Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city.

Page 3 of 21

A clutter of resources to help you design your garden

Well, here we are, late March! Are you ready to get down to designing the layout of your garden? For those who have space – such as those who’ve not planted a garden before, or those who get to plan theirs anew every year – you need to have a rough plan. This’ll let you know how many seedlings you should start or have on hand of each kind of plant. Know first that we gardeners always get overambitious, and end up tending tonnes of seedlings we have to give away! What’s worse is planting seeds that never germinate, or else germinate and fail. Planning helps deal with this disappointment.

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A seed library catalog 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. ”

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Meet my squirrel! Mangey, but adorable.

This little guy or girl comes by my backyard every day and raids my two bird feeders, sometimes with the help of another squirrel. Because it has sarcoptic mange, I’ve been concerned about its winter survival.

You can treat mange with ivermectin, selamectin, or any of the avermectins. These are insecticides that kill mites and other parasites (even some internal worms, too) in pets and livestock. Left without treatment, this squirrel will suffer fur loss and diminished immunity, not to mention being driven mad with the itching. It will also lose out on some time better spent food gathering and stashing. Finally, there’s an increased risk of transmitting it to other animals and species. I certainly don’t want this, but I’m not sure if the mites that affect squirrels also affect birds.

It’s possibly illegal for me to have done this, but as my dog, Daisy, died and couldn’t take her HartGard pills with her on her journey, I took one of the pills, shaved off a slice, and slathered it in peanut butter. I put one out on the patio about a month ago, hoping the right squirrel would take it. Then, I started occasionally feeding it a tidbit or two to get it used to me, so I’d be able to treat it more directly. The mange cleared up, but in the past week, it has come back. Probably the eggs in the nest have hatched and new juvenile and adult mites have latched on. So I followed up with a second treatment. He (or she) has stopped running away when I open the patio door, because it knows something edible is going to come flying out and land somewhere in the garden. Sure enough, it made a beeline for it today!

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When I got home from the nursery for the Rewilding garden session, I took this video for your enjoyment: my bunnies outdoors, hopping around the garden and the green driveway, and some butterflies, too. (You have to click through to the Facebook post if you want my narration.)

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