Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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 reconnected with the wonder and mystery that is a garden.
The magic that is alive on a mid-summer’s day when all is movement, light and sound stayed in the back of my consciousness until the mid-1980s, when I began to care for plants first hand, once again. True, they were houseplants, but a plant is a plant and while the process may be different a plant’s needs are the same no matter where it is growing.
When we moved to Thunder Bay, not only did I have a balcony garden and a garden plot in the backyard, but the furnished apartment came with a spider plant and a dracaena. These two plants soon had companions and at one point I had to remove a chair from the living room to make room for the collection. My wife is very understanding and a plant appreciator.
The gardening experience grew as I became part of a community garden project in Thunder Bay, going on to become the garden co-coordinator. Community gardens are a positive experience and do so much more than grow flowers, herbs and vegetables.
I also gave workshops tot he gardeners and otehrs on organic gardening and was a speaker at a number of community events.
When we moved from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Saint John NB, I was a member of a community garden, a large, well-organized and friendly palce. I made the arrangements via email before leaving Thunder Bay.
This year I have the opportunity to transform a double lot which is the backyard of the house we are currently renting into a food forest. Last summer I had a small raised bed garden on the property, but there is room for so much more. This is an exciting and enticing project. There are no community gardens here and I am talking with people about starting one.
My gardening experiences over the years have taught me much, mistakes yes I have made them and will continue to do so., for how else do we learn if not by doing and often we do not get it right the first time but need to keep on keeping on.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

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.

Monday, August 18, 2014

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

Growing Great Onions

Growing Onions: Planting Onion sets
Onions, pickled 3.70 - 4.60
Onions, red 5.30 - 5.80
Onion white 5.37 - 5.85
Onions, yellow 5.32 - 5.60
The most effective way to grow onions is to plant onion sets. An onion set is a small bulb, to 1 inch in diameter. Onion sets are produced under conditions that rapidly produce a small bulb which, when planted, will grow a larger bulb. You can buy onion sets at the local plant centre.
Onions can handle some frost and, in general, do not mind the cool and wet weather of spring. They prefer a soil that is rich and that drains well.
You can plant onion sets from two to four weeks before the last frost. Buy bulbs that are less than ¾ inches (19 mm) in diameter.
Space the onion sets approximately 4-6" (10-15 cm) apart, depending on the size of the mature bulb. Make sure that you gently press the bulbs into the soil about an inch (2.5 cm) deep and make sure to plant them so that their pointed tips just break the surface.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Kale, Campbellton Community Garden

Next week's article in the Tribune will feature kale growing tips.

The Soil Daily: August 15, 2014

" University of Oregon-led analysis in prairies of the Pacific Northwest could be a roadmap for the conservation of native plants facing stresses from projected climate adjustments"  More on The Soil Daily

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Gladiolus add colour, texture and shape to your garden bed, I suggest you plant them in group so five or more for the maximum effect.
Full sunlight is a must, and even though the corm may grow and bloom is some shade you will get the maximum return when the plant gets full sun.
Full sun also means that the glad will have the opportunity to store more sunlight and this will enhance the following year’s bloom, if you plant to keep them.
The soil needs to be well-drained soil and if this is not possible in your location then you may want to consider raised beds or containers. I have grown glads very successfully on my balcony in containers.
Be sure to loosen the soil to a depth of ten or 12 inches, regardless of your planting choice.
If you want new blooms through the summer months, you can begin planting after the long weekend in May and continue to do so until the middle of June
For the best success, select corms that are relatively tall and plump, and shaped somewhat like a chocolate kiss.
Be sure that the pointed side is up, or you will be very disappointed.
Corms should be planted six to eight inches apart and four to five inches deep, depending upon the size of the corm.
Glads need to be staked and the best time to put the stake in is when you plant the corm. Be sure to label the stake so you know what will come up.
Gladiolus is a must for any annual or cutflower garden. Grow enough so that you can pick them for indoor floral arrangements and still have plenty to enjoy when you are outside.
A gladiolus circle planted just off centre in your front lawn is a great way to add value to your yard and enhance its curb appeal.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Soil Daily

" Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilize, or even reverse these trends?"

Read More

The Soil Daily

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Best Vegetables for the First Time Organic Gardener

The five top crops for the home vegetable organic garden are and this is not in order of importance: leaf lettuces, radishes, snow peas, tomatoes and cucumbers.
The snow peas, cucumbers and tomatoes can all be grown vertically in containers if your space is limited or if you simply do not want to bend over to tend them.
Leaf lettuce is a lettuce with an open growth habit, which forms loose clusters of leaves rather than a tight head of lettuce, red leaf lettuce is an example.
Leaf lettuces reach maturity before other lettuces and are ideal for the short season garden. I like growing several plants that are early producers, because where I live the winter is long and begins in the fall and drags into spring so having something fresh from my own garden as soon as possible is most welcome.
This is why I also grow radishes. Radishes can reach maturity in 28 days. This means I have something that I grew something fresh and healthy quite early in the growing season.
Snow peas are great in a stir fry served with rice or make a great addition to a salad. In fact, all these vegetables can be combined in a number of ways for salads.
Cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce make a fine sandwich. Cucumbers are one of the foods that remind me of my youth and a garden just would not be complete without them.

Tomatoes can be grown up trellises and in tomato cages stuck into a container. You can grow quite a few cherry tomatoes in a container that is 24 inches across and at least 18 inches deep.
If you need to keep it simple then the five top crops for the home vegetable organic garden are leaf lettuces, radishes, snow peas, tomatoes and cucumbers.

The Soil Daily: August 5, 2014

"Where is soil pollution at its worse, what pollutants are being found and what are the health impacts? : Read more in the

The Soil Daily

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Soil Daily: August 4, 2014

"THE PLANET’s soils are being degraded and lost at an alarming rate as a result of agricultural over-production, poor management, loss of biodiversity and fertility and most worryingly the impacts..." Read more at

The Soil Daily

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Soil Daily August 2, 2014

"Soil erosion is the movement of soil by wind or water, and it's through erosion that soil is "lost."

read the Soil Daily.

The Soil Daily

Native Plants

There are two projects happening here in Campbellton that have me turning to the subject of native plants. When we are discussing native pl...