10 neat things about edibles
1. Plants feed the world. If it weren’t for plants, there would be no animals. It all comes down to plants.
That’s because only plants know how to change the energy of the sun into digestible protein.
They do this with the help of microbes that assist in releasing chemicals from the soil and water.
Scientists are now looking at this relationship to see how plant production can be increased without the use of chemical fertilizers.
They feel some urgency. According to predictions, in 20 years we will have to increase crop production by 70 per cent to 100 per cent in order to keep pace with population growth and demand.
2. Little land, lot’s of veggies. Today we no longer have to own a vast tract of land to get excellent production.
Our challenges are more about preservation and storage because you can grow a lot of vegetables in a small space, using intensive market farming practices: growing in raised beds or containers and using vertical space with hanging baskets and arbours.
Raised beds and containers allow you to plant more intensively because you can easily improve the growing medium from year to year.
3. Trees and shrubs for food. When planning your edible garden, start with the bones of the garden: trees and shrubs.
If the space is small, consider espaliered apple trees – this is where the tree is trained to grow on a horizontal plane along a fence or a wall.
You can also get very narrow columnar trees that will produce full-sized fruit.
Raspberries and blueberries are now available as patio plants.
Consider haskaps (also called honeyberries), the blue, berry bush fruit that is considered so delicious.
Elderberries are lovely to look at and bear wonderful fruit that is great in jams, jellies and pies.
Don’t forget the odd gooseberry bush.
4. Hanging strawberries. Everbearing strawberries make great hanging basket plants.
The berries get lots of sunlight and are kept clean, suspended in the air.
5. Tomatoes. Tomatoes do just fine in both containers and hanging baskets.
The secret is to ensure that they never dry out.
Strip tomato stems and bury them up to the last four or five leaves when transplanting.
They will send out roots all along the stem which will help to ensure that the plant gets a continual supply of water.
Mulching the pot helps, as does mixing in one part coir (coco husk) to seven parts soil or potting medium.
6. Compost. Growing edibles calls for the best practices in composting – not just to dispose of the left over vegetation, but to provide the healthiest, most chemical-free growing medium.
A good dressing of compost eliminates the need for fertilizers and helps the plants stay healthy enough to fight off disease.
7. Companion planting. Choosing the right plants to combine in a garden can save you much time hunting down and destroying unwelcome insects.
Plant yarrow throughout your vegetable garden to activate disease resistance among the other plants. Grow mint to keep cabbage moths away.
Plant the mint in containers stuck in the ground to prevent it from taking over.
Plant some nasturtiums and marigolds in the veggie patch to ward off insects.
8. Worm castings. Don’t like the idea of raising worms yourself to harvest their rich growth hormones?
You can now buy a product called Worm Gold from which to make a tea that will give you spectacular results.
Plants are stronger and healthier and grow faster with the tea.
9. Seaweed still works. Seaweed products contain trace elements that make plants thrive.
It boosts the action of your compost or fertilizer.
10. Make pickles! You can keep your bean and cucumber crops producing by picking the produce.
When the supply starts to build up, solve the problem by making pickles the old-fashioned way.
Fermented foods such a homemade pickles help feed the good bacteria in our gastrointestinal tracts, keeping us healthy.
–The Ultimate Guide to Cold Climate Gardening by Bernie Whetter, owner of The Green Spot
Iron Earth Soil Re-Mineralizer
• Iron Earth is highly compressed, natural, organic humus, formed through the biological breakdown of plant life over 75 million years old.
• Add Iron Earth to your garden soil and planter pots to provide the naturally occurring nutrients necessary for optimal plant growth, and excellent plant health.
• Also available at The Green Spot
Canadian beneficial Nematodes
• Lawn Guardian is a package of Canadian beneficial Nematodes that will help you naturally control insects in your lawn and garden.
• This one particularly focuses on the June-Japanese Beetle and European Chafer.
• Once applied, it will hunt down and kill the grubs before they are able to transform into the beetle.
Tips for hanging framed items
We offer these tips courtesy of Larson-Juhl.
Even the most beautiful pieces of framed art can still look awkward if they are not hung logically.
Some of the key considerations are:
- Choosing framed art that fits the space where it will hang
- Hang frames in reasonably close proximity to the furniture below it to create unison
- Hang frames at eye level for maximum viewing pleasure, keeping in mind people stand in foyers and halls and sit in many other spaces so that height can vary.
To avoid crooked frames on the wall:
When frames are hung from a single point, they usually shift on the wall over time.
Both for safety and also to keep frames straight, always hang everything from two points.
On heavier pieces this also helps distribute the weight.