Flowery blurbs, volume 9.

Life-glowing season ! odour-breathing Spring !

Deck’d in cerulean splendours !vivid,warm,

Shedding soft lustre on the rosy hours, And calling forth their beauties !

balmy Spring ! To thee the vegetating world begins

To pay fresh homage.

-“Ode to Spring” by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)  Read the whole poem here.

I know, I know, I’m a bit early – spring is officially eight days away – but I figure it never hurts to be organized.  (Yeah, that’s it).  The truth is, even though we’ve had an unusually mild winter here in Calgary, I’m just that anxious for the change of season, excitedly counting down the days until the first bulbs poke up out of the earth:  crocuses, scilla, anemones, and glories-of-the-snow.

The zen of tulip maintenance.  (Sort of).

I don’t plant tulips anymore – while I’m honoured to provide a banquet for the local squirrels and hares, my pocketbook simply can’t take the hit.  Instead, I buy fresh cut tulips whenever I can find them and put them on display in my rodent-free livingroom.  If you’re like me (that is, tormented by insatiable tulip-munching adorable furry critters) and you buy your tulips from a florist or at the supermarket, try these tips for keeping them fresh and beautiful for as long as possible.

Thumb’s up for this northern Alberta biomass conversion project.

In the small city of Whitecourt, Alberta, fast-growing poplars and willow trees are being grown in waste water and sludge cast off of the water treatment plant.  The idea is to harvest these trees as fuel for the city’s wood-burning power plant.  Four other municipalities in northern Alberta are working on similar projects, and involvement and interest is increasing.  While this isn’t a new concept, nothing of this scale has yet been undertaken in the province.  Read about this interesting venture here.

What’s in a biofumigant? 

Glucosinalates, to be exact.  These chemical compounds are naturally produced by members of the genus Brassica (broccoli, kale, mustard, etc.) and, if grown as part of a cover crop and rotation strategy, are capable of destroying certain soil-borne diseases that may affect other food crops, such as potatoes.  Read about how they work here.

Vertical farming ideas abound. 

Ground-breaking has been undertaken on an – ahem! – groundbreaking vertical farming project in Linköping, Sweden.  Do you think we’ll be seeing a lot of these domes in the future, or is this just a one-off thing?  (Presumably, if Plantagon has anything to say about it, these greenhouses will eventually be sprinkled all over the world).  Read all about it here.

Peel appeal.

Whether you grow your own fruits or veggies, or purchase them at a farmers market or grocer, consider saving the peels and rinds and using them for everything from natural fabric dyes to natural cosmetic treatments, flavoured sugars, and tasty, oven-roasted chips.  Make sure everything you use is organic and scrubbed really well, and use this handy guide as a source of inspiration.

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