Sunday, October 28, 2012
Not all of the spawn took this season, but I'm pretty sure the logs were too dry. Next spring I'll be setting up a small irrigation system and cross my fingers for a couple harvests in the year.
Friday, May 11, 2012
You may also buy compost from the City of Edmonton Waste Management Centre for $6 a 30L bag. Or catch me at 2pm- I'll be talking about Creative Raised Beds.
Presentation & Workshop Schedule
Fruit Growing 9:30am to 10:30am
Presenter: Thean Pheh, horticulturalist and local back yard fruit grower.
Thean Pheh worked in the Department of Agriculture in Malaysia (1968 to 1982) and Alberta Agriculture (1983 to 2007) in production, extension and research in various horticultural crops before throwing in the towels. Growing up on a small farm, Thean developed keen interests in growing fruits and vegetables, sustainable agriculture and edible landscaping. In his retirement he wants to continue to be an active and productive member of the community. Besides maintaining a fair collection of heirloom fruits and vegetables, he breeds fruits and potatoes for hobby, and presents talks to various horticultural organizations. He and his wife are vendors in a Farmers’ Market in Edmonton.
Soil Enhancement 11am to 12pm
Come hear what these panel members have to say about the number one building block of gardening - your soil. Short presentations followed by question & answer time.
Gary Chan, City of Edmonton Vegetation Management
Dr. Ieuan Evans, P. Ag., is an agrologist and plant pathologist who grew up on a small self-sustaining mixed farm in Welsh. He did Applied Research with Alberta Agriculture for many years; now he is an Agri-Coach. Dr. Evans is well known for his love of horticulture and is the developer of the popular "Evans Cherry".
Peter Dowd, owner/operator of Alberta Organic Garden who sells Seed & Sea organic balance blended fertilizer
Creative Gardening 2pm to 3pm
Learn about some interesting and creative ways to make and use raised beds for gardening. Raised beds can go virtually anyway and be made out of a variety of materials.
Presenter: Carissa Halton, local blogger, writer and gardener. Check out her creativity at http://avenuehomesteader.blogspot.ca
If you can recommend any varieties, please do so in the comments section!
This reprint is part of an article I wrote for Gardening for the Prairies, Winter 2012. Over the next few days, in time for planting season, I'll publish the list of fruit options you might consider when making landscaping decisions. Planting prairie fruit doesn't have to be limited to the veggie patch or a brambling patch of raspberries in the alley. In this series, we'll look at fruit you can use for ground cover, vertical cover, screens, feature plantings... When it comes to fruit-scaping, thanks to the U of S's many new fruit varieties, us northern gardeners are limited by our imagination, not our Northern climate!
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
|Harvest off one four-year old vine at Shallow Creek Nurseries.|
Another small aside: I had four varieties of grapes... now I have three because I, again, did not follow instructions and experimented with leaving the vine unpruned over the winter. Now in their third season on the south side of the house, I am expecting a bountiful harvest this year from the remaining vines. Watch for my report.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
I spent time writing, Mat spent time singing. During that time I wrote a piece about living in our community- Alberta Avenue. It's a 'revitalizing' neighbourhood- a place of tension and transition- and I wanted to capture, on paper, my experience living in this unique place at this unique time. This month, Alberta Views published it as a feature-- please see it here and consider buying a subscription to a fantastic, progressive magazine.
But back to my community... I've read that communities go through a change every 50 years or so... 50 years ago, Alberta Avenue shifted as many homeowners left for the suburbs and it became more re-known for it's illicit activity than for it's working class neighbourhood. But in the last ten years, artists and young families are moving in. It is an exciting and vibrant time to live here. It's also a time that inspires some anxiety about our future. Will many of the new homeowners all move away in ten years- make a lot of money on our homes- and the community be left increasingly less affordable... and much more homogenous?
I don't believe that revitalization will inevitably lead to gentrification (the expelling of all poor and untouchable people and activity). But I believe that revitalization, without some planning and advocacy for mixed housing stock, can lead to a perhaps more clean, but much blander community I probably wouldn't want to live in.
I love the diversity of our neighbourhood: the incredible variety of restaurants, the adrenaline of riding No. 5 bus, the great parks with many colours of kids, my block with people from every decade represented. Even the illicit stuff makes me think. I understand that the sex trade has all sorts of links to the drug trade and gang life... but I also know that if it didn't exist in Alberta Avenue it would just exist somewhere else. [Plus, I think that the women on the corners keep things real for me. Prostitution effects every area of the city and I would prefer to live where the women live, than where the Johns live in anonimity!). I also love the energy of revitalization- the question is- when does a community stop 'changing' so that it continues to remain 'vital'? Revitalize too much and a community runs the risk of becoming just a cookie-cutter community of the same people with same ideas and same income and same same same same... blah.
What I do wish is that Edmonton city council could not just put money into revitalization, but also into preventative action for neighbourhoods at risk of 'devolution'. What wisdom is there in constantly revitalizing? Where Edmonton's Community Services department just follows the poor from neighboourhood after neighbourhood to 'tidy it/ liven it up'? The process in Alberta Avenue and many other 'revitalizing' neighbourhoods is not sustainable; it is reactive not proactive. Surely there is a more progressive approach to PLANNING healthy communities- and protecting aging communities from the kind of gutting that McCauley and Alberta Avenue experienced when many of their homeowners left for the suburbs post-war.
Oh God, that thought- what will our suburbs look like in thirty years, exactly? When people have to afford fixing up not just 1100 square feet of space, but 3000?
I believe that new and old communities need to have a good mix of people: rich, poor, immigrant, seniors, youth, young families, corporate and union workers. I think city council could help this process through zoning for mixed housing, affordable housing spread throughout the city, incentives for cooperatives and mixed-use developments and better plans for reducing impacts of poverty... there are many possibilities .
Alberta Avenue doesn't have to be a gentrified neighbourhood in 20 years. Beverley doesn't have to be on the 'revitalization' list in 10. But that takes some forward thinking and willingness to embrace community diversity- something that I believe our city and council is fully capable of.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
This year I created a public calendar with a planting schedule for spring and summer in Edmonton- and I'm excited to share it! You'll find it below as well as in the pages tab on this blog. It includes dates for planting seeds indoors and outdoors, dates for transplanting and planting for continuous crops. I've designated Sundays as my planting day but, if you want to use this public calendar too, feel free to consider the Sunday plantings as plantings for the week- to be done at your earliest convenience. If you plan to follow the schedule for 2nd, 3rd and 4th plantings- make sure you leave space in the garden (or plan for the early harvest of lettuce, spinach, and radishes that will make room for later plantings of carrots and beets!). You'll find that in some cases, there are additional details in the location and description of the event on the calendar.
I've added only those veggies I plan to plant- if you want me to add other crops, please comment below and I'll be sure to add it.
Happy planning and planting!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
I love turkey dinner. Turkey with fixings like cranberry sauce, pickles and dressing. Turkey with pesto and pasta. Turkey with toasted ciabatta, spinach and garlic mayo. Turkey-juice soaked risotto. Turkey tetrazzini.
If you share my enthusiasm, NOW is the time to stock up. It's at Safeway for 99 cents/lb, Superstore for 96, Walmart for 97... and those are just the prices I scoped out in the flyers this morning. Last night I cooked up an 8-kilo bird and, bless him, he provided us with 10 cups of meat (most of which will be refrozen in small 2 cup bags) and another 10 cups of broth. Total cost: $20.
I'm currently working out a value for that lovely turkey soup-smell wafting through the house...
PS: On the subject of turkeys (and turkey sex), pick up Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal Vegetable Miracle. An easy read that expounds, with hilarious detail, her attempt to raise turkeys for food (and of course her attempts to multiply the flock's numbers). Who'd have thunk you could breed maternal instinct out of an entire species?
PPS: And on the the subject of fall deals, just a reminder that now's the time to pick up pumpkin. For $4 I picked out the largest pumpkin I could carry. Thankfully, it just barely fit in my oven and is currently roasting in its own skin. Check out this post for the process I use to cook and store it.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Using the no-sugar needed pectin (another first since my gestational diabetes has made me more conscious of refined sugar), I boiled up a pot of chokecherry and rhubarb jam using splenda as a sweetener. Man alive! Delicious- I licked the remains off the spoon, the funnel, the counter. Kicking myself for all the wasted years of chokecherry.
So what happens to your chokecherries??
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
|Drilling holes 3" part in rows around the mountain ash log.|
|See the one plug (in front) not pushed in? Lily would come behind me and poke the plugs down, wax flush with the bark.|
|Soaked the log really well. For the mushrooms to grow, the log cannot dry completely.|
|150 potential sites for flowering mushrooms? Tucked behind our cedars. I added a sun screen, stapled on the fence to the left of the logs, to limit evening, direct sun.|