Today’s post is about sharing a story and marking a moment. We’ll share the recipe and technique for Dandelion Wine next week if that’s what you’re looking for! And, while it may start a little morose, it does circle back to the reason I write here; it’s the story of how food (specifically preserving) brings comfort in tough times.
I lost a dear friend this week. I won’t trouble you with the details spare that it had been coming for some time and that he was far too young to have passed. Our friendship is a tough one to describe to others but we never had to describe it nor defend it to each other and that’s what counted.
This is an invite and a call to action to join many people around the world in a peaceful protest against Monsanto this Saturday (May 25th).
Monsanto is at the heart of genetically modified food (GMOs). They own the intellectual copyright on certain seeds; they own a form of life (reportedly even doing so when it spreads into other fields through wind and pollination).
It was almost a year ago when the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) launched a definition for the word “local” and I vetted our concerns. The definition was simultaneously too stringent (it limited local to 50 kilometers which would almost make “local” food a commercial impossibility within large city limits) while also being way too hole-ridden (using the word ‘or’ meant ambiguous application was possible).
Dana and I have just returned from an unbelievable month of travel. After visiting Spain together, Dana got to sneak a few days in London; Joel had a business trip in Dallas and we visited Nashville together. We don’t usually travel this much these days so it was an exciting month; but we’re thrilled to be home in time for the start of planting/ gardening seasons and for the start of many Farmer’s Markets too!
We’re also excited about HomeEc! HomeEc is a non-competitive food event that’s often a potluck attended by a group of strangers. Each month has a different theme and it’s an excuse to meet people, share food and conversation. It’s generally held on the last Monday of the month. You can see an archive of the events here.
Our theme for this month revisits the theme from HomeEc #1 – it’s time to make some Bar Snacks!
As I child I would spend portions of every summer in Nova Scotia. We had lots of family out there and it was a great place to be.
Some of my fondest memories involve mackerel jigging. Jigging is like fishing except that you don’t use fishing rods. Our equipment was basic: 10-15 feet of thick fishing line wrapped around a cork. The cork would be loosely tied to the boat (so you couldn’t drop it) and the line(s) dropped into the water. Most people would fish with two lines and the most skilled would have multiple hooks on a single line (my Grandfather would fish with 6-10 hooks at a time). THe fisherman (or woman) would gently bob their line up and down (thus ‘jigging’ it).
Today is the fifth part of a series on square foot gardening and covers our journey of attempting to create a significant urban garden in part of a parking space in an alley in downtown Toronto. The entire story is saved under our tag for Square Foot Gardening. This is the last article in this series for a while (at least until the weather warms up enough to start planting). We’ll continue it soon.
When Dana and I studied Food Security in the fall I was struck by many things but the one that stuck with me was how urban farmers in the third world are able to grow significant crops with limited space and extremely limited supplies of water.
Water has been an issue for our garden. We carry it 1-gallon at a time from a kitchen faucet in the coffee shop we live above. It’s about a 70 foot walk and it takes a long time and many trips back and forth. The course really opened my eyes to three factors:
We are spoiled to have a seemingly abundant water supply so close.
We are using more water than we need (and taking longer than needed to do so).
The low-technology and high-innovation solutions being used in the third world could (and should) be used to conserve water and other resources here.
After taking the course I decided that I would spend a significant amount of time figuring out how to reduce our gardens dependency on water. I’m hoping the first step was our commitment to square foot gardening. The second step will hopefully be drip irrigation which we’ll introduce in this post. Once we’re completed installing the system (in 1-2 weeks), we will share a walk-through of our system but this post will contain enough information to get you up and running.
Drip irrigation is remarkably simple. There are few components: Read more
Today is the fourth part of a series on square foot gardening and covers our journey of attempting to create a significant urban garden in part of a parking space in an alley in downtown Toronto. For the rest of this week we’ll cover everything you need to build a square foot garden, how to fill it with soil (and what soil is used), link to great sources and discuss some of the benefits, limitations and even concerns. You’ll have everything you need to know to build your garden by the weekend. Next week we’ll share more detail on planting, watering and more. Over the summer and into the fall we’ll cover our adventures, successes and failures as they happen. The entire story will be saved under our tag for Square Foot Gardening.
We are almost ready for the growing season! The raised beds are built, gardens are in place and soil is ready to go! We have 66 square feet of gardening space and will be growing herbs on the fences around our gardens too. Here’s a preview:
What’s left to do?
Build a platform to raise our rain barrel off the ground.
Install the drip irrigation (we’ll cover the basics tomorrow and have a detailed walk-through once it’s installed in our garden).
We’re considering adding some eavestrough to collect more water for our barrel
All in all, it’s taken about 10 hours of building (plus an exponential amount of effort in research). Thankfully the research and building are tasks that we’ll benefit from for years; if all goes to plan we will able to sustain this garden for at least 10 years and only need to add compost each year (in addition to planting of course!)
I can’t wait to see it start to come to life! How’s your gardening coming?