Friday, October 25, 2013

Build a new bed this fall in time for spring planting .....

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Summer Carnage

Visited a friend today to see what’s new on her farm and was led down memory lane. We were in the vegetable garden admiring her various heritage tomato plants when I saw the BIGGEST tomato horn-worm I’ve ever seen. Fatter than my middle finger he was; his fat, juicy, green and white and black-striped body with its tell-tale black horn jutting from his head; or is it his tail, brought me right back to my own tomato patches of the past. I instinctively grasped the horn, mindless of my friend’s horror and pulled him away from the leafless stem one suction-cup leg at a time, until he hung from my thumb and index finger squirming and spitting, and the battle was on. We found five-inch-long ones and one-inch longs and all sizes in between. We marveled at their initial invisibility until I recalled the poop is one easy way to find these destructive, hungry monsters. They eat and eat and eat, then litter the leaves and soil beneath themselves with substantial black poops. My inner murderer, which you will recognize from having read MasterGardener – the novel, becomes highly active in garden scenarios. A contest ensued as to who could squirt their horn-worm's innards the furthest underfoot. The garden was left littered with flattened striped bodies, juices glistening against the dry earth, returning their stolen spoils back from whence they began. Rejuvenated and refreshed, my fingers green with horn-worm spit, I declared myself the winner, having rid the tomato patch of fifty-six assorted–sized horn-worms, and saved, I do not know how many, ripening tomatoes from death. I haven’t felt so good since the last infestation. Perhaps it’s time I got back to planting tomatoes. Perhaps I could hire myself out as a horn-worm picker. Perhaps I should just get back to writing.

 Below see the squirming head on a bared stem. Yuck!
 A good-sized fellow wouldn't you say?
 Note the ball of poop on the leaf below ... arg ... and the ground trail.

Any offers?

For more on the subject see:   

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Some workable ideas for urban gardens. Feed ourselves - I like it a lot!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lofty Goals These

Stop the rich boomers taking cruise ships to fragile ecosystems and cultures. Stop the economies of the U. S., Canada, Europe, China, et al, because their packaging isn’t biodegradable. While we’re at it, let’s correct the electoral system to ensure equal and fair representations of all voters. Right, let’s do that.

Sorry, folks, I’m not buying in…again. Been there. Tried that and got my heart broke and, I hope, picked up some major bits of wisdom on the way. For now my strategy is work on Me and my small corner of influence in this world. Believe me, some days that influence is tiny but it perseveres. There are many small people like myself who tread lightly on the earth, leaving small footprints, who are ‘being the change we want to see in this world.’ Staying in the present, being here now, now here, … becomes a challenge when we are also expected, as responsible people, to learn from the mistakes of the past and keep the future in mind too. Sometimes now here feels like nowhere. How then does one live for today?

As with so much in life we can go to the garden for answers. There, in soil cold from winter’s ravages, we are given a new palette each spring. Bare soil today here now, soon shows signs of previous years’ efforts. Where one dandelion was left to grow free we’ll find five or ten waiting sun’s warmth to encourage roots and tops. Our choice – let the dandelion grow or dig deep to make room for a different plant of our choosing.

Our planting here now is our plan for future eating and sensual delights. Will we grow favourites remembered from gardens past or choose edibles untried? Will we grow enough to feed ourselves as the garden matures through the season or are we planning this year to ‘do down’ or ‘put up’ preserves? Jars of crunchy green dills, tangy brilliant red tomato relish and deep brown pie filling made from green tomatoes are all possible outcomes of the perusal of seed catalogues which will soon land in our mail boxes.
The dreams of today fill the shelves of tomorrow. Past gardening experiences and reading journals of others gardeners serve as our touchstones to the past; they are our teachers in the garden classroom helping us to develop our gardeners-eye and palette / palate. Local horticultural societies bring in speakers who share their knowledge their shortcuts and their enthusiasm for the sport of gardening; they spark visions of possibilities. Seeing the blank palette of soil, brown, wet and covered in last year’s stubble can be daunting here now; we need eyes that remember gardens past and hearts to vision gardens future, so that here now we act for good results that will take us to the somewhere we want to be.

This triggers the need for balance. Oh, how I sometimes detest that word! It demands coming down to earth, shutting off my dream vision and making choices, and  decisions that will make the dream a reality. Will I choose to plant from seed or to buy plants ready for placing into the empty bed? So much to think about; the solution … a list to organize this bounty of possibilities.

Draw up a plan –consider needs - how many carrots? How many tomatoes?
Find recipes and methods - consider time outlays
Read how-to books and books on vegetable gardening
Join a gardening club or a horticultural society
Plan insect control, available time, tools, storage, watering.
Order seeds or purchase started plants

Environmentally speaking, we gardeners preserve our planet one plant at a time. People who grow gardens or who walk in the peaceful beauty of forests, are more apt to realize the sense in maintaining natural spaces. We watch as nature destroys and renews itself with windstorms, tsunamis, floods, and lightning fires. People are part of nature. As long as we have been around we have made our mark with our wars, buildings, agriculture, and clear-cutting; all change our earth as do anthills, beaver dams, and beehives.

To do no harm seems to me a worthy goal.
What makes it correct for an air plane load of seal-savers to travel to a remote area to engage in a battle that stops a way of life? As for me for now, I’m staying home to tend my garden.

For info on Ontario Horticultural Associations check out:
This is another thought-provoking down-to-earth gardening site:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fall ... seems like this season will never end. We've got the leaves blown and raked and mulched and spread already! The grass is cut, the spring bulbs are planted and the summer bulbs stored for next season. What else is there to do? I have begun a new trellis to be installed in the spring, though at this rate it may be ready sooner than that. The squirrels are as fat as I ever want to see them. Of course there is ONE task left to complete ... those darn eavestroughs are still overflowing with leaves. |Not ours. Oh no. These leaves come from neighbouring trees, but they are our responsibility and I think, this year, we really should move 'em out. Only then will we feel right about putting on the snow tires. To every thing its season.

Found a great spring idea BTW!

Watch for a presentation about Master Gardener, the novel, at the 2013 Peterborough Garden Show. More info later.