More about Dr. Joe Dispenza here on his website:
More about Dr. Joe Dispenza here on his website:
Any issues I have, I can deal with now.
No matter where I am, who I am with, what I am doing,
It is not other things, people or places keeping me from achieving them
It is me.
I am the only one limiting myself.
If I can’t deal with issues now,
they will continue to be there always.
Even if I change environments,
they will still be there.
We often tell ourselves
I just need to change the people I hang around with
I need to be alone
Once this or that happens (something in the future normally), then I can change
We believe that changing our environment will allow us to change
But it’s not about changing your environment
(Granted it can help, it can make the transition easier, but it is not necessary)
It’s about changing within
It’s a combination of
Changing your mind
Changing your habits, your actions
-Issues I have are with myself
No matter who I am with,
They will continue to be an issue,
It does not disappear,
So changing relationships will not fix things
-I need to be alone to deal with my issues
But they will come back when you are not alone
If you only know how to deal with them alone
You will at some point still have to learn how to deal with them with people around you
(Bring the people back, bring the issues back)
Can learn to be alone, without being alone
-Once I get this, then I can face my issues
(This example triggers the following sayings:)
-There is no moment like the present.
-There is no better time than now.
-Tomorrow may not come.
-Love like you will lose your loves.
-Enjoy the moment like it is your last.
But that last saying does not translate to: YOLO
In the sense:
Let’s drink and do drugs and forget about everything
Because these are simply distractions
(It is important to make sure they are not used to fill a void)
The best moments in life are:
-When you have caught yourself thinking: I am so happy right now
-The moments where you are smiling to yourself,
-The moments where you are taking in everything around you,
And you are at peace, and content, and grateful to be alive
Rare is it that these moments are when you are completely intoxicated
(Granted, some good memories can occur during slight intoxication,
But it is not necessary,
and abuse of it doesn’t leave anyone feeling good)
But more often it is when you are alone and loving yourself
Or surrounded by people you love with laughter and music in the air
Or a moment of silence, lying side by side, with a lover or even a stranger
When there is sun on your face
When there is rain on your skin
These are the moments that invigorate you
These are the moments that you remember.
(We remember our best and worst moments)
Both of which make us stronger
So it’s been awhile since my last post.
And today’s post isn’t going to be about farming, or the garden.
The blog was supposed to be about what makes me angry about the world. Its the first question of many to help me pin down exactly which revolution I want to lead, exactly which path I want to go down to help make this world a better place. But alas, my mind and fingers have led me to write about something else completely, in a sense. But I like what I have written. And it represents me, who I am, what I have been thinking for the past hour. And I have come to a point in my life where I want to share that with the world. So I hope you enjoy.
I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to blog regularly. It’s what I had planned to do right? And if I didn’t do what I said I was going to do, people would think that I wasn’t following through on my plans (which is true).
But I felt that people would think negatively of me for this. Because as I have grown up, I have learned to associate good and bad with things. And not following through on your plans has been associated with the bad. But alas, I need to remind myself that good and bad are one in the same. Sometimes, what is bad, can really be good. There is no one way to live your life. And things happen for reason. If I haven’t been blogging about gardening, there must be a reason for it right. Because I was doing other things with my time. Because I had placed more value on other things.
But really, I don’t know what other people are thinking. Really, people aren’t even thinking of me. Sure, they might have certain thoughts as they come across me, as I enter their sphere from time to time, be it in person, or through the web. But ultimately, their thoughts, like mine, have to do with themselves and their immediate surroundings.
And my guess is that when people are thinking of you from far away, they are thinking positive thoughts. They are missing you, or they are worried about you, but in a caring way. They are sending you love.
And those who are actually sending bad vibes to others…well those are the people whose opinions you needn’t worry about. And really, those are the people who need the most love in those moments. Because to be sending bad vibes to someone, you really need to be in a low place; a place without confidence, a place without love.
I would like to believe that no one is ever really in that place. That those sentences wouldn’t actually resonate with anyone. But I feel like that would be unrealistic of me. And so I would take this time to quickly say, as a reminder, just in case, if in the future, anyone were to find themselves in such a place, that it is ok. To not feel guilty for such thoughts. To not hold on to them. To remember that you are worthy and amazing. That there are people who love you. I love you. I may not know you, but I love you. And to let go of your negative thoughts and push yourself to see things in a positive light.
Words are powerful. Thoughts are powerful. Our minds are powerful.
And our minds can be difficult to train. But it can be done. It just takes practice. Like anything else.
When we are kids, we are used to not being good at things right away. And we have to practice to get good at them. And there are some things we practice more than others. But as we become adults, we tend to keep only those things that we are good at (those things which we have practiced the most). And when we try something new, we compare it to that which we can already do. Things we are already good at. And we expect to be just as good, relatively fast. And when we realize that it’s going to take longer than we thought, we tend to give up. We tell ourselves, it’s not “our” thing, it’s not meant for us. We resort to doing things which come easy. But it’s hard to find fulfillment in life from things that come easy. Fulfillment comes from spending time, and energy, and sweat, and tears and love working towards something you believe in.
I think that’s what many of us look for. Crave for. I try to avoid generalities. I try to avoid laws, and absolute truths (because there will always be a critic, someone who tries to tear down your opinion or your point, and so I guess it’s a self defence mechanism. I admit I do not know all. Please don’t assume I think I do, and use that as a way to ignore the larger message). But really, I don’t think anyone would say “No, I don’t want to be fulfilled”.
We have to remember to be beginners again. We have to remember to be learners. You will not start something and be an expert. It takes years of practice to get there. And maybe your goal is not to be an expert. You may simply want to be better at something.
Remember, even those who are experts, can lose that sense of fulfillment. Because fulfillment comes from working towards something you believe in. It comes from reaching a point you never thought you would hit, or you feared you couldn’t reach, and looking back, and saying “I did it”. “I made it”.
Fulfillment comes from surprising not others, but yourself. Some of the hard work may leave you tired, leave you scared, leave you frustrated. But when you believe in something so much, you push through. Your belief triumphs your doubts. (I just had a good vs evil thought)
And so to feel fulfilled, you must believe in something. And belief is just like faith.
So I think the first step to fulfillment is belief or faith. Belief in yourself to accomplish something that you haven’t yet accomplished. (Hence the importance of doing new things, or striving for more). Perhaps something that others may not think is possible. But if you think it, you can create it. If you think it, you can do it. You just have to believe that you can.
And you can train your mind to think that you can. You just have to catch yourself every time you find yourself with a negative thought or a doubt. Be mindful of your thoughts. Do not ignore them. But recognize them for what they are. Just thoughts. Just as you can have a negative thought, you can also have an equal and opposite positive thought. In the moments that you feel you can’t, remember that you can.
You can either hop around doing a lot of little things. Feeling fulfilled by this, and then by this, and then by this. Always making small goals, attaining them, and then moving on to the next. Or you can make big goals, and dedicate much time and effort into them. I do believe that what you put in is what you get out. And so the bigger goals that take more time and effort will ultimately bring you more fulfillment.
Those who have left a mark on society are those who dedicated a good portion of their lives to something. Not their whole lives mind you. They were still children at one point. They were still confused teens at some point. They may even have been adults going through a mid life crisis. They were just like you and I. They were not perfect. They had doubts. They may also have had families and friends, and a social life. But at some point, they began to believe in something so much they spent the majority of their time (if not more) working towards it.
I don’t believe they “found” something to believe in. It didn’t fall into their laps. It was not something else that found them. It was their brains, their minds, that changed. Whatever experiences they had gone through, whatever they had learned, they realized the power of their mind. They realized the power of belief. They realized that if you believe in something enough, you can make it a reality. And so they believed they were capable of creating a new reality. The reality they wanted to see. They were the change they wanted to see in the world.
And that is how to make a change, that is how you leave a mark, that is how you look back and feel fulfilled. And yet, we never hit a plateau. We never really stop working towards something. Martin Luther King didn’t stop. Mahatma Ghandi didn’t stop. They didn’t hit a point, and look back and go, I am good. I needn’t do anymore. We have moments in our life where we look back and can take a few seconds or a few minutes to relish in what we have accomplished. To remind ourselves of what we are capable of doing. But we are supposed to take these moments as inspiration to keep moving forward. To keep working.
Fulfillment is not only achieved in a moment, it is achieved by a journey. As they say life is not a destination, it is a journey. You are only living when you are moving. You can be moving forwards or you can be moving backwards. You can be moving side to side. But you must be moving. Working towards something. And when you don’t know what to work towards, take that time to figure out what you want to work towards. It’s not just about keeping your feet moving until something falls into place. It’s about taking that time of confusion to look within, or look out, and figure out what you want to work towards, what you believe in.
We can all train our minds to believe in something. Big things and small things. And I think the small things can change as we move through life, learning, taking in new information. But ultimately, I think the big things we all want to believe in are ultimately the same.
Can you imagine the world we could be living in, if we all worked towards those big things; peace and love. (I’m laughing at myself because I realize how hippie I sound, and this whole blog has just come out, rolled out of me in a sense.)
But if I believe in anything, I do believe that peace and love are the two things that everyone wants, in their heart of hearts. It’s what we all crave for.
It’s easy to doubt. It’s easy to say, no it’s not possible. It’s easy to be the devil’s advocate.
But it can be just as easy to believe. If you choose to.
I can imagine such a world. And imagination is the first step in making something a reality.
I also think I’m not the only one.
So I started this blog to share my adventures and my knowledge with you.
Today I would like to share my hopes and my dreams with you.
Because I’ve realized (and known for awhile) that I don’t have that much knowledge. I am not an expert in most matters. But I think the thing that has inspired people the most, that has excited people the most, is when I speak to them about my hopes and dreams.
I think that perhaps, the fire they see in my eyes, is inspiring. And it inspires people, not to live the life I want to lead, but to live the life they want to lead. Passion is contagious.
When you see someone so passionate about something, it inspires you to the find the same passion in yourself.
And so today, that is what I am going to do.
Ever since I left university, and finally felt free to do whatever it was I wanted to do, my life motto has been “who knows?”. Who knows what will become of my future. There are an infinite amount of possibilities. And that is extremely exciting.
Who I am today, and who I am tomorrow are two different people. How am I to know that what I want today is the same thing I will want 10, 20 or 100 days from now.
There are many things in life that are out of our control, and you never know what life is going to throw at you.
So, as much as it is in our nature to want to be able to predict the future, we ultimately cannot.
(However, I do believe in creating your reality, and believing in something so much that you make it happen)
Nothing is permanent in life. Something is always changing. No one and nothing belongs to you.
I’ve come to the point in my life where I am aware, that I know nothing for certain, I simply choose to believe.
And even at that, I don’t attach myself to any ideas or thoughts of the future. Because you never know what is going to happen. You might want to, in order to make yourself feel secure, or safe, but life is about being able to go with the flow. It’s about choosing to see the positive side of the coin (being aware of the negative) but choosing to focus on the positive (because why the hell not).
Anywho, I’m getting off topic.
After university, I travelled to South Korea, because I wanted to travel, and experiment with teaching.
I loved teaching, but didn’t love South Korea. So I decided not to spend any more time in a place that I knew I didn’t want to be in, and took off travelling.
At first, I thought I would fly straight to Malaysia and start organic farming, which was something I also wanted to experiment with. However, I was so close to Japan and the Great Wall of China, that I told myself “take advantage of it while you can, because you might never get this opportunity again”.
And the more I live life, the more often I am grateful for the times that I told myself, “take advantage of the opportunity you are being given now”. Hop on it. Either you will be thankful you did, or you will learn an important lesson. It’s a win-win scenario.
When I got back from travelling, I went back to the Keg because I was in debt, and it was the easy thing to do. But I am so thankful that I decided to go work on a farm the following summer. (I love the Keg, but “been there, done that”).
I very much believe in the slogan “it’s better to regret having done something, than to regret not having done anything at all”.
Again, farming was something that I figured I would try. Either I was going to like it, or I wouldn’t. If I didn’t, well then it wasn’t a mistake, it was a learning experience. If I didn’t like it, at least I could say I tried it, and now it is off the list. But you have to try things in life to figure out what you like doing. And I really do believe that most of life is about trying things and figuring out what you don’t like doing until you are left with what you do like doing.
But I really do feel like I struck gold somehow. I had been listening to my heart for awhile at that point, and it finally brought me to the place that I wanted to be. In that moment that is. I feel like I’ve stumbled along a path, and that path is currently bringing me through organic gardening, farming, homesteading. But the path is endless, and perhaps this forest will last forever, but I may also come to a clearing at some point, or a river, or a volcano, or who the hell knows.
But once you’ve started listening to your heart, it’s extremely hard to not listen to it. And it will lead you wherever it wants to go. (Of course these are all metaphors, God knows what I am even saying).
Okay, off track (a bit) again.
I got back from farming, and told myself that my one goal for the next year was to learn how to be self-sufficient. To learn how to grow food on my own. To be able to feed my family and friends.
And that is what I am doing. Granted, not as well as I would have liked. I had over the winter, put more focus into my job and paying rent than really doing what I had wanted to do. “As is life” many of us would say.
But I have now decided to follow my heart once again.
I still want to do my garden. And I do not want to do it half assed. (Screw multitasking which gets you nowhere quick, instead of doing one job extremely well in 5 days, you do 10 jobs 10% well.) I want to do it well. And I will see where that takes me.
Perhaps I will do a great job and the nuns in the Monastery will ask me to use their land next year to grow on a bigger scale.
Perhaps I will gain the confidence to work on a bigger scale and use land in Oka that a friend of the family has.
Perhaps friends of mine will buy a piece of land and I will live on it and start a successful business that we can split 50/50.
Perhaps I will not get into commercial farming at all (or at least not yet) and instead I will choose to live off grid, in a sustainable, self-sufficient community.
Perhaps I will go to construction school around the corner for cheap and learn how to build my own home, and learn on the side how to do so with recycled materials and alternative energy sources.
Who knows what will happen!
All I know right now, is that I want to work on my garden. And I believe that if I do that, and listen to my heart, then only good things will come. And really, that’s not what makes me feel good. I don’t rely on good things “coming” to me. Instead, I focus on what makes me happy. And doing what makes me happy. I do believe that if I do that, then good things will come (because that is what I choose to believe). But my focus is not on the ends, it is on the means. Because you never know what is going to happen.
But if life is a summation of the present, then as long as you make sure you are happy in the present, you are bound to have a wonderful life. So that is what I plan to do.
And a wonderful life is what I wish for all. Whatever that life is. All I can say is follow your heart, it won’t let you down.
So I need to add on to this post.
I forgot to mention my present, most grandiose dream.
It’s an expansion of the “off-grid, sustainable, self-sufficient community” dream.
I would love to work outside every day. I would love to grow my own food. I would love to have mobile greenhouses set up for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, sweet potatoes. I would love to have a super greenhouse for avocado trees, lemons, grapefruits, figs, and even banana trees. I would love to have apple trees and other native fruit bearing trees. From which we could make apple juice, apple cider and apple cider vinegar. I would love to have maple trees from which we could harvest sap. I would love to have bees, to help rebuild their community and ensure they do not go extinct.
All of this of course is a lot for one person. And that is why a community is so important. Everyone has their specialty, something they are better at than others. And so everyone would have their specialty, and we could share amongst ourselves, but we could also come together to help each other with our daily tasks when need be.
I also love the idea of having camps or educational programs, where kids could learn about food and take part in producing it. Not only would it be great to have young kids taking part in all of this, but I also think it would be good for kids in Juvy or having difficulties in life. Learning how to grow your own food is extremely empowering, and can build your confidence like crazy. It also makes you feel like you are doing something very productive, very important. It would also be good for sick people or elderly people. Basically, being outside, getting dirty and breathing fresh air is good for everyone’s mental and physical health.
Everyone would be welcome. And those who really enjoy the life style would be welcome to stay, given that they contribute in some way. Because it doesn’t matter how young, or old, or educated you are. Everyone has something to contribute.
So that is my “big” dream at the moment. Really, I believe it’s not that big and it’s more than attainable.
I’ve begun listening to my heart again in the past few months, and when you do, things just seem to fall in place.
I am very excited about my future at this moment. And that is a wonderful feeling.
Granted if we were always excited, we wouldn’t know we were excited. So we can’t get down on ourselves when we feel like we are missing that excitement in our life.
But it is in those times that it is important to sit down with ourselves and tune in to how we are feeling and listen to what our heart is really saying. Which means letting go of all your thoughts about what you are “supposed” to do, or what other people think you of you or what you should be doing. A lot of things in this life are bigger than us, and you need to stop holding on to what you think you want, and just go with the flow.
(Did I mention I also hope to get my hunting license. I figure if I can’t kill it, I shouldn’t eat it. But if I can, then I can also provide myself and my family with meat for the year. It would have to be rationed out of course and I think we would therefore be much more appreciative when we ate it.)
Okay. So this post is about, you read it, what NOT to do when gardening.
I’ve talked to quite a few farmers/gardeners now, and it seems we are all learning together.
The best way to learn in life, is to f** things up, pardon my language.
You can read as many books as you want, you can create as many charts as you want, and you can intern for as long as you want, but really, sometimes the best way to get things started is to just jump in and get dirty.
Which means you are going to make mistakes.
So I thought I would share my mistakes with you, so that perhaps you can avoid them. (However, you might not really understand until you go ahead and make them yourself.)
So, things started off well.
I planted one seed per tray and most of my seedlings germinated (thank you Greta’s organics and Jardins de l’écoumène)
I misted them 2-3 times a day, making sure they never went too dry.
And I bought a SunBlaser lamp (for germinating). However, I feel like this was an unnecessary investment. I think they would have germinated just as well (practically) without it. I think they would have done just fine in regular sunlight.
All of my seedlings seemed to grow upwards too quickly. So they were tall (wonderful!) but their stems were too thin, and therefore they weren’t as sturdy as they could have been.
I do have to look into this matter a bit more, but I think this was due to the sunlamp. Perhaps it was because it was positioned too high above the trays, but regardless. I still feel strongly that it was unnecessary. And so in the future, either my plants will be in a greenhouse, or they will simply grow inside with the help of natural light. (Granted when you do this, you do have to rotate your trays often as the stems grow towards the light, causing your plants to grow slanted).
I feel the sunlamp may have also provided too much light (I didn’t think that was possible with vegetables) but when we are talking about artificial light and sensitive seedlings, I think it may be possible. It almost seemed as if some of the seedlings were burnt by the lamp (too much light). However, this burnt/yellow affect could have been caused by moisture or soil quality, but again, I would put my money on the lamp.
But that does bring me to my next mistake.
Using store bought soil and not homemade compost.
I have read over and over how homemade compost is the best. How if you want to do it right, start making your own compost. It may require an initial investment (building a compost heap), and time, but it totally pays off in the end.
When seeding and transplanting I bought seedling and potting soil from the store. I didn’t add anything to my seedling mix (first mistake), such as compost/fertilizer/other nutrients. I did buy certified organic bone meal to add to my potting mix (which the dogs loved by the way), but even that probably wasn’t the best idea.
My stuff grew well, but they looked sad in comparison to the spaghetti squash seedlings that a friend gave to me. They didn’t even plant spaghetti squash seeds. They sprouted in their compost, all by themselves (they must have thrown out some spaghetti squash seeds at some point).
I tell you, after seeing these spaghetti squash, I now understand why homemade compost is the best. And I will make sure to have my own compost for next year. There is no going back!
Next: it’s never a good idea to do any type of gardening in the middle of the day (11am-2pm). Basically, avoid the hottest part of the day. Not only is it better for you, but it is also better for the plants.
Always water plants in the morning or the evening, if not, you risk “frying” them.
Also, do not transplant your seedlings during the hottest part of the day.
And to top that off, make sure to harden off your plants properly. And do not leave them exposed to extreme conditions, too long or too quickly.
I transplanted my tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis during the middle of the day, in the 30degree heat and sun a week or two back, and a bunch of the leaves turned white and translucent. This is due to too much sun (an extreme change in weather) before they were really ready to be left outside.
I don’t know what I was thinking. But I can tell you I won’t be doing that again. I was able to revive most of them as I brought them in once I realized why they were turning white. But alas, there are some that simply did not make it.
It is for these reasons that I am happy that I am taking this summer to figure stuff out on my own. I didn’t really want anyone to be relying on my for advice too much, seeing as I am still figuring this stuff out. If I make mistakes that cost me money, at least it’s my own money, not someone else’s.
And last but not least, (and I can’t really speak against this yet from personal experience) but do not till. I still feel guilty that I used a rototiller for the garden, instead of mulching. Everything I have read, and continue to read, has only made me more sure that mulching is the best long term solution to weed suppression and healthy soil. Basically, mulching will help improve your soil, whereas tilling will diminish the quality of your soil. Tilling may be the easier solution and provide short term benefits, but they will wear out in the long run.
So to recap:
So there you go.
I’m sure I will have more mistakes and mishaps to share with you as the summer progresses. But hopefully, I will also have some amazing results to share with you at the end, despite my mishaps.
Till next time!
I realized about two weeks ago, that this time last year, I had made my way to Luxy Farm.
And that means that this site is now over 1 year old.
I began this blog to recount my adventures on Luxy Farm. I had also hoped to continue this blog past the farm, as I continued to learn about gardening, nutrition and the environment. I wanted to share what I knew with others and perhaps demonstrate how easy it can be to grow your own food.
I’m pretty happy to say that I’ve kept it up. But really, I’m happy to say that I still enjoy doing it. And that I am happy to see other people enjoying it as well. (Now that I’ve learned about tags, my blogs are accessible to anyone and everyone, not just friends and family).
I do this because I enjoy it. And I take great pride and joy in knowing that others are learning with me, and that I have inspired some people in the process. Nothing beats that.
I must admit, I did not realize what a great impact such an experience was going to have on me, or how it was going to shape my life. I went to the farm as an experiment; to see if it was something I was actually really interested in. Looking back on it now, I realize how much it has shaped who I am and who I want to be.
I’ve spent most of my life not really knowing what I want to do. When I was younger, it was something that stressed me. As I got older, I realized that it wasn’t worth stressing over, that most of us don’t really know what we want to do. And more importantly, life is about change and experiences. And so I floated around for a bit, letting the wind take me wherever it felt like going.
I knew that I could succeed at whatever it was I decided to do. I could have become a doctor, a mathematician, an engineer, a physical therapist… There were so many things that I knew I could do. But as happy as I was to float around, I think I was always waiting to find something that I really wanted to do, that I could be passionate about and believe in with all my heart.
That’s why I had hoped to work for an NGO for quite some time and help those less fortunate than I. Part of me has always wanted to help alleviate hunger in the world. The idea of children in third world countries dying because they lack access to clean water or proper nutrition, when we clearly have more than enough to go around just kills me.
So I thought maybe I would be a doctor, for Doctors Without Borders. Or I could be a teacher. Or I could be a logistics person in charge of a team. I just wanted to do something, anything, that would allow me to help out in some way. For awhile I was focused on the end and not so much the means.
But eventually, as I have said before, I began to realize that perhaps the best way for me to help out, was not to travel to other places and preach, or attempt to show people how to survive, but instead to learn to survive on my own, and remove myself (in part) from the society that has created such huge injustices in the world.
I say “in part” because I’ve realized that although it would almost be easier to simply remove myself from society completely, as it can be difficult to live in this society but not participate in, doing so wouldn’t do much good. It wouldn’t really have an effect on anyone but me. It’s easy to critic the system and abstain from it. It’s much harder to learn to know yourself, believe in yourself and thus have the confidence to stand your ground and help make the world around you a better place.
And seeing as I have always enjoyed a challenge, I’ve opted for the more difficult path.
I went to Luxy Farm with an idea about what I wanted to do. I left Luxy Farm knowing what I wanted to do. And what I’ve experienced and learnt since then has only made me more sure of where I am going.
And that is how I will end this blog. My next blog will be a takeoff of this one.
I started this blog wanting to speak about some other things, but I am happy with how it has turned out. And so for now, that is where I would like to leave it.
Once again, I would like to thank the Luxy crew for such an amazing experience. And as always, I thank my friends and family who have supported me, and everyone who reads my blogs and is learning with me. You all mean the world to me.
So I know I worked on a farm last summer, but that by no means translates into me being an expert on the matter of gardening.
Some people have turned to me for advice on, and I do feel like I have some knowledge to pass on, but truly, I feel like I am learning as I go. Really, I’m learning with you!
And so I have decided to share with you what I have done so far this year.
After the farm last summer, I had one main goal for this year. And that was to have my own garden this summer. I wanted to go bigger than just a few plants here and there. I wanted to produce enough food for at least two families for most of the year. And if it was possible to produce more than that, then so be it. #Foodisfree!
I am happy to say that this is still my goal and that I have begun working on it.
First I bought three 72-cell trays from Canadian Tire (which come with a plastic dome), along with 2 bags of seedling mix.
(I had hoped to buy a soil-blocker, and the proper soil blocking mix to go with it, which would eliminate the need for plastic trays, but it’s a bit of an investment, and also difficult to find the proper soil mix, and it was getting to the point where I just needed to start my seeds and get it done! so to Canadian Tire I went) (I plan to get the soil blocker next year for sure!)
I also bought my first batch of seeds from Greta’s Organics. A local, smaller scale, seed supplier, and also the mother of a friend.
She’s got a great site, and from her I got my onions, leeks, tomatoes, cucumbers (English and pickling), carrots, parsnips, and beets…
I also picked up a single tube growing lite (35$ at Qué-pousse) and have hung it from the ceiling in my kitchen over my 3 trays.
I filled my trays up with seedling mix, and planted my seeds according to the package directions. (They tell you at what depth to plant the seeds, normally anywhere from 5mm-2.5cm). Then I watered them with a mister that I had also purchased from Canadian Tire. Every day, I leave my grow-lite on for 12-14 hrs, and I mist them at least twice a day. Once in the morning, once at night, and in the afternoon as well if I am home.
Always touch test the soil when watering. Too much or too little water is not a good thing. But then again, don’t stress. Seedlings and plants are very hardy. They want to grow! So as long as you treat them with care and give them attention they will do just fine.
And so, a few days after planting, I had my first sprouts! First it was the cucumbers, then onions, then tomatoes. I was worried about my peppers (red and habanero) but a friend told me not to give up on them, they tend to take longer. And wouldn’t you know it, eventually they began to sprout as well!
Once my onions hit a certain height (about 2 inches) they began to fall/slump over. At this point, or preferably before they start to fall, you need to trim them (meaning snip off the ends with scissors so that they don’t fall over). And you will continue to do this until it is no longer necessary or until you transplant them, whichever comes first.
About a week later, I visited La Coop Maison Verte to buy more seeds which I hadn’t gotten or couldn’t find from Greta’s. This included zucchinis, patty pans, butternut squash, kale, arugula, spinach, and lots and lots of herbs.
I planted a full tray of kale, some squash/zukes, herbs, and more onions. I also bought some higher ceiling domes this time around (at La Coop Maison Verte), as my tomatoes and cucumbers were hitting the top of the ones I had gotten from Canadian Tire.
My kale just started sprouting this morning! Lovely lovely!
And I only planted one seed per tray. Most of the time people plant 2-3 seeds per tray to ensure that at least one of them sprouts, but if more than one sprouts then you usually have to pluck one out. Which means in a sense you are wasting seed (even though they are super cheap) and you have to “kill” a plant. So I decided to have faith in my seeds and their ability to sprout, and it seems to be paying off pretty well.
The only ones I planted 2-3 seeds for were my onions, which you can plant in groups and transplant as is. They grow together in bundles. You can harvest some of them earlier on as green onions and then the other 1 or 2 will grow to normal size.
So that’s where I am at right now. Giving my plants lots of love, light, and sometimes I leave classical music on when I go to work (I figure it can’t hurt!).
I will be renting a rototiller either this weekend or the next to prep the ground for planting. I’m sure sore arms will follow.
Spring is here! and summer is on the way. My weeks are only going to get busier! But in a very good way. Looking forward to it. I’ll keep you updated!
An amazing book.
One of the most insidious forms that Resistance takes in the world of a writer is this: we’ll think a thought then dismiss it as too crazy, too extreme, too apart-from-the-norm or the expected. So we don’t write it, we don’t say it, we don’t even think it. Then a week later we’ll hear someone else articulate that very thought and, in his voice, it will ring true so that we can’t help but feel shame that we disowned it. Self-censorship is not just self-betrayal and self-abandonment (which would be bad enough), but soul-betrayal and betrayal of our Muse, our inner voice, our highest self.
– Steve Pressfield
To believe in your own thought, to believe that what is true for you is true for all men, that is genius.
Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost…
…the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set naught at books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they, thought.
A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages.
Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.
In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts…
Else, tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
That teacher at the front of the room knows a lot of things…but he doesn’t know what I know, and that’s my value.
– Colin Wright
envy is ignorance
imitation is suicide
The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.
A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said and done otherwise, shall give him no peace.
if you think you can do it, or you think you can’t do it, you are right.
– henry ford
and we are now men…not minors and invalids in a protected corner, not cowards fleeing before a revolution, but guides, redeemers and benefactors, obeying the almighty effort, and advancing on Chaos and the Dark
…that distrust of a sentiment because our arithmetic has computed the strength and means opposed to our purpose…
infancy conforms to nobody
he cumbers himself never about consequences, about interests: he gives an independent, genuine verdict…but the man is, as it were, claspped into jail by his consciousness
(to be continued)
So in my last semester at McGill, in my environmental thought course, I wrote a final essay on the social construction of the environmental field. here I was, a student in environment, very much a believer of environmental problems, and an environmentalist at heart myself, but here I was debating, putting forth the idea, that the environmental field is a social construction itself, even if backed by science, because even science, though it is often times set apart, put on a higher pedestal and considered “fact”, even science is a social construction. it is constructed.
and I’m telling you all this because, I think for awhile I forgot about the social construction of the world, and have recently remembered.
I think I should start and point out at the beginning, that yes, even the idea of social constructions is a social construction in itself. and as usual, you can agree, disagree, with whatever you wish.
but I’ve decided to write this blog not to please myself, or validate myself, but because I believe that perhaps some, hopefully many people could and will benefit from this in some way. that hopefully this blog will help ease your worries, remind you not to take life or yourself so seriously.
i recently went through a period where i was doubting myself a lot. doubting whether I was “really” happy, if I was just fooling myself. doubting what I was doing, who I was, where I was going. doubt and worry, they really suck.
but I finally realized that all of these doubts and worries are learned. they are not necessarily my thoughts, but thoughts I’ve learned to have from society
as children, we are worry free (not necessarily because we have less “responsibilities) but because we have not learned to have so many doubts and worries yet. we are in awe because everything for quite a while is new to us. we don’t worry or think about whether we are “really” happy. we just were. we were existing in a world, and we weren’t wondering “why are we here” “who are we” what is my purpose? does this make me happy? is this my path?
there has been a shift of late. people are realizing that money can’t buy happiness, and there has been a shift to “find happiness” or to “be happy”. happiness is the new goal. perhaps it always was, but the way to get there has changed.
as I said before we were existing. there’s so much emphasis now on “living” your life and not just surviving it. and I do agree with these statements, but then it seems you need to associate a question to this statement (as we are always trying to define things) you also must ask the question well what is “living” and as usual people will give you lots of different answers.
you will always find answers to the questions you ask (it may take years, but normally you will find them). but the questions you ask define the answers that you will find. the questions you ask will shape your reality. if you ask “is there a god” well then you will most likely find some sort of god. if you ask “what is my path” well then you will eventually feel that you have found your path. if you ask ” who am I” one day you will feel as if you have finally figured out who you are.
but why do we need to ask questions. why can’t we just be in awe. from the moment we ask a question, we have a tendency to start dissecting the world around us. trying to “understand” and make sense of it.
and what I have realized,
is that: the minute you ask these questions ” who am I” you are also telling yourself that at that moment, you don’t know who you are. of if you ask ” what is my path” you are telling yourself that you don’t know what your path is.
the power of suggestion. and the power of the mind. we are what we think. if you think you aren’t happy, you won’t be. if you think you are happy you will be.
we have too many thoughts. thoughts tend to be flooded by worries, fears and doubts. when you really are enjoying yourself, or when you are really in the moment, you may still be thinking, but you are not holding on to those thoughts, they come and they go. and so you do not perceive them, when you are in mediation, the goal is to become aware of your thoughts, become aware so that you can let them go, so that you can truly be in the moment.
and i very much believe in all this. but at the same time, I no longer believe that these are things that we need to feel we must have. we are no less of a person, we are no less alive if we do not achieve these moments. you are alive no matter what you are doing! too many of us now feel the “need” to be alive, to be happy, to find enlightenment. we have simply replaced one goal with another. when you set yourself a goal, that automatically translates to, i have not met my goal. and this can leave you feeling like you are missing something, leave you feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled.
recently I was very much feeling like I was missing something. like there was whole. people, places and things come into our lives all the time. some for short periods, some for long periods, some forever. but if and when these things leave, we compare our present situations to our past and feel that we are now missing something. however, most things in our lives were not there to begin with.
I think it is important to remember that you aren’t missing anything. you do not need anything. you have everything. you always have, and you always will! don’t ask “am I happy”, instead remind yourself that you always have been and you always will be (not literally of course but you know what I mean)
it is only when you try to make sense of the world, when we start taking ourselves too seriously and asking for our purpose or our path that we bring self doubt into our lives. (and really, we are all human, it’s hard not to do this) but I think it is important to remind ourselves not to take ourselves so seriously. no matter our beliefs,
even the idea that we need something to believe in is a social construction (it does not exist in and of itself, it is not absolute truth). if you don’t believe in something, no stress, no worries that is completely okay. if you do have something to believe in that is okay too! there is no right or wrong way to live your life. you do not always need to be happy. happiness is a social construction itself, and so it is not the “ultimate” all encompassing god either. sometimes we are happy, sometimes we aren’t.
I really think the best thing to do is remember not to worry so much. I’m not saying don’t worry at all (wagging my finger at you) because you know what, we all will worry. and when we worry, we shouldn’t feel any less because of it, we shouldn’t feel like we haven’t accomplished something. its okay to worry.
so many people try to lay out a guideline to life, well guess what, there is no f**ing guideline.
(or maybe there is, the idea that there is no guideline is also a social construction)
so stop worrying about it so much, and stop doubting that you don’t know what it is.
we are insignificant. be in awe of the world. don’t try to understand it, define it, construct it. take in more, and think less.
we are our own worst enemy, more specifically our thoughts are our own worst enemy.
dream. be excited. laugh and love. (and dance, that helps too). play outside. be a kid again.
as we grow up we learn so much, but I think you get to a certain age, where you need to look back on everything and decide what is really important to you. and then comes the most difficult part. unlearning the behaviours.
as kids, we are sponges, we pick up everything. we start out carefree and then begin to learn the troubles, doubts, fears and worries of the world. (but all these doubts and fears etc etc, the good and the bad in fact) are social constructions. they do not exist in and of themselves. so let them go! do not hold on to your past, do not hold on to your thoughts
Anywho, i am rambling a lot. And really, everything that I have just said is no more true than anything else you have ever come across in your life. I am no less right or wrong than anyone else. And really I did not write this blog to convince you of anything, to tell you to believe one thing over another. Instead I wrote this blog to remind you to relax! smile! and laugh at yourself. don’t worry be happy (as the song goes). do not doubt yourself,
you right now, all that you are, you are awesome. you have everything you need. you always have and you always will.
So cheers to you!
and cheers to life! whatever that is!
Who doesn’t love a fresh garden tomato sandwich?!
Tomatoes are delicious, and I could easily eat a tomato every day.
Although tomatoes prefer hot weather, and are a bit more finicky than some other vegetables, many people manage to grow them regardless, even if only in a little pot on their back porch.
So really you may already be a tomato expert, but if you aren’t, here we go!
Like I said, tomatoes are warm weather crops (like the squash/cucumber family, and peppers). Ideally, in our climate, having a well ventilated greenhouse would be the best way to ensure lots of big tomatoes for an extended period of time. But most people do not have a greenhouse, including myself (at least not yet). And so let’s look at growing tomatoes sans greenhouse.
No greenhouse means you have to wait for the weather to pick up and be sure it is going to stay up. Tomatoes are very sensitive to frost and light freezes and simply grow better in warmer conditions. The warmer the better (not to be taken literally, because we do not want to fry our tomatoes).
For germination (seeds to grow), you need temperatures of at least 15 degrees (preferably soil temperature as well). And for continued growth, you need temperatures between 20-23 degrees. The more consistent temperatures are, the more growth you have. If temperatures are dropping every night, growth will take longer.
Row cover is often used to keep heat in, and can act as somewhat of a greenhouse, but most tomato plants require staking, and therefore are too tall to be put under row cover. Another option would be a hoophouse, if you have the money for the investment. But if we start talking about a hoophouse, we are talking about more than just your backyard garden. Here’s a picture of a hoop house to give you an idea of what it looks like but I will be working sans hoophouse (at least for this summer).
Determinate tomato varieties, which are genetically controlled, can grow as a bush and do not need staking, and therefore could possibly fit under row cover, but I would like to buy organic indeterminate tomato varieties which will need staking. So keep this in mind when you are planning the layout of your garden. Anything that will grow tall will be casting a shadow. And so you probably want to have your taller plants at the edges of your garden, or spaced far enough away from your other vegetables so that they are not keeping them in the shade for half of the day. We love the sun and so do vegetables, so let them soak it up as much as possible!
Seeing as we have to wait so long for temperatures to warm up, it is best to start tomatoes from seed 6-8 weeks before you plan on planting them outside, and/or they can be bought as seedlings when you are ready to plant.
Starting tomatoes from seed does require a bit more work in comparison to some other vegetables but it ain’t nothin that we can’t handle!
So: plant them in flats or trays 1/2 inch deep, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart. This should be done about 8 weeks before you plan on transplanting them. The more time they have to grow, the bigger and stronger they will be when transplanted, and therefore they will be more likely to survive the transition. Keep them in the warmest, sunniest spot you have. Once they have 4 leaves, transfer them to a deeper pot (about 3-4 inches). When you ‘pot up’, remove the lower leaves, and place the uppermost leaves just above the soil line (so you can bury the rest of the plant). This will allow the stem to grow stronger. And you should ‘pot up’ again once they have reached a height of 8-10 inches into an even bigger pot. (The second potting up isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is a very good idea from my experience.)
Before transplanting them directly outside, you also want to give your transplants the chance to ‘harden off’ which means getting them used to outdoor temperatures but still sheltering them. So you can place them outside on a table under row cover, or you could place them outside but bring them in if ever it is too windy or cold. This helps them acclimatize and get used to outdoor weather. Treat your vegetables like babies; be very gentle but firm, so they can grow big and tall.
Once they have hardened off and you are ready to transplant them into your garden (because temperatures, including night time temperatures, are at or above 20 degrees), space them about 3 feet apart (only one row per bed). Again, set them into the ground deeply, so that the first leaves are just above the ground.
Once they are in the ground, if ever you know there is going to be a cold night, cover them up with something, even if it’s just a newspaper tent!
As the tomatoes grow they will need to be supported by something; poles, hanging wires, cages…something. It’s your choice really, you can use whatever you have at your disposal.
If you don’t have that many plants, you can probably get away with not trimming them, but you will have to support them a lot because they may get out of control. If you do trim them, which you should do if you have quite a few, you simply need to trim the suckers (the little stems that grow between the main stem, and the leaf stem). Basically, if you have what looks like 3 stems growing, break off (gently) the middle one.
Your tomatoes will be ready to harvest about 70-80 days after transplanting. They normally don’t all ripen at the same time. There’s not much point to staggering planting dates, seeing as you basically need to get them in the ground as soon as you can so that they have enough time to grow. If ever some are still green when the frost approaches, you can keep them in newspaper or a paper bag in a dark warm place and they will continue to ripen.
It is best to eat fresh tomatoes right away! And if you do keep them for a day or two, you should leave them out, not put them in the fridge. And if you have tons of tomatoes, well then make sauces, soups, salsas, whatever you like! And freeze them. Or share them with friends and family!
(Important note: tomatoes need at least an inch of water per week!)
You can also use a red or black color mulch for tomato plants, to prevent weeds and keep the soil warm and moist. (A mulch is a sheet of plastic or biodegradable material that you can lay down on your bed. You can make holes in it where you place the transplants.)
Et Voila! You have beautiful, red, plumpy tomatoes.
This is a short 101 version of tomato planting of course. Just the basics. There is a lot more information on tomatoes and you can read about it at VeggieHarvest.com or any other site/magazine/book.
For now that’s it for me though. It’s a beautiful day outside and I (like the veggies) would like to soak up some sun!