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Canadian Heroes, Gardening and Duct Tape
by Dan Clost
by Dan Clost


First serious garden earned 25 cents from the Kemptville Horticultural Society when I was 12. Have been poor in horticulture ever since but rich in spirit.

Went to work writing the Good Earth column (over 500 articles published in newspaper, magazine, website and journal.) and learned that what was printed wasn't what I wanted to say and certainly not what Gentle Reader understood me to say. Subsequently have developed a certain clarity and economy of words.

Day job- nursery and production manager for a large nursery/garden centre
Side job- Garden restoration and renovations, design consultations, remedial pruning.
Night job- garden writer and communicator (overnight success in another 20 years)

Dan gardens in Canadian Zone 5b

March 25, 2007

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As one would expect in a raw, new and mostly undiscovered country, this rugged land of ours has bred its own share of champions of all that it is to be Canadian. Many a Gentle Reader is familiar with Big Joe Mafroe, E.B. Eddy's answer to Paul Bunyan. Big Bobby Clobber has entertained the true hockey fanatic for years. Charlie Farquharson introduced the world to our unique "Jogfree" and none of us can forget Lester the Lobster. Until recently, my favourite fictional Canadian character has been Stompin' Tom. 
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Gentle Reader, it is time that had we our own Gardening icon. Not Mark Cullen, Ken Beattie or even David Tarrant. Someone new, fresh, vibrant and representative of all that it is to be a gardener in Canada's Great White North. It is my pleasure to introduce to the gardening world, Brown Green. [Apologies and thanks are given to Steve Smith who gave us BG's cousin, Red.] 
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Brown Green has seen everything that grows and knows that it is only a matter of time before it dies. He has dedicated himself to lengthening that interval. He makes it a practice to plant things earlier in the morning to get in those extra hours. 
1pt.gif (86 bytes)A voracious reader of do it yourself magazines such as Popular Horticultural Mechanics and Duct Tapers International, Brown likes to put what he reads into practice. The new work in gene splicing intrigued him greatly. After reading about how the naturally occurring antifreeze gene in certain fish was being used in corn plants, he went out to the back thirty and duct-taped cod to stalks of corn. He reaped a bumper crop of raccoons for his efforts and lowered next year's fertilizer requirements. Undeterred, he had cows duct-taped to tomatoes (he was thinking about an improved Beefsteak cultivar). His maple-flavoured wine wasn't a big hit either. 
1pt.gif (86 bytes)When it comes to the matters mechanical, Brown Green is truly at his inventive best. Lawnmowers have been welded to his ATV; unfortunately, it does take a while to pull-start them. The shop vac has been adapted to harvest small fruits and the occasional slow-moving bird. His nephew's accordion now doubles as a herbicide applicator but he's been experiencing difficulties squeezing out all the liquid. 
1pt.gif (86 bytes)When Brown heard about the benefits of double-digging your garden, he enthusiastically tried to turn over his portion of 50 acres of Canadian Shield. The end of his spade was bent back after only a few inches of duff were scraped off. The rototiller threatened to jar his arms out of their sockets as it bounced and squealed on granite. If he couldn't dig down, then he would dig up. Raised beds, constructed of Bombardier snowmobile cowlings now dot his pre-Cambrian landscape.
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Put off by the noise, he fastened ear plugs using duct tape and Canada thistle down. In the ensuing quietude, he could hear himself think and it was not a pleasing sound. Deliberate cogitation is not his strong point. 
1pt.gif (86 bytes)His compost pile is a marvel of ingenuity and recycling. The power takeoff on his 1948 Ford tractor is connected to the gutter chain from his deceased grandfather's, Dead Green, dairy barn. Since the tomato incident, the cows weren't much use as milkers. Attached to the chain are the bent tines from the rototiller. Once a week he cranks up the Ford and pile is completely mixed and aerated. His only problem is that skunks seem to be attracted to the fishy emanations of the corn stover. 
1pt.gif (86 bytes)Brown Green deserves to be our gardening mentor. He stands tall in this land. A frayed straw hat shades steely grey eyes that seek out new challenges. A smile on his face, secateurs in one hand and duct tape in the other, he is ready to meet the Canadian gardening wilderness. 
1pt.gif (86 bytes)As we say farewell, he leaves us with a helpful hint. Duct tape laid along vegetable rows, sticky side up is as good a slug trap as you can find. Happy gardening, eh. 


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