FROST PROTECTION - Basics

FROST is possibly on its way!
Whether you want to harvest soon or want to extend the season longer, here are some of my basic tricks to protect most vegetable plants from frost!
Dry Skin
- Well, we already have rain, but if you can get the plants covered before precipitation, then you are a step ahead. If your plants are wet, they will freeze/frost faster. Dry-skinned plants withstand cold better.
Cold Framing!
- Supports and Poly are the greatest! Whether you make hoops or pergolas, boxes, or pyramids, the idea is to keep the frost & wet off the plants, and trap warmth in/ keep cold-out.
- It’s important to keep the poly from touching the plants if possible but not with too much head space (heat rises & we want it around the plants). Where the poly touches plants, they may get frost damage. Old blankets really work best in place of poly when it is NOT raining or wet snow.
- Take the poly off if it gets hot out! Oooor, roll them up on one side or open them to vent, especially if the forecast shows they'll need protect again.
Insulation from Freezing!
- Insulate Above & Sides: Old blankets between the poly and the plants makes for extra insulation. As per above, if it is not too wet, use the blankets as the cover and the insulation at the same time!
- Insulate Sides: Place straw bales around ground beds or raised planters.
- Insulate Roots: Mulch-up at least a few inches of the surface of your raised or ground beds with untreated wood shavings or fallen leaves (non-diseased nor infested). Adding your autumn application of compost also insults those roots!
- Insulate All Around! {Thermal Mass}: The mounded compost or soil, holds heat, as do boulders around the garden or amongst its plants. Depending on how large your cold-frame is, you can place filled black barrels of water where they absorb sun and they act as a thermal mass too!
Don’t Need No Protection!
- Plants that DON'T need frost protection (temperatures from 5ºC to 0ºC): Kale, Chard, Romaine Lettuce, Beets, Cabbage, Broccoli, Winter-Squash, Carrots, Potatoes... basically most of your more thick skinned, rigid produce and root veggies!
- I harvest most kale and broccoli in snow! The other leaf greens and root veggies are harvested before the ground freezes!

I trust that this will help those of you new to edible gardening and to those that are interested in extending your garden season!

Some of what is still growing in my garden! Many plants were planted late, but with these basic frost protection techniques, I can extend my season for a while (as long as we don't drop much below zero)!

Some of what is still growing in my garden! Many plants were planted late, but with these basic frost protection techniques, I can extend my season for a while (as long as we don't drop much below zero)!

Today we Killed a Tree

CrabbystumpandMe.jpg

This could be an analogy to human relationships we can sacrificed in our lives, and you can read this blog that way if that is what resonates for you right now... but this is just about a tree, and how we killed it and all its relationships (human and otherwise)...

In my landscape designing, I rarely remove existing trees, unless they are severely diseased or pose a danger.

This tree of ours, it was here before we bought our house 12 years ago. It was likely 25-30 years old today. I haven’t counted the rings yet.

It gave us fruit year-round; perfect shade; hours of playing with climbing, swinging, and imagination. It gave us so much beauty; fresh air; and so many birds. It brought in rabbits, squirrels, cats, and bats. This tree was a habitat; providing food, shelter, and cover for many macro- and micro-organisms.

Our tree had fireblight disease, but it was managed and could have been cured.

We took down (killed) this mature crabapple, because we want to put a trampoline in its place, and then a greenhouse once the trampoline is gone (if it ever goes). I feel guilty… we killed this grand living organism for our own desires. I am deeply connected to our Earth, & so yes, I feel guilt and mourn.

We have many other trees. We have planted 3 more fruit trees and 2 large fruit shrubs. We will be planting so many more.

But it doesn’t replace this tree, nor the relationship to the soil, to its entwined roots with its neighbouring kin, to its symbiotic fungi, to all the fauna and flora connected to it, or to its relationship with my children, our memories, and to my Soul.

Thank you to this amazing tree that was the centerpiece of our piece of Earth these last 12 years with this yard. I apologize to you tree and to all the relationships you hosted and fostered. I can not amend what we have done. I will continue to give you gratitude and will make the most of your loss.

Stolen Ideas but Gained Lesson?

Have you ever felt that your ideas have been stolen? I have… several times, and usually from the same culprit companies.

I have great ideas.
Ideas that bring me joy and help other people… and that in it’s self brings me joy.
Ideas that I can do as my work.
Ideas that help others, bring me joy, and help provide for my family.

I am a person who knows herself, who knows others, who connects with different people of many walks of life and of the range of ages.

I don’t have much capital or resources. I just have me, my contagious enthusiasm, my extensive knowledge and experience, and my ability to connect with others.

I share my ideas. I start to promote them.

And in a couple blinks, another company is doing it too. I’m cool with that. I’m cool with others being inspired to also make a difference in the World. It would be ridiculous if I didn’t.

What’s hard, is that they are bigger companies, that have the capital & resources, and they run with it. And they do great. I am happy for them. But a bit peeved.

Competition.

I love and hate that word. I love it for when it drives us to be our best. I hate it when the bigger guys step in and make it seemingly non-achievable for the small sole proprietor.

Were my ideas stolen? It sure feels like it. Did I steal them from somewhere else? I don’t think so, but if I did, it was not intentionally. My business ideas come from my own purpose to create a healthier, happier natural World and most especially, in my ability to connect with others and understand what they want.

I shall celebrate that I have inspired other businesses to make a more environmentally-aware and nature-appreciated society.

Hmmm… maybe I should be a “green” consultant for businesses? I know the Earth pretty darn well, especially our local ecosystem and ecology, and since I know people pretty darn well, I can teach other businesses on how to reach their target audience and how they can help create a more ecologically sound World. From greening their offices, to greening the clients!

Or maybe I should be a post-secondary instructor again? Guiding adults wanting to make a career out of their interests in ecology, the built environment, and urban landscape design.

Or maybe I should look at other avenues to bring my passion and purpose to fruition?

Or maybe I keep on doing what I have been doing… consulting and designing residentially, keep on doing nature & garden education programs, keep on taking differing projects inline with my biological, conservation, landscape design, and nature education background, and keep on the track I am on… but take that competition and make it drive me more?

Maybe I should stop thinking of my business as small. And I greatly miss it feeling big. It might just be that I have gained a stronger push to make my business what I know it can be.

I have something to gain from this repeating theft-experience.

You, my clients, colleagues, former-coworkers, and friends, what are your thoughts?

Thanks, your Nature & Nurture Ninja, Dora

DoraBerry_NaturesElements

Crazy for Control: In your Garden, Family, & Life!

Photo Credit: Carillon Jane Photography

Photo Credit: Carillon Jane Photography

A seed flourishes from what is inside itself, and from only allowing nourishment and warmth in, and keeping harm out.
— Dora Berry

Gardeners realize that there is much we can not control.
We can’t control the seasons nor the weather.
We can’t control the moon nor its gravitational pulls.
We can’t control Nature nor it always working to restore itself.

I am blessed that my father and grandparents showed me to work with what I could not control as a gardener… to work with the seasons, the moon, Nature.

Relationships. How do we learn to work with what we can not control in our relationships?
If only I could get my children to listen.
If only I could get my spouse to understand.
If only I could get my boss and colleagues on board.
If only they would apologize; forgive; appreciate me.

For me, control is about diminishing scary variables... those scary variables are fear-based… and those fears manifest into my relationships.
Fear of my children hurting physically, mentally, or emotionally.
Fear my spouse doesn’t appreciate me.
Fear my work is inferior to others.
Fear my potential, goals, and dreams will never be realized.

CHAOS: “If I can control all the outside factors, then maybe I can control what I am feeling inside”… This is WRONG!!!

If only I would listen to my children.
If only I understood my spouse.
If only I was on board with my team.
If only I would apologize; forgive; appreciate them.
If only I listened, understood, apologized, forgave, appreciated myself!

… and if I do, the internal chaos would calm and I would not desire control…

And from there relationships grow.

A seed doesn’t flourish because of what it can control outside its seed-coat. A seed flourishes from what is inside itself, and from only allowing nourishment and warmth in, and keeping harm out. Then, it can burst forth and truly show itself!!! All the while never loosing its inner power nor its selective coat.

We can control what is within us.
We can control what we allow in and what we don’t.
We can control what we allow of ourselves out to the World.

What relationships are you trying to control in your life?
What can you do within yourself? – listen to yourself, forgive yourself, appreciate yourself, etc
What do you need & desire into your life and what is not allowed?
What do you desire to give out of yourself and to who?

The seasons, the moon, Nature, have taught me that I also go through seasons, cycles, and forces. I beautifully wear my seed-coat, nurture myself within, nurture my relationships, and I burst forth into my truest self and flourish!

We got this.

For some more guidance on releasing the chaos of control and creating calm within you, here is a video from healingforest.org

Summer Lovin’: An Open Relationship with my Garden

Yes. I am in love with SASKATOONS… so wild and sweet.
But... I also am in love with SCARLET RUNNER BEANS… crazy, sexy, red heads.
Then there are the GREEN BEANS… just so uncomplicated, easy, and committed.
None compare to my two greatest lovers… well, especially when we three are together…
TOMATO & BASIL!!!... (I can’t even describe them… when plucked fresh… I just can’t.)

I love my garden... we take it inside… we take it outside….
Oooh the endless bounty!
* Summer Squash & Winter Squash!
* Cantaloupe and Cucumbers!
* Lettuce, Kale, Chard! Beets!
* Herbs of aaaaalll kinds!
* Peppers, Sweet & Spicy!
* Potatoes!
* Raspberries, Gooseberries, Currants, Haskup!
* Aaaaaapples!
* Straaaaaawberries!!!
* Peeeeeeppermint!!!

Last Autumn, more loves were planted in our yard…
Asparagus ;)
Plums!!! Cherries!!!
Kiwiberry!!


And guess what… I am planting more!
Pears!!!
Nettle!!!
Blueberries!!!
and soooo many more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

{DEEP BREATH}.

Don’t get me started on all the COMPANION FLOWERS!!!!

{DEEP BREATHE}.

Pheeeeewwwwwwwwww.
Sooooo, uhmmm...
who else is starting their vegetable seeds this month?
~ and also dreaming of their Summer Lovin’? ~