Friday, December 23, 2016

For 2017 Focus on Accessibilty and Gardening

In the new Year, my blog will focus on this theme: "Anyone, who wants to can garden. Appropriate design is the key."  The discussion will begin with a look at garden tools.

I encourage you to comment and am open to potential guest bloggers as long as they write on theme, photos welcomed. Proper credit will be given.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thank you Toby Hemenway

I found out this morning (2016-12-21 when I logged into facebook, that writer, lecturer, and permaculture designer Toby Hemenway had died. It was only yesterday that I became aware he was ill. Toby had cancer.

Toby had a profound influence on my work and my understanding of permaculture design. Gaia's garden and Gaia's Graden 2nd edition are books I have read and reread. Most of my design work has been in the urban environment and on a small scale. I could relate to his writing. I have also and will continue to do so, draw inspiration and ideas froms his articles. Thank you Toby, you are missed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays and a Very Prosperous New year to everyone. From My Garden best wishes for the season.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Basic Garden Design Elements


Line is likely the most important design element and certainly is the one you will most often use in your design. For an informal look use a curved line for a more formal one use straight lines.
· Texture is defined in 3 categories. 1-Coarse includes plants, structures and hardscapes that are bold and large. 2-Medium texture takes in many plants and smaller structures. 3-Fine includes plants such as ferns and grasses and structures that are thin and delicate.
· Form is the shape and structure of your plants, hardscapes or garden structures.
· Colour is the visual POP in your design. Blues, Purples and Greens are calming and seem to move away from you. Whereas warm colours like red, orange and yellow seem to bring things closer to you.
· Scale or proportion in the landscape is simply the size of your plants or structures and how they relate to each other and the area you are landscaping.
You now have the basics. It does not matter whether or garden is large, small or somewhere in-between,

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gardening and Literacy: Part 1

I worked some years back as a volunteer literacy tutor and was amazed at what some of the people who I helped learn to read could do.
It is feasible that we can combine the skills that people have with their desire to learn to read and do so while building and maintaining a garden.
People learn best, through an active process, that is by doing, and in the case of the garden, the first lessons could begin with the design of the garden plan. The first step could be determining what they gardeners want to grow and drawing on seed catalogues to form the basis of a reading lesson. Seed packets can also be included as they contain information that the gardeners need.
However, before we begin designing lesson plans, there are a few things that are even more essential. One is the land. Where will the garden be located?
There are some possible options; a church may be willing to allow the use of some of its property for this [purpose, or perhaps a school or community centre?
The municipality may have available land or if there is a literacy organization they may have land.
The teaching could be handled by master or other experienced gardeners working with literacy tutors to develop the lesson plans.
How does the process of creating a literacy garden begin? Well, as with most projects, you will need to assess your resources. For example, is there a master gardeners group where you live? Is there a literacy organization? If the answer is yes, you may want to contact these two organizations in order to determine their interest.
If you are a gardener and feel comfortable with your ability to share your knowledge with others then you may want to team up with a teacher or literacy worker and get a few ideas down on paper; keep it simple what you are looking for is a discussion paper, something to get people giving some serious thought to the idea of a literacy garden.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Gardening and Time

When people ask me how to get started with a garden, one of the first questions I ask them is how much time do you have to spend in your garden each day?
The reason I ask this question is people often have great gardens in their minds but in their daily lives, they simply do not have the time to care for those gardens. 
Sure, the first few days are full of energy as the garden bed or beds are prepared and the seeds and seedlings are planted and everything is watered.
But then life happens and the busy schedule that is many peoples’ reality starts to take over and tending the garden gets put aside or left to the weekend. Now, once a garden is established, you do not need to visit it every day, although I do recommend that if you really want a thriving organic garden then allow yourself at least five minutes each day.
During those five minutes all you are doing is observing, looking for changes like any unwanted visitors or signs that something may be wrong, brown leaves, chew marks and so on.
This early warning will increase your odds of saving the plants before the problem zooms out of control.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pondering 2017

The first seed catalogue came the other day Veseys.com is an east coast company and has a good organic seed section. I have purchased seeds from them for a number of years. It is usually the first of several seed catalogues that arrive via mail. I access others online and in a future blog I will talk about the companies I like best.

I enjoy having a seed catalogue in my hands. I can readily mark pages and flip back and forth. Vesey's catalogue gets my mind pondering the possibilities and that is how the new season begins.

It is still early and planting out even in the greenhouse is many months away. As the months, pass, the seed catalogues will become dog-eared and fragile but still full of hope and possibilities.

Next post: "How much do you need to know about soil to create a thriving garden?

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Basic Guide to Houseplants

Getting Started: Plant Placement
Step One: Light
Know your space; where will the plants live? Windows are the main source of natural light for indoor plants so which way do the windows face? If you live in the northern hemisphere, the sun will move in the southern sky which means that a window that faces north does not get direct sun; while an unobstructed southern window will get direct sunlight all day long.
An east facing window receives morning sun and a west facing window will see sun in the afternoon.
Step Two: Temperature
Plants, for the most part, will require a drop in temperature at night, why/ The nighttime temperature needs to be 8 to 10 degrees cooler than the day as during the day, the leaves of the plant manufacture their food and it is only the lower temperature at night that allows them to distribute it to the roots and other growing parts.
Step Three: Humidity.
House can become very dry especially in the winter time when the heat is on and plants will simply dry out. Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air surrounding the plant; this affects how a plant transpires. Transpiration is how the leaves and stem of the plant give off water which then evaporates into the surrounding air.
If the air around the plant is dry, the plant will then give off too much water and may wilt.
Mist your plants on a regular basis especially in the winter and you will have few problems.
You can also arrange your plants into groups which will then increase their combined transpiration and humidity which will increase the water vapour.
Soil:
I recommend buying a potting soil, preferably organic to grow your houseplants in; there are specialised soils for African violets and succulents for example.
You now have enough knowledge to get started. There is only one thing more to do and that is  to determine how much time you have to devote to the indoor garden. There is work to do and if you start too big the chances of failure increase, start small, get used to the garden and then expand. I have seen a room go from 2 plants to be so full with plants that it was necessary to remove a chair and an end table.
This is fine if you can manage a garden of this proportion but a nightmare if it dominates all your time.
Indoor gardening is a great way to unwind; to slow down and enjoy, do not let your indoor garden outgrow you.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Selecting Containers

Make sure the container is big enough to allow the plant to grow, you may eventually want to repot it but then again you may not so allow enough space for the roots to develop. Strong healthy roots make for strong and healthy plants and strong and healthy plants withstand pests and disease better than weak plants will.

You will find that plants in containers may need more water than plants that have their roots in the soil. My experience with containers on a balcony, that was fairly high up and subject to strong winds, showed me the soil dried out much faster than the soil in my garden, even when the garden was situated in the same amount of sunlight as the containers.

The plants had less wind protection on the balcony and the roots, unlike the roots of the plants that were planted directly into the earth, could not reach out for water but counted on me to supply it. So check your container plants regularly to see if they need water.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Urban Agricultural Enterprises

All living beings must have nourishment better known as food. Food production and food distribution, carried out to meet this basic need, are the common ground upon which we can build sustainable communities.

Food production, otherwise known as agriculture and food processing, can create sustainable employment, healthy neighbourhoods and a strong local economy.


How we grow and transport food from the farm to the kitchen defines our society. Fast Food is becoming our most popular food delivery system and it is one of the most environmentally unfriendly.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The School Garden


What is a school garden?
Simply put a school garden is a garden on the school property. It may be a flower garden or a vegetable garden or both. The choice is up to the people who plant and tend the garden; the students with guidance and advice from teachers and parents.
A school garden is an excellent way for the parents to become involved in the school that their child(ren) attends. The garden can be a container garden, raised bed or planted directly into the ground, once again the choice belongs to the gardeners taking into consideration the available resources, such as the amount of land available and the type of land as well as the amount of time that can be dedicated to gardening.
The school garden can complement the learning experience as there are many lessons that can be based upon the garden. For one thing, students can learn how to work together to plan, plant and care for the garden.
How to get started?
The impetus for the garden may come from a teacher, a parent or a student. For the garden to work all must be involved. Regardless of who initiates the project, the school principal must be involved and the principal’s permission is essential.
If a teacher starts the project and gets the principal on board then the next step is to rally other teachers and plan a public meeting.
The students’ parents are invited to that meeting in order to inform them about the project and get them interested. Have them bring their children as well so all the concerned parties are in the room.
You will need to give them information such as the size of the garden and where on the school grounds it will be located. Having a clear purpose for the garden may help; for example will it be an edible plant garden, that can provide fresh food for the cafeteria; or will it be a native plant garden designed to introduce native plants into the area and encourage birds and butterflies.
The meeting begins with a quick overview of the project which includes the benefits that the students will receive from being involved. Then a question and answer period follows.
Be sure to have a sign up sheet handy for any parents who want to help with the garden, their assistance will be invaluable over the summer months.
If a student or group of students is eager to start a garden on the school grounds, the first step is to talk with a teacher and get his or her support; once that is done then the process becomes the same as the above for the teacher initiated garden.
If a parent or parents are interested in starting the garden, then the first step is to contact the school principal and any teachers you may know and arrange a meeting to discuss the project. A parent initiated garden may not need to hold a community meeting, as parents are already in the loop.
Once you have the principal’s permission and have students, teachers and parents o board, the final gardening decisions can be made. Decisions such as organic or not; what to plant can be worked out by the gardeners.
A school garden can provide an outdoor classroom, a source of healthy food or habitat for local wildlife or the best, all three. There are enough examples of successful school gardens around to know that it is a win win situation for your child’s education.
Gardening can help build a child’s confidence, engage their imagination, make new friends and enhance the school property.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How and Why to Plant Trees

Now if there was a situation when it was important to follow the right plant, right place rule it is when you are choosing a tree or trees for your property. Pick the wrong tree and you may find its roots assaulting the foundation of your home. Pick the right tree and you will enjoy its many benefits for many years.
Remember that a tree’s root system can cover an area 2-3 times as wide as the crown. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How to Pollinate the Indoor Vegetable 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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How-To-Attract-Butterflies-to-Your-Yard

It is not all that difficult to attract butterflies to your garden and have them set up house. There are two things that butterflies are seeking: one is nectar, the food that adult butterflies need, and the other, host plants, the place where the female will lay her eggs and the food that caterpillars need. Both are necessary to create a successful butterfly garden.
It does take some thought and a bit of planning but then so does any successful garden. You need to know which butterflies are native to your region. You need to know what they like to eat and where they sleep, in short, you need to know butterfly habitats and habits.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How to Propagate Houseplants

Stem Cuttings

The advantages to having houseplants are many; they add beauty and colour to a room, give you a hobby that can provide you with pleasure and considerable satisfaction and make great gifts. Most houseplants are reasonable. They do not make tremendous demands upon your time and resources.
Perhaps, one of their greatest advantages is the ease at which you can multiply your houseplant collection, and to make this even more enticing, you can do so without spending a dime.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tomatoes and Peppers

Picked this am along with green tomatoes and other peppers.




Greenhouse Tomatoes

This morning I picked the last of the black prince tomatoes growing in the greenhouse. Most are still green but the weather is getting colder and did not want to lose any. The jalapenos are still doing ok. I will give them a few more days before picking the last of them and then cleaning the the raised beds.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Looking Back to earlier this summer at the Campbellton Community Garden

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Two: Chalk's Early Jewell

From the Tomato bed at the Campbellton Community Garden, saving seeds and enjoying the tomato, very tasty.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Little Green Tomtatoes

A branch broke on one of the cherry tomato plants so they are home waiting to turn red.




Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Flowers Up Close

Good day. I have been developing my photographic skills. Flowers and vegetables, shapes and colours, are fascinating.








Monday, August 15, 2016

Tar Spot

ÈTar spot is a common, visually distinctive and fungal leaf spot disease. Tar spot can affect many species of maple including big leaf, mountain, red, Rocky mountain, sugar, and sycamore maple.

If a maple tree develops a relatively small yellow spot or spots on the leaves, then it is most likely that tree has tar spot. The spots can remain  small or they can get bigger as the season progresses. Worse, they can spread across the entire surface of the leaves. As this fungus matures, the centre of the infected area will become raised and turn black.

It is this black spot or blob that gives the infection its name, tar spot.The most common fungi that cause tar spot are Rhytisma acerinmu and Rhytisma punctatum.È

Find out more in my upcoming ebook: From My Garden. From My Garden is based upon the weekly articles I have been writing for the Campbellton tribune.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Looking Ahead

This year I had planned to create a heritage garden planting seeds that would have been used in this region by any settlers in the year. Time and other factors swayed me in another direction. Next year I will focus on peas and beans in my community garden plot.  Heritage Harvest has proven to be an excellent provider of what I need. I will post updates here, including photos of the seeds I choose and the whole process.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tomato Flowers

The greenhouse tomatoes have grown in the past 48 hours. Tomorrow I will post pics, for today this.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tomato Plant Flowering

An up-close look at one of the tomato plant branches in flower in the greenhouse.




Tuesday, August 9, 2016

First Beans

They were a bit late but still delicious. I picked the first (12) beans this  morning from my community garden plot. Watered, onions and garlic coming along as are the sunflowers. I get asked why  I grow sunflowers and  I say, one I love how they look, two, the bees love them, and three for the seeds.

Happy gardening.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Three Herbs for An Indoor Windowsill Garden

My top choices:

Parsley – You will most commonly see parsley used as a garnish and it does work well but be sure to eat it and not toss it away. Parsley is very versatile and will look great on your windowsill I use parsley in salads, stews, omelets, and soups, for example.
Sweet Basil – Sweet basil will add a pleasant aroma to your and a deep and spicy flavour to your food. It is essential for Italian cooking and Thai dishes. You can use sweet basil in tomato sauce and in stir fries for example.
Chives - Chives are one of my favorites, chives are a relative of the onion and bring that extra zip to any dish that needs it. The purple flowers are quite attractive and edible. Chopped chives can be added to salads, egg and cheese dishes, cream cheese, mashed potatoes, and sauces.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Peppers & Tomatoes in Greenhouse



This tomato plant had broken , so I placed it in a separate pot and it  is now flowering. We will see if it produces fruit.

All photos were taken this am Thursday August 4, 2016.