My yard is your yard: Neighbors dismantle fences in favor of shared space

From Mother Nature network

How much do you enjoy the company of your neighbors? Enough to share a backyard with them? Meet several yard-sharers who have thrown the old proverb ‘good fences make good neighbors’ to the wind.

A shared backyard
Although it probably doesn’t hold much appeal to the super territorial or to those who have a penchant for watering their tomato plants in the nude, the sharing of backyards — banding together with next-door neighbors to do away with fences and create a larger communal outdoor space often, but not always, for the purposes of growing veggies or entertaining — is growing in popularity according to the Wall Street Journal.
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Plantin’ & Transplantin’

[From early May…]

A couple of weeks ago, we were in the gardens cleaning up the mess leftover from last year and trying to ward off the knot weed we’ll be battling all season.

We had a mishap after our first indoor planting session, where none of our seeds (except the lovely zucchinis) made it out of the soil or past a tiny little seedling stage. We realized that we had burned our seeds pretty badly by making our mix far-too-heavy on the chicken manure. So a couple of weeks back we started fresh with new seeds and a new mix.

The seedlings are having a much better go this time around although we still don’t seem to be getting the results we saw in previous years. This may account for the fact that we are not in a greenhouse this year (the Conservation Council’s that we are always welcome in is undergoing some repairs at the moment…) and the plants are stuck in a bedroom.

Last week to the hopes of giving them another push, we set about adding a few more artificial light sources and Andi made some pretty hilarious, but we think effective, reflectors to increase the light hitting our little seedlings. Here’s the set up:

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Gardeners fighting for the right to grow

Published Thursday May 10th, 2012– HERE Magazine

FREDERICTON – A group of gardeners in Fredericton is trying to convince city and government officials that the organic produce they grow is no threat to residents’ water supply.

The New Brunswick Community Harvest Gardens launched last summer with a 77-plot garden on the north side, offering Frederictonians a chance to grow their own food and gain valuable skill development.

They’ve been searching for space to start a garden closer to the downtown core, but have so far been shut out of the only suitable locations due to a stringent zoning bylaw.

Edee Klee, co-chair of NBCHG, said they’d like to establish a new plot in Wilmot Park or in the green space between the Delta Hotel and burial ground. The trouble is those areas are in Zone A, which are heavily restricted well fields…

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First dig!

This is what we had to work with in the beginning…

And we even finished it!

It may not look like much, but it looks AWESOME in person. You should come to the garden tomorrow night, Thursday April 26th, 2012 at 6:00pm. We’ll be there possibly planting spinach!

Happy planting!

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Landless Gardeners in HERE magazine!

Garden group find common ground with Landshare Canada

Published in HERE magazine, written by Jon MacNeill

FREDERICTON – The Landless Gardeners are a pretty transient lot of local-foodie enthusiasts, but lately founder Andi Emrich has wanted to lay some well-entrenched roots in the city. And she thinks she’s found that in Landshare Canada-an innovative, online matchmaking service for gardeners and landowners.

Click to Enlarge

“It’s basically our concept, but decentralized,” Emrich said recently, sipping on tea in a downtown cafe.

The Landless Gardeners was started four years ago by a few friends who wanted to get into growing their own food, but didn’t own a trace of land. They hit up local landowners for space, offering them a share of the harvest and a chance for skill development, and over the years they’ve operated at times with as many as 15 members on upwards of four plots of land.

The thing is, says Emrich, this is Fredericton: all the members are young and students and, well, temporary. “Because of the whole transition and movement of…

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Detroit hopes local food movement will spur inner-city rebirth

Last week the Globe and Mail published an interesting article on the local food movement in non other than Detroit, Michigan.  Check out just some of what is happening in Detroit and be inspired to find out more of the exciting, innovative initiatives or even take a trip down as one of the Landless Gardeners’ very own did in summer 2010. What a trip!

In southwest Detroit’s Mexicantown area, Tammy Alfaro-Koehler and her husband more than tripled the size of their Honey Bee fruit and vegetable market to 15,000 square feet in 2006. “We’re committed,” she said. “We have been, even when it was scary.”

Amanda Sadlier, who lives a short drive from the Midtown site of the planned Whole Foods, intends to splurge on the occasional item when it opens.

She said the store would give a needed boost to this neighbourhood of extremes, punctuated by a modern medical centre a few blocks from the ruins of the Brewster-Douglass housing project where the families of Motown Records singers Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson once lived…


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Indoor planting begins!

With all the beautiful weather last week we couldn’t pass up the chance to start some seeds out on the porch (to be maintained inside for the time being of course… its just a little bit too early to be leaving those little seeds outside all night).

 Thanks to our friend Sarah we were gifted with stacks of trays and little pots for starting our seeds. Before we put any of our soil mix in though we made sure to properly wash all of the containers to knock-out any potentially harmful residues. We used hot water and a bit of bleach and elbow grease.

To start seeds inside its essential to get a good soil mix. We decided on our mix of:

1 part coconut husks (or coconut coir)

1 part aged chicken manure compost

a splash of worm castings 

The coconut coir can be used in place of peat moss which is used because of its nutrients and ability to absorb water. Peat moss is derived from ecologically sensitive peat bogs as they can take up to 200 years to be replenished. They are rapidly being depleted around the world threatening both plant and animal species. Coir can also be used as mulch to help reduce soil erosion, decrease the watering needs of the garden and help to keep out invading weeds. On top of everything, coir is a by-product so you are actually reducing waste! It can be purchased at most garden centres.

We used the local finished chicken manure (or compost) as it is full of amazing nutrients that the little seedlings will just eat up. Its good food for those growing plants! It is high in phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.

More than just a great plant fertilizer, castings are a terrific soil amendment, plant growth enhancer, and the gardener’s ultimate compost. Earthworm castings are clean, odorless, and can be used indoors and outdoors to provide a boost to all of your plants.

While the castings are concentrated and rich in nitrogen, they are gentle enough to be applied in direct contact to sensitive plant roots without fear of burning. Worm castings also supply magnesium, phosphates, calcium, potassium, and potash, along with a range of micro-nutrients and trace elements.

Worm castings are loaded with beneficial soil microbes and other soil organisms that will help restore life and health to depleted and worn out garden soils (

One the “soil” was mixed, we filled our clean containers and got to work planting. We ended up planting zucchinis, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, basil, peppers, and eggplant…. and we cannot wait to see them poke their heads out of the soil! Once they do, we will put a grow light on above them to ensure they have enough to help them grow big and strong. In a couple of weeks, we’ll check out the seeds’ progress and decide what else to start inside.


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Permaculture Design Certificate Course 2012

Falls Brook Centre will be offering it’s inaugural permaculture design certificate course

June 18th – 29th, 2012

This is a residential course, in Knowlesville, NB with Permaculture specialist Mr. Grover Stock

Course fees include HST, meals and accommodation: $1,300 – book now! 

Preliminary schedule available at at the end of March

For more information contact :

Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more.  Permaculture draws from several other disciplines including organic farming, agroforestry, sustainable development and applied ecology.

During the course participants will learn about climate and micro-climate, natural building, soils, perennial and tree crops, water in the landscape, urban strategies, earthwork, animals, aquaculture, nurseries and so much more…  They will complete a design project that includes the following elements: agroforestry, animals, energy, natural building, rainwater, greywater and sheet mulching.

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Guess what came in the mail this week??

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Sustainable gardening: How to get a truly green thumb

Published Monday, Mar. 05, 2012–The Globe and Mail



I want to grow veggies on my balcony but I’m concerned about using soil that’s been stripped off of productive land elsewhere. Do I have any options for sustainable apartment gardening?


The modern urban agriculture movement has become popular – from backyard composting and community gardens, to today’s indoor vermicomposting and rooftop gardens providing food for hundreds of households…

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