Showing posts from 2015

Mi'kmaq Medicines

Just picked up an excellent book at the Campbellton Centennial Library today. It was researched and written by Laurie Lacey and is the revised second edition.

Title: Mi'kmaq Medicines Remedies and Recollections. This book will help me identify wild plants that were used to treat various health conditions by the Mi'kmaq people. This will help me to identify the wild plants that may have been used here in Northern New Brunswick in the late 18th century.

Food Costs: Cauliflower

I like cauliflower but at prices like this will have to grow my own.

Vertical Gardening

If space is limited give some thought to growing up; fences, walls, trellis and many other methods enable the gardener with limited space to grow a wide variety of plants. Vertical gardening is also ideal for anyone who has diffiuclty kneeling down or bending over to work a garden bed. This Friday's article in the Campbellton Tribune explores this in greater detail.

Accessible Gardening

I believe the only barriers to gardening are access to space and imagination. next week in my From The Garden column in the Campbellton Tribune, I begin a series of articles focused on accessible gardening, starting with raised garden beds.

My interest in gardening and accessibility goes back a number of years but this focus was recently sharpened by the reality that I have osteoarthritis in both knees. This will not keep me out of the garden.

Beet- Mangel Wurzel

Mangel wurzel or mangold wurzel, also called mangold, mangel beet, field beet, and fodder beet, is a cultivated root vegetable derived from Beta vulgaris. I am seeking a Canadian seed source.

1760s Garden

The following may be found in a Northern New Brunswick garden' black eye peas, beans, corn, potatoes, turnips and cabbage, plus others. I am seeking the actual varieties grown during that period and seeds. If you have any information about this you want to share, please leave a comment.

My long-term goal is to establish a heritage garden.

Seeds Are Living History

Good day, the rest of this article will appear in this Friday's Campbellton Tribune.

"Seeds, my interest in seeds goes beyond providing myself with good quality seed with which to begin my gardens. The history and heritage of the seeds I collect, share and grow also fascinates me.

What is the connection between gardening, heritage and history? When you plant heritage seeds you are continuing to grow plants that have been planted by gardeners for at least 50 years and in some cases even more. My attraction to seed history has found another outlet. Last year I began to work with the Living History-Histoire Vivante Restigouche project. I am on their Board of Directors, and more to the point, I will be joining this living history in the summer of 2016 at Sugarloaf Provincial Park.
To that end, I am seeking the seeds varieties that would have been planted during the period represented. What I will be searching for are corn, beans, squash, cabbages and other seeds known to be grown in …

Playground Reunion Park Campbellton NB


Plot Number 6: How A Community Garden Began

The Campbellton Community Garden has been a great success over the three years it has been operating. We are planning a book about the garden with photos taken by our two young garden photographers. The book will provide insights about what community gardens are as well as gardening tips and techniques. Stay connected for details. 

"Fresh food is good food,and the freshest food you can get is food you grow yourself. However, not everyone has the space where they live to grow anything. This is where community gardens enter the picture. A community garden is a plot of land, the size will vary, where a number of people come together to grow what they need.
There is often a contract to be signed. The contract sets out the terms under which the garden operates. For example, keeping your site weeded, respecting the other gardeners and using only organic materials are common items in community garden contracts. One of the greatest challenges in developing a community garden is finding a si…

Greenhouse Harvest


Renew Reunion Park Playground: An Aviva Community Fund Project

An Inspire Cooperative project.

The playground in Reunion Park, according to municipal officials, is the most popular playground in the City of Campbellton New Brunswick. Throughout spring, summer and fall, it is common to see parents and children enjoying the structures as the sounds of laughter fill the air. The playground was built in the late 1960s and over the years the equipment has experienced significant wear and tear. There are insufficient funds in the budget to replace the existing worn, wooden and plastic structures with new, safe ones. Play is an important part of a child's development. Not all of the children in Campbellton have access to a backyard or a swing and slide set. The Reunion Park playground is the only place many families can take their children to have fun, enjoy the outdoors and get some unstructured exercise.  Register and Vote

Season's Final Harvest


Garlic and daffodils

My garlic and fall bulbs will arrive soom. When they do off to the community garden. Will post planting pics.

Health Care: Care for the Earth

We cannot be healthy if the food we eat is not healthy. Whether you eat meat or are a vegan, the quality of the food you consume is directly related to how healthy you are. There are other factors, exercise, for one, plays a major role in health care. Getting up off the couch and going outside, even just for a walk, matters.

The issue becomes more complicated when we look at the health of the environment. If the air we breathe is polluted, the water we drink despoiled, the soil our food is grown in contaminated, then it matters little how many green, orange and purple foods you eat. Vegan or carnivore, a polluted foodscape infects the food choices you make.

Soil health, air and water quality are major environmental issues, but they are also major health care issues. We need an healthcare system that understands this relationship.

Refugees: Taking Responsibility

How do we, as individuals, respond, to a crisis so vast that it is overwhelming? The first step is to donate funds to a recognized organization that is directly working with refugees. This will see funds go to providing immediate assistance. 

Inform yourself about the reality of the refugee crisis.

The second step is to make sure our communities welcome refugees. The permaculture principles of use and value diversity and integrate rather than segregate can help to design community-based programs that will enable people who have fled danger to feel welcome and provide them with opportunities to become community members, in their own right.

Personally, I like community dinners. Food brings people together to share a common need and pleasure.

On a global scale, work for peace. Begin with yourself. Learn how to resolve both internal and external conflicts in a peaceable manner. The permaculture principle of Apply self-regulation and accept feedback can help  here.

Canada: Matching Donations


The Refuge Reality

I have decided to take a look at the global refugee crisis over the next two days. I will return to permaculture and health care, then.

UNHCR states 

"Global forced displacement has seen accelerated growth in 2014, once again reaching unprecedented levels. The year saw the highest displacement on record. By end-2014, 59.5 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or human rights violations. This is 8.3 million persons more than the year before (51.2 million) and the highest annual increase in a single year." source: 

"Of the 59.5 million: 19.5 million refugees 38.2million internally displaced persons(2) 1.8 million asylum-seekers." 

The ongoing violence in Syria and the thousands upon thousands of people fleeing the country seeking a safer haven has put the refuge reality directly into the global spotlight. 

In a world, were everything is connected, how do we respond to this reality?

Towards A Permaculture Designed Health Care System

“When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.”
― Augusten BurroughsDry: A Memoir. Augusten Burroughs
I hear the above saying frequently and tend to agree with the sentiment it expresses. After all, when you are in good health, that is both physical and mental health, it is much easier and more enjoyable to be in the world. However, having your health is much easier to say than it is to do, especially living in a consumer society that bombards us with mixed message about what to eat and why. This is complicated by an health care system, (Canada) thts while still good it terms of costs has its focus on aftercare. Ok now you are sick we will treat you. Great for doctors, hospitals and the pharamecutical companies. But what about the people who become patients in a large bureaucracy and spend time waiting for tests etc. The first step in redesigning this system is to look at it through the permaculture ethical lens. Tomorrow …

Permaculture Ethics and Health Care

As I mentioned yesterday, the New Brunswick healthcare system is facing a financial crisis. The government is struggling to fix the problem. This struggle is likely to fail because they are not looking at the real problem but at symptoms of a poorly designed health care system.

Our current health care system is based upon treatment only, in other words, we wait until people are sick and or injured and then treat the disease or the injury.

Health care needs to be based upon prevention. Education and knowledge, both, play vital roles in a preventative system.

Permaculture ethics are the guiding principles upon which to build an health care system. There are other benefits to using permaculture to create this system. one is a permaculture designed health care system will also build a strong local economy.

But first, the three ethics: Care fo the earth, Care for people and Fair shares. Tomorrow, I will discuss how these three ethics work in the health care context.

Pathway to Health

The Government of New Brunswick is worried about the cost health care will place upon the province's financial reality. They are particularly concerned with seniors as we are tied with Nova scotia in having the oldest population base in Canada.

At 68, I fall into that category, with high blood pressure, diabetes and recently diagnosed osteoarthritis in both knees. Both exercise and eating real food play a large role in my treatment plan. Neither of these cost the government anything.

Walking is free and my short weight workout is as well. The food I buy is partially purchased through a local food buying club which also contributes to building a vibrant local economy.  I only see the doctor four times per year and that is to get the results of my blood tests. Our healthcare plan which we pay into covers the costs.

Had I had the sense to exercise regularly and eat healthy 50 or more years ago, I may not need these  medical services today.

So, I suggest the New Brunswick government focus…

The Value of Soil

From my September 25 article in the Tribune:

"In order to understand the relationship between good health and food, it is necessary to look a little deeper than the food itself, into the substance within which the food is grown, the soil.
When we talk about soil we are, from a gardening perspective, referring to topsoil. Topsoil is found, most frequently between 5.1 cm (2 inches) and 20 cm or (8 inches) and is the first layer of soil we reach when digging. "

First Greenhouse Tomatoes


Snapdragon- Front Yard


Japanese Knotweed

The Inspire Coop is developing a management strategy for Japanese Knotweed. Yes, this plant is aggressive but it also serves several functions and can be worked with were it exists. This is knotweed in bloom in a nearby backyard.

July, 2015 Community Garden


Bee and Sunflower


Greenhouse: Tomatoes and Pepper


Snapdragons and Friends


Geranium on Balcony


Care For THe Earth

If we are to care for people we must care for the earth at the same time. 
If we fail to care for the earth, we are in danger of harming the soil, air and water which provides life to all the beings upon the planet.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Section 25 states people have the right to food. Healthy food, that nourishes mind and body, demands air, healthy soil and water. 
The ethics of permaculture guide the permaculture designer as she or he develop a site plan, a plan respecting the rights of all the beings living within the ecosystems the plan will influence.

Permaculture ethics and Human Rights Continued

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights  (here), states in 

Article 25.(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.The use of the male pronoun aside, this Article is a direct connect to the permaculture ethic of Care for People. 
In my next post, I will discuss how this article and part of the preamble to the Declaration connect with the ethic of Care for the Earth.

Sunflowers at Campbellton Community Garden


Permaculture Ethics and Human Rights

Permaculture ethics enable people to respect human rights while, at the same time, respecting the rights of all other beings and the Earth herself.

Permaculture design enables designers to create systems which, although human focused, respect the rights and integrity of all beings.

Community Garden 2014

A friend and I built  a mini-greenhouse so I could start planting early. Planted in early May.

An Apple on Backyard Tree


Greenhouse Tomato Plants


Last Spring Soil Testing Workshop


Greenhouse: Peppers & Tomatoes


Tiger Lilies and Friends


Violas on My Balcony


The Community Garden

The Campbellton Community Garden is a major success. So much so that we will be producing an ebook focused on the garden and the gardeners. Lots of photos. Stay connected for details.

"A community garden is a plot of land that is usually divided into subplots with each gardener having their own plot. You can grow herbs flowers or vegetables or a mix of all three. There may be a communal plot where you grown corn or squash which is then shared." more

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed, this aggressive plant is all around town. A group of us, The Inspire Coop are developing a small booklet to inform people how to control its spread. Japanese knotweed is edible, the young shoots especially. It is also reputed to be useful in the treatment of  Lyme disease.

Goats are  another form of  natural control. No need to panic, information and education will allow us to seize the opportunity in this potential threat.


The beans in my community garden plot got off to a slow start but the recent heat is moving them along.

"For the home gardener, there are two types of beans that you will want to consider. One is the pole bean. Pole beans will need some kind of support; a support that is strong enough to keep the plants from tumbling to the ground."  more

Greenhouse Greens


Greenhouse Tomato and Greens


Hungarian Black Pepper in Greenhouse


An Organic Gardening Guide

Organic gardening is not a complex, education intensive process. Much of it is basic common sense.

"Gardening is a simple and straightforward activity, it is not necessary to understand the science involved, however, it is important to use an organic process."

more here.

Tomato Plants in Greenhouse


Last Days of Poppy


Growing Great Food

You can grow healthy and tasty vegetables by following a few basic steps.

"You will succeed if you place the garden where the plants get the sunlight they must have; vegetables need at least six to eight hours of sun each day. Tomatoes and peppers love sun and heat so consider this when planting them."


Permaculture: The Zone System

People garden for many reasons; some because they enjoy being busy and being outside. Some garden to grow prize winning roses; some to grow tomatoes; other seeks herbs and some garden to enhance the value of their property.
When you grow for food production, whether it be for personal or market use, yield is crucial. Permaculture design will assist you to create a home garden that will maximize yoru yield. Permaculture is a design system that is used to create sustainable human habitats. Permaculture designers use a zone system to determine what goes where. The zones serve as guidelines which help plan where things will be placed in a landscape. The zone system allows for efficient use of time and energy and this helps increase the return on yoru gardening investment. What belongs in what zone is determined by the frequency with which you need to visit that zone; how many times per week do you need to pay attention to what occupies a zone? You place the items that you use the most such as h…

Photos From My Greenhouse


Geraniums Front along Driveway


Front Garden



Cucumbers are versatile and with a little attention not difficult to grow. "Cucumbers are from the subtropics and grow best at relatively high temperatures, 65-75 degrees F being the ideal temperature range. Frost is a serious threat and in northern climates you are best to start your cucumbers indoors about four weeks before you plant them out."




Bumblebee in Action

My backyard about 12:50pm

Garden Design

Anyone can garden, it is all in the design. Good design begins when the needs of the person, for whom the design is created, are considered before any planning takes place. Read More in this Friday's Campbellton Tribune

The Soil Daily

Subscribe to the Soil Daily and get the latest news and views about this very precious resource.

Food: Our Common Ground

The need to eat, drives us all.

"People, no matter where they live, or what they do, have one thing in common, the need to consume food. Humans also share this common need with all living beings large and small."


Tulips On a Cold, Grey Day



When laying our your garden plan consider planting for both honey and native bees. "All elements of an ecosystem are important to the functioning of that ecosystem. Remove one element and the system will need to make adjustments. The effect of that adjustment may often not be known until after it has happened."  More

Growing Potatoes


"You can grow potatoes on your patio or balcony in a container or in a community garden plot or your backyard". I have grown potatoes in the earth, in straw and in tires

Tulips and friends

Front yard, this am

Mandala Garden Workshop




Greenhouse on Site


Apple Tree: Backyard May 12, 2015


Delicious Dandelions

Stop trying to kill them, eat them instead.

"This is urban food foraging at its most basic. You may not even have to leave your own property to gather this most versatile plant. If you are a home owner and have a lawn, the odds are good you have a handy supply of dandelions."


Crocus and Spring Bulbs Front Lawn