Local community celebrates food, fun and fellowship

Let’s celebrate Join us in celebrating the 5th Annual Community Harvest Dinner, a collaboration between the Foundation for Building Sustainable Communties and the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch, #43 Ladies Auxillary. For tickets, click here The Community Harvest Dinner is part of the Victory Garden Project which honours the past, and uses the knowledge to create solutions from a historical perspective for a current need. The dinner is a collaboration between the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #43, Ladies Auxillary and it celebrates local food production, urban agriculture and community gardens in the Durham...

On the homefront: Soil

From the ground up Soil: a growing medium What is soil? Soil is made up of number of components such as decayed & organic matter, (which makes composting/humus), mineral & rock particles, is one of the most important elements for achieving success in the garden.  Of course, other elements such as location, water, sunlight and maintenance are also important for gardening success. Living organisms, although microscopic, work hard beneath the ground to enrich the soil producing a high quality medium for planting.  One such organism is the Earthworm, which as they burrow, they consume soil, extracting nutrients from decomposing organic matter like leaves and roots. Earthworms are vital to soil health because they transport nutrients and minerals from below to the surface via their waste, and their tunnels aerate the ground. An earthworm can eat up to one third its body weight in a day (1). Other contributing factors for quality soil is air and water. Earthworms are the most easily recognized soil organism and are viewed as a sign of soil health. New no-tillers eagerly document the increase in worm numbers as a sign of improving soil health — and they are right to make that assumption. In fact, worms are often studied as an “indicator species” for monitoring changes in soil quality(2). Types of soils: Sandy soil is made up of large particles, which allow water to drains quickly and can often take valuable nutrients with it. Clay soil is composed of very small particles,have the ability to hold water and nutrients but air cannot penetrate between these spaces, especially when they are filled with water. Poor...

History of Victory Gardens

How it began The victory garden concept began as a way to address the shortage of food in Britain during the First World War, and later, the Second World War, by encouraging people to grow their own food.  As the population embraced the ‘Dig In‘ Campaign as it came to be known, activities included canning & preserving, entrepreneurship and community kitchens.  Most importantly, the Dig In Campaign supplied the much needed education materials for planting the crops to help the gardeners meet their daily nutrient value  for ensuring healthy...

DIY reservoirs for pots

Pots add interest in your victory garden, and can also mean more time for watering and due setting can increase the aesthetics of a garden To conserve water and keep your vegetables well watered, place a recycled plastic container to catch water under your pot, with ‘wicks’ that go from the potting mix through the drainage holes into the underground container of water. I add little rocks to ensure slow flow if I am going to be away. Keep your container garden happy and thriving on long hot days by installing a hidden water reservoir. All you need is an empty plastic bottle around the same height as your planter. It will be easier to start with a new planting than an established container. Here’s how: Cut. Using a craft knife, cut the bottom off a plastic bottle. The cut bottle should be no taller than the distance from the bottom of the pot to the top of the soil line. Remove the cap. Place. Fill your container up partially with soil, and then place the empty bottle, upside down, in the center. Add more soil around the sides so that it stands up. Plant. Add your new plants in the donut shape around the bottle. Water. On hot days, just fill up the bottle with water, and it will slowly trickle down to the deep roots of your plants. You may still need to top-water at first while your little plants are getting established. Using the bottle upside down makes it easy to add water; if you would like to use a bottle cap-side-up instead (with drainage holes cut into the bottom to...

Extending the growing season: Greenhouse

DIY Greenhouse Project: A community collaboration A greenhouse can extend the growing season to eat the freshly picked harvest. One of the advantages of a greenhouse (the one in the picture is for the victory garden) is the ability to grow more to  and use for preserving/canning  in season and to grow m The greenhouse was constructed in the Fall of 2012 at the Canadian Victory Garden. The greenhouse was a collaboration between the Foundation for Building Sustainable Communities (FBSC) and Meals Exchange at Durham Chapter, lead by Michael Watson.   Bricks from the old Guy farmhouse was repurposed as a herb garden in the summer of 2014 April 2015 swiss chard, kale, snow peas, green beans, cucumber, squash, spinach, peas, yellow beans, carrots, okra,...

What’s the Latin name

While reading horticulture labels, I became aware that learning the Latin name of a plant might be a good idea. Although it’s not a common language in today’s society, Latin is still used in the horticulture sector, so learning some basic names can help us identify and take better care of them. With a Latin or botanical name, information about a particular plant that can distinguishes it from another plant. The Latin name helps to describe it.  I went looking for websites with horticultural and garden info, specifically sites with Latin plant names, when I happened on BBC Gardening site with a game. I played it.  What is interesting and was quite revealing how much you can deduct from the hints that are given.  Take a chance with this fun game challenge.  To start, click on play game and if you quickly hover over the plant and it will give you hints to help you to identify it from the list. Amuse yourself. Let us know how you did. Click on the link below. http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/htbg/features/latin_names.shtml...