Well, it seems that this might be a wet year, all things considered, and so as some of you are still awaiting Jerusalem Artichoke tubers, I may have to refund some money as they are not happy with the wet ground last fall and the wet spring. In such conditions disease abounds and I am still reviewing the survival of the existing tubers. Ideally I would like to wait until the ground completely dries out or at least dries to the point where I can actually step into the patch without losing my rubber boots! I will check on them and forward as I can, but it might be a case of wait and see.
There is still time to get potatoes to plant, again you will want to delay planting til the ground is a little on the warm side or your seed may rot in the ground. It is one of those years. If the ground is too cold, things like potatoes, onions, and even peas will rot instead of sprouting. That is our issue in Alberta clay, the ground takes a while to warm and in a wet year it is especially difficult.
I have been reading a book called “the Intelligent Gardener” by Steve Solomon of the Territorial Seed Company. The book It talks a lot about the effect of micronutrients on the quality of the soil and goes beyond organic matter and compost. I highly recommend it for a gardener with any size of plot. It will explain all the minute details about soil amendments to create nutrient rich foods which are what we want. Produce can look great but not taste great or plants are prone to disease. We want to feed our bodies with plants that not only look and taste great, but are able to absorb a host of micronutrients from the soil so that we can heal, and restore our health. If it is not in the soil, it is not in the plants and it will not be in you. We are running to more food, searching for the nutrition that is no longer in the food. Supplements will help, but they are no match for bioavailable nutrition in plant foods. These nutrients are in a form that is easily digestible and absorbable. I think that the reason people are overeating is that they are craving these nutrients and looking for it in hollow foods.
Anyway, it is a great read. Focus on soil testing, and minor amendments, and humus, which is a fibrous leftover from the breakdown of organic material, and is able to grab hold of and store all kinds of valuable nutrients in the soil and make them available for plants. Modern farming techniques only focus on adding back into the soil nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, but we need more than that, and although NPK fertilizers grow good looking plants, the taste and value are not up to what we need to be healthy. Amendments in the range of what Solomon outlines are very inexpensive and create dramatic results.
So, now is the time. All of Solomon’s resources are available as PDF downloads online, as he is about education and not money. Search here
It is in line with what I have been thinking and also mentions that if you have thick clay that sticks to your boots it might be an issue of too little Calcium, which kind of fits with what I have learned through other resources. Anyway, going to give that a shot. As well as build some great organic mulch beds for trees. Those are our plans.
We have one or two more seedy events to attend. We will be at the Edmonton Resiliency Festival this Saturday, Festival Details, and tickets and I will talk about Sourcing Local food and seeds and how to sustain yourself in the face of climate change. I will be talking about seed coops and food hubs in and around the city. Details as on the website:
Resiliency Through Local Food
Learn about local initiatives and how to participate in local food through sourcing seeds grown locally. This enables greater resilient in the face of changing weather conditions. This workshop will touch on building local food coops, how to contact local growers in your area, and building community through backyard gardens.
Denise O’Reilly, Garden of Eden A’Bunadh Seeds
Pay What You Can ($5.00 Minimum)
Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton – Willow Room
7211 96a Ave NW, Edmonton, AB
We will also be there with our partners in Grown Near Home, the CSA and offering information there or you can come buy your share. See Home Page
That is Saturday the 22nd. Earth day! Yay, just in time.
Then the following weekend, we will be attending the 2nd Annual Seedy Saturday in Lac La Biche Alberta, at the Agrena… hosted by Ty, Janice and Jolene of Sand Springs Ranch.
who have been fantastic suppliers of fresh produce in Lac La Biche for years. They ran a CSA last year and are doing so again. Come out and see what is happening there. We will have the seeds and there are many workshops. And it is just in time for planting in the North. Hope to see you there.