Saturday, June 28, 2008

What is happening to the honeybees?

For the last couple years, bee colonies have been collapsing in North America. From the information out there, it appears that this phenomenon could seriously affect our food supply. It is not just a problem in North America, however, countries all over the world have been reporting bee shortages.

Bees are extremely important in many crops such as almonds, berries and other fruits and vegetables; in the United States, honeybee pollination activities are estimated to add about $15-billion (U.S.) a year. It is clear that this is something that is causing fear and worry, and unfortunately, the cause is unknown. There are many theories as to why the bees are disappearing, but these are only theories.

I have a beautiful, white flowering shrub at the front of my house. Yesterday, I noticed that there was an unbelievable number of honeybees feasting on the flowers. I am happy that my gardens are able to provide for these bees. It seems like I am seeing and thinking about bees a lot these days. Just the other day, a co-worker offered me some tips for my pepper plants. She told me to put some honey on the blossoms and it will attract bees, making for more fruit. I don't know if this is accurate or not, but I thought it was interesting considering the interest I have taken in bees.

So, I don't know if there is much I can do to help the bees, but I will try my best to keep my garden blooming well for them....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New idea for my carrots

For some reason my carrots are not thriving in my raised bed (on-ground), so I planted some in planters where I put some nasturtiums. I hope that they are compatible. I feel like I am running out of time this summer to get my carrots going, so I thought I would try this. Also, it didn't help that we had really big hail the other tore apart my lettuce plants and ripped off some branches on my tomatoes. But, the tomatoes seem ok, but my lettuce is hurting. I am going to plant some more lettuce as well.

I am trying not to obsess about the plants that are not doing well...carrots and now my lettuce. My cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers are growing well, so I am concentrating on that. It is easy to get frustrated, but I am new at this.

I will be posting pictures this week....

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Carrots not growing

So...I am having a problem. I keep planting carrots, and while a lot of them come up....they mysteriously disappear. I don't know if bugs are eating them, but I have put mesh around my garden to keep rabbits and small animals out. Could it be birds? If so, I don't know why they aren't eating my lettuce and cucumbers. I don't know what is going on. It is very frustrating. I am going to plant a couple more rows and then see what happens. I wonder if anyone else has this problem?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Garden progress has been a little while since I posted last. Lots going on though...and I went away for a week. I left my budding garden in the care of a friend while I was away. It survived....only it looks like two of my pepper seedlings were eaten by something. Luckily I had started a lot.

My front yard had changed a lot in the week I was gone. My purple columbines bloomed, my yellow tulips had a feathered red colour at the petal ends, lilacs were in full bloom as well as some white flowering shrubs with an unknown name.

My backyard has also changed...I had planted some hostas that my mom gave me before I went away. They were doing great, lilacs, magnolia, pink flowering shrub and bleeding hearts.

I am going to plant the rest of my nasturtium seeds in planters this weekend as well as my morning glories. There is supposed to be beautiful weather this weekend (maybe a bit on the hot side) I am looking forward to it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lee Valley Garden Tools

I was at a garden show in Stratford, Ontario a couple months ago and I signed up for the Lee Valley Garden Tools catalogue. My husband is a big fan of Lee Valley, and so I thought I would see what they have to offer in the way of gardening. I have received the catalogue, but I haven't tried any of their products. I am specifically interested in a couple of their products and I am wondering if anyone out there has any thoughts on them.

The "Upside-Down Planter" - used to extend the growing season of tomatoes (can be moved easily when there is a danger of frost) and requires no staking or weeding. The product description also includes that it keeps plants safe from earth-borne insects and can also be used for cucumbers and peppers. Wondering if this works as well as it seems that it theoretically should.

"Super Red Mulch" - when put on the soil under tomatoes, Lee Valley claims that it will increase yields by up to 20% over black mulch. It works by reflecting a certain spectrum of light back to the plants, stimulating rapid growth and development.

I am interested in many of Lee Valley's garden tools, but these were the most intriguing. Since I am at the beginning of my garden journey, I am trying to learn as much as I can before making gardening purchases. Looking forward to hearing any feedback.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Food crisis and urban food production

So, I am sure that most people have heard about the current world food crisis in the news. Many developing countries are struggling with food inflation and limiting their exports of staple foods such as wheat and rice. This is driving the prices up and resulting in panic and riots in many of these countries.

For me, this really drives home the cold, hard facts about global food production. I hope that it makes more people more aware of where their food comes from. It is sometimes astounding to me that a lot of people that I know prefer to not think about the fact that the chicken that they are eating was actually a living bird. Or that the banana that they are eating travels thousands of miles before it ends up in their hands. Our modern society has put us so out of touch with the world outside of the North American bubble. I think that the distance food travels has definitely been more prominent in the media, and it is for this reason that more people (in my experience) seem to be thinking more about "buying locally". I wonder how long it will take for these same people to start growing a garden.

Now, I don't think that having a garden is going to save the world, but I am comforted in knowing that some of the food that I am eating is actually produced by myself. Lately, I have been coming across a few stories of individuals and communities coming together to find alternatives to the current food system. I find this very encouraging and I enjoy reading these stories. Change begins with individuals.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Garden in the spring

So, with all the bulbs coming up and spring flowers blooming, I thought this was a good time to post some pics of my gardens.

Front yard:

Back yard:


My soil comes tomorrow! So, time to get my gardens ready.....