Tag Archives: Hamilton

The Comfrey Mocks Me

ImageThis morning I went out to the garden, coffee in hand, and was reminded for the umpteenth time that we really need to hack back the comfrey and throw it in the compost before it smothers the strawberry patch. It’s even turned up in the front yard and along the driveway fence; whether seed blew over or it tunneled underneath isn’t clear. Incredulous as it sounds, the latter wouldn’t surprise me. But instead of grabbing the shears, I went back inside…again. Don’t get me wrong, comfrey is a wonderfully important plant if you’re trying to recycle nutrients in your garden, but calling it an ambitious is putting it mildly. Only the raspberries and the mint are comparable opportunists.

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The comfrey somewhere it shouldn’t be.

So it seems fitting that later this morning I stumbled across an article on prickly comfrey in an 1875 issue of Canada Farmer, chiding me for my laziness. We have the regular comfrey, rather than the prickly sort they describe (thank goodness), but their wisdom still holds:

“The advantages which are claimed for it over other plants are these:–It affords a cutting earlier, and lasts longer than almost any other. If cultivated upon a good deep soil, it will yield a heavier crop than any other plant; and, when once planted, it will last for ever.

It sure does.

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Filed under Dans Ontario, History, On Agriculture & the Environment

Our Plucky Urban Garden

IMG_1017We’re late starting the garden this year, but since spring took its sweet-ass time we should be okay. The strawberries and garlic are mulched, the raspberry bush has been reprimanded for growing everywhere, and we finally sowed some peas, fava beans, chard, lettuce, radishes, and arugula. Roots tomorrow, if it doesn’t rain again. We even bought an electric rototiller. (If you’re in Hamilton and need a rototiller, you can borrow ours!) Continue reading

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Filed under Dans Ontario, On Agriculture & the Environment

The Sunflower Mess

IMG_0093Last summer I drove Cheddar the Chariot (my scooter) back and forth along Highway 6 on a regular basis.  As any historian of agriculture is wont to do, I’d often converse with things, like the cows at the farm with the big green barn near Morriston. Continue reading

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Building a Hamilton-based Seed Library?

Seeds 2012Over the years I’ve developed a finely tuned tolerance for winter that balances the recognition of seasonality’s importance for southern Ontario with a curmudgeonly bitterness far more intense than the rest of the year.  I’ve coped with winters of late by dividing them into the holiday part, followed by the long, escapist part when I think about gardening, pore over seed catalogues, and mastermind brilliant garden plans. (Incidentally, my summers seem to be divided into two parts as well: the part when I try to put those plans in action, followed by the hot, sweaty resignation part when things get out of hand.) Continue reading

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Filed under Dans Ontario, Food and Cooking, On Agriculture & the Environment, On Human Connections, Politicking

Balcony Garden Euphoria

Note the latent bean lattice in the top left quadrant.

It’s spring!  It’s spring!  Everything is turning bright green and I can commence my balcony garden putter.  I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity since I moved into the apartment last fall and lounged in the warm autumn sun like a September tomato thwarting death. Continue reading

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Urban Chic and the Contempt for Poverty

It’s been a year since I started this blog, a year that has at times meandered and at others left me in its wake as it seemingly rushed by.  I’m a sucker for anniversaries and milestones, I guess, because I feel like I ought to write some kind of post to reflect a little. Continue reading

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That was a year; this is another (in Hamilton)

I took a vacation over New Years, and in British Columbia I set my sights on flora.  There’s a lot of moss.  I was enamoured by the hardy winter crops in rows on folks’ front lawns, gardens that have bunkered down for winter but hold onto some fierce kinda life force.  Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Dans Ontario, On Agriculture & the Environment, On Human Connections, Politicking, Travel

Homecoming?

True to my word, I’ve had little to no time to write since I got back.  That a month’s transpired so quickly seems like a sneaky temporal trick on somebody’s part.

I feel like I could get on my lovely little motorbike (although the term causes some consternation here) and take all the right turns until I find myself somewhere near Hoàng Hoa Thám, or Đội Cấn, or following the edge of West Lake.  But I’ll just end up where I started.  Continue reading

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Filed under Academia, Dans Ontario, History