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

I don't know much about the South American landscape but I do know that a lot of the North American landscape was intentionally cultivated. There are many reports of it looking like a magical garden, about how it could somehow provide for the needs of people much better than wild landscapes in Europe, etc. The manner of farming/landscaping that native peoples in Canada practiced was different from the manner practiced in Europe but it was still there and it was still very important. The indigenous people were quite intentionally selecting towards the plants that were edible or otherwise useful and away from those that weren't.

I do think we have to keep in mind that the historical mindset towards intentional cultivation would be different to the modern-day one. Most historical people wouldn't have as much understanding towards what would damage or protect our current ecosystem; but to say that people from this era didn't care about biological continuity seems very unfair. They were doing the best they could do under difficult circumstances, and in most cases they actually did pretty well.

I personally think a big part of permaculture and sustainable living is ensuring that you're not producing more children than you can personally care for. As far as I know, the indigenous people in my area had no issue with that, but nowadays there are an awful lot of non-indigenous people who have kids without really thinking about it. In my life, I see a lot of people having kids that they don't know how to raise without abusing them physically or verbally. Nowadays if you don't know how to have children without causing issues, I think you should wait to have children until you're in an environment where you can trust. It's not that complicated.
2 weeks ago

James Landreth wrote:It would be great if people would talk about their thoughts on how climate change will affect what is easy to grow. For example, here the summertime droughts are a big challenge and we're able to successfully ripen things we previously didn't have enough heat for. A big challenge for me when selecting what to plant has been that just because something has always been easy to grow here doesn't mean it will thrive any longer

Absolutely. Some of my favourite fruits are stone fruits and I'm very worried about how climate change is affecting their ability to flourish and ripen. If you have a cherry or plum tree (or even an apple tree) and all your blossoms come in during an early warm period, and then a colder period comes, oftentimes the blossoms will freeze and drop off and that's basically the end of your growing season for those fruits. Commercial growers don't seem to have much of a solution for this problem and it's probably only going to get worse as time goes on. Knowing which fruit are resistant to which kinds of weather would be a huge plus. I used to have a neighbor whose plum tree would bear pounds of plums with no effort but that's not the case any more.

In my area, people have been growing olives, citrus and other warm-weather fruits, with the help of carefully set-up microclimates and sometimes fluorescent lighting around the trees for light and heat. I think Meyer lemons and olives can be grown here (Victoria GVR) without too much assistance but the assistance does help, at least for now.
2 weeks ago
I think the easiest way to figure out what grows in your area is to look at what's native and invasive in your area. Black-cap raspberries are prolific here and they're quite yummy so I'm learning how to properly prune them for best production; we have several canes that have volunteered on our property and they're supposed to be easy to propagate if we ever decide to better organize the garden.

I live in a temperate rainforest that has cool, wet winters and very dry, hot summers so I'm not really sure where I would fall under your climate classification. My area has been described as mediterranean/sub-mediterranean because the climate patterns are similar, but we are colder and probably wetter. Typical temperature is about 5C in winter and 25C in summer but -5C - 32C isn't untypical. We rain almost all year round except during the summers, where we have several weeks of almost consistent drought.

Other fruit I've grown or seen grown successfully in my area: cherries, plums, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, salmonberries, thimbleberries. Thimbleberries are my favourite but you'll never see them in stores because they're impossible to transport. If you can get a plant and it's growable in your area, I definitely recommend it. :D
2 weeks ago
I love your videos and there are a few plants on your site that I hope to get someday. Not easy since you're often out of stock in one thing or another (understandable) and I like to buy things all at once to save on shipping. Thimbleberries seem to be consistently out, or maybe I just check at the wrong time of year, but they're my favorite fruit and I have a spot on my plot reserved for them, so that's definitely one I'm hoping to get at some point.
3 weeks ago

Tracy Wandling wrote:
Happy gardening everyone!

Mache is a new one for me this year, recommended by a good friend, and I'm really looking forward to it! I thought miner's lettuce (claytonia) was a failure last year because it grew a bit in spring and then died in a pretty extreme-looking way, but it's come back full force this year, so I'm pretty sure I could set up a self-sustaining patch of it with not much work. Winter-friendly greens are always good in my book.
I think it will vary quite a lot depending on location, state of the land, etc. I could get quite cheap land if I moved out East but it could mean a much shorter growing season. I could also get cheaper land by moving further away from cities and more out into the bush, but for small growers hoping to rely on a market garden, that could limit your income. As a small grower you probably want to have access to farmer's markets with customers willing to pay higher prices for organic produce, rather than selling your produce in bulk to a processor or another largeish company. (Joel Salatin's book "You Can Farm" goes a lot into this. The profit difference between selling regular corn to a mill versus selling blue cornbread at a chic farmer's market can be enormous, but the effort involved is not that different. Rich folks call this "vertical integration".)

You can also get a pretty steep bulk discount on land, I think. I don't really like to look at land in per-acre terms because from what I've seen, it is a LOT cheaper per-acre to buy 100 acres than to buy 10 or less, even given the same level of services (water/power/internet/roads). If you're willing to live on an off-grid property without those kind of amenities, it will absolutely lower your cost. If you can shell out for 500 or more acres then the price drops even further from there. The demand for large, off-grid properties is just a lot less than smaller on-grid ones, so land price doesn't scale proportionally.

My current area is somewhat close to a couple of metro areas (although not without barriers since we're on an island), and we've seen 12 acre properties for about 300k CAD, which is cheaper than it has been in the past. However, I have a friend on the east coast who bought a 12 acre property for about 100k.
4 weeks ago

Dave Burton wrote:Right now, I am currently reading The Clan of The Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel which is part of the Earth's Children Series. It is a series of speculative historical fiction novels based in prehistoric times. The first one in the series is The Clan of The Cave Bear, and it was written in 1980. I was surprised when my mom told me that she read the book some time ago, but I guess I shouldn't be that surprised because she was a biochemistry major- as I plan to be, too- and just being family, there are going to some shared interests. I really enjoy novels that teach, have good research, and are interesting without sounding like a lecture. This novel seems to have all those qualities, so I'll be have fun reading it! I am already! I'm on page 40, and it's really good.

This was one of my favorite series as a kid, which is in retrospect is maybe kind of weird/problematic/disturbing considering the content (particularly how Durc came about), but I guess parents usually aren't that fussed about "adult content" for books, especially back in the 90s when I was raised. Kinda sadly, I just checked out her bibliography to see if there was any new books from her and she hasn't written anything new for about 10 years. I think I already read the Painted Caves. Enjoy it while you can, it's good stuff!

Currently I don't read a lot of fiction; outside of work I spend a ton of time reading nonfiction gardening books and dreaming that my plot will someday look like that, which is a sort of fiction but not the type people usually write reviews about. In general, I would recommend anything by Ursula K Le Guin, although my favorites by her are The Word For World Is Forest and The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.
1 month ago
Leaf veg are probably easiest to grow, since leaves grow before flowers and fruit. Maybe chard? I spent two seasons trying to grow chard and mostly failed, then angrily threw the remainder of the seeds near my garden gate, and now there's a healthy little chard population there. If we're also looking at nontraditional veg, hosta are also pretty easy-care. They're called "shade lettuce" in some places. I haven't tried eating them yet but we do have some in our garden, leftover from the previous residents, and they grow pretty good on their own with zero maintenance.

I have had NO LUCK whatsoever with radishes or really any other root veg so far and it's starting to upset me a bit. I've gotten the 12-day radishes and I'll plant 'em out once I've gotten that perfect soil mix. But I didn't have to do that for hostas or chard!

Casie Becker wrote:One of the big lessons on dating I picked up from my mom (who's outlived two happy marriages) was to pay attention to how a man treated everyone else, not just that girl he has his eye on. I've never regretted any man I've dated.  I think that is spot on advice to extend a helpful attitude beyond the pretty girls.

100%, one of the worst dates I ever had was with a man who insisted on paying the whole bill at a nice restaurant but then didn't leave a tip. Reason was, "he couldn't afford it right now". I would have been perfectly happy going Dutch with a reasonable tip, eating somewhere cheaper, or eating microwave mac & cheese at his place and watching some TV (this was college after all) but to be seen in public with a guy who ripped off the waitstaff was embarrassing beyond words. Ended up marrying a man who made me microwave pasta at his place while we "Netflixed and chilled". If you don't have a lot of cash to throw around that's fine, but don't take advantage of other people who are in the same position! In much of Canada and the US, the waitstaff has to tip out to the bar and kitchen, and there's also an assumed percentage of tips for income tax, and neither of these things are typically adjusted to how much you actually get, so if you stiff them they have to hope to make it up on another table. This is to say nothing for customers who throw temper tantrums or are generally just snotty. Again, nobody wants to be seen in public with somebody who acts like that.
1 month ago

Allison Jones wrote:saw this at the flea market today

the circle is a loosely latched lid about 1' in diameter.

This isn't a super old-school compost tumbler, is it? 😂
1 month ago