A few pages into Benjamin Vogt’s new book, A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion For An Uncertain Future, Vogt talks about two fundamental ways human beings think about ecology and engage with nature and the environment. Read the rest of this entry »

Urban Gardens posted about this very portable greenhouse on their site a few days ago and I thought it was so great I just had to post about it on my blog.

This amazing greenhouse was designed by Studio Besau-Marguerre in Hamburg in collaboration with Adrien Petrucci. It comes with a leather strap, which, aside from being fashionable, is also practical as you can move this small greenhouse inside or out as weather permits.

The Stone Zealot

March 19, 2012

I don’t know how many of you have read my About Me page, but on that page I describe myself as a ‘lover of all things stone.’ I love the look of stone and the feel of stone; I love prepping the site to lay stone or to build a stone wall. Stone is hard but malleable. It can look old and new; beautiful, rough, sleek and ancient all at the same time if worked by the right hands.

Casey Lynch and his brother Nate have built some very impressive stone walls through their landscaping firm Special Additions Landscaping. They also have a blog called thegardenzealot.com. When I happened across it, I found myself taking more than a few minutes to admire their work.

The wall above was built completely with found stone in Otis Orchards, WA and features a flower design in the center. It is a dry stack wall meaning no mortar was used. Instead it was built by meticulously finding the right stones for the right spaces and putting one on top of the other until a sound structure emerged.

The image below features three raised bed gardens, two stone and one cedar. The post  on thegardenzealot.com with information on these beds also has a link to a chart on Urban Garden Solutions that shows you how much more you can grow in the same amount of space in a raised bed.

Take a look at the Special Additions Landscaping web site for more beautiful landscapes Casey and Nate have built.

Also look out for their print magazine titled The Garden Zealot coming soon.

An Herb Spiral

March 17, 2012

I ran across this post about creating an Herb Spiral on Antony Jones’ web site The Kale Yard. It is an amazing way to grow a number of different herbs that require different growing conditions in a small space.

According to Anthony the idea behind the Herb Spiral is “to get as many different herbs as possible in a confined area. The spiral and the subsequent hight differences mean that you create a number of different environmental conditions which normally would not be possible in a small space.”

The link to directions for how to build an Herb Spiral are here at The Kale Yard.

Heirloom Tomatoes 2 ERD

Image via Wikipedia

People often ask me what makes a plant an heirloom. Good question. The answer is it depends on who you ask. A good general definition is a plant that was commonly grown in earlier periods of human history, has never been grown on a large agricultural scale and has been around for at least 60 years. Many will also say plants must be open pollinated to qualify.

All this aside, what I really want to talk about today is the Heirloom Plant Database at yourgardenshow.com. If you want to include more heirlooms, or new, interesting heirlooms, in your garden the database is a great place to get ideas. They have wonderful fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers from around the world and from right here at home. And as a plus, many of the heirlooms are great for the edible/ornamental garden like the Moonshadow Hyacinth Bean which has a wonderful purple pod.

Photo Courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

If you are looking for places to buy heirloom seeds I recommend Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seeds Trust. There is a plethora of information on the Seeds Trust web site including good information about heirloom, open pollinated and hybrid seeds. (Go to their home page and click Know Thy Seeds then Definitions.)

As for Baker Creek, their web site is good but their free catalog, which can be ordered on the web site, is better than a $30 gardening book you would buy at a store. It is packed with information on the history and care of the plants they sell and interesting quotes from gardeners throughout history.

A scanned red tomato, along with leaves and fl...

Image via Wikipedia

For those of us who grow tomatoes, and that is just about everyone who has a vegetable garden, many have probably noticed that there are often little nodes toward the bottom of the main stem of the plant. ‘What are these?, we may have asked ourselves at some point.

They are the root primordia. The root primordia is the earliest stage of root development. If that primordia had been underground it most likely would have developed into a root. This is why, when I transplant my tomatoes I plant them 3-5 inches below where they were in the container. I know it is a little sad to watch your tomato plant shrink in size as soon as you put it in the ground, but, in the long run you will have a stronger healthier plant.

Occasionally the nodes can signal an overall health problem with the plant so keep an eye on it. But the primordia are almost always harmless when above ground and beneficial when below ground.

A special thank you to Tim Matsui for letting us use his photographs in this post.

My school, Colby College, had Jan Plan. Jan Plan was great. For one month in between semesters you could do just about anything you wanted as long as you learned something. You could take a class somewhere else, learn to play the guitar, or go on a school-sponsored trip to London to study theater.

One year I went on an Earthwatch trip to Montserrat in the West Indies. Originally it was supposed to be an architectural dig but hurricane Hugo put the kibosh on that, so Earthwatch turned the trip into a hurricane relief project and asked all who had signed up if we still wanted to go. We all did.

In the main town of Montserrat, Plymouth, there had been a very old tree that marked the unofficial town gathering spot. People would meet there during the day as they went along their daily routines and at night to socialize.

The hurricane demolished the tree but people still gathered around the spot where it had been. To them this was a social routine that was not going to end because the tree was gone.

The Pomegranate Center, founded in 1986 by artist and community organizer Milenko Matanovic, is dedicated to working with communities to create public gathering places. The people of the Pomegranate Center believe their, “… time tested approach to public space building creates a foundation for healthy community development and can be a critical first step in bringing communities together to work for a healthier, more sustainable future.”

Recently the Pomegranate center completed a project in Sumner, WA that turned an alleyway into a community space.

To the left is a picture of the alley before any work was done. Not very inviting or practical as a community space.

But with hard work from Pomegranate staff members and the community this alley was transformed into the beautiful space you see below.

But with hard work from Pomegranate staff members and the community this alley was transformed into the beautiful space you see here.

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