From oil to soil

Boost your soil, save your back and protect the environment this spring with biochar

Al Chomica, formerly from Calgary, is explaining to me over the phone how biochar, a new garden product he is testing, holds both minerals and soil life firmly. He has been making biochar for years, but this spring he is excited to try a new commercial source.

Biochar, a natural long-lasting form of soil humus, is created from burning organic matter in a low-oxygen environment. It is not wood ash. It is the hard part left over after the fire. Chomica says it stockpiles food in the soil, saves your back and will improve the world.

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Grass for Roscoe

Even our feline friends enjoy the taste of freshly grown greens

“Hey guess what Anne? I grew some cat grass for Roscoe!”

I was calling my friend ahead of my flight to Calgary and was just so excited. In just five days the cat grass seeds I’d planted had sprouted in their little four-inch pot and were now ready to eat. It was a special treat I was hoping my friend’s cat would enjoy.

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Even plants need a spa day

How to freshen up houseplants in the shower

newDonnawebDo you have a layer of dust on your indoor plants from the pre-Obama era?

As the sun shines on my plants, I can see it’s been too long. If I can write my name on the leaves in dust, I know it’s time to send my greenery to the shower.

Light levels are so low in February in Calgary that any extra interference, like dust, slows houseplants down and blocks the already limited light. If leaf tips are browning or whole leaves yellowing, the plant is probably cutting its losses by getting rid of the lazy leaves that are too shaded to give back.

In nature, regular rains wash leaves clean, but in your apartment or house, plants need a helping hand.

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Gifts from your garden

How eco-therapy can warm the soul during the holidays

newDonnawebWhether you believe in gift giving or not this is the time of year to be thankful for your garden and for nature. And the physical benefits gained aren’t limited to things we have to buy.
Here is a seasonal selection of garden gifts to ponder:

Winter

Chelsie was at the landfill in late November when she noticed someone else had left large birch branches behind. Knowing these could be striking additions to her seasonal garden containers, she swapped out her waste for someone else’s, and happily left with a few striking white branches. Later, she included them in her seasonal outdoor pots and planters.

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