Alberta snapshot: Bebo Grove.

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Just a quick pic today…the past few days have been a whirlwind – both literally and figuratively.  It’s been insanely windy outside and of course everyone has decided it’s time to power rake the lawns and sweep the gravel out of the parking lots – it’s really best not to step outdoors if you have allergies!  I walked to the store today and I came back with sandblasted eyeglasses and a completely new hairdo.  😉  I’m super-swamped with all the happenings in our community gardening group, getting ready for our Annual Growers’ Meeting tomorrow night and rounding up soil amendments for the raised beds so the members can get sowing!  (We do make our own compost at the garden, but it’s a small operation and we used up all the produce last autumn).  I want very much to get out into my flowerbeds and trim down the old stalks of the perennials and do some clean up, but I’m not quite ready yet…the cast was finally removed from my wrist late last week but I need a bit of therapy and time to get things working again.  Maybe once the wind dies down, I’ll be up to it.  🙂

My hubby and I managed to get out on the weekend for a very short walk in Bebo Grove in Fish Creek Provincial Park in the southwest part of the city.  It was less walking than sitting by the river, actually, but there’s something to be said for a few moments of quiet and nothing to do except to watch the ducks and enjoy the warm sun.

Falling.

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Yep, autumn has definitely descended.

We’ve had some pretty strong winds here in Calgary, which has facilitated the “falling” part of the season, and now the evidence is lying everywhere:

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So much for photosynthesis for this year!  I can sympathize – the shorter daylengths make me want to drop, too…into the soft cushions of my couch with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book.  At least I’m not changing colour, as well (unless you count the fact that I seem to already be losing my summer tan).   😉

I can never resist the temptation to shuffle through the leaves and kick them around just to hear that satisfying rustle and crunch – it just never gets old.  I can totally understand the pure joy of this adorable pup (if you haven’t seen the video hit from YouTube yet, treat yourself – it’s precious!):

The “ground” leaves never last long around our apartment complex, because the landscapers come by nearly daily and blow them into bags to cart away (I seriously hope they’re “leafcycling!”).  I always have to scramble to make sure I get enough to pile into my perennial beds, and to put into small bags to save as bedding and food for my vermicomposting worms.  Yesterday, I scooped up a giant bag of golden poplar leaves to take over to our community garden’s compost bins – we now need a large source of “browns” to add the mountains of “greens” that we yanked out of the tired beds on the weekend during our final fall work bee.

What do you do with your fallen leaves?

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(I took the photos in this post at the Silver Springs Botanical Garden, Calgary, Alberta)

Read more!  Autumn Leaves and Fall Colors

5 Things to Do with All Those Fall Leaves

Deciduous Leaves Falling

Book Review: The Complete Guide to Working with Worms.

(I am linking to Roses and Other Gardening Joys‘ April Book Reviews!  Head on over there to peruse all of the wonderful titles and reviews by participating bloggers!).

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Those of you who have been following my blog for awhile now may remember that I constructed a vermicomposting bin in February of last year (you can read about it here).  Unfortunately, several months into my project, I inadvertently caused an imbalance in my new bin and the entire set-up experienced Catastrophic Worm Failure in the early fall.  I didn’t give up, however, and my vermicomposting efforts are back on track, with far greater success than before.  My worms gobble down a huge portion of the kitchen scraps my hubby and I generate every week, and everything is now functioning as it should.

Whether you’re a newbie or an old hand at keeping worms for composting, Wendy Vincent’s book The Complete Guide to Working With Worms:  Using the Gardener’s Best Friend for Organic Gardening and Composting (2012, Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc., Florida), is a good resource guide.  Vincent wasn’t kidding with her lengthy title:  this is indeed a “complete” guide.   Her book covers everything you’ll need to know about the wriggly workers –  from setting up a worm habitat to keeping the little critters happy in their new digs.  Feeding, care, and harvesting necessarily warrant their own chapters, and there is an excellent section devoted to troubleshooting tips.  Vincent carefully compares traditional composting methods with vermicomposting and while she advocates using both types simultaneously if possible, she encourages the use of vermicomposting in small residential and commercial spaces, locations that may not support traditional composting.   Through “Family Activities,” Vincent  shows how fun it is to share the vermicomposting experience with children, and there are entertaining worm facts, science, and history sprinkled throughout the book.   Finally, Vincent also covers how to set up a small business selling excess populations of worms.

Although comprehensive, The Complete Guide to Working With Worms is extremely accessible – there’s no bogging down in technical detail or arcane knowledge.  It is easy to read, understand, and follow.  While the book is short on photos, there are some small black and white images included, and tables and diagrams where required to illustrate concepts such as building a worm bin.  (It’s probably not necessary to have full page, glossy colour worm action shots, anyway!).   😉   This is a title I would definitely keep in my library and recommend to anyone considering vermicomposting to help nourish the garden.  It’s also a fabulous source of information for teachers wanting to start up a worm bin in the classroom.

Do you keep working worms, or would you consider doing so?  Do you have a traditional compost bin instead? 

If you’ve already got a wormery set up, check out this great article about feeding your worms – it even includes some delicious desserts to treat your workers with!

Flowery blurbs, volume 5.

Flowery Prose goes ultra-brief this week (which honestly might not be a good idea in this weather). 

Now, that’s REALLY, REALLY old compost….

“The first written mention of compost in agriculture is found on Mesopotamian clay tablets dating from approximately 2300 BC.  Around 2,000 years later, the first book written in prose Latin came out:  Cato the Elder’s De Agricultura, a plainspoken how-to manual on successfully and economically setting up and maintaining a farm…Composting was an important though often unheralded practice that propped up more than a few of the great civilizations.  Cleopatra deified the earthroom, and mentions of composting appear in the Bhagarad Gita, the Talmud, and the Bible, as well in the writings of Shakespeare, Sir Francis Bacon, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.”  – from Homegrown, by Marta Teegen (2010, Rodale, Inc., New York)

La Macchina Botanica is pretty durn cool.

Yeah, the weather outside is frightful – at least here on the Canadian Prairies, anyway.  Seriously, -40°C is always a shock, no matter how often you’ve been through it.  I’ve been contemplating knitting little scarves for my houseplants (which would work out nicely if I could actually knit)!  While I wait for the next Chinook, I can amuse myself by watching this video, which combines two of my very favourite things:  Rube Goldberg machines and gardening.  I hope you like it, too!

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