Most of what I like in a calendar has been laid out here.
My favourite one I ever had was a Kurzgesagt calendar that was for the current year according to the human era. You can see one here. I liked its little tidbits too. Honestly, if it's beautifully designed, easy to write in and shares or inspires something, I'll want it on my wall! I just never ended up buying it again because shipping was so expensive.
First off, congratulations on your move. My much better half and I are looking to buy a house on a bit of land in the next few months out in the Quinte West area. Whereabouts are you?
If you want something that looks neat and tidy but takes a minimum of time to slap up, I would grab some pallets if you can find them and assemble them into an open cube. you can affix chicken wire to the top with a closure to rock the cube around to turn the pile without spilling, and you can affix a handle, or sockets for such, along one edge.
As to frozen additions to a hot pile, I would just leave them to melt on top for a bit if you're concerned.
As to the winter, I like to make sure that wherever I am making my outdoor winter additions is accessible but away from my door, depending on what garbage scavengers lurk about. But otherwise, adding scraps to a frozen pile just increases the size of the frozen pile. We have a pet Flemish Giant rabbit, and we use wadded raw paper for her bedding, so we have no problem adding carbon to our piles regularly. Ours start to cook as soon as the outdoor temperature allows the pile to thaw. If I add some liquid gold to it and if it's sheltered enough, it starts cooking almost no matter the outdoor temperature, although a blanket of snow over and around the composter certainly helps.
Incidentally, in the city where I am now, we use one of those small, black composters, and honestly, they function much better as ground-connected vermiculture bins, at least for us, considering the amount of carbon going into it.
In any case, good luck. The first change I will make to my composting when we get out there is to get four to six laying hens. No more oversized pieces, hello easily poachable eggs (fresh eggs poach the easiest and best, by far, and I love Eggs Benedict variations, including ones where I swap the Hollandaise for a good white sauce-based white cheese sauce, white cheddar, swiss, brie, or camembert).
This is super helpful, Chris. Thank you for your pointers and good luck on your move too! Eggs benedict is also my favourite thing to eat and I feel like a real lush for never making it myself. My neighbour keeps chickens so I will have to test your theory on the fresh eggs being easy to work with.
Wow! Thank you so much for showing me your setups and strategies! I'm definitely feeling the chicken envy right about now, too. Oh and Chris - I'm out in the Guelph area.
The property I'm on has a bunch of outbuildings with old supplies left by the previous owner so I'll have to see if there are existing materials on hand I can use to get started. Otherwise I'm definitely feeling a lot of these pallet designs or simple cage structures. Y'all are so creative. I also really want to try building some hügel beds or variations where you add the materials directly to the soil to break down.
In any case, feel free to keep posting - and I'll be sure to share the results for whatever I end up doing.
Andy John wrote:Don't short-sell yourself or your product.
Lots of great points in here from Andy. Generally calendars only ever get offered for a discount after the year has started.
As a musician, I get great results from presales - it's always at full price, and I might not sell out from it - but the point is so that the diehard fans can claim their copies while the records are in production. Maybe some of your previous etsy customers want to show their support for what you do by paying full price for your calendar, or add it to their wool orders for winter knitting!
Anyways, Raven, this is a gorgeous product and your photos are wonderful! The font choice for the titles are especially beautiful. Now, if I may make my design snob suggestion: The days and numbers need a font that is just as lovely. I know you probably picked Calibri for its legibility, but to me, it makes it feel less special/considered since it's a default font for Microsoft Office/Windows. There are other sans-serif fonts that could compliment the design really well, and carrying the same font throughout the headers and numbers could also work. I know you're probably not here to get design notes (because the worst thing on the planet is design by committee) but I just wanted to put my two cents out there for next time, since I think it's a lovely item!
P.s. I love that I wrote all that stuff about using default fonts and here I am writing in *gasp* a default font.
I'm moving out of an apartment in the city to an old farm house on an acreage next month. Needless to say, I'm very excited and already dreaming up projects to start once all the priorities are taken care of (priorities = doing a million surprise repairs). One of the top things on my list is to build a compost pile. There appears to be a small (a bit larger than a trash can) compost bin by the garden but it seems laughably small for how much composting material we'll accumulate during the garden cleanup.
So, after scouring the internet for ideas, I wanted to ask you all what composting setups you've tried and like best. Bonus points if you live in Ontario or a similar climate (zone 5ish) where you've kept composting through cold winters. I'm renting and the landlords will still have access to the property on occasion, so ideally I'm looking for something that looks a little bit nicer than an open pile.
Finally, my noob questions -
1) Right now I keep kitchen scraps in the freezer. Can we add frozen scraps to the compost or will this just mess up the temperature of the pile?
2) What do you do with your compost pile when winter rolls around? Do you let it go dormant or keep it active?
Hayley Stewart wrote:I recently did a germination test with some Kashmiri chili seeds (I can only find dried ones at a specialty grocery store at the other end of town), cumin and fennel. One of the kashmiri chilis started to grow, which is exciting - the other seeds didn't do so hot, but a few seem to have swelled up so I've planted those too. Will share the results!
Welp, it's towards the end of the growing season here and thought I'd share an update!
Since the butternut squash test was such a success, my partner and I ended up giving all the plants away to a local community garden since we don't exactly have the space to grow them. Among my other grocery seed experiments were black beans and black lentils. Everything seemed to be doing well, but some major temperature fluctuations here really put our plants to the test and we had a lot of die back. All but one black bean plant survived but now it's just going NUTS. We've already been harvesting some seed - they're pretty small since it was just growing in a milk crate planter, but boy is it satisfying to find out how the beans grow and if they're compatible here!
Now, for my absolute favourite seed test... the Kashmiri chilis! We really weren't expecting anything to happen with them, but holy crap! These guys are thriving and setting big long fruit. I'm excited to continue to grow these since we use dried Kashmiri chillis in our cooking almost weekly and they're just so so hard to find here. We have two plants growing - one of which grew with distorted leaves but is setting a lot of fruit, and another that looks healthier but only has a few fruits on it. The plants are somewhat small since we left them in medium sized pots, so I'm looking forward to doing more tests with them down the line to see how big and healthy they can get.
Tyler Ludens wrote:We found out that pea gravel is not good for pathways because it gets caught in shoe soles and tracked into the house. Woodchips will track also but won't damage hardwood floors. I'm gradually covering the pea gravel with thick woodchip mulch. You might put woodchip paths through the gravel and plant succulents and other plants that like good drainage in the gravel. The book The Undaunted Garden by Lauren Springer has examples of gorgeous plantings in pea gravel.
Thanks for the tips! I just put a hold on that book at the library, looks great.
Yesterday I did a tour of a potential future gardening space that used to be very lovingly manicured for decades, but hasn't been touched in at least a year. A LOT of plants from all over have popped up into the pea gravel pathways, and there are some mature perennials like hostas that clearly haven't been getting enough water and are just dying in our hot (and often dry) Southern Ontario -zone 5ish- summers. There is a drip irrigation system in place for certain beds which also haven't been used in a while.
My dream is to be able to add in some edibles and natives to create a more permaculturist-approved garden. The pea gravel pathways are just a magnet for weeds - I'd prefer to use woodchips, personally. I'm thinking about doing a power-weed with friends and trying to get some stonecrop plants growing instead, with some little flagstones for stepping on. A part of me will be sad pulling out so many plants that I know a lot of beneficial insects love, but I'll try to leave what I can.
Does anyone here have experience in retrofitting ornamental gardens and/or creating little groundcover pathways? Please let me know if you can think of anything I should consider for adding edibles in a previously ornamental garden. I don't think I'll be able to get much information about past pesticide use, unfortunately. I understand changing something of this size is going to be a lot of work but I'm really excited by the prospect of chipping away at it and learning along the way.
Hayley Stewart wrote:
Well, now it looks like those white flecks are on about half of the peas in the planter box beside it, with what appear to be black spores beneath those flecks on the underside of the leaves.
Aha! I went out later today and saw little thrips scurrying around. We have our answer, ladies and gentlemen. Those black "spores" are thrip poop!
I removed the worst damaged plants and gave any other leaves where I saw them running around (but with less damage) a little castille soap + water spray. I did see some ladybug larva on the deck for the first time this year so I'm hoping they'll be around to chomp on any stragglers. We have oodles of spiders too. Do spiders like thrips? I hope so.
Hi, I don't know if folks want to glom onto here to post their plant problems or if it makes sense to keep these to individual threads - BUT! Allow me to begin with my weird plant problems.
I grow on a small second-storey deck where I have a series of cages (for plants to be trellised and/or protected from squirrels) and shelves with various containers on them. At the very bottom of the shelves, we have an experimental window box where we just let whatever from last year come up to grow, plus some clover seeds we tossed in earlier in the season. I noticed that there was quite a few forget-me-nots popping up but let them be. The result is it's pretty densely planted. Recently I noticed some of the clover in the corner started to develop white flecks all over it but it didn't seem to be spreading so I didn't get alarmed. Well, now it looks like those white flecks are on about half of the peas in the planter box beside it, with what appear to be black spores beneath those flecks on the underside of the leaves. I'm thinking it's a fungus, but would greatly appreciate anyone who might be able to recognize it and recommend a treatment. The peas are done producing anyways, so tearing them out isn't the end of the world.
THANKS GUYS, hope you enjoy all the cat hair in my photos.
Natalie Jensen wrote:Spouse and I live in Toronto and currently grow things in our tiny apartment and on our tiny, windy balcony, lol!
We're hoping to move out of the city in the next two years.
Whoa! We're twins!
I also live in Toronto with my partner and grow things on our tiny balcony. I have been able to convince my neighbours who have started a garden in the backyard to plant some nice things that are too big for us to fit on the deck, and my sister has given us free reign to do some experimental gardening in her backyard, so I'm happy that we have a bit more to work with this year.
Our plan is to get the heck outta here in a couple years and start up a homestead with our close friends who have the same dream. We all currently work in the photo industry which has been pretty hard-hit by the pandemic so we're all figuring out how to retool and start the transition. I've been chomping at the bit to get some more hands-on learning experience with farming/gardening/homesteading but it's been difficult to find opportunities that don't require a car.
Rebecca Crone wrote:When you mentioned the nuts it reminded me that walnuts were used by a friend of mine to mimic ground meat in a vegan reciepe. It wasn't meaty but was good so I could imagine them mixing well with meat.
Has anyone tried jackfruit? Its a popular vegan meat substitute. I've never tried but maybe it and mushrooms are food fillers.
Jackfruit is great for making pulled-pork-like foods - we eat it all the time and it comes together really quickly. Make sure you get young jackfruit in water (or brine). Lots of recipes say to remove the core and seeds but all of it is edible and breaks apart when cooking. We cook it in an onion-barbecue sauce mixture and serve it on buns with a simple coleslaw and pickles. We made it for a huge group of non-vegetarians and everyone was asking for the recipe. Can't go wrong!
As for the walnuts, our favourite ground beef substitute is roasted cauliflower with walnuts, tomato paste, garlic and seasoning. It's amazing. We add it to bolognese sauce when we're looking for something hearty in the winter.
Also, if you want to get off the meat train and like spice, just get your hands on a copy of Rick Stein's India and start making things in the vegetarian section. Yes, there are a lot of great recipes we're probably missing out on, but I find that indian vegetarian food in general leaves very little to be missed in the meat department. Between the paneer and legumes, you won't be left hungry.
Sionainn Cailís wrote:Thank you for the barrage of photographs! It was actually helpful for me to diagnose and correct my own problems. Some of my starts this year have similar to the damage as your first photographs, although I think mine was oedema as was suggested.
It was also only affecting two of my new varieties, but these are also the only ones in plastic pots. The rest I have in little peat pots. Water is probably not evaporating fast enough on those compared to the peat pots which dry out faster, and that issue was probably compounded by the fact I had to bring my whole setup up from our cool basement and it was then put into the back bedroom with a very warm floor and very cool air. Poor little guys. Lol. I moved them all out to the unheated garage last week and they have picked up now.
Sorry you have buggies that also developed on yours :( Hopefully the rest can be saved. If ever there was a year to have home grown tomatoes, this would definitely be at the top of the list.
Last year I used a mild spray of a bit of neem oil with a few drops of rosemary essential oil into just warmed water, and very lightly misted over my tomatoes. Worked against the aphids and they didnt come back the rest of the summer. Also worked on my squash and cucumbers against the beetles that showed up. Not sure about whitefly but good grief neem is truly vile smelling, so hey it might work.
If you do go the neem route, be stingy. Lol. It seriously stinks with this awful skunky musk. And it stays stuck to your skin so if you (accidentally) spray it onto your arms you'll have the advantage of mosquito repellant. But you'll smell just awful. Its a husband repellant too. Lol. Tried and tested.
I'm glad this thread proved to be helpful! I too had never heard of edema but always good to know what numerous issues can pop up that don't fit the usual suspects. Thanks again for the tips about neem oil! I've been using a light solution of castille soap and water since the plants are still so young, but I've heard that thrips can develop a resistance to insecticide so I'll probably try to alternate methods.
Hello! Here's an update for all y'all. I have come to believe that it's Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus spread by some thrips that were hiding out in my houseplants and hopped into my nursery, which was only a couple feet away. I wiped a little black speck from a tomato leaf off onto my finger, and watched it wiggle a bit, and then jump SO FAR! They're springloaded. Explains why some other plants seem to have "caught" the spots. All in all, I think I was a bit too late with my treatment/prevention methods, especially since I was starting these seeds right next to these host plants, totally unaware of their army hiding out. I still have a few plants that look like they're unaffected by the disease, but I've had to toss about half the plants I've started. The rest are going to be closely monitored and dusted/sprayed to get rid of any jerks that might be hiding out.
Hey fellow apartment grower! I'm not sure what your growing space is like, but on my second floor southwest facing balcony, I've had the best success with arugula and other leafy greens, kale, chives, peas, beans, jalapenos, and basically all the herbs. Larger plants like cucumbers and tomatoes can get big FAST (even when pruning) so be sure to opt for a dwarf variety or be prepared to set up a trellising system so you can manage their growth a bit more easily. But it can be done, and it's really satisfying.
I've learned the hard way that with container gardening, you have to really keep an eye on the moisture and temperature levels. Last year I was not very diligent with my watering schedule and my corn, tomatoes and cukes ended up with a bad case of verticullum wilt at the end of the season that spread around the garden. Just be aware that plants need appropriate spacing for air flow and to water in the morning so your plants can let the excess moisture evaporate through the day. This year I'll be building some wicking/self-watering containers and using ollas to build a little more resiliency when it comes to the usual issue of fluctuating between too much and too little moisture. With that in mind, I think you could actually grow just about anything (except maybe giant pumpkins) so long as you give each plant what it needs to succeed (which will be very dependent on the environment).
Miles Rose wrote:
What a great idea to trellis over the parking area! Initially I had pretty much written off the parking area except for maybe trellises along the fence lines, but trellises on top of the parking area would allow me to reclaim much of that area for the garden. The only concern I might have about growing vining berries there is the "mulberry effect" where berries rain down on vehicles, birds perch and eat the berries and their red colored manure also rains down on the cars! Just gotta harvest them fast I guess! Maybe growing pole beans on the carport trellis would be less messy? What plants species do the trellis carports in your neighborhood have?
Here in Little Portugal, grapes are the plant of choice - a lot of folks like to make their own wine. There was an interview with a guy who lives around here and trained a huge grape vine over his deck - he says that he grows it specifically for the raccoons so that they leave the rest of his garden alone. Which I can totally see the need for in an urban setting - we've had to fence in most of our veggies this year to protect them from squirrels.
I've seen a few broad beans growing in a trellis system way as well, sometimes over the entire "ceiling" of the garden. I'm sure kiwis would do well over the carport, even close to the house where it's shady. I've never grown them though, so I don't know if they'd be a falling hazard for the cars.
Hester Winterbourne wrote:My latest experiment is peppercorns, which is a cheat because I've bought the seeds. I don't know if store-bought ones would be heat treated or just too old to germinate. But I thought at least if I buy sowing-seeds and get them to grow, I'll know if I've got the husbandry right if I want to try the spice cupboard. And they do look a very attractive proposition as a productive houseplant!
I'm so interested in seeing how that turns out Hester!
This thread is my favourite. Inspired, I now have a tray of fenugreek sprouts that are thriving and every single one of my butternut squash seeds that I did a germination test with have sprouted. A little berry tray of black mustard germinated super well, but it's gone now as it's been a favourite to snip and throw into my lunch bowls. I recently did a germination test with some Kashmiri chili seeds (I can only find dried ones at a specialty grocery store at the other end of town), cumin and fennel. One of the kashmiri chilis started to grow, which is exciting - the other seeds didn't do so hot, but a few seem to have swelled up so I've planted those too. Will share the results!
So first of all, I apoologize - I'm just a beginner myself, but couldn't help replying. Please take the following thoughts and suggestions with a pretty coarse grain of salt. I've been gardening on my apartment balcony for 4 years now and I've recently been lusting pretty hard after the opportunity to work with a larger space (my balcony is about 8ft x 10ft) - so I'd be the happiest tenant taking over your proposed garden!
I think it's a good idea to take this first year to keep things flexible so you can observe how things grow and test out these ideas. I don't see why a raised bed system couldn't be retired to some easy/no-care native plants that your neighbours/new tenants could enjoy when you move out, if they don't want to garden. That being said, a first year in containers could show you where the best places for some of the plants you want to grow will be, and give you some time to source materials for your raised beds. There are tons of people in my neighbourhood who build very simple trellises over their carports and successfully train grape vines overtop, might be a good option if you'd like to maximize your growing space and don't have much success along the fences.
Finally, the light issue is annoying but it might not be the worst problem. If anything, it might just mean revising your plant list. There are lots of tasty plants that do fine in shadier areas: Shade Tolerant Edibles
Again, things can always be moved. I have had to do a lot of digging to find out how to work my plant list into useful guilds, but small guides like this are a good starting point. Note taking really helps! Companion Planting - west coast seeds
Anyways, sorry for not being really well experienced here - especially in the cost department. All I can say is that this looks like a big project, and I'm sure it won't all be finished in the first year. I look forward to following how this shapes up, and what other suggestions come through!
Well, since I won't be able to do any treatment til tomorrow, I thought I'd share some more photos as how this has developed in case someone has experienced something similar. I'm just a little concerned because it seems like some other plants nearby are also getting a couple of those light spots that the tomatoes showed in the beginning. I apologize for the onslaught of photos!
When it comes to planting borage as a companion to different veggies, will any from the borage family do, or is there a particular reason Borago officinalis is the go-to choice? I have some Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile) and Purple Tansy (Phacelia tanacetifolia) on hand and was planning to try planting some of those near my tomatoes, squash, strawberries and/or kale.
I'm getting my hands on some Gaia Green Power Bloom and Diatomaceous earth on Friday and will try both of those out. Does the diatomaceous earth go onto the soil level or on the foliage as well? I've been inspecting the plants regularly and haven't found anything resembling any flies or bugs.
Ok, so - it's not getting any better. Leaves are becoming yellow and rolling, and one of the branches snapped off with ease. The patches are also beginning to appear on the stems, pictured. I've also noticed some barely visible little black dust-like spots clinging to some of the hairs and leaves of the plant, a few of them look lighter and completely straight. They don't seem to be crawly at all, though.
Anyone have experience with anything like this?
Scott Stiller wrote:Are they still inside? I’m asking because I had the idea to overwinter some in my home. I’m pretty good at growing things but what a mess! I planted the few survivors out at the end of March which is way too early here. On cold nights and through several frost I covered them with terra cotta pots. They have all survived and are starting to look better. I think the forced air heat in my house was just too much.
Yup, still inside for now! We've been opening the windows to let some air in as a pre-hardening step before we put them out. We're in about zone 5 so we won't be planting these out for another couple of weeks.
That's wild you were able to have survivors! You should get a badge if they're able to make a recovery.
Skandi Rogers wrote:It doesn't look 100% classic but I would suggest Edema which is a physiological issue rather than a disease, generally from over-watering or for the pot being warmer than the air when watered.
This sounds very possible. I've noticed these pots don't seem to drain as quickly as the others and there's been a lot of temperature fluctuations here over the last few days, so being close to the window would amplify that.
Hi! I started lots of plants from seed this year with pretty good success so far. This is my fourth year gardening, second year ever starting from seed. Unfortunately, I've noticed that a couple of the tomatoes have these papery-thin spots on the leaves. What's up with that?
I'm worried that there may have been some pests on my houseplants that decided to hop on over to the tender bbs - we noticed what appears to be thrips on a couple and one case of mealybug on a succulent. We tossed those guys into quarantine and have been treating with soap spray and/or little sticky catchers (nothing caught so far).
My hope is that it's just leaf burn. They're in a window that gets some intense afternoon sun, and I moved them even closer to it yesterday. But I know that's wishful thinking!
Hey everyone, thanks so much for the great ideas - you've given me so much to think about! For me, the major appeal of the milk crate garden was that it could be configured to use multiple height levels (plus let's be honest, I just think they look cool). Yesterday my partner and I did a clean up and inventory of our deck and we realized with a little re-jigging, we could greatly increase our growing space without having to go out and find a bunch of crates and liners - plus being on the second floor, dryness is definitely an issue. Also, considering that this is likely our second-last growing season at this apartment, we should make use of what we already have. We decided to take apart an old ikea outdoor metal shelf we had outside (with convenient drainage holes in the shelves) and break it into two shelves of differing heights so we can stagger them much in the same way we envisioned with the crates, and move it into the sunniest part of the deck.
Here are some photos. Please excuse the random junk - we had a few things to tidy up, plus the lid on our main storage bin popped off this winter and absolutely SOAKED a bunch of our gardening stuff... You can see from the chicken wire we have been battling the squirrels in very makeshift ways so far. We'll be building a cage this year.
The black box and bottomless chairs (former plant stands) will be going.
Don't worry - the bamboo is just a placeholder for its future trellis form. And it certainly won't be that high.
Look! There are still milk crates! That bowl is the future site for a bee bath.
Anyways, I know this has kind of devolved from my original post, BUT I do have some further questions now that I'll be going back to container gardening. Apologies if these aren't quite in the right spot anymore.
1. Since I want to reuse the pots from last season - can I reuse any of the soil? I've heard conflicting things on the internet - some say that you have to pitch the soil and sterilize pots every season but that feels like a waste. For anything that was hit with verticulum wilt, I plan to sterilize and pitch the soil. Since our weather was all over the place last year (spells of drought alternating with heavy rains) I think that all the containers could all benefit from some better drainage, a nice helping of compost and some coarser mulch material on top. I also plan to plant some nasturtiums, clover, and comfrey (if I can get it) to use as organic material to add throughout the season so I don't have to haul grass clippings up the stairs.
2. We've had two seasons of VERY aggressive ants taking over a plant of their choice. Two years ago it was a trumpet vine aphid farm, this past year they managed to saw down corn at its base and go nuts. I'm hoping that by planting a more diverse range of insectary plants I can get some more predators in. We've had plenty of birds come hang out in the window boxes or on the roof but I've never seen them come and snack in any containers.
Any other tips & thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks!
Hi there! I'm a newbie here and planning a design for my small (10x12') balcony garden in Toronto.
I'm still new to gardening but fell in love with permaculture this year. The garden last year was made without much rhyme or reason, we just planted whatever we got our hands on in various salvaged containers. Still noobs, we failed to spot the signs of fusarium wilt and our verdant jungle was soon withered and crispy by August. Combined with an ongoing squirrel war, we gave up at the end. Now I'd like to actually plan the design to make it a little nicer and worth saving should any issues arise.
This year, I'm hoping to use the space a little better, and have found someone selling milk crates on the cheap on kijiji. I have found a cool example of how to set one up, but was wondering if there are alternatives to landscape cloth for the liner. I sew, so I have some tulle already, but am not sure if that will be ideal. The fabric that they salvaged looks like this interfacing fabric which is what I was thinking of snagging as a last resort.
I also like the idea of having some little herbs growing out of the sides of a few as per this milk crate planter . Again, any suggestions for something that could replace the sphagnum moss?