Transition Brockville archive

Tag : Community gardens (75)

Companion planting with vegetables and flowers

Mother Earth News / Barbara Pleasant / April/May 2011

The idea of “companion planting” has been around for thousands of years, during which time it has become so besmirched with bad science and metaphysics that many gardeners aren’t sure what it means. The current definition goes something like this: Companion planting is the establishment of two or more species in close proximity so that some cultural benefit, such as pest control or increased yield, may be achieved.

Historically, North American and European gardeners have based many of their attempts with companion planting on widely published charts, which were mostly derived from funky chemistry experiments using plant extracts in the 1930s. But it turns out many of the plant partnerships listed in these “traditional” companion-planting charts don’t actually work well. Reaping the benefits of companion planting is possible, though, as long as you look to time-tested crop combinations.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Feature documentary: Symphony of the Soil

Transition Brockville / 14 February 2018

Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet.

Mark’s ten seedling tips

West Coast Seeds / Mark Macdonald / 22 February 2017

You’ve selected your seeds, you’ve invested in unfamiliar seed starting equipment, you’ve planted the seeds — and now the damn things are coming up! What to do?!

Lesson One: Take it easy. Remember that seeds are just like any other embryo, and that their parents have bestowed upon them a supply of food to get them started. As seeds germinate, they use this food to unfurl their first leaf/leaves, and to pop out a tiny, rudimentary root with which to take in water and nutrients. As those first leaves unfurl, the plants will begin taking energy from the sun through photosynthesis. My approach is to lay off all fertilizers until it’s time to transplant them into their permanent growing spots. Seedlings just don’t need a lot of food. They need bright light and a steady, but moderate supply of water.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Garden planning for food preservation

Mother Earth News / Deborah Niemann / February/March 2016

Our vegetable gardens offer us beautiful, fresh bounty during the growing season — and they also have the potential to increase our food security the rest of the year. When you craft a plan to put up some of the crops you grow, you’re preparing for the future, simplifying winter meals, reducing waste, and saving money, too.

As you plan your garden with preservation in mind, consider what your family loves to eat versus what they merely tolerate. Talk with your household members about what you want your meals to look like for the following year. If you’re aiming for year-round veggie self-sufficiency, calculate how many times per week on average your family eats a particular crop, and multiply that figure by 52 (number of weeks in a year). Then, use our chart of crop yields in Garden Planning: Guidelines for Growing Vegetables to arrive at a rough calculation of how much of that crop to plant. Or, to start smaller, jump in with any of the following ideas, organized from the easiest to grow and preserve to the crops and storage methods that require more expertise or a longer-term commitment.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Best flowers to plant with vegetables

Mother Earth News / Rosalind Creasy / February/March 2015

It turns out that flowers are an essential ingredient in establishing a healthy garden because they attract beneficial insects and birds, which control pests and pollinate crops. Most gardeners understand this on some level. They may even know that pollen and nectar are food for insects, and that seed heads provide food for birds. What some may not realize is just how many of our wild meadows and native plants have disappeared under acres of lawn, inedible shrubs and industrial agriculture’s fields of monocultures, leaving fewer food sources for beneficial critters. With bees and other pollinators under a chemical siege these days and their populations in drastic decline, offering chemical-free food sources and safe havens is crucial. Plus, giving beneficial insects supplemental food sources of pollen and nectar throughout the season means they’ll stick around for when pests show up.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Seed viability: Waste not, want not

The Edible Garden / Dale Odorizzi / January 2018

This is an exciting time in a gardener’s life. The hustle and bustle of Christmas has passed. I can finally sit down and leisurely leaf through the seed catalogues that have arrived in my mail box over the past month. It is the time when my garden looks its best, at least in my mind. I dream about the beautiful new flowers I can grow or how neat and weed free my vegetable garden will look. As I look through my seed catalogues, I am struck with the thought that last year I bought a pack of cucumber seeds and of the 100 seeds in the pack, I only used 12. I still have over half a pack of bean and pea seeds left.

Can I use them? Should I run the risk of using seeds that may not produce, or should I just order a bunch more. There are various simple tests for viability.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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The Transition Framework

What the Transition movement does incredibly well is small-scale experiments which are practical, which resonate with local people, which look as if they’re doable, and that can engage people at a practical and meaningful level. It connects up the big issues and the local issues and shows you that change can happen at a local level.

— Julian Dobson, 21 Stories of Transition
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