This is going to be the shortest blog post ever. In fact, here in October, I feel some chagrin for not posting this earlier, but if you still have tomatoes in the garden, they’re not going to ripen this season, unless you do this:
Pull up the plant in its entirety and hang it upside down in your garage or cold cellar. All the cherry tomatoes on this plant – and there were many more; I’ve harvested them regularly – were green when I pulled it up at the end of September. I’m getting a lot more than I thought possible – at least 40 off of 3 plants!
If you’ve had a frustrating spring with all this rain and insufficient heat, or just a lack of inspiration so far, don’t despair. You can still have a garden this summer. Here are some resources to help you — especially those of you in Montreal, Quebec, and eastern Ontario, where most of these resources can be reached.
If you’re francophone or able to read French, download the Guide potager urbain, written by the couple from Drummondville who were given a legal hassle in 2012 about having a front yard full of vegetables. This 240-page e-book is a handy guide to having a very attractive and productive garden. You might not be able to do so as extensively as they had it, but set yourself a goal of one small project.
While deciding what it is you want in your garden, double-check your zone (Montrealers: we are in Zone 5). Look for vegetables that can be planted in the middle of June for a harvest in a short timeframe, up until October.
Here are the next steps: Vegetable seedlings are now well past their prime at the greenhouses where they’re sold. You’ll be able to buy a few on sale. Get them into the ground or into wicking or standard pots as quickly as possible. Make sure that compost and peat are part of the soil mix, and water them every day if the rain doesn’t come.
This post is based on a meeting I had with Eric Duchemin, Associate Professor of Science and the Environment at UQAM, who has taught students working in urban agriculture for several years now. (I participated in the École d’été sur agriculture urbaine in 2010.) A grad student giving a talk about the urban agricultural history of Montreal, so I took the opportunity to ask Eric some questions about remediating landscapes and urban soil and returning it back to primary use – that is, forestry and agriculture. Continue reading
We have a lot of strategies to attract the animals and insects we want, and repel the ones we don’t. Here I discuss nuisance wildlife that we might want to control, as well as beneficial kinds.
Having food and shelter for insects and wildlife means that if you garden, you’ll have visitors. With some experience, you’ll know which animals and insects are pests, and which are merely hazards of gardening. You might want to actively welcome them – putting a dish of water out for the squirrels will reduce the number of tomatoes and cucumbers they steal, because your vegetables are an easy source of water on a hot, thirsty day. They’ll go for the water bowl, so put it out sooner rather than later, and the birds will benefit too.
This is a long-running “lifestyle” blog about the pleasures of living like a farm kid in an urban context. You’ll find a wide range of topics that pertain to food, crafts, energy efficiency, and DIY. There’s a big focus on ecology and wildlife because this has brought me a lot joy – but this is also the greatest potential we have of restoring some balance to nature where we live.
Given that, I’ve turned my attention to providing more content for people to switch traditional lawns over to native landscaping and green driveways and things that will support climate readiness, drought and flood-prevention, and increased habitat for biodiversity. Comments and questions are welcome!
If you’re in the Montreal region, you can also use my “Rewilding” service to landscape your property using native plants, convert to a green driveway, and prevent your windows from killing birds.
My mission is to engage you to appreciate ecological resilience and encourage you to take steps to live closer to the land. I want people to increase the beauty, biodiversity, and climate-change readiness our towns, cities, and regions. That begins with homeowners, small business owners – people who own property. Change the way we typically do things, and we change the world.
Rewilding is about converting your lawn to groundcover (bit by bit!) to native species. This fosters biodiversity. It also creates habitat for urban wildlife. Finally, you'll only trim it 2-3 times per season rather than every 7-10 days!
The green driveway gallery shows you how you can DIY a driveway conversation using my first model as an example. There are other ways to do it, and things I learned in the process and afterward. Please call me at 514-815-5163 for my landscaping service, or to discuss upgrading your driveway.
The work season is April 1st through June 30th, but I install bird strike prevention (to stop birds from crashing into windows and glass balconies) whenever the temperature is above 5ºC. Call the number above or email. It's important to do this earlier rather than later, in time for bird migrations in late April to end of May, and late August to mid-October.
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