FreshCityFarms-6

Fresh City Farms: Organic Gardening 101

Last weekend was just so gorgeous. Sunny and warm and beautiful. This summer (yes, I’m calling it summer already) almost feels like it’s too good to be true, after last winter’s misery. But it’s already going so fast – it’s June! My sorels are barely dry and there’s still a pile of hats and scarves at the front door because I feel like it’s tempting fate to put them away. (more…)

Riverdale Farm

ecochick Expeditions: Riverdale Farm

We’ve spent the last six months doing our best not to go outside whatsoever unless absolutely necessary. But now that the nice weather is here, we can’t wait to get outside and explore. It’s such a wonderful way to spend time as a family, away from work and devices and distractions. Plus, it teaches our city slicker kid how important it is to connect with nature. Since we’re new to this city, we have a lot of super fun and interesting places to check out. Last weekend our explorations took us to Riverdale Farm in Toronto. What a gem! (more…)

Homegrown lettuce by Nic

Become A City Gardening Guru With Fresh City Workshops

When I was a kid, my family always had a vegetable garden. I can remember planting the carrot seeds and impatiently waiting through the long summer weeks for them to be grown enough for me to rip them out and eat them straight out of the ground dirt and all, or standing in front of the bushy pea vines and stuffing the fat pods into my mouth til I couldn’t move. (more…)

Lavender and Bee

Farm Crawl Hamilton 2014

Have you ever wondered how organic farms work, or the pace of life outside the hustle and bustle of the city? On May 24, you’ll be able to find out if you take a little road trip through the greater GTA countryside and participate in theĀ Farm Crawl Hamilton. (Aside: In my young and single days, pub crawls were one of my favourite ways to lose a weekend. But now, old and happily encumbered with family, this Farm Crawl sounds like a way better time – and no hangover to boot.) (more…)

Solar Lights Galore From Rittenhouse

After posting Friday’s Soji Solar Chinese Lanterns, I poked around on the Rittenhouse website and found loads more beautiful solar lights for your garden. It’s the time of year to be spending long, warm nights outside, so I decided to feature them right away so that you can get them into your garden ASAP. Far from being your basic stainless steel bulb on a post, these beauties are unique and gorgeous.

There’s the Firefly as shown at right, a hand blown cracked glass orb on a steel stake that is pretty on its own as a garden accent during the day. The separate solar panel charges in the sun, and at night the Firefly glows with a warm amber light. Imagine how pretty these would be scattered through your garden at a range of heights, or even in a eerie planetary cluster!

Are you maybe thinking about hanging lights from your patio or perhaps a tree? These Aurora Glow Solar String Lights are what you’re looking for. Each string has six hand-blown glass orbs hung on bright copper hooks, with a solar-powered LED inside. (There’s also a solar panel to plant nearby). The Aurora String Lights come in three colours: Clear with a white LED, Clear with a yellow LED and Blue/Green sea glass with a white LED.

Orbs not your thing? Then maybe you’re interested in these exquisite Flower Shaped Hand-Blown Glass Lights. There’s a range of flowers and colours, from the pretty Blue Poppy Firefly shown here, to a Yellow or Plum coloured Calla Lilly, and several more. These will cast a very pretty glow, sending the light in several different directions as they shine.

Finally, there’s the Finial Garden Lights, in Blue or Fuschia, with a unique hand-blown glass bulb atop a steel pole with separate solar panel. These pretty orbs have exquisite detail in the swirly glass and will look lovely both lit and in the bright sunshine.

The Firefly goes for $37.99 each; the Aurora Glow String Solar Lights are $54.99 per string, the Flower lights are $42.99 each and the Finials are $37.99 each – all at Rittenhouse. Volume discounts are most definitely available (Save 5% when you buy 3-5, save 10% for 6 or more).

If you get these, send me some photos – I’d love to see what they look like in a garden!

Soji: Outdoor Solar Chic

Spotted in Green Living Magazine: these beautiful Solar Chinese Lanterns from Soji. These pretty lanterns have a rechargeable battery and solar panel to charge it during the day, then they glow their soft, pretty colours into the evening. They are made from sturdy nylon, not paper, no worries about getting them caught in the rain. You can hang them or simply place them orb-like on your tabletop, watching your friends bask in their lovely green/blue/red/etc. glow. They’re available in six bright colours (all the ones pictured plus a new pink one) that cast beautiful soft glowing light across your evening.

They’re $17.99 each at Rittenhouse.ca.

Recycle your plant pots at Loblaws stores

Have you been feverishly gardening, planting your perennials, annuals, baskets, bins, veggie gardens? And do you have a pile of leftover plant pots and flats to show for it?

Don’t pitch them – take them to a Loblaws chain store (so Loblaws, Independents, Great Canadian Superstore, etc.). Make sure it’s one that has a a garden center, because those ones have a recycling bin where you can drop off the pots. They’ll use them for next year’s plants. Which is awesome, because much of the plastic used in these pots isn’t easily recyclable, so if you put them in the streetside bins they might end up in the landfill. Booo! So bring ‘em back and get them reused. Your garden will thank you for it.

Weed Hound

Here’s how the spring thought process went:

“I want to go pesticide-free this year. I don’t want to use cosmetic chemicals.”

“But gaaah, look at those dandelions!”

So you resolve to pull out the weeds by hand. It’s not hard, it’s good exercise, et cetera. But you don’t want to do it with a shovel, because that’s overkill, and hands and knees is mighty uncomfortable. So you seek out a weed pulling contraption.. and most weed pullers just don’t cut it. They’re overly complicated or else they just don’t work. The last one I tried was beyond useless. I’m sure that if I had had a thorough training course on it, I would have been able to weed my lawn successfully, but as I didn’t have a spare month the dandelions, by and large, remained.

And then I found the Weed Hound.

This puppy works. You simply put it over the weed, push it down with your foot, pull it up and voila – weed is out. You just press the lever at the top to release it into your weed bag or composter or wherever you’re putting the weedy remnants. It makes weeding easy – and almost turns it into an epic challenge, giving you superhero capabilities against the evil dandelions or prickles or whatever else is unwelcome in your lawn or garden. All pesticide free. It’s built to last, so you can conquer the weeds year after year.

I found my Weed Hound at Canadian Tire, and I’ve heard rumours they’re at Lee Valley Tools as well. Go forth and conquer!