Raised Beds And Riots

Another Monday and my hugelkultur piles aren’t done; in fact they are growing daily;  I didn’t realize they were like rabbits, and would start reproducing at a crazy rate!  As any of you gardeners out there know, when it’s time to get the garden ready, there’s no rest until it’s done. Here in northern Ontario our season starts much later than many other parts of North America, but we are blessed (usually) with long hot summer days that make a garden harvest feasible.

It’s not only our garden plots that we are getting ready. In our family all of us, my southern B.C.-born and bred husband Mark in particular, love harvesting our own fruit, so this year we ordered 10 new fruit trees/bushes and 24 raspberry canes to add to the dozen cherry, plum, and apple trees already established in our yard. And all that tree planting takes a lot of hard labour, especially on our rocky Canadian Shield acreage. And on top of all this, Mark is also constructing a new greenhouse; and like most of his construction projects (he has the mind of an engineer trapped in an M.D.’s body) there’s nothing straightforward about the greenhouse; but that’s a topic for another post.

With all of the shoveling, digging, and “hugelkulturing” it’s difficult to make time to keep up with what’s going on in the outside world; but to those who are aware that our civilization is on the cusp of a “great disruption” it’s clear even from my sporadic access to national and world news that upheavals are flaring up more and more often, as are the attempts by the current power structures to crush this dissent/democratic movement. Close to home, a draconian anti-protest bill was passed in the Quebec legislature on Friday, in a move to quell student protests that have increasingly paralyzed the province. The students were galvanized onto the streets when the provincial government moved to dramatically increase post-secondary tuition rates, which are the lowest in Canada, but the spreading protests are about much more than that. The students and their supporters are out in the streets demanding nothing less than a more equitable society that values citizens more than corporations. The question is, why aren’t all Canadians out in the streets demanding more from our governments? That was asked this past Saturday in nothing less than the staid, middle-of-the-road Globe and Mail newspaper, whose editorial board supported Stephen Harper in last May’s federal election. Click here to read Forget Tuition Fees: If Anything Calls For A Riot, It’s Harper’s Stealth Governance.

Yes, the world is in crisis. But right here, right now, the sun is shining, and my “piles” are beckoning, so I will leave you with these recent pictures of our efforts, with more detailed explanations to come. As Martin Luther King said, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.

More links:

Quebec Student Protests: 300 Arrested in Montreal Night of Protest, Protest Gains International Exposure

Forget Tuition Fees: If Anything Calls For A Riot, It’s Harper’s Stealth Governance

Quebec Student Movement Threatens Austerity Agenda

Little House in the Suburbs: Building A Hugelkultur Bed

Gardening Upside Down

We live in a topsy-turvy world where far, far more money is spent on guns and making war than on educating children and feeding the starving, and where the richest corporations in the world have funded a successful PR campaign to paint climate scientists  as money grubbers getting rich off the science of global warming. Considering this, growing a garden upside down seems somehow appropriate.

We had heard good things about growing tomatoes this way, so this spring we looked around several gardening centres for an upside down planter.  When we couldn’t find any, Mark decided to make his own.  Although some people recommend using 5 gallon buckets, Mark chose to fashion three planters out of empty potassium chloride bags that we already had on hand.  After turning the bag inside out for aesthetic reasons and then opening both ends, he made a cuff on either end and we secured it by stitching it. At one end, he strung a stiff wire through the cuff (to keep the top end open) and then attached wires for hanging it up.  At the other end, he inserted either an ice cream pail lid or a wooden circle he made to fit, with a hole in the centre, and stapled it to the plastic after getting the tomato plant in place. This is the final product:

I’m not convinced that this is the look I want on our front deck this summer, although Mark says from the road they look like decorative lanterns!  And if we have lots of fresh tomatoes from them this summer, I will probably be convinced that they are beautiful.

More links:

How To Grow Tomatoes Upside Down

Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

If Spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change!  But now the silent succession suggests nothing but necessity.  To most men only the cessation of the miracle would be miraculous and the perpetual exercise of God’s power seems less wonderful than its withdrawal would be.

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Photo by Danielle Lovell, permission granted under Creative Commons License