Guest post by Amy Urquhart
I disovered a cool magazine when I was visiting my grandmother a couple of weekends ago. It’s called Birds and Blooms (Beauty in Your Own Backyard). It’s an American publication dedicated to showcasing…well, you guessed it: birds and plants (and butterflies too).
My interest in gardening extends back a few years, but just last year we started putting up bird feeders and buying bird seed and used a field guide to identify the feathered friends in our yard. So I was really happy to find a magazine that combines these two interests in such a natural way.
Guest post by Christina Radisauskas
I work at a university that has finally decided to develop a “sustainability initiative.” Because I am a librarian, I was asked to create a bibliography of resources to enhance our faculty’s understanding of the concept and how they might incorporate it into their departments’ curricula. While I worked on this project, it was difficult for me to keep from looking at all of the gardening-related sites that I kept finding. Of course, there are zillions, but one that I really liked, and have gone back to from time to time, is gardensimply.com. There is plenty to look at there, and it is written with the layperson in mind. The books section is lacking, unfortunately, but overall, I think it is a fun site with a lot of practical advice about things like building compost and worm bins, preparing a new garden, identifying your soil type, etc. My favorite page on this site has got to be the what-to-do-when-in-your-zone. Now, if only I could get myself to remind myself to look at it in time…
While I’m at it, here’s another few sites for wanna-be environmentalists. Ideal Bite is a down-to-earth site containing tips for “greener” living – from shampooing your rugs to using natural lubricants (shhh…) I get their Daily Tips in my email, and quite often I learn something new.
Eartheasy is another site that has tons of suggestions about where to buy natural clothing, how to conserve energy in the kitchen, how to give environmentally friendly gifts, etc. In case you are interested in digging a bit deeper, their suggested reading list is pretty good, too.
Taking the EcoFoot quiz to get an idea of how your lifestyle relates to the natural resources available is eye-opening. I’m embarrassed to say that according to my results, if everybody lived the way I do, we would need 4 earths to sustain us. Eek! I am a gluttonous pig!
This year will go down in history as the year I not only started seeds on time, organized all seeds by category (direct sow, indoor starts, and never-going-to-grow-it-so-trade-it-already), AND managed to draw up some kind of “plan” beyond casual (and quickly forgetten) mental lists. I rule. For now. We’ll see what happens when transplant buying season begins. I have a little problem with plant-related impulse buys that completely throw well-made plans out the window.
Regardless, bear witness to my awesomeness.
Nine containers were washed, filled with seed-starting mix and planted up with nine carefully chosen veggies:
- Hot Pepper ‘Fish’
- Sweet Pepper ‘Pepperoncini’
- Eggplant ‘Turkish Orange’
- Tomato ‘Broad Ripple Yellow Currant’
- Tomato ‘Sunrise III’
- Tomato ‘Silver Fir Tree’
- Tomato ‘Black Pear’
- Tomato ‘Ceylon’
- Tomato ‘Costoluto Genovese’
Two smaller 4-cell packs were washed, filled with seed-starting mix and planted with annuals:
- Nicotiana sylvestris
- Pansy ‘Can Can‘
The humidity dome pictured is actually a used plastic container that once held salad mix. I just flipped it over, making the lid my tray, and the container my dome. Good-sized take-away containers also work well.
I also transplanted the African violet seedlings that were grown from leaf cuttings. Some of the original leaves had good-sized stems so I recut them and started again.
The weather was beautiful a few days ago so I headed off to the community garden and popped in a few sugar peas ‘Carouby de Maussane’ (sweet peas with ornamental, purple flowers).
And finally, my newest seed shipment arrived this week along with a few recent trades. I couldn’t resist a pack of ‘Baie Vert’ pole beans from Colette’s stand at the Farmer’s Market this week. I am easily enticed by the words “rare heirloom” and back stories that involve trades between Acadians and Native groups. I just put in two additional seed orders today. The only thing I didn’t manage to get on my list was ‘purple mizuna‘. Regardless, if the stacks of seed packets are any indication, all of my bases are pretty much covered.
I spent the day selling t-shirts and books at the Toronto Seedy Saturday event this weekend. It really is growing bigger and better every year (see a pic here). The aisles were packed with excited gardeners from 10 am on and I got to meet a lot of great people, talk gardening (my voice is hoarse), and get rid of extra seeds (gotta make room for the new). Even though I only had a few short minutes to run around and shop, I still managed to bring home the motherlode.
I gave a workshop/demonstration today at Canada Blooms on growing herbs and other edibles in a strawberry pot but I ran out of handouts. I wasn’t expecting such a great turnout! Thanks to everyone who came.
As promised I have posted a printable version of the handout here for those who missed out.
Thanks to Richters for the herbs and to Collette Murphy of Urban Harvest who supplied her fantastic organic fertilizers: “Kelp Meal” and “Green Wisdom Herbal Plant Food.”
Updated: Some photos from today’s workshop. I’ll be giving a presentation this Friday on Guerilla Gardening. Fri. March 10 (11:30 am). Or see me afterwards at the Toronto Botanical Gardens booth (on the 700 level) for book signing.
The tiny human picture.
The stage was so far back from the audience I invited people to come up afterwards to look at the project and the plants. Because really herbs are all about smelling and touching.
The Youth aka my most excellent assistant for the day Jay (who also took most of the pictures) want to say that the fake graffiti wall is kinda dumb/lame.