Thursday, 21 March 2013

Between nerdy gardening friends

Sharing and gardening go hand in hand. No one "knows it all"... which I believe is part of the magic of gardening... and everyone is all so willing to share their wins and losses with gardening over the years.

Here is my on-going "makes me happy" list of why gardening is something every person can get excited about.

Become a scavenger for these bad-boys. Recycle bins around the end of May and into June are a gold mine in my 'hood.
Just be sure to wash them out thoroughly before using them when transplanting your seedlings. It avoids disease transfer and is general good practice when dumpster diving. You can be choosy too... they were free.... so be sure to re-recycle any that you find are broken, damaged or too weak to hold another season of growing babies. Generally, free stuff makes me happy. 

Getting all washed-up before Julia comes over to help re-pot the over 50 tomato seedlings earlier this week. I used dish soap first and gave them a hot hot bath (as hot as my hands could tolerate . Then I emptied out the tub. Rinsed it best I could. Then I re-filled with vinegar (about 2 cups) to a 3 inch deep tub of warm water. We (son and I) scrubbed them with a Norwex Cloth, and let them air dry.

Flats are great. So are flats with plugs (think homemade Popsicle mold shaped) . I think in years coming, I will invest in getting  flats with plugs to avoid root disruption. Using the flat bed method is fine... but you end up doing a lot of root ripping, which makes me cringe. Not pictured here are the clear dome lids. You don't need anything fancy. Any container will do. Used spinach containers from No Frills are great too.

Have a willing "go to person" for your questions on gardening. Mine is Rose Bartel of Bartel Organics off Lakeshore Rd. / Fire Lane 18 ... and Linda Crago from Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Gardens. This is a photo of her on her farm last weekend, from a seedling starting course. 

There are thousands of great groups online. Here is one that I started: Niagara Garden Idea Swap - feel free to join!
My Healthy Green Family  - like this page... it's a great recourse for North American gardeners
Garden Coaches Chat: No Guff. Lots of Fun. This one is great for Canadian Gardeners... and buy the book!

On Twitter, you can #hashtag your questions to #gardenchat and you will be linked up with thousands of gardening friends. You can follow me on Twitter here

On youtube I found the worlds sweetest man... Navajopa31 - if anything... just listen to one of his videos to hear his sweet accent. I love that he refers to his wife as "my bride" ... CUTE! He lives in Virginia (I think), and has a summer home/cottage with an incredible garden. I have learned so much about soil building and tomato planting/growing from him!

On the world wide web I found Margaret Roach, who left her high-powered job as working for THE Martha Stewart to become a steward of her land in Vermont. She is 20+ years in the making of incredible gardens (flower and veg) I check in with her website consistently. She is humble, well-read, and I trust her advice. Find her website Away to Garden, and spend an entire afternoon shifting through the hundreds of articles she has written over the years. 

Find some local friends to share the love with. 
Seen here is Steph and Julia. Both amazing women,  mammas, 
and garden lovers. I also cherish Laura T, my aunts, Valerie H, Tammara H, Elly VH and my Lisa VT. They are all so wonderful and awesome mammas and gardeners in their own regards, and I am thankful for their help and advise. 

One last thing about abundance and sowing an extra row... Garden of Eating Niagara is an incredible volunteer based oragnization that harests local fruits and veggies from people's front yard trees, local gardens, etc... where abundance or waste is an issue. They set up a time they can send over their kind volunteers and will take care of any unwanted or unused fruits and donate them to local folks in need. Wonderful organization. Here is something they are rightfully bragging about on their website:  

Since its founding in 2009, The Garden of Eating — Niagara has harvested and delivered more than 5,600 pounds of fresh fruit to local food banks, shelters and soup kitchens.

In 2012, we harvested 2,057 pounds of mulberries, red and black currants, crabapples, sugar pears, bosc pears and kieffer pears. Thanks to everyone who made this our best season yet. Here's to getting even bigger and better in 2013.

Happy Gardening Season 2013 friends! Share your bounty and sow an extra row this summer. Your local food banks and neighbours will be forever thankful. 

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