Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something New

Wow.  These pots looked great during the day but at night they were spectacular. An internal light came on after dusk so that the pots glowed. Thanks  to Larry Hodgson ( for forwarding the link to me for the source of these pots out of Italy ( If you want to wow someone - especially on a big site- these are your pots! I noticed when I went back to Quebec in the fall the summer plants had been changed out in favour of fall mums colour coordinated to the pots! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More on recycled pots...

Well - here it is. The basil seedlings are well up now even though our house was so cold over the holidays my poinsettia died from cold temperature injury! What are you gonna do? It's an old house and the furnace gave out during an especially cold spell. Enough about the house. Our housesitter - lovely girl - watered my basil in my freezing cold house as often as she remembered while I was away over the holidays.

One obvious thing  is that the cowpots do not tolerate  drying out - or at least I assume this is what happened because everything had germinated before I left them in the care of the housesitter. From left to right here are the pots on trial: Coir pot, ecotainer, cowpot. As you can see the cowpots have failed miserably and there is nothing left. These pots look and feel a lot like peat pots and I know those are also subject to drying out.  Cowpots pots break easily too and the rims are already breaking down even though the pot of dead plants is no longer being watered - obviously. I guess I'll move some of the basil plants into individual pots and allow the two remaining pots of basil in the two surviving recyclable pots to bulk up a bit as is just to see if the pots break down as the plants grow bigger. Watching plants grow - my new hobby in January!

Friday, January 16, 2009

What about those recyclable pots?

Yes- for those who have been wondering - my new recyclable pots that I tested with basil have had some mixed results. I am about to transplant the basil started just before Christmas but will take a few photos and post them here first. You will be surprised....

Coming soon

New Year's Resolution- just a few days late!

Okay folks - now is the time to commit to organic. I am realizing as I read over the Soil Association Standards ( that it is no longer allowable to use bonemeal on certified organic farms in Europe. No more bonemeal? That is fine by me because I have never been a believer in bonemeal but what else is there to know about organic gardening and farming that may have slipped through my inspection process?

I decided I needed to pursue the study of organics more fully and have made that my new year's resolution. I am also attempting to eat more organic foods as well as grow them and this could be a challenge. Sometimes the expense of buying organic veg is in the hidden cost of transportation. That cost to the environment  can't be all good so it puts a small black mark on transported organics and places us back at the old question of how to find good local and organic food at this time of year.  

I am not giving up on our farmer's market although I realize many of their products and suppliers are not organic even though they are local. Some of them do claim to be pesticide free and that is a good start. Organically managed farms improve the soil over time and they do this with green manures and some animal manures as well as rock dusts. Once the soil has the nutrients it needs, the food it produces is better for us. Well, that is my claim and I am sticking to it! If in doubt please read Michael Pollen's "In Defense of Food".  It is an amazing read.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Winter Snow Weighs down hedges

Our Christmas break to our west coast getaway went sideways with snowfall exceeding expectations for Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island as we arrived December 23.  With over a metre (3 feet) of snow falling the weekend before Christmas, all golf games were cancelled and planned gardening activities such as digging the final carrots for Christmas dinner just didn't happen. The heavy snow literally crushed hedges and created what could be quite a mess this spring. 
Evergreen hedges will probably be most affected and the only solution is to be right there when the snow falls and knock it off before it builds up. Easy to say but hard to do once the damage has happened. We will now have to wait until spring to really evaluate our damage.

The good news is that once the snow melted a  bit it was once more kayaking season and a view from the bay revealed a surviving  hedge near an older home. Imagine pruning this tall evergreen hedge!