NEW YEAR, NEW WEBSITE, NEW BLOG

Posted: January 1, 2017 in Uncategorized
Check out my new website!
http://www.guerrillagardenadventures.com
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Does the Elf on the Shelf creep you out with his smug grin and vintage eyes?

Does it bother you that Elf on the Shelf sneaks around spying on people and is a little bit of a tattletale?

Or maybe you love the idea of Elf on the Shelf but realistically you know in your heart that you just won’t have the energy or the desire to plan and execute multiple elf shenanigans during the already busy holiday season.

Then the Santa Evidence Kit might just be the solution for you!

A few activities with the child on Christmas Eve (planting candy cane seeds, putting out reindeer food, etc.), then after the child goes to bed throw the rest of the evidence around and you are done!

The Basic Santa Evidence Kit!
$15

(Comes enclosed in a plain envelope/paper bag so as not to arouse suspicion)

basic-santa-evidence-imageBasic kit includes

  • 1 package Reindeer Treats
  • 1 package Santa Dust
  • 1 package Candy Cane Seeds
  • 1 package Candy Cane Sprouts
  • A torn swatch of fabric from Santa’s suit pocket
  • Santa’s “official” laminated North Pole Sleigh driver’s license
  • A Thank-you card from Santa
  • 1 package Reindeer Poop
  • 1 package of Grinch Dust
  • 1 North Pole Deed

 

 

The Ultimate Santa Evidence Kit!
$25

(Comes in a Santa themed gift bag making it perfect for gift giving)

ultimate-santa-evidence-image

 

This kit will include all the above Santa Evidence” plus:

  • Sleigh Bell Harness Evidence
  • Santa Money- a $1,000,000 Santa bill (This novelty money looks and feels real)
  • Santa’s Forgotten Hat
  • Santa’s Lost Glove
  • North Pole Drycleaner Receipt and Ticket
  • Receipt from North Pole Veterinarian Services
  • Santa’s International Travelers Card

 

Both Santa Evidence Kits come complete with easy to follow instructions for use and each piece of evidence comes in its own individual package and the custom printed labels and items are written in poem form with instructions and/or ideas for use.

While Supplies Last!
Order either Santa Evidence Kit by November 30
and receive 1 additional piece of Santa evidence (Santa’s Pre-flight Checklist) for free!

Email boss@guerrillagardenadventures.com for price and availability.

YMCA Seed Give Away!

Posted: March 20, 2016 in Seeds

I was invited by the YMCA Connections and Immigrant Services to do a garden presentation/demonstration at the Farm, Food and Garden Event. My presentation/demonstration was on Kitchen Scrap Gardening -Don’t throw it, Grow it! however I thought this was an excellent opportunity to give some of my seeds away.
Here are the planting instructions for the seeds I gave away:

Chive Seeds:

Chives
Chives are an easy care, cool-season, cold-tolerant perennial that can be planted in early spring.
Growing chives right outside your kitchen door in containers and window boxes is really the best way to grow them.
They will grow in full sun or partial shade and once established, mature chive plants need minimal care.

  • Choose a 6-8″ (15-20cm) pot
  • Fill pot 1 inch from top with moist potting soil
  • Sprinkle chive seeds on top of the soil
  • Cover seeds with a thin layer of soil.
  • Keep soil moist until grass like seedlings appear.
  • Water young plants throughout the growing season.
  • Plants will eventually grow to be 12 to 24 inches tall and may spread a foot across.
  • The purple flowers are edible however even if you don’t eat them you may want to remove them or they will spread their seeds everywhere.
  • Harvest Chives by snipping the leaves off 2″ (5cm) above the base of the plant. New leaves will sprout to fill in the gap.

Chive Butter is a great way to preserve chives. Mix 2-3 Tbs of finely chopped chives into 1/2cup (1 stick) of softened butter. Use on baked potatoes or toasted bagels.
Chive Vinegar can be made by steeping whole chive leaves in your favorite vinegar. Chive vinegar is a natural for salad dressings and vinaigrette.

Note: When it starts getting cold in the fall, you can bring the entire pot indoors, and set in a sunny window to keep a supply of chives growing through the winter. Just be sure there are no bug hitchhikers before bringing inside.

Bell Pepper Seeds:

Bell Peppers

Growing bell peppers is most commonly done in a garden bed. They grow very well next to tomatoes provided they are allowed enough space and sunlight. However, you can grow bell peppers in containers as long as they are big enough.

  • Plant two or three seeds per 4 inch pot filled with potting mix indoors. Keep the soil moist until seeds germinate. Once they sprout thin the seedlings to leave the strongest plant per pot.
  • Once seedling gets its 2nd set of leaves you can transplant into larger containers. Don’t set out your pepper transplants outside until night temperatures average around 13-16 degrees Celsius. (55-60 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Choose a 2-gallon or larger container that is 14 to 16 inches deep. Make sure the container has drainage holes or drill 4-5 evenly spaced holes around the bottom of the container if necessary. Then use either coffee filters or some type of screen to cover the holes.
  • Fill the container with a mixture of two-thirds potting soil and one-third compost. Water the soil to dampen and allow it to drain.
  • Plant one pepper plants per container, digging a deep enough hole to hold the root ball. Tamp soil down around the plant.
  • Staking peppers will be necessary as the plants begin to take off. They can grow as high as 3 or 4 feet, so you need to give them some support. Place one stake in each container closely to the stem. If need be, loosely tie a bit of twine to the stake and the other end to the stem to keep it from bending over. Tomato cages will also work.
  • Place the container in a sunny location, providing 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. Turn the pot daily, if needed to keep the plant growing upright.
  • After the first fruit starts to grow, apply an amount of fertilizer along the sides of the plants. You can also let old coffee ground steep in water for a period and pour that directly on the plants. Crushed eggshells added to the soil will also help avoid blossom end rot.
  • Check the soil daily for moisture and water the bell pepper plants as needed. If possible avoid wetting the foliage or letting pot stand in water. Peppers hate wet feet!

Tip-If you are a smoker wash your hands thoroughly after handling any type of tobacco product and avoid using tobacco near plants. Bell peppers like tomatoes are susceptible to tobacco mosaic virus. Symptoms include yellow or mottled leaves and stunted growth.

Sugar Pie Pumpkin Seeds

sugar-pumpkin

An heirloom pumpkin, these Sugar Pie Pumpkin Seeds will grow a classic eating pumpkin that is especially good for pies and canning. Vines develop small slightly ribbed, bright-orange pumpkins that are 6″-9″ in diameter and have the sweetest flavor and finest texture for pies and casseroles. These are not grown in containers and should be planted in the ground.
Here’s how to do it:

  • Direct sow or transplant in late May or early June when soil warms up. Optimal soil temperature for germination is 25-35°C (68-95°F) or you can start seeds indoors during the first week of May.
  • Choose a sunny spot with fertile, well-draining soil and then dig in a generous quantity of finished compost and/or composted manure. Pumpkins are big greedy feeders. The secret to growing good tasting pumpkins is lots of POOP! Pile up manure into “pumpkin hills” about the size of a small pitcher mound and then sow the seeds 2cm (1″) deep. Sow 3 seeds in each hill. Seeds should sprout in 7-14 days. If you started your seeds indoors be sure to harden off plants before transplanting your seedlings into your pile of aged manure.
  • Pumpkins are 90% water so keep pumpkin plants well-watered, particularly in hot weather. Always water the soil, and avoid getting the leaves wet as much as possible because powdery mildew is almost always a problem here in the Pacific Northwest, especially when it comes to pumpkins. There are some mildew resistant pumpkin varieties out there but the sad truth is that they still get powdery mildew.  It just seems to happen a little later in the season than the non-resistant varieties. The pumpkins themselves will still turn out great even if the leaves are covered in powdery mildew so I don’t worry too much about it.
  • Pumpkins are mature when they have colored up well and their stems are crisp (about 110 days after transplant). For the best sugar content, cut the stem about 4cm (2″) or so from the body of the fruit. If the weather is dry, allow the pumpkins to cure in the field for 10 days, or in a warm room for 4-5 days.
What else can I say other than……..
Welcome to the Pacific North West, one of the best gardening places in Canada!

Fridge

PS-For those of you who feel like you missed out on some free seeds, don’t worry!
I’ll be doing several more seed giveaways with a variety of other seeds on my Guerilla Garden Facebook Page
so be sure and follow me!

On Saturday February 27th I started my Guerilla Garden Lifestyle Adventure by making a trip to Vancouver to join 30 other contestants for The Kin’s Health Transformation. This private 3 ½ hour event was held at Vij’s Restaurant on Granville (this restaurant has multiple 4.5 star reviews) and it was easily the most interesting event that I have been to in a long time.

GuerillaGardener_DirtHere’s the lowdown:

The Food!
Living in the Fraser Valley I have had many opportunities to eat Indian food and it happens to be one of my favorite ethnic foods but Vikram Vij has absolutely RUINED me for any other Indian food. Described by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman as “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world “ it has totally lived up to the hype.
Within minutes of arriving I was served a sweet Mango Lassi and the wait staff circulated with vegetable samosas and pakoras. This was followed by a first course that consisted of various dishes such as Dahl, Monarch Butterfly (relax P.E.T.A. it’s a squash dish) and Nann. The second course included Vegetable Koftas in a green curry sauce (this was my favorite), Coconut Cream Curry Veggie and Lemon Ghee Chicken. Of course dishes of rice and more Nann were included with every course. The owner Vikram Vij not only personally served us alongside his staff but he went out of his way to connect to every person there. He is a charismatic person who has an energy about him as he talked about his passion and his focus. He has a great love and passion for Indian food and wants to share that with the world, but not in the usual Indian Buffet/Butter Chicken kind of way. At his restaurant Indian spices are roasted and ground on site and incorporated into each dish by an all-female kitchen staff. For desert we were served Chai and believe me if you have never had Chai made with freshly ground spices you have no idea what you are missing.
Vikram ascertains that it is food and music that will cure the world of what ails it, not guns and politics. He maintains that he has never pursued money (although rumor has it that this self-made man is worth 50 million dollars) and that money should never be your motivation. He didn’t think about the money when he started his first restaurant but he had a passion and a love for what he was doing and that is what his focus was and still is. Like Ghandi he also believes that everyone is equal so he does not (and never will) take reservations at any of his restaurants. It’s on a first come first serve basis and even when celebrities like Martha Stuart and Justin Trudeau come to his restaurant they must wait in line like everybody else. Not being able to make reservations could be a problem if you are driving all the way from Chilliwack, but if you love Indian food and you’re willing to stand in line it will be worth the wait.

Quotes (and my thoughts) on The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto!
Dai Manual, avid family man, motivational speaker and author of the book the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto was a guest speaker at the Kin’s Health event and he did not disappoint. His business card reads:

Helping people live “FUN”ctionally fit lifestyles

I’m a Dad, Husband, Friend, Entrepreneur, Author, Blogger, Motivational speaker,
Brand Architect, Fundraiser, Biz Mentor, CrossFit Athlete & Coach and Life Enhancer!

I thought to myself, who couldn’t use a little life enhancing so I settled in to listen to this funny, motivational speaker.
It seems that Dai’s passion is to help others live a full life. He believes that lifelong happiness and well-being must be built on a rock-solid foundation of health, and that a sustainable healthy lifestyle is possible for everyone. No fancy exercise equipment needed! This is a good thing as my experience with exercise equipment has been that a treadmill takes up entirely too much space and it just ends up being a really expensive coat rack/plant holder.
Nevertheless, Dai says that after being in the fitness industry for many years he has come to the conclusion that the fitness industry is broken. We are told that achieving a particular body shape will make us healthy and bring us happiness and fulfillment. The reality is that you can lose 20 lbs which will make you feel good and look good but that does not make you a totally healthy person. That is because health is not just physical but mental and spiritual as well. He believes that health is based on the five F words….and FYI….none of them is the F word that I sometimes have been known to use or the one that you may be thinking of.
The 5 F words that Dai uses in The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto are:

Fitness
“Use it or lose it! Physically if we don’t look after ourselves our muscles and bones will deteriorate with age and mobility will be compromised. You will want to do the things that you enjoy now in the future for as long as you can so you need to take care of yourself.”

Family
“Family is your tribe of special people regardless of whether or not you are related by blood. It is the people in your life that you have an ongoing and deep relationship that grows over time. The human need to connect is as fundamental to our survival as food and water and needs to be embraced.”

Finances
“Financial stability is the cornerstone of any happy life. Whether you have a little or a lot of money living with in your means gives you security and peace of mind.”

Faith
Faith is not always about God or religion, although it could be for some people. “Faith is the underlying principle of believing that there is something greater than oneself. This is different for every person and could be a simple as the belief in the essential goodness of people or a sense of interconnectedness of all living things. This meaning that we make of our everyday lives is what gives us a sense of direction which is so crucial to feeling fulfilled.”

Fun
“Ensuring your family, faith, finances and fitness involve fun is key. Enjoying your life, and moving through life with a fun loving attitude is only possible when all the other elements are strong and healthy.”

Dai maintains that “No matter what your personal priorities or goals are, the 5 F’s are integral to a richer, happier life.” He believes that above all else you have to make your health a priority and it does not have to take hours at the gym or involve insanely restrictive diets. The thing about being healthy is it has to be realistic, doable, practical and livable in order to be sustainable. According to Dai all you need to do is take 30 min everyday day for a healthier mind, body and spirit. The breakdown is as follows:

5 min for meditation

10 min for personal growth

15 min movement

Even though I have no plans to become super skinny (I am a firm believer that fat plumps out the wrinkles and is cheaper than Botox!)  I know I need to be healthier so I can go on having more adventures.  I also believe that health is about mind, body and spirit and since it will only take up 30 min of my day I’m going to give it a try.

The People!
The Kin’s Market Transformation was an incredible opportunity to connect with some other amazing people as well. They were from all age groups and walks of life. Spencyre, Abhay and Meghan were just a few of the interesting people that I met and chatted with over lunch and I can tell you that being in a room with so many positive people leaves a lasting impression on you.

The Loot!
As if Kin’s Farm Market didn’t do enough by bringing excellent motivational speakers in to speak to everyone and arranging for an exceptional lunch they also provided each and every person with an awesome loot bag to further their lifestyle adventure!

KinsHealthTransformationLoot

The loot bags contained the following items:

Kin’s Recipe Box

Kin’s Shopping Bag

Kin’s Calendar

Kin’s Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

Granola Girl Sample (this was delicious)

And of course our guest speaker Dai Manual’s book The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto was tucked in the loot bag as well.

The Finalists!
Well I didn’t make it to the next round of the Kin’s Health Transformation but my lunch mate Abhay Sablock did. So Abhay, we’ll be rooting for you! Kevin and Michelle were the other 2 finalists and although I did not get a chance to talk to them at The Kin’s Health Transformation event I will be following them closely as well.
Each of the finalists are receiving the following resources in order to achieve their fitness goals:

  • Complimentary fruits and veggies (valued at $100) from Kin’s Farm Market every week during the 4-week challenge period
  • 2 body composition tests by BodyComp, (valued at $200) both before and after the challenge in order to gauge and rank the contestant’s results.
    Note: I was told that some of the finalists from last year discovered health issues after their body scans that they didn’t even know they had yet and because they were discovered early on they were able to address these before it became a real problem.
  • 2 one-on-one sessions with fitness coach Dai Manuel (valued at $300)

Now I know that you’re thinking that as for the other 27 people (myself included) the adventure is over. But this is not so! We have all have received Dai Manual’s book The Whole life Fitness Manifesto to improve our lives and during his book signing he has made a commitment to each and every one of us that if we have any questions or concerns we can email, Facebook or tweet him any time. What can I say, it sounds a whole lot better than going to a bunch of meetings where people obsess about being fat and it will easily fit into my busy schedule.
According to the book last week was considered week 0.
These were the things I was to accomplish (and have completed) in Week 0:

  • Join The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto (a closed group on Facebook).
    Note: We were told Dumper Daves or Debbie Downers would not be tolerated as this is a group for positive people
  • Take pictures of my food and beverages (not necessary but recommended)
  • Cultivate an all in mentality (essential).
  • Take before pictures front, side and back in a skin revealing outfit (just for myself thank god!), and fill out my goals and measurements using the charts in the book.
    Note: Haters Beware! I just might do a good deed and send you the “before” pictures. After all if the haters are talking about me they will be giving someone else a rest and it could be considered a Public Service really.

Anyhow starting this week (Week 1) I am to spend 30 min of movement, mindfulness and personal development every day for the next 4 weeks. As far as food is concerned, according to the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto and holistic chef Kathy Smart “food as a lifestyle” is the basic philosophy and the only food guidelines are:

– Fill ½ the plate with vegetables and the other half with equal portions of protein and complex carbohydrates.
This works for me as I would rather have brown basmati rice than potatoes and even though it is more veggies than I would normally eat at a meal I can easily do this.

-Eat protein within an hour of waking up.
The thought eating in the morning makes me want to gag. I’ve never been a breakfast eater so this will be a bit of a struggle. I’m thinking Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or maybe a smoothie. However if you have any other ideas let me know!

-“Eat vegetables like it’s your job”.
You’re supposed to eat least 4 cups a day but you can eat as many as you like. I like vegetables so this will be easy!

-Go meatless 1 day a week.
I don’t eat meat everyday anyways so this is easily a done deal.

-Eat on a regular schedule.
I’m really bad for skipping meals and then eating pre-packaged foods because it’s fast and easy. I am going to avoid this by preparing/planning my meals in advance.

– Make sure that 90% of the diet is clean and healthy
I have to admit I happen to be insanely addicted to sugar so I’m going to have to come up with some other “sweet, non-chemical, non-processed alternatives” but fortunately Google is my friend. I think this is doable especially since the other 10% of my diet can be indulged in treats and full fat, full sugar, full cream foods so at least I’ll have something to look forward to. Like arranging a Yellow Deli Cheesecake outing with some of my friends!

Also according to the book I am allowed to have a minimum of 1600 calories a day if I’m sedentary (yippee!) and I am supposed to drink 2-3 liters of a water a day. The water thing is going to be a struggle for me (I think I might be part camel because I never get thirsty) however 1600 calories is more than I usually eat anyways so I’m not really worried that I’ll be hungry.

Conclusion:

Kin’s Farm Market ROCKS!

Kin’s Farm Market is a company that truly believes in promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles and they are willing to invest back into the community. Over the last few years not only have they organized The Kin’s Health Transformation to help transform people’s lives but they’ve also worked with many Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley schools and teachers to provide nutrition-based presentations.
The bottom line is that I had an incredible lunch, met some interesting people, listened to some amazing speakers and received a big bag of loot! Where I go or what I do with it now is completely up to me.
So I’ll keep you posted as to my progress and next year if you get the chance you might just want to enter the The Kin’s Health Transformation for yourself…after all it involves 2 of my favorite F words (no, not that one!) FUN AND FREE and best of all it could help you to make the lifestyle changes that you need to make.

And it just doesn’t get any better than that!

It’s a fact that there have been no Guerilla Garden articles or posts since last September and rumors and speculation have been running rampant.
For instance, acquaintances and followers have been speculating on whether or not I’m still having adventures. Those who have worked with me any length of time have suspected that I’m up to something especially since being laid off from The-Company-With-Nobody-In-Charge. Then there are the haters that be thinking and talking like I’m on my way back to working at Some-Sad-Company which could be causing some people to rejoice and others to re-develop a mustache twitch. However my close peeps, accomplices and co-conspirators KNOW that I’m up to something and some of them are even in on the plan/experiment!
What can I say other than a yearlong plan/experiment is in the making (more on the experiment part later) and the first order of business is to get fit –body, mind, and soul (most likely in that order).

THE BODY PLAN
The Fat Conspiracy Theory:
When it comes to food the words fast, cheap and easy will make you fat, however if you’re a hooker then the words could be misconstrued as a marketing plan. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Since I’m fat and not a marketable hooker these are a few of the things I know:

I know I should be eating more produce.
When it’s not gardening season it’s hard to find good tasting produce and when cauliflower is $8 a head it starts to feel like a conspiracy to keep you fat. I mean for $8 I can buy a lot of junk/processed food. Note to self: research on how to use a cold frame/ small greenhouse to grow produce year round on my townhouse deck while avoiding a letter/fine from Strata Council.

I know I need to drink more water.
But the weird thing is I never get thirsty. I hate drinking anything from plastic bottles (I swear I can taste the plastic), also I don’t like chlorinated water (it tastes like a public swimming pool) and then there is the environmental guilt factor! The internet is filled with images of large islands of plastic floating on our oceans. Some say it’s Photoshop tomfoolery but I know from experience that plastic gets brittle, breaks into a million pieces but never disappears. On the plus side my Ninja friend says that if she’s ever stuck in a desert with anyone she hopes it’s with me because I never get thirsty.
Note to self: research glass water bottles so that if you get lost in the desert with your Ninja friend you can save her and the environment at the same time.

I know I need to lose weight.
Even though my Wii says I’m obese I’m absolutely refusing to diet! I don’t want to take diet pills and I’m also refusing to eat tasteless prepackaged diet foods, “nutritional” shakes or add weekly meetings to my busy schedule with a bunch of unhappy people who obsess about being fat.
Note to self: research some kind of positive real food plan that actually tastes good, is sustainable and does not include Kale but does include some positive, like minded people.

I know I need to exercise.
Some people get a rush from exercising, but I am not one of them. I don’t want to workout at a gym, because not only do I find it boring but I hate to sweat and I don’t want to clean equipment both before and after my workout. Plus I have physical limitations due to previous injuries.
Note to self: research for exercise that I can actually do, that is fun, that does not involve cleaning and that I can easily work into my schedule.

So keeping this in mind I logged on to the internet to search out a positive, non-cleaning, fun, lifestyle adventure.
While doing some “research” on Facebook I came across something called the Kin’s Health Transformation and I swear it spoke to me. The Facebook post went something like this:

We want YOU for our 2016 Health Transformation Challenge! We welcome people from all walks of life, all shapes, and all sizes! The goal is just for a healthier lifestyle! Kin’s Farm Market is collaborating with 24 hours Vancouver and lifestyle coach Dai Manuel for the Kin’s Health Transformation Challenge! Take a selfie at Kin’s holding our “Produce of the Week” and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for a chance to WIN $100. We will then be inviting 30 applicants to our exclusive Health Day event at Vij’s on Granville on February 27th. valued at $200 per person. Finally three contestants with the right mindset to be coached personally by Dai Manuel will be provided with the right resources (valued at $600) to improve their lifestyle forever!

I thought to myself it’s a chance at a lifestyle adventure that doesn’t cost anything and it will totally fit in with my yearlong plan/experiment so I signed up.
The 1st challenge was to take selfies at Kin’s holding the “Produce of the Week” and post it on Facebook. I thought this would be easy after all I have a cell phone and I shop at the Cottonwood Mall anyways, however it was a bit of a challenge as Kin’s Market just happens to be beside Cobbs Bakery and right down the hall from the Purdy’s Chocolate Store. Note: Except for the cheap part this fits in with my Fat Conspiracy Theory and I really think that there ought to be a law against chocolate and bakery products being so delicious and ready to eat.
Nevertheless as any of my Facebook friends can tell you I’ve never been one to post selfies but I thought this sounded like a lot more fun than going to the gym and plus  there was the possibility of winning a $100 so I was all over it in my usual Guerilla Garden Style.

Kin_DragonFruit

Wholelife manifesto
HealthTransformationStrawberry

Note: My friend The Crazy Canner says I have a funny look on my face in the picture with the broccoli.
Since she is my best friend I had to confess to her that I actually was thinking about chocolate at the time. Did I mention that Purdy’s is just down the hall from Kin’s market?
Anyways, I never won $100 but I WAS ONE OF THE 30 PEOPLE SHORTLISTED FOR PHASE 2 OF KIN’S HEALTH TRANSFORMATION!
I was emailed the following invitation:
Congratulations on being invited to Kin’s Health Day!
As one of 30 chosen contestants you will receive:
• a complimentary lunch at this prestigious restaurant (valued at $50)
• a 30 minute seminar by lifestyle expert Dai Manuel with tips to better enhance your life (valued at $100)
• a signed copy of Dai Manuel’s book “Whole Life Fitness Manifesto” (valued at $30)
• a super awesome grab bag (valued at $20)

So tomorrow I will be going to Vancouver for a lifestyle adventure and a free lunch with some interesting people. As for the experiment well…it is a SECRET for now but the results should be available in about a year.
I’ll keep you posted

QuestionMarks

Geranium Inspired Pedicure

 

Every time I see a Chia Pet in a store I’m tempted to buy one but the $19.99 price always seems a bit steep for such a useless but never the less fun novelty garden item. It might very well be worth the price but I’m a little skeptical of any of the “As seen on TV” products especially after the Sea Monkey Fiasco of 1982. I think I paid about $10 for the advertised Sea Monkey aquatic pets and they turned out to be brine shrimp.

SeaMonkeyFiasco

I don’t care what anyone says…a brine shrimp is not a pet and they do not on any way resemble the creature on the sea monkey package. I WAS DUPED!
At least that’s how I felt.
Needless to say this guerilla gardener did not want to risk being duped by a Chia Pet as well.
I could feel a Guerilla Garden Chia Pet Adventure coming on, so I went cruising the internet and found several instructions for homemade “Chia” pets. Then I did some experimenting on my own to see what worked best and this is what I came up with;

A Caterpillar,

A Grass Haired Alien,

Chia Alien

A Small “Potato” Head,

Homemade Potato Head

and A Cool Dude with Sunglasses.

Grass Head with Sunglasses

These creatures definitely have a personality all their own and literally only cost pennies to make. They are fast growing, are self watering and need only minimal care to flourish making them a great garden project for children. Best of all this Summer Garden Parent Hack could potentially help you to enjoy the last days of summer by staving off all those summer time choruses of I’m bored that your children are determined to bombard you with.

Here are some simple directions on how to create your own Chia Pet on the Cheap:

Materials Needed
stockings
potting soil
grass seed
elastic bands
glue
pipe cleaners, buttons, ribbon etc to decorate
container
rocks

1. Start by cutting the bottom section off a nylon stocking (or use an old knee-hi or nylon sock).

2. Add a small handful of grass seed to the very bottom, inside the stocking. This is where the “hair” will sprout.

3. Fill the rest of the stocking with enough potting soil to make the size and shape of “creature” you desire.

4. Tie a knot in the stocking so that the soil will hold its shape. Cut away any extra nylon, but leave a little tail as it acts as a wick to soak up water.

5. Now it’s time to give your creature some features! Use your imagination and a glue gun to create facial features and accessories by using things like googly eyes, paint, permanent markers, beads, felt, fun foam, pipe cleaners, pompoms, and yarn.

6. Once all the paints/accessories and glue are dry, the last step is to water your creature. Set your creature in a bowl filled with water, and leave it to saturate for a day. Then “stand” it up, wick side down in a rock lined container topped up with water. Check each day to make sure it remains moist and within a few weeks, your creature will start to grow hair.

Additional Tips:

  • Grass seed can be substituted with chia seeds, wheat grass seeds, alfalfa seeds, or bird seed.
  • Potting soil can be substituted with sphagnum moss, peat moss or sawdust (the kind you buy at the pet store).
  • To create a more 3 dimensional characters, twist off and tie small sections of soil and seeds using rubber bands, pipe cleaners or string. You can form legs, a head, a nose, body sections or whatever identifying characteristics that you want for your creature to truly make him one of a kind.
  • Once the “sprouted hair” is established feel free to take a pair of scissors and create a new hairstyle. Just keep in mind that if its cut too short or it dries out it might stop growing altogether. Also be aware that letting children think that it is OK to give haircuts whenever and to whoever they please usually does not end well…..if you get my drift.
  • Be sure to top up the water regularly.
  • Once the hair is growing you may want to occasionally spray your creature with half strength fertilizer.

And there you have it…..

Cheeky Grass Head

A Summer Garden Parent Hack – Making a Chia Pet on the Cheap!

 

Deer_Wanted-Poster2015Here in British Columbia everything that is normally lush and green has turned crispy and brown. With all the the unusual hot, dry weather we’ve been having, watering twice a day is a must and there are always a few plant casualties. However, all your watering efforts to what’s left of your still green garden has not gone unnoticed. The lush bounty before you has made it a tempting garden buffet for the deer. That’s right….deer have been reported to be roaming in urban downtown Chilliwack!
Deer are one of the most beautiful woodland creatures you’ll ever see. Big brown eyes, long eyelashes, graceful legs and if you buy into the whole Disney thing it’s the most innocent of all creatures. The reality is that they are tick, Lyme disease carrying creatures with four-compartment stomachs that allow them to make short work of all your gardening endeavors. Apparently Bambi and his buddies can eat 10 pounds of flowers, plants, and trees a day!
If you have ever had a garden where there are deer you know what I am talking about, however living in an urban area you might not have ever had to deal with this issue. In order to keep the deer from turning your garden into the all you can eat buffet here are five options for dealing with deer in an urban setting:

Option 1-Fences and Cages
Deer have been known to jump over eight foot fences but for the most part an eight foot fence is an adequate deterrent to keep them out. The fencing must completely enclose the area to be protected as the deer will simply make a new trail in the fence opening in order to get to the delicious fixings in your garden.
Alternatively, you can place cages around individual plants or groups of plants. I have a “Guerilla Garden Accomplice” who used to have a huge problem with deer when she first moved to Princeton. Her husband used steel and wire to build cages around her flower gardens so the deer wouldn’t eat all her flowers. It wasn’t exactly decorator friendly (it looked like her plants were in jail) but it did solve the problem. The downside to this is that fencing/caging can be expensive (especially if it’s on property you don’t own) and who really wants to be out in this heat building a fence anyways.

Option 2-Scare Tactics
Loud sounds and motion devices will frighten deer temporarily but the deer quickly adapt to their surroundings.
This is true whether the devices move continually or when triggered by the presence of deer. Once the deer gets used to it they will determine that it doesn’t present a threat and then they will just stroll on into your garden like they have dinner reservations.
The only for sure scare tactic that works on deer is a having a dog. If you garden on someone else’s property, you live in a strata complex or belong to a community garden this may not be an option. However a dog serves as both a noisemaker and a moving object and it also presents a threat to deer. Because of the threat a dog poses, it will be an effective deterrent unless of course it happens to be on a leash, locked up or looks like my dog Salsa who is just too busy being fabulous to worry much about deer.

My Fabulous dog!

Option 3-Make It Unpleasant
It’s a fact-no one ever goes back to a bad buffet and this includes deer.
Apparently you can treat your garden with various bad smelling/tasting concoctions that act as homemade deer deterrents. They can be sprayed onto the plants or around the garden to keep deer from munching on your plants. For instance one of the options is “Coyote Urine” which can be bought at Canadian Tire. One old timer even told me that human urine will also work as a deer deterrent. My personal opinion is that PEE SHOULD NEVER BE AN OPTION FOR DETERRING DEER! After all it’s a garden, not a potty…although the neighbor’s cat seems to have a totally different opinion on this subject.
If you are looking for a better smelling alternative there is documentation that bars of soap, particularly “Irish Spring” or “Dial” are said to be very effective at keeping away deer. Apparently you drill a hole in the bar of soap, tie some string on it then hang it up where the deer are eating your plants. I think a bunch of soap hanging from trees would look weird, but you could have some fun with it. Start a neighborhood rumor that you’ve rented out your property for a huge amount of money to a bunch of nudist’s and you’re supplying the soap on a rope for the outdoor showers and see how long it takes to get back to you.
A hairdresser also once told me that she has a customer who swears that human hair keeps deer away. He asks her to save the clippings so he can sprinkle it around his plants. Apparently, even deer don’t like finding random pieces of hair in their food.  However, I don’t really like the idea of hair mulch in my garden where I also happen to grow some of my food, if you know what I mean.

Option 4-Deer Proof Plants
Sorry, no matter what you may read on the Internet, there really are no deer proof plants. If food is scarce deer will eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, however the Old Farmers Almanac has a list of Deer Resistant Plants that if planted in your yard just might help you to make your neighbor’s garden look like a better buffet.

Option 5-The F Bomb!
Just saying…if all else fails …and you’re not a vegetarian…..
Go all Gorden Ramsey, and start dropping the F-bomb while looking up Venison Recipes!

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DinosaurGarden_Logo

This article is about turning your children into gardeners during the summer holidays.
You’re probably thinking to your self why should you even bother?
Well for one thing it will keep your kids occupied while you work in the garden and let’s face it, nothing ruins your summer gardening experience more than listening to an endless chorus of “I’m bored”.  Get your children unplugged from technology, remove them from the sofa that sits in front of the TV and wrench them away away from their computers, tablets and any other gaming or hand held devices that seem to have a permanent, invisible connection to both their eyeballs and their hands. The lack of technology will improve their posture, provide a learning experience by teaching them about nature and help to provide a connection to the earth while allowing you to spend more quality gardening time with them.
It’s most important to teach children that gardening is not all about mowing lawns or pulling weeds – after all that’s slave labor! Instead get them involved in gardening by using nature to create and spark their imaginations. Fairy Gardens have been all the rage for the past year however if dinosaur toys are a big hit at your house, I’m thinking a Jurassic Garden might just fit the bill.

Since many of today’s plants were around during the time of dinosaurs, it’s easy to create a dinosaur themed garden. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Ferns
Ferns are one of the most ancient plant groups surviving today and were once the primary vegetation covering the earth. Some of the earliest species include the maidenhair ferns, lady ferns and autumn ferns. Here in B.C. there are a variety of ferns that grow in the wild and they could be easily dug up and transplanted for free…..if only the Parks Board would cooperate. Apparently there are fines involved for removing vegetation from crown land so actually buying a 4″ fern for $3-$5 might be a better option…..just saying.

Conifers
During the time when the dinosaurs lived, conifers dominated the landscape. These included redwoods, yews, pines, cypress and the monkey puzzle tree. If space is limited, you could use any of the hundreds of types of dwarf conifers such as pine, spruce, fir, hemlock, and junipers.

Ginkgo Tree
In Jurassic times there were many ginkgo species. Today, there’s just one ginkgo species left but it comes in several different varieties including dwarf, weeping, upright, pyramidal and bush forms, and is available in a variety of foliage colors including variegated, yellow-green, dark green and light green. The leaves turn bright yellow-green in autumn.
Ginkgo Biloba is particularly resistant to insects, fungal, viral and bacterial diseases as well as to ozone and sulfur dioxide pollution, fire and even radioactive radiation (atom bomb WWII). Even serial plant killers will be able to grow this one!

Dinosaurs
No Jurassic Garden would be complete without inhabitants.
Dinosaurs are a must as children love learning to identify the different species, where they lived and what they ate.
Realistic plastic dinosaurs are available at the dollar store or if you’re feeling creative you can create your own out of modeling clay.

Dinosaur Nibbles
Horsetail, the bane of gardeners everywhere, was a main source of food for dinosaurs. If you don’t have some growing in your garden already, I will guarantee you there is a gardener somewhere who would be more than willing to give you some for free! Horsetail can be invasive, so you might want to put it in a pot to help reduce the spread. Oh yeah, and dinosaurs get thirsty too, so if you can make room for a pond all the better!

Fossils
Encourage creativity by having children create their own “fossils” by casting concrete impressions of plant leaves and dinosaur footprints.
Alternatively, you could spark their imaginations by creating an archeological “dig site” for children by burying simulated “fossils” and “bones”.  One budget minded Guerilla Gardener (who shall remain nameless) used some large beef bones that had been cleaned off and buried them as dinosaur evidence, however this could be a problem if you have a food driven Hoover dog like mine. Luckily most dollar stores seem to carry Dinosaur Excavation Kits . Place on the garden’s surface or better yet bury it. After all, when you’re a kid nothing beats digging in the dirt!

Go Exotic and Rare
Cycads, (pronounced si’kads), are sometimes referred to as living plant fossils, because they have remained virtually unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs. These exotic palm tree like plants are generally easy to grow, very hardy and are rarely bothered by pests or diseases. Cycads that grow in BC can be found at the Jurassic Plants Nursery but be aware that because of the price they are usually only grown in the most epic, larger scale, adult oriented Jurassic Gardens!
Note: Some adult/spouse/client type people might also be inspired/convinced/bribed into helping create/finance/make room for a Jurassic Garden after taking them to the upcoming Jurassic Park part 4 movie sequel Jurassic World that will be premieringin a few weeks.

Do you have a summer children’s birthday to deal with?
Create a Jurassic Garden then…
With a little help from Pinterest make it a Dinosaur Themed Party!
Go ahead, make some memories this summer!

 

Guerilla Garden Adventures will be at the Eco Market in Sardis Park (6906 School Lane) this Wednesday!
Come see what I’ve been up to and what weird stuff I am trying to grow, see you there!

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