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Urban farming in Calgary

Blader

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So, Under the Umbrella of permaculture, and under the assumption that there little to no money. Necessity being the mother of invention. And the love for a rustic garden. Beauty in the eye of the beholder.

The Ruth Stout method: building soil
1/ corrugated cardboard
2/ manure
3/ hay, leaves etc

Tools:
Hatchet
Shovel
Garden fork
A couple of tubs
Sweat equity

Resources:
Palletts
Neighbors leaves
Manure
Corrugated Cardboard

The notion being minimal cost and effort.
 

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The video below is a high cost urban farm project. Driven by passion and enough money. It's local, somewhere in SE Calgary.
Just over 13 minutes. Part 1 of 3.

Just over 10 minutes. Part 2 of 3.

Just under 12 minutes.Part 3 of 3
 

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Warning - caveat emptor - this is very important!

So it appears that he didn't have an issue using manure. He's lucky, others have had major issues.

The problem is with the herbicide aminopyralid , also known as Grazon, used to kill broad leaf plants in hay crops. I'll let the video below explain. I'm convinced the information is correct. Last year, I experienced the noted curling on my potato leaf tomato plants. I was adding a couple of handfuls of commercially bagged sheep manure every 2 weeks. I have 5 bags left which I will not use. I'm exploring how to safely rid of the material. I'll continue to post and whenever I encounter evidence to the contrary I will post. Apologies.


So what I'm really interested in is permaculture. This is a 10 to 40 year plan.
Here is the video of a 6-minute plan. It's the bottom end. What's missing is the time required for the gathering of material. It could be cow manure, and leaves instead of straw. The whole notion is to build soil. Since now is fall, there's an abundance of leaves that will fall in your neighborhood. If you can, gather and use them.

Just over 3 minutes

And the result just over 15 minutes

CX
 

Surrealplaces

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This is really interesting. I had leafs curly on my tomato plants this year, and couldn't figure out why. I did use sheep manure....hmmm . My potatoes were fine and had regular compost.

Warning - caveat emptor - this is very important!

So it appears that he didn't have an issue using manure. He's lucky, others have had major issues.

The problem is with the herbicide aminopyralid , also known as Grazon, used to kill broad leaf plants in hay crops. I'll let the video below explain. I'm convinced the information is correct. Last year, I experienced the noted curling on my potato leaf tomato plants. I was adding a couple of handfuls of commercially bagged sheep manure every 2 weeks. I have 5 bags left which I will not use. I'm exploring how to safely rid of the material. I'll continue to post and whenever I encounter evidence to the contrary I will post. Apologies.

 

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^^^
I purchased my manure from Canadian Tire. The brand name was Circle H Farms. I've just gotten off the phone with Canadian Tire apprising them of the possibility about their product being tainted. I went through a couple levels of escalation. They promised to contact me. We'll see!
 

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^^^
Manure 101

I'm deep in the weeds between Canadian Tire and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. I didn't mean to single out Canadian Tire, I only used them as an example for the whole retail garden centre industry. They are where I bought my product. I'm trying to gain an understanding of growers, to middle men, to retailers and regulation and Regulatory Authority, enforcement, and facts vs fiction. It'll take a while!
 
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manure 101
My head is spinning. I had a 45 minute good free ranging conversation with an officer of the CFIA. Before I post I need to call again to sort out my understanding.

Leaves - picked up 5 bags from neighbours. I think 10 more bags will suffice. Most neighbours haven't gathered their leaves. It'll happen soon given the warming trend.
 

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Composted Manure 101
Preliminary:
Herbicides are not the only cause of leaf curl (internally known as 'fiddle-heading'). Fiddle-heading is an apt description.
Typically herbicide presence in commercially composted manure is not statistically measurable - the levels are that low.
They're concerned about the presence of heavy metals.
The regulations are rigorous.
I need to know more about compliance.

I'll touch base with the CFIA in a couple weeks. If you have questions please post in that time span and I'll put them to the CFIA.

From the CFIA:
Regulation of Compost under the Fertilizers Act and Regulations
http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/fertilizers/trade-memoranda/t-4-120/eng/1307910204607/1307910352783
 

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making compost
This video (8 minute 28 seconds) is by Stephen Legaree of 'Alberta Urban Garden Simple Organic and Sustainable '
He's a Fort Saskatchewan based biologist, lecturer, and workshop conductor.
He's successfully over wintered red wigglers. If that can be done in the Edmonton region then it stands to reason that it can in Calgary.

I've gathered 2 cubic meters of leaves from neighbours. Next a visit to a micro brewery.
 
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^^^
This is a companion piece to making compost - red wigglers. Remember that he has done this for a number of years and had all the requisite pieces in place. I'm not there yet.
 

Surrealplaces

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I might have to give that a try. I use mostly grass and leaves for my compost and generally get really good compost every other year. I've had trouble getting the compost to fully breakdown if starting it in the fall.

making compost
This video (8 minute 28 seconds) is by Stephen Legaree of 'Alberta Urban Garden Simple Organic and Sustainable '
He's a Fort Saskatchewan based biologist, lecturer, and workshop conductor.
He's successfully over wintered red wigglers. If that can be done in the Edmonton region then it stands to reason that it can in Calgary.

I've gathered 2 cubic meters of leaves from neighbours. Next a visit to a micro brewery.
 

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I might have to give that a try. I use mostly grass and leaves for my compost and generally get really good compost every other year. I've had trouble getting the compost to fully breakdown if starting it in the fall.
I too, I have had my successes and failures.
It's the first time I've tried gathering leaves in the fall. I filled three bins with leaves and watered three days ago. Yesterday, I buried a meat thermometer into the compost and measured temperature. It measured a hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit. That's considered to be good. Measurement was taken in the center of the pile and obviously on the perimeter the temperatures were lower. The outside ambient mean temperature over those same three days was approximately 45 degrees Fahrenheit. I've got a biological furnace happening. It needs to be monitored for correct amount of air, water and material. I'll continue to monitor the piles once a week into the winter. When they stop cooking I'll report. Oh, I forgot to mention that today I applied 50 lbs of used coffee grounds distributed over the 3 bins, courtesy of Tim Hortons. I didn't even make a dent in the amount of coffee grounds they had.

Some reliable sources:

https://www.gardenmyths.com/how-to-compost-browns-greens/
https://www.gardenmyths.com/coffee-grounds-in-garden/

As an aside, below is a video from Edmontons Stephen Legaree. It's an admirable demonstration of the lengths he took to test an hypothesis. It's typical of him.
 

Surrealplaces

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I used to gather all of the K-cup coffee grinds from work and use those, but it was more work than it was worth I think. I was considering trying to get them from Tim's or Starbucks'

Nice that you got the temperature to go. Only once have ever managed to get some good heat off the bins.
 

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If I had could do it over again - 20 years on - starting with a clean slate.
Firstly, I'd harvest water.
Front yard - I had a city ornamental crab apple. The rest was a weedy lawn.
Using weeping tile - perforated and non-perforated.
I've done that but was way too late. I should have started with it.

In this photo the down spout on the left was originally directed to the ledge above the door. In a moderate to heavy rain it would overflow the eaves. I redirected straight down and parallel to the spout on the right.
20180928_141916.jpg


Both downspouts terminate in a galvanized universal boot with a 4 inch diameter. I sprayed painted the boot for protection.
Similar to this on Home Depots website.
https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.3-14x10x4-inch-universal-boot-straight.1000107434.html

20180925_162049.jpg


By doing it after the fact I wound the weeping tile around a stone patio and weaved it around mature perennials, damaging mature roots minimally. Not ideal. And more work.
No rain barrels to buy and maintain. Minimal cost. I don't need to water the front yard.
After this I would plan a fruit forest for the front yard.
I'll cover how I would proceed in another post.
 

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