Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city.

Category: Gardening(page 1 of 4)

A seed library at the Westmount library

Once upon a time when I was at the Westmount Public Library, I saw something to get excited about: they’re reusing their old card catalog, situated near the main circulation (borrowing) desk, as a Seed Library.

I spoke with Daniel, who is responsible for it. It started in May 2016, and last year they reopened it in April 2017, when they learned that’s way too late for most gardeners. So this year, they’re opening the seed library on Monday, February 26. The quick explanation of what it is? “Free seeds for members for more than 50 varieties of plants. ”

You need a library card to use it ($130/year for non-residents, $70/six months, or $50/year for students), but the terms of “borrowing” are generous. You can take up to three packets per day, and at the end of the season, return some of your newly cultivated seeds to the library.

Categorized by vegetable or fruit type, and then the specific breed of plant

Here is how you can contribute to the seed library:

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When I got home from the nursery for the Rewilding garden session, I took this video of my bunnies and the butterflies in the garden, for your enjoyment. (You have to click through to the Facebook post if you want my narration.)


Climbing vines on the shady side

My house is almost famous for the green wall of vines I have growing on it – which you can see in the banner of our Facebook page.Of all the neighbours, the only others who have vines are those on the end on a row, with a big wall to cover.

My Virginia creeper is now about six years old, and for two years, I also let one climb out back, on the shady eastern side. At the same time, I nabbed a real ivy plant and planted it in the same place, but I suspect that Virginia creeper inhibits other plants, as it failed to thrive.

This year, out back, I dug out the creeper and planted a climbing hydrangea in its place, as I wanted the flowers, and a climber that thrived in the shade. Little did I know, but it also released the ivy, which has since taken off.

It’s inspiring me for next year, where I’m going to remove the creeper from the front of my house (except the garage wall) and plant ivy in its place, because it spreads nicely and is less rambunctious.

It is not true that climbing plants damage your bricks. They help shade your home so that it’s cooler, they look nice, and they also give wild birds a place to hang out, and berries and insects to eat. (I’ve had no problem with insects, other than fruit flies that go after my composter.)

Montreal’s big plant swap & gardening extravaganza, May 28 – 29

If you like gardening, there’s always a weekend in May that’s our big weekend. There’s always a coördinated extravaganza to get people motivated to get their plants into the ground at the best possible time. Events, including native and ornamental plant sales, are happening all weekend long, notably at the Botanical Garden. This afternoon on the Plateau there’s another plant swap/ giveaway. Details for that can be seen on the PlantCatching website:

It’s also the weekend that some boroughs of the Ville are giving away plants to residents for their balconies and yards. I’m off this morning to collect flowers – it’s my borough’s weekend – but pretty much ALL of them give flowers and compost away every year. Call 311 for your area. The giveaway usually begins at 10 AM, with a few (3 – 4) locations for each borough. They are not well-advertised because even without advertising, they still draw a huge crowd. Bring a pail for your compost and a sturdy bin or bags for your plants. Arrive early; the line-ups are usually an hour long.

This is going to be the shortest blog post (aside from link shares) 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!

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