Successful gardening in a time of climate change: soil temperature, not the date

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There’s snow peas in there somewhere, under the snow.

What’s with the weather?

Here in southern Ontario, Canada, in The Great Lakes region of North America, as we approach mid-May, to say the weather in ‘unseasonable,’ is to put it mildly.

No sooner is that word out of my fingertips and on the cyber-page than it seems incongruous in the circumstances: it’s anything but mild outside. It’s cold, and wintry cold at that, with sub-zero, night temperatures in the seven-day Environment Canada forecast. Continue reading

Growing your own food: gardening and weather, the first learning experience

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I’m Canadian, eh. And a modest market gardener, living and working in a sparsely populated rural area. So, I guess I’m more culturally obsessed with the weather than a lot of people in Canada who now mostly live in big cities. It wasn’t always so; but more about that later.

I have been reminded yet again that keeping tabs on the now-frequent wanderings of the Jet Stream is key to understanding Canadian weather; and in particular, here on the Saugeen/Bruce Peninsula, and elsewhere in southern Ontario. This comes in the midst of winter’s virtual return, several days of freezing cold weather, a month into the spring season of the Northern Hemisphere. It’s supposed to be a lot warmer than this. Gardeners are supposed to be busy planting hardy, early crops like snow peas, even potatoes by now; and rejoicing that a healthy-looking crop of new garlic has emerged, not worrying about even it, surprisingly tough as it is, being damaged by one hard frost after another. Continue reading

Don’t play political games with climate change

earthOn a Cosmic scale our beautiful little blue-green jewel of a planet is some kind of rare miracle – perhaps the only one – in a vast Universe of unimaginable extremes of blazing hot and deep-freezing cold.

But global warming and the resulting climate change is now in the process of showing the world – that part of the world that’s watching, at least – how delicately balanced and vulnerable that miracle is.

Market gardeners and other farmers know a few degrees of temperature either way during the growing season, and the lack of a certain amount of reliable rainfall – say, at least a weekly centimetre or two, about an inch – can make all the difference in the health and well-being of crops. Continue reading

Seeds of hope, rural roots

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Irish Cobbler potato plants looking good, June 7

Let’s look on the bright side again.

Let’s plant some seeds of hope.

Let’s do what we can, where we can, while we can.

Here at Cathedral Drive Farm, surrounded by Hope in reality and spirit, the garden is starting to look good. I can look out my second-floor office window and see multiple rows of sweet corn that a week ago emerged, including quite a bit of seed left over from last season. Continue reading

Empty words are the enemies of hope

This one’s a no-brainer, right? “Hope,” I mean as the Daily Prompt, and this blog, called Finding Hope Ness.

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How many times have I said I’m “surrounded by hope,” as in Hope Bay, the Hope Bay Nature Reserve, Hope Bay Forest, and Hope Ness itself? That’s a rhetorical question, of course. But, in case you’re a first-time reader, the answer is lots of times; too many, as if saying it often enough, taking advantage of the coincidence of location, makes it real.

There is nothing more precious and yet so hard to find than hope. And nothing more sentimentalized.

Continue reading