Grow – The Movie, Coming to Calgary

Straight from the Grow Website:

It’s not just ‘Old MacDonald’ on the farm anymore. All across the U.S. there is a growing movement of educated young people who are leaving the cities to take up an agrarian life. Armed with college degrees, some are unable to find jobs in the current economic slump. Fed up with corporate America and its influence on a broken food system, they aim to solve some of the current system’s inequities by growing clean, fair food. Mostly landless, they borrow, rent or manage farmland in order to fulfill their dreams of doing something meaningful with their lives. Read more →

Are carbon offsets worth it?

There has been quite a few articles on carbon offsets lately. What are they and are they just a money grab? I thought I would look into carbon offsets and some of the companies that are claiming to provide them. A lot of people ask “Why would you want to pay more money for a flight, on top of your already overpriced tickets?” To balance your highly polluting lifestyle. Read more →

How to get started in Composting – Build a Compost Bin!

You’re probably here because you want to know how to compost but for those of you not sold on the reason to compost lets ask a few questions.

  1. Do you care about the environment?
  2. Do you want your garden to thrive?
  3. Do you want to stay away from pesticides and herbicides?
  4. Do you want to decrease the amount of household waste your house creates?

Composting is the answer to all of the above. Read more →

Collecting and Saving Vegetable Seeds – Tips and Lessons learned in Seed Saving

In my never ending quest to be more gentle to the earth I’m looking for new things to do. And if I am going to change careers into permaculture and garden design I am going to find ways to make money. Enter vegetable seed saving. My wife has even joined in this year. Now this is really the first year that we’ve started saving seeds. And I’ll follow up in the spring and let you know how they all worked out. I wanted to do a test run before we ever start selling seeds. They have to work.

Obviously the logic behind this is saving money and resources. I probably spend somewhere around $50 on seeds in the spring. I don’t think we’ll ever get away from not buying any though. In our neighborhood we have something called Seedy Saturday in the spring where locals sell their seeds and other early spring wares. It’s wonderful and so crazy all in the same. And if you think about getting $3 for 20 seeds that really cost you nothing to collect, it’s a great deal. People are getting local produce seeds at a reasonable price and I am making a bit of a living. So not only do we save money, but we can make money at this if seed saving is done right too. Read more →

How to Build raised garden beds

I was asked to teach some volunteers how to build some raised garden beds for the SHARP Foundation, a non-profit that provides support and housing for people with Aids and HIV. I jumped at the opportunity and pointed the team of about 20 people in a direction of completion. The raised garden beds were very easy to make. We made use of nice cedar as well to prevent rotting without having to use paint or finish. The volunteers came from the University of Calgary and sure made the work easy. Read more →

Mission: Raised Garden Beds

This past week we have been busy at our house constructing a fence in our back parking pad to go around the new Raised Garden Beds we are creating. The fence was completed on Sunday and I actually got the cedar raised beds completed yesterday. Lucky enough we had enough fence paint from the previous owners.

  • Fencing materials: $350 (including rental of a post hole digger)
  • Garden materials: $200 (cedar planks, hardware, netting and PVC pieces to hold netting/plastic for early spring/late fall)
  • Soil: $150

How many vegetables are we to grow to get our money back from the $700 spent on the garden? Considering a head of organic lettuce is about $2 and bag of radishes/carrots are about $3 we would need about 280 heads of lettuce and bunches of carrots/radishes. Really not that crazy when you think about it. And how cool will it be to be eating our own veggies this fall/winter.

We are going to try growing:

  • Pole beans
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Basil
  • Pumpkins
  • Tomatoes
I’ll let you know the progress as the garden grows.

Roofing Debacle

Aluminum Roofing

We live in a 100 year old bungalow in Sunnyside, Calgary. It a beautiful area and I get to walk to work. We have wonderful neighbors and the community is fantastic and very safe. It was time to have our roof refinished. Shingles were peeling up and overall in rough shape. We pretty much had our mind set on aluminum shingles both for look, as well as environmental impact. It was stated that the aluminum shingles could go right over the old asphalt shingles. Issue, they are about 3 times the amount as regular asphalt shingles. We did get a bit of a discount (I think) for agreeing to be a display home for their product. Read more →