Saturday, April 13, 2013

Starting Again

I have decided to be a little more serious about my seedlings this year and I am trying some new techniques.

Some (mainly cabbages and peppers) in peat pots from Jiffy, herbs and some alliums in proper start pots, and tomatoes and lemon grass in flower pots.

I got a seedling heat mat and set them all on a glass table top with the mat on it so it would warm them all some.  It really seems to be working well.  I am a little concerned with peat pots drying out too much and some of the peppers (seems like the hotter varieties, like Scotch Bonnet) are slower to germinate, but all in all its a success so far.

Here we have a rare (but increasingly common) Garden Monkey enjoying a popsicle as we check our seedlings in the morning.  He helped plant them and we enjoy checking them together.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I look at so many gardening/urban farming blogs lately, and they seem to be leaning to this sort of false, almost (and in some cases blatantly) commercial, non-offensive feel.  Most are well written, some are well illustrated, but they never seem to deal with the difficult questions lately.

One blog wrote about keeping chickens in a suburban environment.  Cool.  But then the story involves the chickens being attacked by a neighbor's dogs after the dogs dug under the fence.  The writer discusses caring for the chickens afterward, re-establishing the pecking order, etc.  Fine.  But nowhere does he discuss dealing with the neighbors, nowhere does he discuss even talking to them about paying the (exorbitant for chickens) vet bills, plans for controlling future intrusions etc.  So I write a comment asking some of the tough, real world questions.  The comments on that blog are moderated.  My question is not posted or addressed.  More comments have been added since and added, so the comment was read, but evidently you can't get an answer and can only be posted if you post a fawning comment.  It makes me ill.

Of course, there are still some (Hi Phelan!) who are fearless and will address questions.

Not sure if I should post a link.

If you want it I will post it.  Just leave a comment.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Good News In Russia For The Pavlovsk Station

About two years ago the Pavlovsk Experiment Station of the Vavilov Research Institute was in grave danger of being plowed under by a housing development. The Station's acreage holds valuable varieties of berries and fruits and the Station is important to the maintenance of genetic diversity. I try and follow up on these sorts of things, especially if I encourage people to sign a petition like the Drummondville, Quebec petition a couple of days ago.

I ran across this today:

14.05.2011 Санкт-Петербург

April 17, 2012 The Russian government issued an order № 521-р sanctioning a conveyance of land plots           with a total area of 195079m2 714286m2 (Pavlovsk town) for use by the Pavlovsk Experiment station of        VIR to conserve collections of plant genetic resources under conditions precluding their inappropriate use, including housing construction. However, the Federal Property Management Agency and Ministry of Agriculture of Russia should ensure control that these areas are being used for conservation of plant genetic resources. In addition St.-Petersburg Government is recommended to make amendments to relevant regulations assigning these lands to areas for the purpose of agriculture.

 Here is a Vavilov site.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Going Backwards

A couple in Quebec have completely converted their entire front yard to a gorgeous, well planned and maintained vegetable garden. The municipality, Drummondville, limits the area that can be dedicated to veggies in a front yard to 30%, so the municipality is going after them. As I read the article I see that Drummondville is going to limit it soon to ZERO percent in the front.

Nothing like going backwards. :(

The Garden

The Article

Give it the good fight Michel Beauchamp and Josée Landry!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Asian Winged Bean Seedling

Tried Asian Winged Beans this year. They were slow to germinate. The advice on the pack said to soak the seed for two hours and plant them. So I did and they didn't come up for WEEKS. I thought I got bad seed and figured that the seeds had rotted by then, but just as I was about to dig them up they finally came up. I looked elsewhere on line and it seems you are supposed to soak them for 24 hours, not 2. Anyways, here is what the seedlings look like:
This is from about two weeks ago, I will have to get a more detailed and updated picture soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012 Garden Update

Some friends asked how the garden was doing and I realized how long it had been since I posted. This has been a busy year. I added a rain collection system.
I got the barrel from a local food distributor for twenty dollars, got some base and block from the local hardware spot, and the rain barrel installation kit from Rain Brothers. The kit had a great video on Youtube and after some investigation I decided it was the way to go. My wife knew I wanted to upgrade from my compost pile, so for my birthday I got a:
Already used a batch of it as mulch for my potatoes. It seems to really be working great. I love the fact that the heat kills the seeds. Some other pictures to entertain:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sometimes Words Fail Me...Well Not This Time

This is absolutely ridiculous.

I have been an urban planner (AICP, the whole nine yards). I am a gardener. I am appalled by the Oak Park position. I am even more appalled to see a member of what is supposed to be a forward looking ("planning", duh) profession act in this fashion. I understand that he could be under duress, but if not, he needs to have his credentials renewed.