Saturday, March 31, 2018

From My Garden Article Preview

Preview of my From My Garden Column in Campbellton Tribune, Full article will appear in the Tribune  April 6, I’m thinking about the Community garden today for two reasons. One is the great potential the garden offers for people who want to grow some of their own food. The other is related to tourism and gardens. The Community Garden, with some investment, could become a spot where visitors to the City would be interested in visiting and depending upon the facility, stay for a picnic, take a few photos and even chat with the growers.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Gardeners: Share the Surplus

Our gardens provide us with more than just food and flowers. They give us an opportunity to experience and renew our connection with nature as we weed, harvest and walk among the plants.

They can provide us with exercise and a hobby that helps keep our minds and bodies sharp.

As a permaculture designer, I do my best to shape my life according to the three basic ethics of permaculture design.
Three Ethics
1- care for the earth
2- care for people
3- Take responsibility for my own production and share the surplus.

It is through the third that I am able to achieve the other two. There are many ways to share the surplus and do good work in your community at the same time.

You can, when you go shopping for groceries, and there is a sale on canned or dry goods, (beans, pasta) buy a few extra and set them aside for the local food bank or meal program.

I suggest that if you are planning to do this you call the organization that you have in mind and ask them what they need. This way you can help them meet an urgent need and share at the same time. You could also consider making a financial donation or volunteering your time. Both cover the sharing the surplus concept.

If you are a gardener, you could donate some of your produce to the local food bank or meal program. Again, I suggest contacting them first and find out what they would like.

When I worked at a food bank, we got a lot of zucchini and rhubarb which was fine because it is fresh food that the clients may not buy. We always included a recipe or two when we gave the produce out so that those who did not know what to do with it would have the recipe to guide them.

If you want to take this sharing your garden surplus to another level you can grow a row for the local food bank. Simply set aside one of the rows in your garden and all that grows in that row is donated to the food bank.

You may want to check and see if there is an organized grow-a-row program in your community and contact them if there is.

If there is no organized program, you may want to share the idea with a few of your neighbours and ask them to share it with theirs. This way you can increase the sharing and the amount of food that will be donated.
If you are a member of a community garden, you may want to set aside a row in your plot for grow-a-row or suggest to the other gardeners that together you set aside a plot that is meant for the food bank. You could contact the food bank and let them know that you are doing this and ask them if there are foods that they would prefer.

Salad greens, the come-an-cut-again food, can provide people with a healthy and tasty donation that some people may not be able to buy for themselves.

There are a number of ways that your garden or your ability to garden can enable you to share the surplus. Try it and see what happens.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Gardening Gadgets

Gardening is more than a way to grow food for the table. For the ardent gardener, gardening is a passion. If I only grew plants to put food and flowers on my table, I may have stopped doing so when I was told I had osteoarthritis in both knees I would have stopped.
Gardening requires a great deal of kneeling and bending, both of which can make knee pain worse. Or I could invest in tools that would reduce the kneeling. But the extra funds needed to do so would impact on any savings growing my own food would bring, at least in year one.
So why do I continue to garden. I have three gardens, that I tend. One my community garden plot, the greenhouse garden and the History Garden at the Gallery Restigouche Gallery. I do not look after these gardens to save money or get a few extra vegetables. I do so because I love to garden.
Now, don’t get the idea I like pain, I don’t. What I do like is the act of gardening, growing plants, in cooperation with Nature means much more than saving money or having real fresh food. It brings pleasure, satisfaction and accomplishment. These three are well worth the time and energy invested on growing plants.
There are tools that enable gardeners to continue gardening while reducing any pain or discomfort.
Tools, whether it be a pair of well worn gardening gloves, a favourite pair of shoes that are worn only in the garden or a spade that you cannot live without, every gardener has them. It is the tools that make it possible for me to indulge my gardening passion.
Long handled tools allow the gardener to stand up and do the work, planting bulbs, and transplanting perennials, for example, rather than bending over or kneeling down. As baby boomers continue to rise in numbers, garden gadgets that make it easier for them to either, take up or continue to garden, will find a ready market.
Another handy garden gadget is the garden tool cart. The garden tool cart allows the gardener to transport tools around the garden and also acts as a storage unit when they are put them back into the garden shed or garage.
If getting your hands in the dirt is essential and you just have to get down and weed, then a kneeling stool will make it easier to do that. The kneeling stool provides a comfortable pad to kneel on; it is raised off the ground and has sturdy support which you can use to help yourself up and down.
Buy a garden tool pouch to put over one of the supports so that your favourite garden tools are handy and within easy reach.
There are also long-handled hoes; easy to use lawn mowers, and tools designed with special grips that are simpler to hold and use.
Raised beds are another option when it comes to reducing the need to kneel or bend when gardening. So, until next week, happy gardening.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Asters & Bumblebees

In mid to late October as I was waiting for a taxi at the end of the driveway, I noticed 20 or so bumble bees flocking around the asters. The asters were pretty much all that was in flower at the time, despite the cold night they were still displaying their brilliant colours.
For anyone who is concerned about the fate of the pollinators we depend upon, then give some thought to adding asters to the garden.

The genus Aster has somewhere around 250 species and most of them are native to North America. In fact, here in northern New Brunswick, asters are everywhere. They line the railroad tracks and abandoned spaces all around town.
The other members of this large group are zinnias, dahlias, mums, and other daisy-faced beauties, all of which belong to the Asteraceae family, the largest of the flowering-plant families. 
The word "aster" derives from a Greek word meaning "star" and was considered a sacred emblem in the pantheon of Greek divinities.  
There is a legend that says asters are a result of a god scattering stardust over the Earth. All through history, asters have been associated with good, and were often placed around alters, as well as wounds and used to ward off evil spirits. 
The most common aster colours are blue, lavender and purple. However, they are also hybrids that are white in colour and others that come in hues of red from pink to crimson.   Mix and match colours for the maximum effect.
The New England Aster and the Michaelmas Daisy may well be among the best-known members of this genus.  
 Asters make great dried flowers. To dry asters you need to use a silica gel which absorbs moisture from flowers rapidly. This preserves the flower color and the majority of flowers will dry in 36 to 48 hours. 
In addition to the silica gel you will need a preferable plastic air tight box. You lay the gel over the bottom of the box, making sure that it is completely covered. 

Next, place the on top of this bed and gently sprinkle the silica gel on the flowers until they are covered. 
A spoon will help you get the gel into the corners and will not harm the flowers. 
Now you cover the box and let is sit for 48 hours. The flowers will hold their colour and you are also able to reuse the silica gel.  
All you need to do is place the silica gel onto a baking sheet in your oven at 200 degrees to dry it back out again.  
The asters will not only look great in a container on your patio or in your garden but they are perennials and will be back next year. Another bonus is they bloom prolifically enough so that you will have blooms for dried and cut flowers as well as your outdoor garden. 
If you are looking for something new for your garden there is an aster waiting for you, so until next week, happy gardening.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

From My Garden is Published

My eBook, From My Garden, is now available for purchase. To learn more please visit this site. I'd love your feedback.

This book is based on my personal experiences as a gardener, garden writer, workshop facilitator, lecturer, and permaculture designer. Most of the gardening I have done has been undertaken in urban environments. I have created small to medium gardens for myself and others on balconies, decks, and backyards. I love growing plants in containers.

Why Lorne Publishing?

I choose to call this project Lorne Publishing to honour an uncle I never met. My father's older brother Lorne Ewing. he passed away at 19 from scarlet fever.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Beauty is a function and one that deserves our respect and attention. Spend, even 20 minutes, in a backyard near the flower garden, feel the sun warming your face, hear the hum of the bees and watch the butterflies float from plant to plant, and you will see and feel the value beauty brings. The dance of life is taking place before your eyes.

from my eBook; From My Garden, available soon.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Podcast Coming soon

I am working on a podcast, working title "We Are Nature Working" I will talk about the many issues facing us from climate catastro...