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...

Urban agriculture for a greener future

Wikipedia defines Urban agriculture as the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city. Urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, Urban beekeeping, and horticulture. More people are now living and working in urban centres, making the opportunity for growing food and raising small livestock, such as chickens and rabbits, becoming more common. It’s also exciting! There are so many ways we can incorporate food gardens as part our daily lives, and more and more, many of us are taking that option. Pots, vertical structures, fences, and overall designs can give a urban garden a unique and beautiful look. Using sustainable solutions and lots of creativity, urban farming is a good food solution for the city dwellers and is a big part of increasing a community food system. Urban agriculture has many benefits and is definitely a strategy for a future greening of the planet. Benefits of range from eating healthier, saving fuel, reducing pollution, decreasing transportation of food, greening of city spaces like parks, planting in front yards, schoolyards, rooftops, balconies, connect with the local community and the Earth itself.  Farming in urban centres is definitely a way to address climate change. On the economic side, farmers market are on the rise, youth are registering for courses and apprenticeships. Architects, Engineers and urban planners are now including food gardens in their designs for building sustainable neighbourhoods. The potential for training and education is huge, since urban agriculture is becoming an expected way of life for many people. Urban agriculture is an example of a modern victory garden. More info about...

Creating a food space

How delicious is fresh beans, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers or tomatoes? Sumptuous. Nutritious.  Creating a victory garden for today’s modern society is easy because it can take many forms, such as pots, unused space, and buckets.  One of the biggest decision is to plant something.  When designing a home victory garden, think about the overall look: colour; structures; perhaps a theme, shape and size are a few of the considerations.  Be mindful that most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight. If you already have a flower garden, perhaps a few potted vegetables placed, or space between flowers, being mindful for the sunlight, water and soil conditions. Other considerations: time and budget.  There is no gain if you spend money to buy seeds, without the time to maintain the plants and enjoy the harvest. If time is an issue, you can become a member of a CSA, or support your local farmers market. The goal is to plant what you have the time to maintain. Other ideas for planting: Use pots, trellises, fences, bare spots, table, chairs, and even old iron beds to create interest, wonder and inspiration. An old ladder with pots, boots, tools can also serve as a trellis for beans, or tomatoes or both. Plant Marigolds to keep rabbits away. You can also add herbs, and edible flowers around fruit trees, berry bushes in the ground or in pots for a different look. Designing a space for food is as individual as the person designing or using it.  It doesn’t matter about the size, what matters is planting something. By looking around your garden, you can find a spot ot...

What is a victory garden

                Victory Gardens are designed to specifically address the nutrient value of food for the growing season. Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens which were grown at private homes and public parks.  Victory Gardens are sometimes referred to as Peace Gardens. It was emphasized to home front urbanites and suburbanites that the produce from their gardens would help to lower the price of vegetables needed by the military to feed the troops, thus saving money that could be spent elsewhere on the military They were popular during WW 1 and WW 2. to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil ” morale ” booster” — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. Production Planting of victory gardens by nearly 20 million Americans. These gardens produced up to 40 percent of all the vegetable produce being consumed nationally. Canada & US By the end of 1943, there were more than 200 000 victory gardens in Canada, producing about 550lb of produce each! One gardener in seven was a city dweller. There were 15% more home gardeners than in 1942; 24% more than 1940. The number of gardens in Vancouver, including New Westminster, Burnaby, North and West Vancouver by the end of the year was 52,000; the value of the food they produced in the 1943 season was estimated (in the dollar...

Planting seeds basics

 Growing your own food is pure satisfaction for fresher, tastier and enjoyable dining. One of the ways to grow your own foods is to plant seeds and a little organization can help to make it fun and easier to maximize the planting seed experience.  Feel free to share your tips. Here some tips: I washed the trays in soap and water and rinse well, a few day before starting to plant the seeds. Other suggestions can be found here Create a space for the planting, I used a table with some plastic for easy cleaning up; Materials and supplies ready for planting- trays, seeds, labelling sticks, permanent marker, soil mixture, water, and cleanup cloths; Read the instructions on the seed packages before planting, as each variety have different needs; Depending on the amount of seeds, schedule a couple of hours for planting. How deep and how far   The general rule for planting is one and half times the width of the seeds  It is better to plant more than less. When planting in trays, I usually put more than one seed in the compartment, especially if they are my own seeds saved from the previous year. If it’s in the ground (after the last frost in Ontario), I tend to plant them a little closer together than the recommended distance, so if all of the seeds don’t sprout, there is enough plants to thin out to easily fill in the bare spots. The victory garden is about self sufficiency and doing it yourself. Start growing your own food, you’ll love...

Food Garden stories

When it comes to gardening, there is so much to learn from each other.  One example I learn over the years, the companion gardening technique of planting garlic around rose bushes.  I love garlic in my food and I use rose for tea, decoration and potpouri.  This technique reduced the aphids while increasing the blossoms of roses.  I also used wood chips and pots of chives. One aspect that is helpful is to tell us where you are growing and how you are using your harvests. When we share with each other we learn from a magniificent oasis of wisdom, while making connections to real people who have learnt through doing and care enough to let others use their experiences, that’s building community. Sharing gardening stories inspires and helps others who are also passionate about growing their own fruits and vegetables.   Topics such as: – planting techniques –  saving water – types of containers – support frames, – pollinators & bugs – equipment – materials – saving seeds – pruning – organic & natural growing techniques – traditional...

Windfields Community & Teaching Gardens

A Community of allotment gardeners Growing your own food contributes to living healthier and greening the planet. In 2009, FBSC initiated its food program with an enthusiastic approach, inviting the community to grow their own food and taste the difference of freshly harvested vegetables.  After the initial excitement, it became quite evident that basic horticulture skills needed to be enhanced, or introduced.  This lead us to offer educational events, such as a inviting gardeners to talk about their own experiences, and experts to give guidance for growing.  One very successful event was the Vintage Tea Party, where guests had to go and gather herbs from the Tea Garden (one of the plots in the Teaching Garden) and make their own tea.  Tea herbs ranged from 10 types of mints to a potted Jasmine.  The follow up  was to get more information about the herb, to start the process of  sharing information and experiences, while enjoying the harvest together. Below, are the 2009 pictures from field to fork.  These are the pictures of Windfields Community Gardens, a 10 acre parcel included approximately 5 acres used for community gardeners and 5 acres for the Teaching Gardens.  There were 37 community garden plots and 20 teaching garden plots.  Initially, the produce was donated to Simcoe Settlement House, and later to newly formed Regional Food Bank, Feed the Need for greater distribution throughout the all communities!  Every year we donate more than 1600 pounds fresh vegetables to the local food bank, the Royal Canadian Legion and places of faith involved in feeding the hungry. Our philosophy is to encourage local residents to come and learn how...