Community Gardens

| September 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

Community gardens are parcels of land divided into small plots for local residents to grow their own flowers, fruit and vegetables. Community gardens owe their existence to the energy of residents. Vancouver residents may remember the debate in the late 1980’s over a section of community garden on Prior Street in Strathcona. When City Council finally decided to build housing on the section, gardeners and their friends moved an acre of topsoil to the remaining portion of the garden. Today the Strathcona Community Garden’s three acres of reclaimed land is a thriving collection of individual flower and vegetable plots.
Community gardens often sprout on empty lots owned by the city. The Victory Gardens of World War II were created on the empty strips of land next to railway tracks.

Finding a site for the garden can be a long search, but once the garden is in place, there is always a waiting list of people who want to join. The plots are often100 to 120 square feet. A whole plot typically rents for $10.00 a year, a half plot for $5.00. Gardeners share common space, fertilizer, tools, a tool shed, and sometimes the cost of buying plants. Grants usually help to cover other expenses such as the cost of metered water and public liability insurance. Gardeners meet several times over the growing season, once for a formal start-up, then a few times over the summer for informal pot luck dinners and an annual open house.

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    Filed Under: Green Government

    Backyard Composting Made Easy

    | June 21, 2009 | 0 Comments

    backyard-composting-illustrBackyard composting is an attractive, simple method of managing organic wastes at home. It has the advantage of being readily adaptable to fit individual lifestyles, income, yard size, and overall ambition. Backyard composting can be performed by a variety of methods. Typically, these include placing materials in open piles, burying materials in pits or trenches and enclosing materials in drums or bins (e.g., holding bins, turning bins, and worm bins. In order to heat up properly, compost piles should be at least one cubic yard in size. This provides the minimal insulation required to sustain the high temperatures in the center of the pile. Composting units or bins can either be commercial units, or can be simply constructed from inexpensive materials with little carpentry or masonry skills.

    The compost produced by backyard composting is an excellent soil conditioner. It enhances the structure of soil by binding soil particles together. This improves aeration and helps soil to retain water and nutrients. Compost also improves drainage in clay soils and water retention in sandy soils. Compost improves the buffering capacity of the soil and minimizes adverse effects to plants due to extreme shifts in soil pH. Adding compost to soil also attracts earthworms, which aerate the soil and add additional nutrients to the soil. Compost can store nutrients and release them slowly for use by surrounding plants. Although highly beneficial for soil, most composts are not considered fertilizers because they lack the amount of nitrogen necessary to be classed a fertilizer.

    Start the composting process with 50% green materials and 50% brown materials cut into pieces no larger than 1″ in size. Mix the materials and add water every 7-10 days. Your compost is ready to use when it’s dark brown, crumbly and smells like fresh turned earth.

    Backyard Composting

    Green materials:

    • Grass clippings
    • Garden trimmings
    • Green leaves
    • Livestock manure
    • Fruit and vegetable scraps
    • Coffee grounds and filters
    • Tea leaves and bags

    Brown matereials:

    • Wood chips and sawdust
    • Shredded yard wastes
    • Pine and fir needles
    • Straw and hay
    • Dry grass and leaves
    • Nut shells
    • Stale bread
    • Shredded paper
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      Filed Under: Green Home

      How to Plant Backyard Vegetables

      | May 1, 2009 | 0 Comments

      Location is key
      Find a space for your garden that receives plenty of sun. Prep the soil by tilling it with a borrowed or rented tiller. Mixing grass in with soil adds organic material. You will need to determine what soil type you have so you know what soil amendments (topsoil, gypsum, lime, fertilizer, organic material) to add. Bring a sample of your soil to your local agricultural extension office to receive a pH and soil analysis. If you only have a small area, consider container gardening. Many varieties of different vegetables grow well in large pots.
      backyard vegetables
      Planting time
      Once your soil is tilled and in good shape, it is time to plant. There are many types of seeds that you can start growing indoors in small containers approximately eight weeks before replanting into the outdoor garden. You can also buy transplants of many of the popular vegetables and fruits. These little plants work beautifully, are inexpensive, and are good for the beginning gardener who may only want one plant for each type of vegetable. Good starter crops include tomatoes, beans, peas, zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers. Make sure you plant after the last expected frost. You can find out about frost information by doing Google search online.

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        Filed Under: Green Home

        Earth Hour 2009

        | March 27, 2009 | 0 Comments

        VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

        We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

        VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

        Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

        For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

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          Filed Under: Green Business, Green Government, Green Home, Green Politics

          Use Hi-Tech to Bloom Your Garden

          | November 9, 2008 | 0 Comments

          So you want to have a green garden, kitchen or office, but you don’t know what plants/flowers best fit your specific environment? Don’t worry! We live in a hi-tech era. The EasyBloom Plant Sensor can help you:

          • Determine which plants will thrive in a specific spot in your yard or home.
          • Diagnose an ailing plant so you can bring it back to health.
          • Access detailed plant information on over 5000+ plants; create a custom plant library of your favorite plants.

          EasyBloom Helps Your Garden Grow

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            Filed Under: Green Gadget, Green Home