Water Restrictions

water

Beginning tomorrow, Monday, June 1, the water restriction for outdoor water use comes into effect and will last until the end of August. It is time to turn off the hoses and start paying attention to the calendar.

WATER RESTRICTION

To conserve water in London during the warmer months, Londoners are expected to only use their hoses on the dates that correspond to their house number.

  • on even calendar dates, only those with municipal addresses ending with 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 may use external water
  • on odd calendar dates, only those with municipal addresses ending with 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 may use external water

NEW:

There is currently a by-law awaiting approval that will remove water restrictions on weekends and statutory holidays this summer.

CONSERVING WATER

  • Your lawn only requires one inch of water per week to survive and thrive through the warmer months. Instead of turning on the sprinkler every other day, buy yourself a rain gauge which will measure the total amount of rain that your lawn gets every week, and then adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
  • The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning. Watering during the day will result in most of the water being evaporated.
  • Using mulch on your gardens will reduce the need for watering by keeping soil moist and preventing evaporation, as well as help with weeds.
  • Set your lawn mower to trim a little bit longer and allow the grass clippings to stay on your lawn. This will add nutrients back to the soil and act as a mulch for your grass which will prevent evaporation and keep the soil moist.
  • For more water conservation tips, see HERE.

 

Fairy Houses

fairy

Today, I’m passing the website over to my darling oldest daughter who is a professional Fairy House Builder. If you have any children that love fairies, magical creatures, and getting creative, then building a fairy house might just be up their alley.

 

Hello! First I’ll start with how I got creative and into making fairy houses. It all started when my seventh birthday rolled around and my Nana and Grandpa gave me a clay fairy house, a tiny (fairy-sized) fence, metal fairy-sized watering can, bench, and tiny bird (or bug) house. When the temperature warmed up (since my birthday is in late winter), my sister, my Nana and I went to the pond to get some stones, sticks and cement chunks. Bit by bit, I worked on my fairy house when I wanted and could. I even got some fairy plants!

MATERIALS

Fairy houses can be built out of almost anything found in nature. Here are some of my favourite things to use:

  • sticks/twigs
  • stones
  • popsicle sticks
  • dandelion stems
  • leaves
  • grass
  • mulch
  • dirt
  • flowers
  • sand
  • pebbles
  • store-bought houses or fairy furniture
  • pine cones

HOW TO BUILD

  1. Find a good spot in your backyard, not near a lawnmower, hidden from animals that will destroy it [mom says: give your kids a spot in your flower or vegetable garden that you don't mind being dug up over and over. Mark out their space vs. your space and don't cross the magic line. Other spaces could be found in large flower bins or pots, like the ones from Costco, or old sandboxes/water tables that they've outgrown]
  2. Start with a floor made of pine needles or twigs or pebbles or something that you found. You can build around it, make sure you leave space for the door. Use twigs and mud or make a leafy tent. Make it as big as you can.
  3. You can make a straw or grass roof.
  4. Make it fun for the fairies with special features. Some ideas are: a garden, a hammock, a swing set, fire pit [mom says: not a real fire pit! Fairies don't like fire and neither do moms], a pool, a bridge, and any other thing you can think of. Fairies LOVE a little bling don’t they? Shiny stones, shells, or even feathers might really do the trick to getting a curious fairies attention!!

 

 

 

The Three Sisters

3sisters

We are fortunate in London to live in a place so rich in history and to be able to learn about the history first hand! If you have a child around grade three or above, there is a good chance they will know what The Three Sisters are already through their social studies unit on Native Canadians. If they’re lucky, they may have even gone to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology and learnt about the crops and legends of the First Nations people who lived and farmed right here in London and area before the European Settlers came over.

THE LEGEND

The legend of the Three Sisters was passed down from generation to generation to teach about farming. In the story (a version can be found HERE) there are three sisters who are very different, but inseparable. They each have different characteristics that compliment each other. One day, they see a young Native boy and become curious. One by one the sisters disappear in the night as summer turns into fall. At the end of the tale, they are reunited joyfully in the young boys lodge where they help to feed his family.

WHO ARE THE SISTERS?

The Three Sisters are three plants: corn, beans, and squash (traditionally pumpkins). According to legend, the three sisters are inseparable and cannot grow without each other. When planted together the corn acts as a pole for the beans, who in turn strengthen and help support the corn stalks. The squash provides ground cover and acts as mulch to prevent weeds and keep the soil moist.

PLANTING THE THREE SISTERS

If you have space in your yard somewhere, consider planting the three sisters this spring and see what happens! Talk about the history with your children and do a little research into how the three crops would be used by the original residents of London. Start this weekend!

  1. Plant the corn about 4 in a square foot and water frequently.
  2. When the corn is about 6 inches tall, plant the beans between the corn (about 6-7 per square foot)
  3. Plant a squash or two, depending on how much space you have. Squash grows and takes up a lot of space, so give it room!
  4. Water your plants frequently and fertilize as needed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Try some of these links:

http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html

http://blogs.cornell.edu/garden/get-activities/signature-projects/the-three-sisters-exploring-an-iroquois-garden/

https://farmtoforkguelph.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/fall-in-ontario-is-time-for-the-three-sisters/

http://www.evergreen.ca/downloads/pdfs/BeanKeepers-ThreeSisters.pdf

http://www.wabano.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/CLANconnections-AUGUST-2014-final-2.pdf

http://www.foodshare.net/files/www/Field_to_Table_Schools/Eat_in_Ontario/Gr3-ThreeSisters.pdf

 

Compost Value Day

compost

Compost Value Day is this Saturday, May 2, from 8:00am to 2:00pm – if it lasts that long! 

WHAT IS IT?

Bring a 30L container and shovel to either of the Compost Value Day locations and fill it for only $3. If you don’t have a container, it is $4 for the same amount.

The compost is made from leaf and yard materials and is garden-ready.

Compost is full of great things for your garden and your lawn, improving soil quality and the health of your grass and plants. Mix it with your own compost, topsoil, or just put it directly on your garden.

WHERE?

Amway: 365 Exeter Road at White Oak Road

Masonville Place parking lot behind Nash Jewellers: Fanshawe Park Road and Richmond St. north

PROCEEDS from the Compost Sale go to:

London and Area Food Bank

Boys & Girls Club of London

Community Garden Project

Thames Region Ecological Project

London Composts

 

Growing Vegetables with Children

garden

This is the time of year when Ontarians start to plan their vegetable gardens and start seeds indoors. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or have never touched a pot of dirt in your life, gardening is possible! What’s more, it’s a great way to encourage children to learn about where their food comes from and grow some for themselves. Sharing this experience with your little ones may even get them more interested in trying some new foods, so give it a shot! After all, as moms, we know it’s a pretty incredible feeling to grow something beautiful.

WHAT TO GROW

The space you have will be a big factor in what you grow. If you have a sunny window, try something small like herbs. If you have a space in the yard you can play around with, go crazy! Here are some suggestions:

Herbs – they grow easily and can be used frequently. Kids can pick leaves and eat them anytime they like. Choose ones you’ll actually use! Basil, oregano, cilantro, mint, chives, etc.

Cherry Tomatoes – another one they can grab off the plant and snack on while they’re outside playing. Make sure they’re old enough to not choke!

Pumpkins – how much fun would it be to grow your own Halloween pumpkin or Thanksgiving pumpkin pie pumpkin? Kids will love to watch how big these can grow! Make sure you have a lot of space, these guys like to spread!

Radishes – if your kid happens to like these odd little root vegetables, then this is a definite for planting. They grow quickly and are harvested early in the season for quick gratification!

Beets – another fun root vegetable to grow because what of the big surprise when you dig it up! Let them guess what the vegetable under the ground is going to look like before you pull it up. And if they’re at the age where bathroom humour reigns, convince them to eat some and see what happens ;)

Carrots – carrots are a classic with kids. It is often one of the rare veggies that kids will eat and they’re fairly easy to grow in the ground or in deep containers. Part of the fun in growing your own is seeing all of the funny shapes they come in when you pull them up – they aren’t all perfect like at the grocery store! For bonus fun, plant rainbow carrots and do a little research as to why we mostly eat orange carrots now.

Bush Beans – you won’t have to worry about planting these beans near something they can grow up and they’ll be easy for little hands to reach in and pick. Fresh beans from the garden are hard for anyone to resist!

HOW TO PLANT

Seed packets will come with instructions as to whether you should start seeds indoors or plant them directly into the garden.

If you are going to start your own seeds, start now! Head to your nearest garden centre with the kids and have someone there instruct you on the best way to get them started with potting soil and starter pots. Another option is to have someone else (a nursery) start your seeds for you and buy seedlings (small plants ready to plant in the ground) later in the spring.

Planting directly into the ground happens anytime from now through summer, depending on the seeds/seedlings. If the instructions say ‘after last frost’ then you have to wait until the end of May to be safe.

Water your seeds regularly and wait for the magic to happen!