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.