Video – Growing Community, an Urban Farming Movement

I just found this video I was involved with which I never saw the final product. It’s not bad, a bit lengthy but great nonetheless. Enjoy:

Posted in Gardening, Sustainability

Bagitarian – Bring your bags

Bring Your Own BagOur friend Carla came up with the term (as far as I’m aware) bagitarian. Always have a few reusable shopping bags in your vehicle, purse, back-pack, etc. I’m guilty of not doing this from time to time. We’ve got hundreds of bags sitting at the house but never where we need them, in the vehicle or pack when we arrive at the stores. This is especially important over the holiday season when you are out shopping for presents. The heavier duty bags that you get from boutique stores are the most resource intensive there are. The thin, flimsy ones you get at grocery stores are less impactful but still take up petroleum resources just the same. A plastic bag takes anywhere from 15 – 1000 to decompose. In landfills lacking proper oxygen, paper bags aren’t any better. Some people argue that they can just throw the bags in recycling but less than 1% of bags in North America even make it that far. And it is so expensive to recycle plastic bags that some facilities don’t even take them. In the US alone, they use 12 million barrels of oil to produce all the bags used.

“Say no to the bag”. Bring a bag. If you don’t have a reusable one, purchase a reusable one to bring home your goods. Alternatively, just opt for no bag. Become a bagitarian.

Posted in Environment, Sustainability Tagged with: , ,

Dirt Boys is participating in Calgary’s Most Local CSA Food Box

CSA – Community Shared Agriculture

Some of you may know what it is, most of you may not. It’s hard to get people to sign up to be a share member of a farm when they don’t know what they are getting into. As a CSA Shareholder you get fresh produce (or whatever type of CSA farm it may be). You are basically advance paying for a season of fresh veggies. Most CSA memberships come with a warning that say you may not get produce if unforeseen circumstances arise but with the YYC Growers CSA that Dirt Boys is supplying this year, we have 8 farms on board that will be growing for you, not just one.

Dirt Boys is planning on supplying some great produce such as Radishes, Collards, Carrots, Beets, Potatoes, Zucchini, Corn Salad, Kale and much more. With our other YYC Growers like Leaf & Lyre, Hillhurst Microfarms (with who I shared a table at the market last year), Seed + Soil, Greenberry and newcomers Salad Spinners and Grand Trunk Veggies we should have much variety in each and every CSA bag you pick up.

Please head over to the YYC Growers and Distributors CSA page for more information.

Hope to see you this summer picking up your share!

Posted in Gardening

Fall Yard and Garden Clean-up and Maintenance

Raking Leaves - Fall CleanupDirt Boys is offering a fall yard clean-up and garden maintenance, getting your yard and garden ready for winter.

Services include:

  • Raking and disposing of leaves
  • Adding fresh compost to gardens
  • Removing all annual and vegetables from gardens
  • Adding a layer of leaf mulch to garden beds
  • Emptying of rain barrels

For a 25 foot lot and an 8×4 raised bed, we charge $150 as a one time fee for this service.

Hurry, we are booking for October-November clean-up for the Calgary Area. Please fill out the contact form with your details and we will get back to you ASAP.

 

Posted in Gardening

Wicking Bed Project

At the beginning of the gardening season, actually there was still snow on the ground when I went to visit this site, a lovely lady who was wanting raised beds mentioned “Wicking Beds” which I then had to do a lot of research on to see if it was something I could do. The beds looked a little meticulous but I felt I could manage this feat. Wicking Beds work on the concept of watering from underneath, rather than from the top. There is a bit of plumbing involved and the beds need to be lined with heavy duty plastic to retain the water.

Wicking Bed Before

BEFORE This is the site before any work was done. A plot on the right hand side had been dug up to garden in previously.

Anyway, I after a week, and having my whole family help out on this job (yes, Dirt Girls are on the team too) we managed to get the job done. I think they are both impressive visually as well as practical. You don’t lose a lot of moisture due to evaporation. The plants take as much water as they need.

I’m sure someone will ask, for a 8×4 wicking bed, you are looking at about $750-800.

Early on in the site

Picture 1 of 14

Posted in Projects Tagged with:

Types of Composters and Benefits of Each

When people ask us about composting the second most popular question has to be, what type of composters should I get?
There really is no right or wrong answer to this question, mostly just a matter of space and preference. Some work better than others while some are just less labor. I’ll try and summarize each and what each provides you. Feel free to add any others that you’ve come across or tried down in the comment section. Read more ›
Posted in Composting, Gardening Tagged with: , , , ,

Mason Bees and their Importance in Nature

What is a Mason Bee?

Osmia lignaria, commonly known as the mason bee, is a megachilid bee that makes nests in reeds and natural holes, creating individual cells for their brood that are separated by mud dividers. This bees pollenates early spring fruit bloom in Canada and the United States. Read more ›

Posted in Environment, Gardening Tagged with: , ,

Dirt Boys looking for yards to garden in – Bridgeland, Renfrew Calgary

The urban farming group known as Dirt Boys is looking for some space to garden in. Have you heard of SPIN Farming? Well you have now. In the neighborhoods of Bridgeland and Renfrew in Calgary, AB we are looking for your neglected front yard or back yard that needs some TLC. In exchange for the use of your land, you will get a weekly supply of veggies that was grown on your land, as well as knowing you are helping out with Calgary food security.

Requirements:

  • Must be in Bridgeland or Renfrew neighborhoods in Calgary
  • Must have at least 25′ squared for gardens

What will we do in your yard?

Farm it! Unconventionally but hopefully we’ll see enough produce to use in YYC Growers Harvest Box on a regular basis. This, of course, is with your share taken out.

If you are thinking your property might have what we are looking for, contact us with your phone number and we’ll see if we are a fit.

Posted in Gardening Tagged with: , , ,

My Urban Garden by Polly Bennell – Short Documentary

I ran across this National Film Board short documentary that I wanted to share. It’s older but just as relevant today as it was in 1982. Polly Bennell share’s the wonders and treats that she grows in her urban garden in Halifax. Enjoy and take some tips from her. Really not that different growing seasons in Halifax as in Calgary.

My Urban Garden by Polly Bennell, National Film Board of Canada

Posted in Gardening Tagged with:

How Do You Define Sustainability?

I was watching a Youtube video from the permaculturist Toby Hemenway entitled How Permaculture can save humanity and the earth but not civilization and he gets into this question on what sustainability is.

I don’t actually have a definition but I wanted you to think about “sustainability” and why it’s not ideal. If someone asks you how your marriage is and you say “Oh, it’s sustainable” your impression of that marriage isn’t great. So if you start a “sustainable” practice does that mean that it is just getting by?

I like to think about sustainable as less inputs as there are outputs. This is one of permaculture’s principles “obtain a yield“. If you aren’t, you should probably reconsider why you are doing that thing.

Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work you are doing.

This is kind of a tangent here but think about the work you do every day. What is your yield and is it a big enough yield for the amount of effort you are putting in. More importantly, is it sustainable.

Conventional farming and food production is not sustainable. Sure, there is a yield but at what cost. In order to have a field full of corn the inputs far outweigh the yield. The energy, chemicals, herbicides, fertilizers, work, etc is extreme in relation to the crop of wheat that results.

Posted in Environment Tagged with: