Wednesday, December 30, 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.

Monday, December 7, 2015

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.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

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.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

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.

Friday, November 13, 2015

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.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

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 our area during the period from 1750 to 1800, for example. Eventually, I will be saving and sharing these seeds."

I will be writing about my living history adventure right here, so stay connected.

Friday, October 16, 2015

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 site that is suitable for this purpose. Ideally, the gardeners would own the land, but a long term lease is the next best arrangement.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Garlic and daffodils

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

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.

Friday, September 25, 2015

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 UN Refugee Agency

Thursday, September 24, 2015

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?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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 we will begin this journey.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

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 on prevention of disease through education and through community development activities such as Farmer's Markets and Food Buying Clubs. Get the kids outside and eating right. Give the parents a place to buy local, healthy food items. In a few years, a difference in the health care scene will be noticed.

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. "

Thursday, September 10, 2015

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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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.

Friday, August 21, 2015

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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Community Garden 2014

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

Monday, July 20, 2015

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

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.

Monday, July 13, 2015


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

Thursday, July 2, 2015

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.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

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."


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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 herbs and salad green as near to the house as you can and the area that you have set aside for the native wildlife and to observe nature in action as far away as you can.
The Zones- 0 to 5
The zones have been modified to fit an urban backyard; for the most part the standard backyard will have only Zone 0, 1 and maybe 2. Zones 3-5 are for larger commercial operations but are included here for those who operate or are thinking about the larger scale.
ZONE 0: This is your home, your food concerns here may be a kitchen herb garden so that your favourites are nearby. You, if you have the space, say a basement want to set up a hydroponic system and grow cherry tomatoes and salad greens indoors all year round.
ZONE 1: This is where you grow the foods that you use on a daily basis and plants that demand the most of your time, herbs, salad greens and your vegetable garden. Your compost pile will also be in Zone 1 along with rain barrels and any other water catchment systems you may have. Zone 1 is also a good place for the henhouse if you live in an area where this is allowed. Do check first.
ZONE 2: is your orchard or food forest. If you have a small yard then 2 or 3 dwarf fruit trees will suffice.
ZONE 3: this is the commercial farm zone where you would grow green manure, low maintenance trees, large systems, big sheds, woodlot, and windbreak and place your aquaculture project.
ZONE 4: This is where you get your fire wood and harvest wild plants and mushrooms, for example.
ZONE 5: This is the wild place that you do not mange but rather use it as a classroom a place to observe, interact and learn.
As I have said for the average urban or suburban backyard Zones 0-1 will be the only areas that are relevant to you but if your follow the basic and mostly common sense rule of planting that which you use the most nearest to your backdoor then you will be using the space wisely.
When you first site out to grow your own food, be sure to do a site analysis first. You will need to determine the following:
1- How much space can I use for growing food?
2- What other activities will be taking place nearby?
3- How much sunlight does this space get each day?
4- What is occupying this space now?
5- What trees, flowers, other plants are growing there now?
6- What does my family like to eat?
7- How much time do I have to garden?
The answers to these questions will get you started. Be sure to write them down before you begin to draw your garden plan. A plan is a guide that is meant to get you going and keep you going, not written in stone, or an art project.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


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."


Monday, June 1, 2015

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.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

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."


Thursday, May 21, 2015


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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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

Friday, May 8, 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."


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...