Curious about Biodynamics?

Ever tasted a bottle of biodynamic wine?

Wondered how the moon might affect planting your garden?

Or how Biodynamic is different than Organic?

Join Biodynamic Farmer Greg Mountain for a FREE short introduction to this wholistic approach to farming.

Time: 10am – 11:30am

Date: Saturday August 4th

Location: The Canmore CommunityGarden

Cost: Free! (Donations Accepted)

Join Greg Mountain, co-manager at WholeCircle Farm, to learn about the biodynamic approach to farming. In this presentation, Greg will cover the basics of biodynamics including the history, whatmakes it different from organics, and some of the specific theories andtechniques that seek to go beyond the purely material aspects of farming.

Originally from Toronto, Greg left the cityfor life on the farm. Greg has been farming for three years and is currentlyspending his second season at Whole Circle Farm.  He is currently taking part in the North Americanbiodynamic apprenticeship and has completed two winter intensive courses onbiodynamic farming.

Whole Circle is an organic and biodynamicfarm located near Acton, Ontario which provide food for over 200 locals. The farmgrows vegetables, grains, and dried beans, and manages cows, chickens, pigs,bees, and a maple bush.

Square Foot Gardening

By Lauren

Our little garden plot is the first I’ve been confronted with space restrictions.  When I started squash and zucchini seeds in my window and told my father, who lives in southern Ontario with multiple gardens and much space to expand to, that I was excited to plant these plants in my 4×8 foot bed, he laughed and gently told me I wouldn’t have space.  But it was still cold and I figured by the time my seedlings were plantlings that I would figure it out.

Confronted with the actuality of planting this spring, after a lovely Saturday building our wicking bed, I was less than convinced that my multiple plantlings would have the space they needed to roam.  I gave half away and spent the rest of the morning trying to figure out the best way to fit our vegetables into our plot.

During my search on how to maximize space, square foot gardening came up repeatedly.  I’d also noticed a few plots using square foot measurements to plan and plant their gardens and was interested in investigating further.

Square foot gardening bills itself as efficient, easy, and productive.  Compared to traditional single row gardens, it boasts a similar harvest using less space, water, seeds and so on.  Although the website is rather self-congratulatory, I can appreciate anyone who’s enthusiastic about making gardening easy and mixing up traditional views of what a garden can be.

The basis of square foot garden is creating raised beds with walkways in between (hence avoiding the nastiness of compressing beautiful soil) and planting everything based on a grid broken into 1ft x 1ft squares.  In each square, gardeners plant 1, 4, 9, or 16 seeds or plants.  Plants which use less space, like carrots and beets, can be planted 16 to a square, each spaced equal distances apart.  Medium plants, including spinach and green beans, can be planted 9 to a square.  Larger plants such as lettuce can be planted four per square while plants that need more space such as broccoli and tomatoes can be planted one per square.

While I liked the ease and compactness of the square foot idea, I tend to be slightly wary of equal measurements and straight lines.  That said, I based most of my seed distribution and spacing on the 1ftx1ft guidelines and then did my own thing including a few wavy ‘rows’ of carrots and beets at the far end of my plot.

Cross Country Gardeners

By Lauren

Admittedly I’ve been eating vast amounts of strawberries and garlic scapes during a trip back to Southern Ontario and back west through the states.  During my travels I’ve been wide eyed for gardens of all kinds.

Visiting friends in Toronto’s cabbage town I passed by carefully tended front yard gardens and at Ryerson University I was greeted with tomatoes and squash growing outside big stone buildings. In Kensington Market folks have a tradition of planting less conventional gardens in a rusted-out colourful car (the community car) complete with herbs in the trunk and windows filled with dirt.

On the train west, I caught glimpse of a small garden on the outskirts of Chicago bordering rubble from old buildings beside the train tracks.  It emerged in the midst of a vacant lot and was full of trellises surrounded by leaning wooden fences.  When I arrived in Chicago’s downtown friends pointed out lavender fields from which you can also see skyscraper cityscapes.

While walking Lola, a friend’s bouncy teacup Schnauzer who is sat in my lap as I type, we meandered through giant rhubarb, flowering sweet peas, climbing beans, and all sorts of tangled vegetables. We are in Seattle, wandering under trees and archways, amidst compost bins and rain barrels.  This garden fills the space in a way that suggests it’s a wise soul that’s been within its city space for quite some time.  Gardens seem at ease in Seattle, along sidewalks, on balconies, and in ordinary yet extraordinary places.  In this spirit of growing, Seattle’s first urban food forest (and one of the first of its kind in North America) has recently been granted seven acres within the city and will be rooted in permaculture principles.  Wonderful.

I’m inspired by the persistence of gardens and by the imagination and hard work of those who garden.  And even though my aunt harvested huge broccoli heads from her Hamilton backyard around the same time we last had snow in Canmore, I’ve hope for my first try at mountain gardening as well as for all different sorts of gardens, astonishing in how they can challenge our perceptions of growing: where and who and how and why.