Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Lactuca Urban Farm Spring Update


Lactuca - Spring Lolla Rossa

Sadly, our really early spring shoot got kiboshed by the site location – the one we’ve been working on in Inglewood all winter – getting tied up in politics. We had a cool shoot with snow around, cold frames doing their spring thing, and alas, it wasn’t in the cards to become our first vid of 2013.

The story with the site in Inglewood is that we got approval at every level required, and when it hit the final board of companies that own the

November Garden Greens


The snow is falling, it’s -3C, with -20C in the forecast later this week. And yes, still harvesting garden veg. Was last year too. Not because I have a greenhouse, hoop houses, or even stuff under cold frames [well.. I do, but not for this stuff]. Just planted cold hardy veg in August and let them tough out the elements. Even if the bounty is very limited, it makes the winter without element-protected garden veg short when December through February are the

Already Late for Next Year’s Seeding, Dang.


This is a first for me. Normally this is a March/April job – prepping soil for the coming year’s planting. My recent adventure at my local organic veg grower reminded me I was a bit behind the ball, as they already had onions, spinach, etc coming up for wintering over. Their little cold-hardy plants will have roots prepped to send out new leaves when the weather breaks in the coming early spring, having a good jump on the days or weeks of germinating time seeds

Permaculture, Meet High School


I’ve long looked at vast school grounds, wondering how much food could be produced if there was will. I’ve had friends try to climb that hill to no avail, primarily falling apart on concern for maintenance and who’s going to do the work. Like many things in the food world, perhaps it just took some scale – Jasper Place High School being one of, if not the biggest in western Canada at 2400 students. Maybe it’s just time.

I first noticed Dustin on Twitter,

Direct Sown Seedlings


Germination. Although the snow has taken a serious beating as of late, my north garage bed that in the past has provided for copious greens is still under about 2′ of snow. But in the cold frames, life has begun. Arugula [seen left], radish [bottom], spinach, and the mesclun and ‘greens’ mixes are showing their faces. Not a great accomplishment in most climates, I reckon, but it is here. My dad was by today and figures his rural garden will have snow on it until well

This is a Cold Frame


I’ve been talking about cold frames a lot over the past months, and invariably get ‘what’s a cold frame‘. This is a cold frame. It’s a piece of Dutch geniusness. And I find it slightly embarrassing that we, living up here in Edmonton, are not friends with it, nevermind masters of its use. Its purpose is to prolong growing seasons – something you think we’d value. It’s a mini-greenhouse, of sorts, that is easily built, portable, and reasonably accessible to all.

The temperatures in a

2011 Seedlings: Arugula


I remember years [15-20 years ago, mind you] when evidence of the winter’s snow lingered until early July. I think it will be one of those years. I’ve cleared snow off some south-wall-beds and the resulting heap of remaining snow is about 7 feet tall.

No matter. The face of the 2011 garden is showing itself in the first seedlings. These little guys are arugula – not your grocery store variety, mind you, but a broader, more tender, more richly flavored variety.  I harvested bout

The January Garden


This serious snowfall has really made me think about year-round provisioning of food from our yard. Information from growing zones a few warmer than ours feels irrelevant, a ‘year-round-harvest’ unattainable. My body aches from shoveling. The additional snow will likely make for later than normal access to soil for planting. Roads were impassible. Doom.

But the mountains of snow too, will pass. We’re still eating garden veg from the cellar, and I’m still firm in my resolve to attach the two ends of the season

The Year of the Insect


I spent a lot of time this past winter with my nose in books, one of the topics being permaculture. It’s a pretty dense topic, and I certainly am no poster-child for it, but I did make a lot of changes in my urban yard this year guided by its principles. One broad concept that intuitively makes sense is that as you abandon a monculture of lawn and the amount and types of life it can provide habitat for, and move towards a polycuture of

A Quickie Garden Tour


Valerie reminded me today that I need to post more about gardening. I’ve also been meaning to post some photos for my gardening buddy who recently moved away [who's on dial-up, and will hate me for this post, then love me]. I have a decidedly unconventional garden with streaks of conventionality running about. I just got in from taking a bunch of photos, so here’s a photo-essay for your perusal:

Oats breaking new ground. In the city.

[caption id=”attachment_1608″ align=”aligncenter” width=”450″