Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Indoor seed Staring

I was at the Galerie Restigouche Gallery the other night and among other topics, I was asked when is the best time to get seeds started indoors. The person asking the question was eager to get going but also wise enough to know it was too soon.
Tomatoes seeds need 8 to 10 hours of sunlight daily in order to germinate properly indoors. If they do not get adequate sunlight the stalks will grow as they reach for the sunlight. I have seen this effect in the greenhouse which does not get enough light to grow tomatoes properly.
The plants grew tall as they stretch themselves towards the sun but the fruit was undersized and took too long to turn red.
Tomatoes are a heat loving plant. However, for indoor seeding, they prefer a lower night temperature of between 10 and 16-degree C or 50 to 60 F. This temperature range helps the plants grow strong.
Some suggest that running your hands lightly over the plants will also result in stronger plants.
Be careful with watering the seeds, especially during the germination period. Too much water at this stage can cause a fungal disease which will kill the plants.
Different seeds, whether they are beans, peas, carrots or spinach, for example, may require a different germination temperature.
Beans will not germinate in a cool soil. They demand that the soil temperature be higher than 16 degrees C or 60 degrees F. It takes time for the soil to warm to this temperature. Remember simply because the air feels warm does not mean that the soil is warm enough to plant.
People have had to replant seeds because they put their seeds into the ground too soon. The seeds rot, the potential crop is gone and disappointment sets in. However, if this does happen do not quit. It is usually possible to plant new seeds and still get a good crop.
Keeping an eye on how the seeds are doing and record the time they begin to emerge from the soil. The record provides a guide for next year’s garden.
A soil thermometer is a good way to know what temperature the soil is. However, gardeners who have been planting in the same area for a number of years also have a sense of when it is time to plant out.

I mentioned above recording the progress of the seeds you have planted. If you are new or have only been gardening for a few years, I suggest you keep a planting journal. What did you start indoors when did you move them outdoors? What did you direct plant outdoors? Be sure to keep records for both seeds and seedlings both should be recorded?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Cut-And-Come Again Garden

Nutrient density is a measure of the nutrients provided per calorie of food, or the ratio of nutrients to calories (energy). The salad or cut-and-come-again garden is ideal for some high nutrient plants.
This is one of the simplest gardens to set up and even a small space can yield meals all through the gardening season.
Cut-and-come-again refers to the plants’ abilities to grow new leaves after they have been harvested. Careful cutting will keep the plant growing new leaves.
In hot weather, lettuces and other green leafy plants have a tendency to bolt, in other words, go to seed, rather quickly and the crop is lost.
Now what to grow in the cut-and-come-again garden or salad garden? There are many options. I like spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, and arugula, for example, but there are a number of others, that are ideal in a salad garden.
My five top crops for the home salad 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 winter is long and the growing season quite short.
Growing something that provides a yield early provides fresh food early in the gardening season. This is why I also grow radishes. Some radishes can reach maturity in 28 days. We enjoy the mild heat and flavour in salads and sandwiches.
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.
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 to produce healthy and delicious salads. So, until next week, happy gardening.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Photo:Jalapeno in Greenhouse


Gardening with Osteoarthrits

I love to garden. Anything that prevents me from doing so would be most unwelcome.  There are many benefits to be gained from the garden, above and beyond growing your own food. Gardening gets me outside to enjoy the wind and sun.  In addition, working in the garden exercises the mind, body and spirit.
However, if you have a bad back or knee problems for example, garden related activities can be painful, no fun at all.
I have osteoarthritis in both knees. This makes standing up difficult and kneeling down impossible. However, I can continue to enjoy the multi-benefits having a garden brings by using raised beds. There are many ways to raise the garden up.
A garden does not have to be a patch of earth on the ground set aside for the specific purpose of growing plants. A garden can be a series, or even one container, placed upon a table or a bench high enough so a chair can slide in and out under that table. Keep the length and width of the table to dimensions that allow the gardener to reach across it from any side.
If you are a do-it-yourself person build your own raised beds. using wood, bricks, concrete blocks, rubber tires, or compost and earth piled up above the ground.
If you have little time, then, buy some organic soil, cut a slit into the bag and plant right into this, if you want it higher, put it on a table or bench.
One of the advantages to using a raised bed, besides the ease of gardening, is that the soil in the raised bed will warm up faster in the spring so you can get an early start. Another advantage to a raised bed is you can build a seat or two along the edge of the bed so that the gardener can sit down while planting, weeding or harvesting.
The ease of access means that the various gardening chores, such as planting, weeding, deadheading, watering and perhaps the most fun, harvesting require less effort.
A major expense, depending upon the size of the garden, will be soil. The plants need healthy soil and this may need to be bought, the first year.
The raised bed will need to be placed where the plants you choose get that light they need. A second location consideration is putting the bed as close as possible to the water source should the rain be insufficient to meet the plants’ needs.
It is also a good idea to keep the bed as close to the house as possible, in order to cut down on the number of steps needed to reach it.
If you are putting in a new garden take a close look at the raised bed garden, you may just appreciate the advantages. Next week we will begin to look at the best vegetable to plant. The ones that provide the most nutrients in return for the work done. Planting season is coming, be patient and happy gardening.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

A weed is...

“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Ralph Waldo Emmerson
Most gardeners would not agree with Emmerson. They see weeds as an enemy. One which they will go to extreme lengths to vanquish. They will even wage chemical warfare in desperate attempts to rid their lawn and garden of any invaders.
There is no need to go to the extreme to reduce the weeds in the garden bed. First, instead of seeing weeds as an enemy, view them as an opportunity. An opportunity to get outside and enjoy the weather while getting some exercise.
There are a number of great tools that have the sole purpose of removing weeds. Buy one you like and put it and you to work. Most of us can use some exercise, so turn your garden into a home gym and shed a few pounds while growing healthy and happy plants.
If you do not want to weed, then there are several ways to prevent weeds from becoming a problem in the first place.
The first and most important thing to remember about growing any plant is that healthy soil makes for healthy plants.
I have stated this before and repeat it now, because the next reduce weeding technique I will mention, is close cropping. Close cropping involves placing plants closer together than the planting instruction recommend.
This cuts down on the vacant space available for weeds to colonize. It will also increase the yield the gardener receives from the garden. A true win-win strategy. Close cropping demands healthy soil.
I have planted greens close together and it worked, no weeds and plenty of leaves for salads and so on. Also, peas and beans have provided a superior yield and reduced work when planted closer together than suggested.
Close cropping is a great planting method for gardeners with little space, a desire for a good yield and no time to weed.
Now this next method requires a bit of time at the beginning but can save much effort once the garden is planted. I have discussed it before, the no-till garden. Simply, do not dig or till the garden site, use successive layers of newspaper or cardboard, straw and mulch to create the garden bed. If you build this no-till bed high enough it can be placed just about anywhere, more next week.
If this method interests you start saving newspapers now, depending upon the size of the garden you will need a good stack of paper to get the job done.

The last method is one I have only tried once and am eager to do again. Hügelkultur or mound culture involves digging a pit then filling the bottom with logs, gradually adding smaller branches, compost and then soil until the desired height is reached.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Accessible Gardening

Anyone, if they want to, can garden. Appropriate design, that is design that understands and incorporates the wants and needs of the individual, is the key. 
Gardening is the act or, as I prefer the art, of growing plants. While not all gardens are works of art, the designer, using basic design principles, incorporates the seven design elements (line, shape, form, space, texture, value and colour) when creating a garden.
What plants the gardener grows is a personal choice and the variety of possibilities is vast. The most successful gardens embrace diversity and employ a wide palette when laying out a garden.
All too often, people when they think about a garden, visualize flowers and-or vegetables planted directly into the ground in neat and straight rows.
There is nothing wrong with this image and many successful gardens adopt this design. However, it is only one of a number of ways plants can be grown.
This article begins an ongoing series that will look at how to create accessible gardens. Future articles will explore specific design considerations, garden tools specifically adapted to enable people to enjoy all gardening has to offer.
Gardens generally consist of two components, hardscape and softscape. Softscape is the living plants the gardener grows, vegetables, herbs, tress and so on.
Hardscape is the non-living elements, benches, ornaments, lights, paths and so on. Today and next week we will focus on hardscape.  For the home garden, a pathway enables people with varying mobility concerns, to experience the garden, directly.
The minimum width of an unobstructed pathway should be 0.90 m. The minimum width of a two-way wheelchair traffic passage is 1.50 m. The preferable width is 1.80 m. In the home garden, it may not be necessary to build a path that caters to two-way traffic.
The slope of an accessible path should not exceed 1:20. Pathways with a slope of more than 1:20 should be designed as ramps. A ramp may be needed if the property is sloped.
What materials must be used when creating an accessible pathway?
First the surface of the pathway needs to be well constructed and must provide firm, non-slip, level access. Do not use loose materials, such as gravel.
Asphalt is a low cost and low maintenance material that provides durability. Weed maintenance may be necessary as over the years asphalt may crack. Asphalt, by itself, is not attractive, however, it can be surfaced with other materials to increase its visual appeal.
Asphalt paths may also act as a heat sink which can play both a positive and negative role in a garden.
Tarmac is another option. Tarmac refers to a technique or approach to paving that involves crushed rock or gravel held together with heated tar. 
There are other alternatives to asphalt and tarmac and I suggest taking time and reviewing the overall garden plan and the site itself before deciding on any material.
Next week, we will continue our look at hardscape and focus on other non-living elements that will increase the garden’s accessibility so that anyone can enjoy the benefits available.

originally published in my From The garden column in the Campbellton tribune.













Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Today's Greenhouse Planting

June 14, 2017.


Planted early jalapeno, sweet long peppers, and sweet bell peppers in the greenhouse today. 24 plants in total.








Sunday, June 4, 2017

Compost


Healthy soil means healthy plants. How do you keep your soil healthy?  Simple, use an organic fertilizer at the end and the beginning of each gardening season. Where can I get organic fertilizer? Easy enough, make your own from material already at hand.
I am talking about compost which is an excellent organic fertilizer
Now you can go out and buy compost, if you do choose an organic compost. However, a cheaper way to get compost is to make your own.
I would be amiss to mention using well-rotted manure to feed the soil. Sheep manure, purchased locally, is my choice when no other source of organic fertilizer is available.
Making your own compost is a straightforward process. All the material needed are right at hand. Food scrapes, not bone or meat, but vegetables are excellent compostable material.
You can also add grass clippings to the mix. Besides adding grass clipping to the compost pile leave the bulk of the clippings where they fall when you cut the lawn. This is a cheap and healthy way to feed the lawn.
Composting is an excellent way to recycle material that might otherwise end up being transported to a landfill. There is no need to add to the mountains of waste we already toss out.
Composting is how you can complete the growing cycle. You put compost on your vegetable garden to help the plants grow; you harvest the plants for your meals and then put the scarps in the compost which you then put on your garden to help the plants grow. This closed circuit approach reduces waste and produces healthy food for you and your family.

What can you compost? The following information provides you with a list of items that can go into your compost pile.

From Your Garden:

Leaves (chopped - to speed their breakdown)
Grass (not wet)
Plants & Weeds (without ripe seeds)
Old potting soil
Soft plant stems
From Your Kitchen.
Coffee grounds and filters
Fruit scraps
Vegetable trimmings
Crushed egg shells
Tea bags
Shredded paper.

The following items should not be placed into the compost:
Dairy products including cheese
Meat, fish (including sauces) and bones

Plastics
Metals
Fats and oils
Pet waste
A perfect mixture of material for the compost bin consists of ½ brown (carbon-based material) and ½ green (nitrogen-based) materials by weight.
Remember that a successful gardener builds soil and compost enables you to do that work.
There are a number of ways to keep the organic material as it turns to compost. For the average yard, if appearance is a priority, there are a number of options commercially available. Compost needs to be turned over, so keep this in mind when buying one.
This simplest way to make a compost pile is to dig a pit in the ground and add the material. This compost pit will need to be turned over on a regular basis. A pitch fork is a perfect tool to accomplish this task.
A better way is to build your own composter. There are plans on the Internet and in books available at the public library. Pick a plan that suits you and compost away.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Permaculture: ABC

Permaculture is an ethically based design methodology. The word permaculture was coined by its co-founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Permaculture is formed from two words permanent and agriculture.

A is for Ant. Ants help to protect the garden from Aphids.

B is for Bee. Both honey bees and bumblebees help the garden to grow. Bees pollinate the plants so the plants will produce fruit and vegetables.

C is for Chickens. Chicken give eggs and help to recycle food and yard waste.

D is for Ducks. Ducks eat slugs and snails that want to eat your vegetables.

E is for Ethics. Permaculture design is based upon an ethical foundation: people Care, Earth Care, Fair Shares.

F is for Food Forest. A food forest is a garden modeled upon a forest.

G is for Gardening, garden, and gardener. Gardeners are growing food, herbs and flowers in the garden.

H is for Hügelkultur: Hügelkultur is raised garden beds filled with rotten wood and covered with soil and compost. These raised beds require little attention after the seeds are planted.

I is for Insects. Not all insects are bad, some help the garden grow, be able tell a friend from a foe.

J is for Jam. Jams are made from berries that grow in a garden.

K is for Kale. Kale is a green leafy plant that you can grow.

L is for Leaves. When the leaves fall from the trees, rake them up and put them on the garden. This keeps the garden bed warm.

M is for Mulch. Mulch protects the garden. Leaves, straw, and even cardboard can be used as mulch.

N is for Nitrogen. Nitrogen is a naturally occurring chemical which helps plants grow.

O is for Oxygen. People need oxygen. Plants give off oxygen during the day.

P is for Permaculture.  The word permaculture was coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. It is a combination of the words permanent and agriculture.

Q is for Queen. Honeybee hives have a Queen bee.

R is for Renewable Resources. Use and value Renewable Resources is one of the Permaculture Principles.

S is for Seeds. Seeds planted in the Soil will become the vegetables you have with your Supper.

T is for Trees. Trees provide us with oxygen, food, shelter, shade and fun.

U is for Urban Agriculture. Urban agriculture is growing food in the city.

V is for Vegetables. Carrots, potatoes, radishes, turnips, cabbages and beets are all vegetables you can grow in the garden.

W is for Worms. Worms work the soil creating tunnels so air and water can get to the plants’ roots.

X is for Xylem is a type of tissue in plants that carries water.
An example of xylem is the material that moves water and some nutrients through a plant.

Y is for Yield. A Yield from the garden are the vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers you harvest.


Z is for Zero Waste.  Create no waste is a permaculture principle.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Perennial Vegetables


If you are looking to reduce labour and increase your personal food security, take a close look at perennial vegetables. Rhubarb is a well known perennial food source.  However, it is far from the only one that will thrive in our environment.
Adding one or two of these perennial plants can increase your family’s food security. It is difficult to say what the future weather will be like, so, it is best to be preparade and to embrace diversity in the home garden.
The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) also known as the sunchoke is native to eastern North America.
The plant was given the name Jerusalem because it is allegedly connected to the Italian word girasola, which means sunflower.   This plant does have attractive yellow flowers. The root is the edible part and the principle reason for adding this plant to the vegetable garden.
The tuber of the sunchoke can be used like potatoes. This plant is a prolific breeder so the grower can anticipate a good yield. However, this plants is prolific and can take over a garden.  It may be best to grow sunchokes in large containers in order to keep them under control.
Please do not ignore this advice, sunchokes will overrun a garden if not controlled from the beginning. What started as a plant o increase personal food security could end up in a garden disaster?
I am considering adding three plants to my community garden box as a test.
Some suggest to control the amount of the sunchokes you consumer at any one setting as it is possible a severe gas condition will develop. Others say the nutty flavour is tasty but the sunchoke is not a potato substitute. Which is fine grow them for their own food value and, if desired grow potatoes. Potatoes give you a good food value for your investment.
Remember the intent is to diversify the garden and to add plants that need little care and are perennial, not to replace favourite foods.
Sunchoke tubers should be planted about twelve to eighteen inches apart, about four inches deep. Any part of the tuber with an eye on it can produce a new plant. Harvest the tubers yearly being sure to leave a few in the ground so they will grow the following year.
If you prefer hill the tubers the same as you would potatoes. This is said to increase the yield. Some say it is better to harvest the tubers after the first frost as the taste is better, experiment and decide for yourself when the best harvest time is.
If the sunchoke does not appeal to you, there are a number of other perennial vegetables that might. To find them do an Internet search, or take a trip to the public library.

Eric Toensmeier has a website perennialvegetables.com which is based on his 2007 book Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Edibles published by Chelsea Green.


Gardening is meant to be fun and a wise gardener loves to experiment. Take a chance and try a perennial vegetable or two next year.


s

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sunny Day in The Garden

A great day between rainfalls to get out into the garden and take some photos. May 27, 2017.





Friday, May 26, 2017

Weather and the Garden


I never actually stop gardening. I do not think about it all the time. When I talk about gardening in this context, I am considering a bigger picture. How will the garden season evolve over the next few years is one question I consider? What will a changing weather system bring to the growing season? What can we grow that will thrive and feed our families?
The weather has a direct and often an immediate impact on all living things, including the farm and the home garden. An unanticipated frost or cold snap can kill those tender annual vegetables. A prolonged dry spell may, at first, help plant roots grow as they go deeper and deep to find precious water. However, without irrigation, the crops will wither and die.
The last few years have presented the region with some unusual weather. I do not know what is to come but I do believe in being prepared.
There are steps we can take to keep our environment viable, even when the local weather presents us with challenges. For example, Synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pest killers destroy all life in the garden. In addition, the runoff pollutes streams, creeks, rivers, lakes and eventually the ocean. Use organic fertilizers.
Take care of the soil for without it the garden will not produce. The health of what we eat depends upon the health of the soil it is grown in.
Honey bees are at risk. No pollination and our available food supply shrinks significantly. Honey bees are not the only pollinators. Bumble bees and mason bees also help our food grow. Learn about them and what to plant to feed them and keep them visiting our gardens.
Growing food organically addresses these issues to a great extent but we need to go beyond organic if we are going to be able to produce, fresh, local, healthy food during a period of changing weather conditions.
Permaculture design is a holistic, nature-inspired design methodology. Permaculture design enables us to create human environments which are modeled after natural process and drawing upon both modern and indigenous technologies. 

Smart gardening involves understanding that repeating the same activities year after year, in a changing environment, will lead to frustration and failure.
The smart gardener knows how to create a garden that is resilient, or, in other words, can withstand the drastic shifts in local conditions. Growing food, for many gardeners, is often repeating the same actions year after year, even if the previous year was a disaster due to too little or too much rainfall, cooler temperatures than expected and so on.
The grower continues to plant the same annual plants. The exact location of the plants may be shifted. Tomatoes and potatoes are grown in a different spot than the previous year, but they are still grown.
The use of annual food plants means the beginning of the gardening season can be a busy one. Backyard gardeners are often rushed, trying to prepare the soil and get the plants in on time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

English Cottage Garden

I believe people should do what they can to grow some of their own food. I also believe that a garden without flowers is missing an important element.
The English Cottage Garden fits perfectly with both these beliefs. The plant options the gardener can select from are numerous. If the garden was mine there are plant that would have to be included.
For me, the ideal cottage garden would include hollyhocks and cosmos. These two add a majestic and ethereal beauty to any garden. There are also bee attractors.
The hollyhock takes me back to my boyhood and the cosmos with its feathery foliage speaks of ancient times and a sense of mystery.
After our long and sometimes, seemingly endless winters, a bit of early colour is welcome.  Thus, tulips, daffodils and crocuses belong in this garden.
Lilies can bring beauty throughout the season due to the wide variety available Lavender, thyme, dill and basil will be there to add fragrance and flavour.
Of course, tomatoes, strawberries and beans are all essential elements of this landscape.
Picture a sunny summer morning, you step out the back door and into the garden, which is alive with the sight, sounds and smells that only a thriving garden can bring.
The bees are busy pollinating the various blooming plants and the butterflies are flitting from flower to flower. The fragrance of lavender gently floats across the tranquil but active scene.
It is a bright sunny morning, the garden an ideal place to enjoy the first coffee of the day and to pause before going on your way.
The cottage garden provides not only food for the eyes and body but a place to retreat from the daily world, a place where you reunite with nature and rejuvenate.
The garden reawakens our primal connection with the earth and engages us in her ever-turning cycle
The garden I am describing is based upon the English Country Garden. Outside of the backyard food forest, which I will discuss in an upcoming article, the English Cottage Garden is be one of the more holistic and environmentally sound garden styles.

The backyard food forest is, without question, a better way to meet all your food and other needs, but not everyone is going to turn their space into a food forest so the next best thing or rather a choice that any gardener can select is the cottage garden.
The Cottage Garden traces its origins back to the 15th century and the English villages of the time. The gardens are a mix of flowers, herbs and vegetables and can meet many of the residents’ daily needs, such as, medicinal teas, herbal balms, insect repellents and food.
The size of the garden depends upon the time the gardener has and the space that is available for a garden. The English Country Garden can start small and gradually grow over the years, as space, time and interest change.
Next week because we are coming close to valentine’s day, a look at flowers for that special someone, until then happy gardening.



Monday, May 22, 2017

Daffodils

A favourite flower, I really do not have one, my taste in plants covers a very wide range from asters to zinnias but there is one flower that gives me the most pleasure to grow and that is the daffodil.
Daffodils are easy to plant as long as you remember pointed side up and plant them deep enough in a spot where they get what they need.
They are ideal for a naturalized lawn such as the one we had between the house and the driveway in my parents home. 
The daffodils come into bloom with another favourite the tulip right behind them.
The daffodil makes a great cut flower and will last for approximately a week, maybe a bit more indoors.
While there are many varieties available today, my choice is the traditional yellow; there is something so happy about that yellow that it can brighten even a grey day.
However, the daffodils cheerfulness is not why this beauty brings me pleasure to grow; the real reason is that it is my wife’s favourite flower and her birth flower. I grow them for her so that during the season she can have one on her desk at work and a small bouquet indoors.
This year we were able to plant these fall bulbs for the first time in three years as we had been moving and did not have access to a balcony for container plants or a yard.
Daffodils and other bulbs can be readily grown in containers and look great on your front steps adding to your home’s curb appeal or on a back deck.
I will plant more bulbs daffodils especially this fall but also tulips and maybe hyacinths. Daffodils do well in crowds and a planting of 20 or more can really brighten a yard in the early days of the gardening season.
As I said earlier the daffodil is not a difficult plant to grow or look after and will come back for years if it is planted where it gets what it needs. So indulge yourself and add a few or more to your garden, the bulbs are not expensive and they will reward your efforts over and over again.
I get great pleasure from growing things and there are plants I insist on growing or recommending others grow, sunflowers and marigolds, however, the daffodil has a special spot in our garden.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Greenhouse: Andrina Tomatoes

This heirloom cherry tomato originated in Russia and is one of the earliest tomatoes there is. The plants are extremely dwarf reaching 6" high and produce good yields of tasty cherry sized fruit. Great for containers! Determinate. (60-65 days from transplant)



Planted today (2017-05-17 in Greenhouse

Monday, May 15, 2017

What to Grow?


Over the years I have designed and grown a wide range of gardens from a one pot with tomatoes and basil on my balcony to a 1 acre commercial operation. One reoccurring question raised through all these various gardens’ projects over a 17 year period is whether to grow flowers or not.
I am not talking about edible flowers but flowers that are grown purely for ornamental or ascetic purposes either as cut flowers for the table or bouquets or dried flowers for various craft purposes.
To clarify the discussion further, I am not discussing commercial growing of cut flowers or flowers for drying, both of which could be solid business opportunities, but rather flowers grown purely for personal use and ascetic qualities.
There are gardeners and then there are gardeners; some will only grow food and scoff at those who grow, for example, gladiolas. Te glad has no edible value but it perhaps one of the most beautiful flowers that I have seen.
I have grown glads in containers on my balcony and in the backyard just so I could have them to cut and bring inside to admire.
I remember on evening some years back I was sitting on my balcony looking up at the sky when I noticed a small bird hover near the deep red glads growing in the container. It was a hummingbird. It paused in its flight and gave me a look that said hey what you are doing here this my space.
The hummingbird bird came back at approximately the same time every night for a week. Now that is what I call a good reason to grow flowers; to attract these winged jewels.
The group of gardeners who want to grow only food; or plant trees will argue that growing flowers for purely aesthetic purposes is a waste of time and resources (soil, water) but I simply cannot agree.
Beauty is a function and one that deserves our respect and attention. Spend, even20 minutes, in a backyard near the flower garden, feel the sun warming your face, hear the hum of the bees and watch the butterflies float from plant to plant and you will see the value that beauty brings. The dance of life is taking place before your eyes.
Besides a cut flower garden can attract the beneficial friends, (bees and other insects) to you garden that will help you do the work.
My perspective is this; if you have enough space for a garden then take a diverse approach, grow the vegetables that you want for your table but add a few herbs and a few cut flowers into the mix so that your garden will not only provide a greater bounty for your table but so that you set out a portion for your garden helpers.
The successful gardener does not work alone. Another saying that is worth remembering here is that we do not live by bread alone; vegetables will feed your hunger but flowers will feed your heart.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Preparing Balcony Garden

This garden is located on the third-floor balcony, only 3 hours of the sun per day and only near the edge.





Indoor seed Staring

I was at the Galerie Restigouche Gallery the other night and among other topics, I was asked when is the best time to get seeds started ind...