reliable and comprehensive guide on the garden shelf. Rodale has been the category leader in organic methods for decades, and this thoroughly updated edition features the latest science-based recommendations for battling garden problems. With all-new photos of common and recently introduced pests and plant diseases, you can quickly identify whether you've discovered garden friend or foe and what action, if any, you should take.



If you are looking for a plant that is happy in the shade, produces great foliage and beautiful flowers then look no further than the hosta. The hosta is a native of Japan and it was Englebert Kaempfer (1651-1715) who was a doctor and botanist with the Dutch East India Company who was the first Westerner to see a hosta. Kaempfer was also the first to draw and describe one. He gave them names which reflected the style of the times calling one Joksan, vulgo gibbooshi Gladiolus Plantagenis folio (meaning 'the common hosta with the plantain-like leaves'); the other he named simply Gibbooshi altera (meaning 'the other hosta').

The hostas were renamed by also by a doctor who followed Kaempfer who was also a botanist. Carl Thunberg (7143-1828) renamed the hostas in Linnaean binomial style, calling one of them Aletris japonica, transferring it to the genus Hemerocallis in 1784. It was an Austrian botanist, Leopold Trattinick (1761-1848), who first proposed the generic name Ho…

Bean in Kitchen Window


Planting an Amaryllis from Kit


Christmas cactus


Rose of Sharon

The Rose of Sharon or Hibiscus syriacus, depending upon variety is hardy from zone 5a to zone 9 and I am a zone 3 or 4 gardener. Soil ph ranges From 5.6 to 6.0 (acidic) 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) The Rose of Sharon is referred to in the Bible in King Solomon’s Song of Songs I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. The flower's symbolic significance stems from the Korean word mugung, meaning immortality. Diseases: If leaf spots are seen, pick off and destroy the infected leaves.If bacterial leaf spot causes problems, pick off and destroy infected leaves. Canker can kill branches or entire plants. Bright,reddish-orange fruiting bodies may appear on the bark.Prune out infected branches. Flowers may be infected with a blight caused by a fungus.Bud drop can be caused by too much or too little fertilization. One po…

The Gardener's Imperative

For the true gardener there is no gardening season. There is an outdoor period beginning, locally, after the May 24th long weekend and ending usually in late September.

However, in the days, weeks and months between that time there is the indoor gardening season. For some, this consists of taking care of a variety for houseplants, for others this time involves study and reflection, looking through the garden journal, examining what worked in the previous year and what did not. 

Spending time in seed catalogues, dreaming of next years garden and making plans. For others, it is both. I fall into he later category.

My houseplants are only two, an ivy and a Christmas cactus; however, this year I started a bean seed in the kitchen window. At the moment it is approximately 18 inches high.

My point, I must garden or be involved in garden related activities. Gardening is an imperative. It brings me pleasure and challenges and plants make great companions.

Last Of Fall Apples

The last few of this year's apple crop, still on tree.

Stem Cuttings: Propagating Houseplants

Many houseplants can be propagated from stem cuttings. The cuts need to be made with a sharp knife or razor blade as you do not want to bruise the stem which may split the stem and casue rot to set in. If you plant this operation ahead of time you can be sure to water the plant about two hours before you cut. This ensures that the stems and leaves are fully charged with moisture. If you are using a flowering stem, pinch the flowers off first. If you want to hurry up the rooting process you can coat the cut end of the stem with a root hormone. Rooting in water: make a clean cut just above a leaf axil or node, this allows the parent plant to make new shoots from the top axils.make a second cut immediately below the lowest node of leaf axil of the cutting and then gently remove the lower in water ; it may take up to 4 weeks, but do check, for 2-4 cm of new root to appear. Now you can place the cutting into a potting mixture. I have found this to be a very effective method fo…



Christmas Plants: Amaryllis

The amaryllis loves a bright sunny window and will produce its large, trumpet shaped flowers when properly situated. This makes sense as the plant’s native land is South America’s tropical zones.  If you want blooms for the Christmas season then make sure to purchase a Christmas flowering variety. The Apple Blossom variety is white with soft pink touches. The bulbs are large and will produce up to three stems that have four to six flowers per stem.  The Apple Blossom will reach a height of approximately 20 inches (50cms) and will flower six to eight weeks after planting.  The name amaryllis comes from the Greek αμαρυσσω (amarysso) which means "to sparkle". The amaryllis flower is named for a heroine in Virgil's epic poem 'Eclogues'.  There are two plants that are often confused, the Hippeastrun hybrida (Amaryllis) and the Amaryllis belladonna (Belladonna Lily). This hub refers to the former the Hippeastrum hybrida. The amaryllis is one of the easiest bulbs to ge…

The Three Sisters

One of the oldest plant communities that we know of is the Three Sisters, beans, corn and squash. It is a First Nations planting method that goes back for several centuries and is often associated with the Iroquois.
Now corn is not often a crop that a backyard gardener, unless the backyard is a good size will plant but it can be a great community garden crop and the sisters can make an excellent shared garden within a community garden.
However, if you have the space or simply want to experiment then the 3 sisters will increase your yield and reduce your labour.
The three plants work together to help one another grow and help the grower get a healthy crop. The beans grow up the corm stalks and provide the nitrogen that helps the corn grow and the squash is planted between the corn rows and acts as living mulch and thereby reduces the need to weed and water.
Growing Corn: If you are planning to plant corn then you will need a minimum of three rows (ideally four) of about four feet in le…

Pollinating an Indoor Garden

Plants grown indoors have the same needs as plants grown outdoors,however, there is a major difference. Indoors, the gardener supplies the sun, perhaps in a brightly lit window, perhaps with artificial light, or maybe a combination of both.
The soil used indoors differs from what we plant our vegetables in outdoors and the plant roots rely on the gardener for water and food.
Perhaps the greatest difference between growing vegetables indoors as compared to doing so in your back or front yard is that indoors there are very few helpers. There are no earthworms in the soil, for example. Most significantly, there are no pollinators, no bees, butterflies, wasps and so on, or at least very, very few and most of us are happy that is so.

So what does the gardener, who wants to grow vegetables indoors do. Well, some plants, such as sweet peppers and eggplants, can be manually pollinated. A brush, a small art paint brush can work or even your fingertips. This is time consuming but it will get th…

Longest Gardening Season

The nasturtiums are still blooming, usually all is gone by this time.

Gardening Learn as You Grow

Gardening is a learn by doing experience that requires the gardener to take a chance and observe and record the results. Careful observation and interaction will allow the gardener to see what works and what does not so that the gardener can learn from the experience and make necessary changes to improve the process. You cannot fail. Not all you plant will grow but you will always get positive results if you know your garden, yourself and put the right plant in the right place.

The Home Vegetable Garden News: October 19, 2014

"So how do you deer proof your garden? If you are growing vegetables, the safest way to do so is to build or buy a greenhouse. "

The Home Vegetable Garden News

Keeping The Deer Out

So how do you deer proof your garden? If you are growing vegetables, the safest way to do so is to build or buy a greenhouse. This will keep the deer out and keep you food safe from their hunger. A greenhouse will also help keep another unwelcome garden raider away, the rabbit. A greenhouse is more effective than a fence Now you could put up an electric fence; however, the price of energy is arising and adding to that bill offsets any gain that you may get from growing your own food. Of course, a small solar panel could be used to fuel the fence. Deer when properly motivated and food is a great motivator, can leap pretty high. However, for a small garden plot an electrified fence can be a good alternative to the greenhouse. Deer cannot sense electricity but will come up close to an object before leaping it so if they receive a shock, they are unlikely to proceed and will turn elsewhere for their meal. If you want to grow organic vegetables then either a greenhouse or a solar powered …

Last Flowers


Fallen Apples


The Indoor Garden: Lights

The most important element of success in indoor vegetable growing is light. Light determines how long plants remain active and is essential for photosynthesis.
You need to pay close attention to light intensity as it affects the manufacture of plant food, stem length, leaf color, and flowering.
The intensity of light a plant receives indoors is dependent upon how close the light source is to the plant as you move away from the light source light intensity decreases.
This means you are not likely going to be able to grow much in the way ofvegetables relying solely on light from a window.
Before planting anything asses the area where you plan to set up the garden. Consider the factors, paying close attention to available light. If you are planning to grow vegetables, in quantity, indoors, you will likely need to add lighting.
Sweet peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes are vegetable garden favourites but they like other fruiting vegetables have high light requirements. There are other choice…

BOOK: Seed Libraries

Seed Libraries" is a practical guide to saving seeds through community programs, including: Step-by-step instructions for setting up a seed libraryA wealth of ideas to help attract patrons and keep the momentum goingProfiles of existing libraries and other types of seed saving partnerships
Get your copy here.

Forest Gardening: An Introduction

Forest Gardening: An Introduction

"Have you begun to feel that the time you spend watering and cutting your lawn is a waste and probably doing more harm than good? Tired of using poisonous chemicals to keep that lawn green and golf course ready?

Or are you longing for fresh fruits and vegetables?"

The Permaculture Garden

Description Working entirely in harmony with nature, The Permaculture Garden shows you how to turn a bare plot into a beautiful and productive garden. Learn how to plan your garden for easy access and minimum labor; save time and effort digging and weeding; recycle materials to save money; plan crop successions for year-round harvests; save energy and harvest water; and garden without chemicals by building up your soil and planting in beneficial communities. Full of practical ideas, this perennial classic, first published in 1995, is guaranteed to inspire, inform, and entertain.

Buy here.

A Literacy Garden

The Western Sydney Institute, Blacktown College provides evidence for my belief that gardening can be a great educational tool. The College was recently awarded first place in the Sustainable Garden Competition for its vegetable garden. The garden was established and is maintained by new immigrant students as part of their educational program. “Not only have the gardening practices used at Blacktown College been recognized as the best possible practice in sustainable gardening, but the garden has also been built and maintained by migrant students, many of whom are refugees from war-torn countries,” said Ms Susan Hartigan, Institute Director. The garden is a great success because it works on more than just the environmental and educational levels. “The students have also been learning English through gardening. It’s been incorporated into the English language educational program at Blacktown College. It’s a great example of the College’s organizing its approach to best suit the commun…

The Soil Daily: Sept 19, 2014

"Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? Not anymore, according to soil health experts—unless the apple comes from a tree grown in healthy, organic soil. According to Australian soil scient..." More, read the Soil Daily

Grow Your Own Nutrition

All the nutrition our bodies require comes from the food we eat or at least the food we should be eating. I am referring to real food, fresh vegetables, fruits, grains as well as meats, fish and chicken. These foods to be healthy must be organic and to be fresh need to be grown or produced as close to your kitchen as possible. Peas, for example, are a common and relatively easy vegetable to grow. According to Dr. Decuypere's Nutrient Charts™~~ Vegetables Chart ~, one cup of boiled peas with no salt added contains 8.58 grams of protein, 134 calories and 8.8 grams of fiber. Peas also contain calcium (43mg), iron (2.46 mg), zinc (1.9mg) as well as the vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, and others. If you are not eating real food at all your meals each day you may need to use a nutritional supplement to make sure your brain and body get the vitamins and minerals, including the trace minerals, required each day. Trace minerals include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride, and s…

Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook: Your Complete Guide to Living Beyond the Grid with Renewable Energy Technologies and Sustain | IndieBound


Real Goods Solar Living SourcebookYour Complete Guide to Living Beyond the Grid with Renewable Energy Technologies and Sustain By John Schaeffer
(New Society Publishers, Paperback, 9780865717848, 528pp.) Publication Date: February 2015 Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook: Your Complete Guide to Living Beyond the Grid with Renewable Energy Technologies and Sustain | IndieBound

Renewable Energy Books

Are you interested in renewable energy and need to know more.  This book is a good place to  begin.

Permaculture: A Brief Introduction

Permaculture was coined from the words permanent and agriculture by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970s. Both men, Mollison, the professor, and Holmgren, the grad student, where concerned about the environmental damage that industrialagriculture was causing. Together, they sought to develop a method which would create a self-regulating and therefore sustainable food production system which nurtured the land rather than harming it. Permaculture designers observe and work with Nature rather than attempting to force Nature to fit into a mechanized production system. Today, many designers, are applying permaculture design to developing communities, project governance and the urban environment. Permaculture is an ethically based design system for creating sustainable human environments. The permaculture ethics are: - care for the earth - care for people - taking responsibility for personal consumption and production and sharing the surplus.
Simply put, permaculture is a system d…

A Garden Tale

I will tell you a story, a tale of how a child grew into a gardener. Our story begins some years back when the child was just learning how to walk. His parents love to spend time outside and the family enjoyed picnics, swimming and having fun under the sun.

Their backyard was a good size, at least, from the child's point of view. The boy's father showed the boy how to dig a compost pit and explained that compost provided the soil with good food and this helped the plants grow. Tomatoes were the father's favourite vegetable and he grew big beefsteak varieties. they made very good sandwiches.. to be continued.

Just Eat It.

Type 2 Diabetes

My interest in growing a wide variety of plants, including, at least some of the food, we eat has historical root. Both my parents enjoyed gardening. Mom preferred flowers, Dad grew tomatoes. 

My secondary interest in fresh, healthy food, and only food grown close to home, can be fresh, is related to the fact that  I have Type 2 diabetes. Fresh vegetables and herbs play a major role in m management plan. I will expand upon this relationship from time-to-time.

Earn Some Cash from Your Vegetable Garden

This year we started a Sunday Market so we could sell the produce we grew nearby. It was a success and next year we will expand our garden and are encouraging others to considerr growing a bit for the Market. You can earn some extra cash with a backyard plot and the willingness to do some gardening. There are a number of ways anyone who has some gardening skills, the desire to grow and some space can create their own market garden business. You could specialize in herbs, salad green, gourmet vegetables or a number of different products. You do not even need your own space to do, it is possible to negotiate the use of someone else’s property for your urban agricultural enterprise. Let’s take this step by step. You will need to conduct a market study in order to determine what herbs, vegetables and small fruits (berries) are being sold in your location and who is selling them. You want to know what the price of the various items is because you must be able to price your product competi…

Fall Bulb Planting

We will be planting daffodils, alliums and tulips in the Rotary Peace park this Saturday as part of the Fall park cleanup.

Not all the plants we plant this fall are actually bulbs, even if we refer to them as such. A true bulb is a fleshy bud sprouting roots from its bottom, and stems, flowers and foliage from its top or crown. Tulips, lilies and onions are bulbs.
Corms are comprised of fleshy tissue and have a bud at the top. Crocus and gladiolus are examples of corms.
Tubers (potatoes), rhizomes (bearded iris) and tap roots (lupins), for example, are planted similar to bulbs. Be sure to read the package the plant material comes in, so, you will know the proper planting depth. Remember pointy side up and all should be well.
As the garden season winds down, consider combining the bulb planting with an end-of-season cleanup. For example, getting rid of any debris, and adding mulch are two useful activities that can be done, just before you plant bulbs.

Today's Harvest- Campbellton Community Garden


My Garden Memories

My gardening experiences stretch back over several generations. The gardens of my youth were primarily tended my father, mother and her mother, my grandmother. I have vague memories spending hours in the back yard watching them and helping in my own way, tend to tomatoes, peonies, lilies, flags and more. One vivid memory is of the snapdragons that grew in the crack along the driveway whiel another, is of the hollyhock, which inhabited the space between the houses and which came back many years later after the house next door had been torn down. In later years as I entered, what is now known as the pre-teen years, I remember tomato sandwiches from fresh picked beefsteak tomatoes with lettuce provided by a neighbour. This was a late summer treat. When I moved away from home in the late 1960s I wandered far from the garden physically, but now and then when I visited my parents, especially during the gardening season and sat in the backyard or lent a hand deadheading or harvesting, I was…

Bees At Work


Dirt! The Movie (2009) | Watch the Full Documentary Online

From A Friend's Garden

zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, onions

Potatoes Growing in Used Tires

This year we decide to experiment with potatoes. We had a surplus of seed potatoes and a number of sued tires on site, so we put them together to create tater towers. I checked on them the other day and they are doing fine, even though we were a bit late in the planting. Our plan is to give away the potatoes, on Saturday food swap days in the community garden.

Local Produce: A Small Sample


The Soil Daily, August 18, 2014

"- In her book The Soil Will Save Us, writer Kristin Ohlson interviews farmers, soil scientists, and agronomists and concludes that the low-cost, low-tech solution to climate change..."

The Soil Daily