Michelle Bisson

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since Nov 16, 2015
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forest garden hugelkultur trees urban
Quebec, Canada
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Recent posts by Michelle Bisson

We live in a small village where everyone has to bring their bagged leaves to the local fire department backyard.  We are able to quickly gather about 300 bags of leaves this way.  It took three trips of about 100 bags in our trailer.

Collecting bagged leaves this way is easy.
1 month ago
Top off the garden bed with whatever mulch you have available.  If you have any dirt to fill in the gaps and raise it if needed then put that first then top it with mulch.
1 month ago

I may end up putting them in the basement with led lighting.

Before rushing out to buy led lighting, you might still have enough light in the basement for adequate growing.

We can be surprised how well they grow without the expensive lighting even in low light conditions.  But it is to try it first.  


2 months ago

First of all, thank you all who moderate this forum to make it a great place to discuss so many various topics.

Currently, I am part of a discussion about micro greens & sprouts.


… but somehow it doesn't really fit the forum of "Urban"  I checked another thread about microgreens and it is in the "plants" forum.

It might be helpful for those who are looking into the topic of microgreens and sprouts to find all relevent threads located in one sub forum called "Microgreens and Sprouts" under the "Growies forum"

Is this something that might be worthy of consideration?

Michelle, how do you set up your winter radish and buckwheat? Are you growing them as shoots and eating them  as soon as they sprout, or are you growing microgreens to the point where they have a couple true leaves and need some light?

My radishes I grow as sprouts in a jar and has greens in a black pot.  

I started growing them as larger greens in large black pots two summers ago when we moved and did not have the space for a regular garden.

It is easy to grow them quite large till the real leaves start to grow.  This whole process takes two weeks. They are so quick to get to a very large size that there is no comparison with growing lettuce for volume and speed. The

After this period I consider them oversized.  If they are oversized then I cut them and throw them in the freezer as it is the quickest way to deal with my surpluses.

Out of one pot, I can get enough greens to fill a large bowl.  Usually I divide the greens into 3 or 4 days harvest days as I mix them with lettuce and other greens or sprouts that I have to make a nice salade.

Now last winter, I did not grow them in large black pots.  I grew them in bowls according to this book.  It is a great method.

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 days

But after two summers growing them in large pots and having them grow to quite large leaves compared to growing them in the bowls, this winter I am expermenting of growing them in the pots since they can grow much larger before they get the new leaves.  But to grow them in pots, since it takes much more space like a greenhouse, or dedicated location, then for most people the method of doing them in bowls might work much better since you need a lot less space indoors and most people do not have a greenhouse or space they can have large pots.

Radish leaves are edible, but since they get prickly, most people do not, althought if I have some prickly radish greens, I will cut it in small pieces and add them to soups and then there is no prickly feeling.

For our needs, I do two black pots each week to get sufficient radish greens, but we still have some lettuce that I grew in pots in the late summer that I mix with the radish greens.  Now I will also do buckwheat greens this way.  They are often referred to as buckwheat lettuce.  If the stems get thick, then instead of adding the stems to the salad, I chop the stems to add to soups or stirfries and the leaves I keep for salads.

I also continue to grow radish sprouts in jars throught the winter.  They are nice in sandwiches or I'll add them to soups.

My buckwheat seeds have shells so I cannot sprout them as there is no way to separate the shells from the greens.  So I grow them either in bowls or pots.  


This winter I will probably buy some sunflower seeds to grow them as greens.  I currently only have already shelled sunflower seeds and they do not grow right as shoots.   So for now I just sprout my sunflower seeds and add them to salads & natural peanut butter as an extra crunch.

2 months ago
I daily grow radish shoots and buckwheat shoots.  They are the cheapest for me to buy and now I buy them in 5 pound bags to save even more money.

I mostly add them to salads or in sandwiches.  Sometimes, if I have too much, then I will cut them up and add them to soups.

Every once in a while, I'll grow pea or lentil shoots.

In the summer outside in a raised bed I grow some mixed radish, red clover, brocoli and alfalfa shoots that I cut & harvest all summer to add to salads & soups etc.…  I also grow outside radish shoots & buckwheat shoots in pots.  They grow larger this way and make about 50% of my salad mix.  I grow two black pots/week and then I start harvesting them the second week.  What I do not eat in salads & soups, I freeze for the winter for soups. (Sometimes I dehydrate them, but it is faster to simply put them in large zip bags.  Once frozen, I crunch the bags so they take less space in the freezer.  If I would run out of space, then I would dehydrate them.  I'll also add them to spaghetti sauce, omelettes and whatever else that makes sense. I could add them to smoothies, but since I easily add them at both lunch & supper in the above ways, I have no need for green smoothies, so I reserve my smoothies just for fruit.

I also grow sprouts in jars:  a mixed of radish, red clover, brocoli and alfalfa, as well as radish, lentils, sunflower, peas.

Before I started growing my own shoots & sprouts, fresh greens in the winter, we only ate salade greens once a week, now we eat them (edit - several times) per week.  In the winter, if I run out of other vegetables from the store, I will always have enough vegetable nutrition from the sprouts & shoots that I grow daily till I buy.

2 months ago
It is important to plant trees suitable for your climate zone.  If your area is prone to drought, then it is better to plant trees that can handle a drought better.  

Cedars in it's natural environment grows where the water table is quite high or near streams or high moisture environments.  It would not be surprising that their leaves turn red during droughts.  But cedars are still tough trees.  

Some trees will lose much of it's leaves during severe drought but the leaves will grow back when the rains come back.  If the tree struggles year after year, it might be time to replace it with a drought tolerant tree.  

You should not have to keep watering a mature tree.  That being said, if it is a fruit tree, the fruit will be smaller in drought years and maybe less of them.

Of course young trees will struggle to survive in a drought unless they are watered.

3 months ago
Looks like you have an excellent plan!  You are using the resources that you have easy access too and that is in context to your growing situation.

I used shavings and they do not blow about in the wind like loose dry leaves.  They interlock and form a mat which makes for good walkway mulching material.  I found that the fine shavings are less ideal for a mulch for the garden (unless mixed with bulkier material) since they form this mat and then the rains have a harder time penetrating and runs off.  Mulches should be loose and bulkier to allow rain to penetrate and not run off.

1. Applying a layer of store bought bark mulch on walking areas,

If you want to keep the weeds down in the pathways, apply a thick layer.  I would choose store bought mulch that was not dyed.  If you have a lot of mulch needed, you can buy it in bulk from some speciality suppliers.  Make sure that it is organic and has not been sprayed upon.

2. Applying a layer of leaves on growing areas,

If you have access to lots of leaves, this is a favourite choice of mine because I can find it in large quantities already bagged up by my neighbours in the fall. Is is so much easier to find bagged up leaves in the fall than to fine a large source of wood chips.  I also get wood chips from the local wood lot what sells firewood.

3. Throwing some coffee grinds all over the garden, and

 It is hard to have enough quantities to compare with bags of leaves, but if you have them, then use them in the garden or compost them.  A variety of bio mass is good.

4. Interplanting some nitrogen fixers with my vegetable crops?

It can be hard to work with nitrogen fixers trees in a vegetable garden as the roots are usually in the way and likely the amount of nitrogen from the roots of these trees is not enough for the vegetables.

You could grow some herbacious nitrogen fixers in the vegetable patch, but it does take a lot of space that you might prefer for vegetable growing.  If you have  long growing season, you could grow this green manure (clover etc) in the off vegetable growing season and then cut it back into the soil just before planting your vegetables.

You could add compost at the beginning of the season.  If you have access to quality manure, then add that in the fall.  

There are many ways to get a good growing garden.  The key is not in one "perfect" method, but to do the method that works in your context and what resources/imputs you have easily available.