Garden Gnome Ecosystems

Creating a sustainable system for gnomes to play in.


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Grow Write Guild Post #4: Happy Mother’s Day to My Mentors

blue-eyed grass

Dear Grannie,

You always had something from the garden on the table when we came out to the farm for the weekend, and you always had some work for us in the gardens. It was you who paid me a measly $3 dollars/hour to pull weeds and harvest seeds in your native species plots (I was six, that was a fortune, and quite frankly, I’m sure I didn’t deserve a penny more, given the pace I worked at).

It now comes naturally to name and adore a wildflower or a species of grass discovered along a gravel road or in the prairie plantings at the museum and the university. Now I find myself enraptured in work when it involves growing things, and madly plotting a business that just might help to change the world, one garden at a time.

Of course, I can’t ignore the influence of my mom – but it was you who raised her to take so much joy in plants and nature.  It was you who raised her to pass that on to me. After a few years of city life she moved us out to a little town, because she believed that every child should grow up on a farm. She dragged me out to the garden to pull weeds for free all summer long.  She set me up with a view of the horizon, a scrub brush, a mountain of carrots, a few cardboard boxes, and a couple bales of peat on a late summer day and then drove off, confident that I could pack all the carrots for the winter.

She wandered the prairie with me, pointing out wildflowers and sedges.

She fed us pigweed, stinging nettles, and lamb’s quarters.

“It’s yummy, kids. Try some.”

*black stares*

“Hide it in a sandwich, like this.”

She took me out to watch the creek flood in the spring, and we hopped from crossing to crossing, driving through the water where it was spilling over the road. At one crossing we watched a couple quads drive through – well, one made it, and the other stalled when his air-intake filled with water, halfway across. At the last crossing we came to the water looked a little high, but we decided to give it a go. In we went in her little truck. The water kept rising, but stopping to put the truck in reverse wasn’t really an option. We would surely be swept off the slick concrete if we stopped. We watched in horror as the water started to roll up over the hood. For a few seconds, the truck seemed to slip downstream a little, and we wondered if we were about to go swimming.  Just in time, the tires gripped, the hood emerged from the creek again, and we drove out laughing and hoping we hadn’t hurt the truck.  We did.  It never ran quite right after that trip.

It still is my mother who receives my texts and phone calls when I can’t remember the name of a plant.

It was a grounding in growing plants that prepared me for a video, and then a workshop, and then a community garden job where my faith in humanity was restored; where I learned that you can change the world in a garden.  Because of you, I’m going to grow a garden.  Because of you, I’m going to do everything in my power to make edible landscapes a part of our cities, a staple in our backyards, and a part of a movement to change the world.
blue-eyed grass blossom

I found blue-eyed grass in my backyard (Sisyrinchium montanum) two years ago.  I never would have recognized it without the raising you both gave me. Such a tiny, discrete flower could not have brought me such peace. At that moment, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be: in a weedy back-yard desperately in need of some love.

Your garden-loving granddaughter,

Ruth

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Saturday Inspiration: Cargo bikes, Atwood & Gibson, and urban fruit foraging

Things that made me happy this week:

From the internets:

From the garden:

pea sprouts


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First Food from the Garden

first garden salad

Well, first garnish.

Thinned basil seedlings over my standard salad – greens, apple, cheese, and honey mustard dressing. The flavours went together surprisingly well. Or maybe I was just so excited to be eating something that I grew that I pretended the flavours went together well.

First Garden Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 handfuls of greens
  • 1/2 an apple, chopped (with a few chunks missing)
  • 2 slices of cheese, chopped
  • 3 spoonfuls of lime juice for apple-chunk-dunking, and too-thick-dressing-thinning
  • 1 spoonful of this dressing (I made mine with mustard powder, which is why it needed thinning, and the resulting dressing was very citrusy)
  • Basil sprout snippings

Directions:

  1. Layer in a pretty bowl.
  2. Wander outside and take pictures of first garden salad, because it’s finally warm enough to go outside without socks!
  3. Eat salad.


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Saturday Inspiration: Eating for a dollar a day and naked gardening

These aren’t quite as inspiring as last week’s links – but worthy reading none the less.

A terrific post on how impossible it is to eat a varied and healthy diet for less than £1 per day (so, about $1.60 here) http://aethelreadtheunread.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/from-the-bbc-how-not-to-eat-healthily-for-1-a-day/

Today is World Naked Gardening Day! If Regina wasn’t still cold and snowy, I might consider partaking. (NSFW) http://www.wngd.org/


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Signs of Life on the Outside

I should have ventured further than the snowbank blocking my path yesterday. If I had, I’d have found all of this:

A tiny asparagus shoot.

Chives, coming up much more quickly than the ones in my windowsill.

Onions of some perennial variety, transplanted last summer from an Aunt’s overwhelmed garden.

A few tiny iris leaves.

Of course, tulips. It must be spring.

Hello spring. You’re a month late, but I’ll take it.


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Scenes from the First of May

We turned a page in the SCIC Global Action Calendar.

How ’bout a meat free Mother’s Day feast?

Spring arrived better than a month ago, right?

 

It snowed again yesterday.

At least there are signs of life inside:

The first seedlings for the windowsills. It’s a thicket of lettuce sprouts! Surely I’m not the only one who can’t be bothered to place every little lettuce seed into a perfectly spaced formation…

The first seedling for the garden! It’s a baby Roma!

Also, new critters arrived today.

Here is the worm house, awaiting their arrival:

I shredded the first 5 newspapers by hand.  And then my husband bought me a shredder.

The latest addition to our family of critters has arrived. They were wiggling away from the sun, sorry about the terrible photo.

Hopefully they survive…