Meg Mitchell

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since Jun 04, 2018
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Highly enthusiastic newbie gardener.
Banana belt of Canada, zone 9.
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Recent posts by Meg Mitchell

Susan Montacute posted a link on another thread that has a LOT of ideas for perennial vegetables, organized by region: http://www.perennialsolutions.org/a-global-inventory-of-perennial-vegetables?fbclid=IwAR2HgBAZKWFnHE-q0zW9Gwz4NyrhZPAKeY9pIqzNr42DrSJXzpqcKUSnjt0
My community (and a lot of others in BC/Canada) has an heirloom seed swap every year and most of the seeds being exchanged are for food plants. I participated this year to share some of my extra seeds and it was a lot of fun. We also have a Saturday market where people can buy local food (mostly veg but also bread, cheese etc) and I think there's a new stand this year where home gardeners can drop off their excess produce to sell on some sort of consignment type deal. I haven't looked much into that because we don't grow a lot of excess yet but I thought it was a good idea.
8 hours ago
I use all my kale to make kale chips and salad so I have no good advice but I wanted to say thanks for the idea to try nasturtium-leaf and radish-leaf chips since I have both!
1 day ago

Raytoe Nagy wrote:Meg Mitchell, long hair can become wrapped around the legs, feet, and toes of birds, rodents, and other smaller critters creating a tourniquet effect. I’m a registered veterinary nurse in California USA and have seen this firsthand in domestic pets. I have colleagues who work in wildlife rehab and they frequently advise against leaving hair, yarn bits, string, etc. out for wildlife to make use of for the same reasons.
People used to make elaborate collages and mandalas out of the hair of loved ones. A google search for “Victorian hair art” will show many examples. Or paintbrushes? Maybe something artistic would be a better option for your collected hair?



Hi Raytoe, I think you are mixing two posts together. I'm not recommending anyone leave hair out for birds and rodents; I put mine in the compost bin. Cheers.
1 day ago
Hi! I'm a bit south of you on Pender Island and I mostly like the place but it's not perfect.

Some things I like about it here:
- In Canada (no fussing with visas/immigration since we are citizens, relatively decent human rights record, universal healthcare/social safety net, etc)
- Relatively close to extended family (meaning we can go over there for a weekend or some such)
- Relatively warm (one of the warmest parts of Canada -- I don't like snow)
- Good annual rainfall
- Fairly eco-conscious/socially-conscious community, including a fair number of permie types
- Close to nature with good local environmental protections
- Fairly close-knit community
- Internet service is good enough that my partner and I can work remotely

Some things I don't like:
- Affordability is not the best -- better than Vancouver/Victoria but there are definitely cheaper places in BC to find an acreage + small house
- Tied into the above, it's a small island so many of the lots are small. We are not on an acreage currently.
- Close-knit community means it's a bit tougher to break in and make friends than other places, as a "newcomer". Some people say it takes 20 years to become a "local".
- Community skews a bit older so many community events/activities are only accessible to people without day jobs
- Also lots of winter greys here -- we asked a local friend what she did to work around them and she said, leave. She snowbirds every year and so do a lot of other otherwise-full-time residents.
- Summer drought

Social isolation and the winter blahs have definitely hit hard for us, and I wish I had more land to play with, but looking at my list of things I'm missing here, it would be very hard to find a property that's better in one way without sacrificing in a different way. If we found a "perfect" place, it would be "perfect" for a lot of other people too, which would drive the price right up. Otherwise, we could just buy 50 acres of ALR land in Richmond. So currently, I'm doing my best to mitigate the problems with our current place while saving up in case a place nearby with more land opens up. Getting outside, planting winter-blooming flowers, socializing as much as possible and certain supplements can all help with the winter blahs. I also regularly look for community events that I'm interested in and am able to attend so that if I do end up staying in this community for 20+ years (on this property or another one), the other locals will recognize me as one of their own. And while more land would be great, I still haven't gotten anywhere close to restoring the land that I do have to its full potential, so it does keep me as busy as I want to be.  🤷
2 days ago
I think a lot of people have this mental model about ecosystems like they've been a "pure" and unchanged thing for XYZ-ity years and any deviation from that is only because of human interference, which is always bad. I've heard a lot of people make some pretty wild and unsubstantiated claims about why "native" plants should always be preferred to "non-native" ones, e.g. that native plants are always non-aggressive and that native pollinators universally prefer them. But it seems that what's defined as "native" to a certain area is what was in a given place when the white people showed up and started writing down what plants grew where, which discounts a whole lot of plant cultivation done by people, not to mention migratory animals.

I see a similar contradiction with desert conservation. Many of the deserts we have around the world today exist because of human mismanagement, as far back as prehistory and up until the modern day. But for the deserts that were made a longer time ago, like the Sahara, many people who care about conservation consider their "natural state" to be desert. Their idea of conservation is to continue to keep it as a desert, because the species that now exist in those unique desert niches wouldn't survive if it were greened back into a forest/swamp/grassland. If civilization is still kicking in another 2k years, there could be a conservation effort that aims to protect the unique desert species of what is currently Beijing.

Locally I'm seeing the same debate right now over an artificial dam that the government wants to have decommissioned. The pond created by the dam has created a lot of habitat for plants and animals, some of which are endangered species. But the creation of the dam also destroyed habitat of other plants and animals. The government has promised to restore the ecosystem that was there prior to the construction of the dam, but a lot of people have questioned whether it's actually possible to "turn back the clock" and restore an ecosystem that's been destroyed. You could create a similar ecosystem, but it's never going to be the same as if the dam was never built at all.

In the very long run I don't think "conservation" is possible. Even if you can somehow figure out which moment in time is the one that "should" be preserved in amber, it seems like it would be impossible to maintain over the long term because ecosystems are always evolving and changing. I think we should be more focused on having robust and diverse ecosystems. A lot of "threats to conservation" are also threats to ecosystem health, for e.g. pollution, topsoil loss, habitat loss and introduction of aggressive plant/animal species that dominate and choke out the existing species. Because of that I think the efforts of conservationists are generally really well-directed and positive. OTOH I'm still not going to let the oregon grape take over my yard and I don't feel super guilty about letting calendula naturalize back there, because the calendula plays nice and the oregon grape doesn't.
I have pretty long hair (mid-back length), plus a husband, 3 long-haired cats and a dog; all of our hair/fur goes into the compost and I've never seen any left over in otherwise finished compost. I've also placed scraps of fabric made out of animal hair fibers into the compost and they break down too. Not sure what's doing the job in my compost bin, but I know vermicomposting worms can break down both human hair and natural fabrics, and I would guess there are other creepy crawlies that can do the same.
2 days ago

Wayne Mackenzie wrote:

Meg Mitchell wrote:This guy built a food forest in Arizona that's pretty neat. He has a lot of videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQkU18uVZyY&t=8s


Not ripping the guy, but he will not answer when asked how much water he uses. He will only say a lot.



Oh, I had no idea. 🙊That's really too bad; I wasn't sure exactly how much rainfall Arizona gets and so I looked it up and it's 1/30 of what I get here and even I'm a bit concerned about water usage since I don't get my rainfall evenly throughout the year. From his videos (at least what I saw), he made it seem as though he was relying pretty heavily on his mulch and the tree canopy. It would be interesting to see what a more water-friendly food forest in AZ looks like.
3 days ago

Gregory Mosher wrote:So, everywhere I read,including here, seems to agree that mulch is the answer.

I added a few bags of compost tilled into my garden for this year. It sounds like the straw, horse manure, winter compost that was mentioned and I can confirm that the manure turns to a brick. So does my soil.

I've planted everything, chard, lettuce, beans, salad mixes etc, a few days ago. VERY hard crusty soil, so I want to mulch it asap, but (like the crusty soil) will the mulch prohibit the seedlings from emerging? should I mulch the whole bed or just my rows, etc?

Thanks in advance folks.



If you do thin mulch then I think it would only discourage the seeds that need light to germinate (like lettuce) but if you have a thick layer of mulch, some seedlings might germinate, get partway through the mulch, and give up before reaching sunlight. After planting seeds and before the seedlings come up seems like it would be the hardest time to mulch. If you put the mulch down first, you can poke holes in the mulch to plant your seeds in, and if you wait until you can see the plants, you can mulch around them.

You don't want to leave any soil bare so I think you want to mulch the whole bed.
3 days ago
I'm not super experienced with grafting or picking out trees either (it's on the to-do list) and you might have already considered this but different varieties of rootstock are also going to be more/less suited to the different microclimates. I've been looking at rootstock options recently and there are rootstocks that are more/less drought resistant, or tolerant to swampy areas, etc.

I hope if you decide to go through with this project that you post what you find out!
3 days ago