Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seedlings from Santropol, the Montreal Botanical Garden and Vert ta Ville

All of the seedlings in the garden migrated, with my help, from Montreal. Some seeds were planted by me at a Santropol Roulant workshop, others were planted by horticultural students at the Montreal Botanical Gardens, but most of them by Vert ta Ville volunteers. 

SANTROPOL ROULANT is a wonderful community organization based in Montreal's Mile End. They began as a meals-on-(bicycle)wheels program, but have since expanded to include rooftop gardens and other sustainability initiatives.

On March 22nd (World Water Day) I attended Santropol's seedling workshop where we first learned some of the technical aspects and then got our hands dirty planting our own.

We mixed black earth, compost and vermiculite. (Unfortunately, I don't remember the ratio!)

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Then we added just enough water so that, when squeezed, a handful of soil would release only a few drops of water (see video below for a demo).

We were encouraged, but not required, to bring seeds with us. Everyone shared. My friend Cameron brought his seed bank along with him, so I got most of mine from him. He started the bank last year, adding some from saving his own seeds.

It was a lot of fun. I will discuss all the species I planted in a future post!

The MONTREAL BOTANICAL GARDEN annual event, Great Gardening Weekend, is held the last weekend of March. I made the trip on Friday the 24th with my mum and a family friend.

This year's focus was urban gardening. Last November, 25,000 signatures were collected in support of holding public consultations on urban agriculture (when, according to the bylaw, only 15,000 signatures were required to prompt the government to take action). The OCPM (Office de publique consultation de Montreal) manned (actually, womanned) a tent, informing people of consultation dates in different boroughs and gauging the crowds opinions on the matter.

There were some lovely demos of innovative planting ideas. I wish I had taken a close-up of the succulents on this demo rooftop green cover. And what a wonderful way to integrate kids into the event!

Businesses were there, displaying their wares. (On the left, Lufa Farms; on the right, a recycled tire planter by Droldoizo)

So much creativity!

Here's a little collage of just some of the seedlings I purchased. In the center is a picture of me with the seedlings all lined up on the rock wall (they're difficult to make out against my mother's beautiful bed in the background!). Armed with my notebook I was documenting all the species' names when my daughter took over the camera.

VERT TA VILLE is a magnificent initiative based in the Concordia Greenhouse. The project is in its third year and continues to be run by coordinator and founder Laurence Fauteux.

Through March and April, there were weekly workshops where volunteers learned to plant, tend and transplant the seedlings. I volunteered 3 times and was happy to discover that we each were rewarded with free seedlings at the end of each session!

Pictured below are some of the seedlings early on in the season.

The seedling sale was held June 5th to 8th - I was there filling my boxes with a variety of herb and veggie seedlings on the first day.

With around 100 difference species of plants sold at 2 or 3 dollars each, deciding what to bring home was exciting but a little overwhelming. I was a little sad that there were no Montreal Melons left by the time I got there, but overall I was very pleased with my purchase!

I will leave you with this picture of some Santropol and some Vert ta Ville seedlings growing well together by my south-facing window.

Until next time!


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