Erin Alladin

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since May 02, 2020
Writer, editor, and regenerative gardening obsessee who grew up in Ontario’s zone 3, where the winters are long and every plant is precious. Recently survived several years in Toronto by running a community permaculture garden. Released back into the wilds of Northern Ontario; now dividing time between growing plants and writing about them.
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Recent posts by Erin Alladin

I suspect you'll see better results in coming years no matter what. I live on very hard clay and raspberries are one of the wild plants that thrive like nobody's business here.
6 months ago
Few things make me happier than having so many nasturtiums that I can eat all I want and not leave them visibly depleted. Here's to all self-seeding (desirable) flowers!
8 months ago
Good question. I'm personally very tolerant of wayward living mulches, but I did find others in my communal permaculture garden were a bit more bothered by plants going out of the bounds we planned for them. Borage was one for the same reason you described. Strawberries were another. I guess the important thing is to know before you start what you and other stakeholders are comfortable with in terms of plants that seed or spread freely.
Did you end up growing your pumpkins on the piles, Phil? My landlord (and, I think, the previous owner) left a big mess of piled-up logs that I've been mining for a hugelkultur mound, and it occurred to me the other day that it would be so much easier just to transplant some squash right into the log pile. I'm still finishing my non-lazy mound because I want it as a windbreak, but I am increasingly eyeing my too-abundant squash seedlings and the pockets of soil in the log pile...
8 months ago
I used to manage a communal garden where we used a lot of leaf mulch. The best method we ever found was to wait until the leaves were dry, put a big armful into an old metal garbage can, then climb in and stomp them as if we were stomping grapes. It was effort, but not as much as using a hand tool to cut them because each step could crush a lot more leaves.
8 months ago
Aphids were my first real test of holistic pest management, and it took me several years of squishing them to be brave enough to try it. We finally decided one spring to stop fighting the aphids and plant flowers to attract ladybugs instead (calendula, geranium, alyssum—we already had parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, and some others). Between the flowers and the banquet of aphids we were finally leaving available to them, the ladybugs showed up and stayed. Which meant we suddenly had a lot less work to do. A very satisfying proof of permaculture ideas all around.
8 months ago
It's nice to see this—I'm in the middle of building a hugelkultur mound on hard clay right now.
8 months ago
It sounds like the sod is likely going to be useful to you as a resource, but if that plan doesn't work out and you go back to considering sheet mulching, you could leverage community labour in gathering materials and laying them down. People are so hungry for gardening knowledge and hands-on experience. The community garden I used to manage did this a couple of times and promoted it as a hands-on workshop. It works especially well if you can also have a cardboard/newspaper-collecting drive for a week or so beforehand, but that depends on whether people are able to drop materials off any time.

Aj Soares wrote:I've got my first two cherry trees (my first ever fruit trees:-) ) arriving later this month and am hoping to plant some comfrey underneath. I am in Toronto and not sure where to start looking to source roots or plants.

Thanks!



I'm not sure if it will work out this year given the restrictions, but I got comfrey from Treemobile Toronto back in 2016. They sell certain perennials as well as trees, but you have to order in the early spring.
8 months ago

Annie Collins wrote:I got mine at a local farmers market last year. If they are open by you, you can ask around there. Even if no one is selling any, I would ask someone that is selling other types of plants. They may have some at their place that they can dig part of up for you.
The other option is Etsy. There are definitely people selling it on there.


I never thought of Etsy for buying plants! That's a great lead.
8 months ago