Is May Long Weekend The Best Time To Plant A Garden in Edmonton?
Originally written for and publised by Boyle McCauley News
When I was growing up, my parents kept a large vegetable garden in the backyard. Each spring, my Mom would bring out an ice-cream pail of seeds, a bundle of wooden stakes, a garden hoe, and a roll of twine she got from my Uncle – a nearby cattle farmer.
I watched as she paced the distance between rows – carefully placing one foot in front of the other – before pressing a stake into the ground. She repeated the ritual on the other side of the garden and pulled some twine tight between the stakes to mark the row. Tilting the hoe at an angle, she added a shallow trench along either side of the string. We were ready to plant. [Read more…]
Why Set Up A Classroom Aquaponics System?
Lots of classrooms have plants and fish, but not many consider combining the two in a symbiotic aquaponics system. Together, fish-waste provides water and nutrients to the plants while the plants clean the water for the fish. Though aquaponics systems contain a complete nitrogen cycle, symbiotic relationships, cellular respiration, and photosynthesis they are in no way limited to the science curriculum. Addressing issues of food security (social studies), design (design/construction/fabrication/art/math), and food preparation (foods/culinary), aquaponics is an exceptionally effective cross-curricular platform for exploring various programs of studies. Regarding curricular connections, aquaponics is curricular gold mine. [Read more…]
Edmonton Gardeners Have a Long History of Pushing the Limits
One-hundred years ago, Edmontonians longed to grow apples. Today, the City has so many apples that not-for-profits like Fruits of Sherbrook and Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE) work with the community to save fruit that would otherwise go unharvested. So what happend? In short, 100 years of backyard tinkering.
The plant varieties we currently enjoy are the result of thousands of formal and informal experiments; often performed in backyards by amateurs and hobbyists. In her book, “Why Grow Here: Essays on Edmonton’s Gardening History” Kathryn Chase Merrett outlines Edmonton strong history of backyard experimentation, plant breeding, and pushing the horticultural limits.
Edmonton’s Global Gardeners
Goerges Bugnet (1879 – 1981) famously developed hardy rose varieties that are now enjoyed all over the world. Robert Simonet (1903 – 1989) made a fortune breeding double flowering petunias, apples, apricots, lilies, strawberries, and corn varieties (among others). And gardener and community advocate Gladys Reeves (1890 – 1974) “may have done more than any other Edmontonian to promote tree-planting and gardening as an expression of citizenship” (link). But why so much experimentation and why Edmonton? I suspect that immigration is a one piece of the puzzle. As a young city, many of us are only a few generations removed from the farm. For others, especially new immigrants – who bring with them their horticultural practices – trying to grow plants from “back home” expands our collective sence of what’s possible; think Edmonton early Italians immigrants trying to grow Mediterranean grapes varities or Vietnamese refugees growing Cai Lan.
Edmonton Gardeners Are Still Pushing The Limits
Edmonton gardeners are experimental optimists and always looking for new things to grow and ways to extend the growing season. Personally, I can’t resist trying new things – Last spring, I planted hardy pawpaw, persimmon, and magnolia trees in my backyard. It’s now February of the following year and things are still looking good for these Edmonton oddball plants.
Share Your Backyard Experiments!
Are you working on your own backyard experiment? Do you have an Edmonton oddball plant? Maybe you inherited an interesting perennial, shrub, or fruit tree? A peony you got from your Grandmother? Perhaps you’ve been saving seeds or were given something special by a friend or family member? I’d love to hear and share what you’re working on!
A Leafy Wall of Fruit. Save Space, Increase Yields, and Extend the Growing Season with Espalier Fruit Trees
Espalier is the ancient practice of training plants – typically trees, shrubs, or vines – against a two-dimensional surface such as a wall or trellis. The result is a compact, two-dimensional plant that conserves space and produces consistent and easily managed fruit.
One of the most significant advantages of espalier fruit trees is that [Read more…]
The Orignal And Best Lawn Mower On The Market
When it comes to getting that perfect cut and keeping a healthy, natural lawn, you can’t beat one of these. Seriously, this is a grass powered lawn mower with a fertilizer attachment.
If you’re continually using the garden hose, there’s a chance that you’re doing it wrong. Actively and continuously needing to water your garden is a sign that you may have overlooked some simple but powerful water harvesting techniques. Here are [Read more…]