My Green City Life

Gettin’ there
August 27, 2008, 3:07 pm
Filed under: local news, your outdoor space

I just found out that next week marks the start of Montreal’s weekly green waste pick-up program. Now Montrealers will be able to put their yard waste out at the curb for composting, just like recycling and trash pick-up. Unfortunately, this doesn’t affect me since I don’t have a yard and therefore don’t generate yard waste. At first I got really excited, thinking this was all organic waste, but no, just grass clippings, leaves, and the like. I hope this will expand to include kitchen scraps too.


June 12, 2008, 11:40 am
Filed under: your outdoor space

I went to Kansas City this weekend for some family fun, and one of my first questions was if the peonies were in bloom. Sadly, they had all bloomed out. Today, back in Montreal, I went out to do some errands and saw many a fully bloomed peony where before my trip out of town there had only been peony buds. Most of them seemed to be on their last legs, but I did spot some that were still perky. The only bad part about peonies being open and lovely is that the lilacs are all gone. Mmmmm, peonies and lilacs!

Photo by un flaneur

Local news: Curbside composting
October 30, 2007, 1:32 pm
Filed under: on the town, your outdoor space

Recycling has been in the news around here a lot lately as Montréal is planning to double its ability to process recycled materials. More interesting to me, however, is the news that by 2012 Montréal and the surrounding neighborhoods are expected to be composting 60% of its organic waste — more than five times the amount that is composted now. There is currently a small trial program for curbside compostables pick-up in the municipality of Côte St. Luc. There are also some old compost drop-off boxes around town, but most of them have been closed and/or abandoned because of lack of upkeep.

Composting is so simple that it is almost criminal that so much compostable organic waste ends up in the landfill at all. For us apartment dwellers without access to a compost pile, we have the option of vermicomposting — that is, feeding our food scraps to worms in a plastic bin. (Unfortunately, I usually end up with more organic waste than my worms can handle, so some of it still ends up in the trash.) Folks with access to a yard can make individual or community compost piles. A friend of mine with a backyard has a black plastic composter. She throws food scraps in the top and occasionally digs fresh compost out from the bottom. It really is that simple.

Does something as dead easy as composting — something you can literally do in your own backyard — need a municipal collection service? Whose responsibility is it: the individuals or the city government? As a city dweller without a backyard, I think it’s great. It would also encourage people who don’t want to bother with a compost pile or who don’t think they create enough waste to justify the purchase of a composter. But at the same time, a well maintained composter on every block would probably work just as well.

Read a local co-op’s take on the situation here.

Take it inside
October 29, 2007, 1:24 pm
Filed under: your outdoor space

Yesterday I had to break out the scarf for the first time this season. Today I had to put on my heavy coat, a hat, and gloves! I was told that last night we had our first freeze. Good thing I had already brought my tiny urban garden inside. They’re just chillin’ on the windowsill in the sun, which will be their home for the next, oh… seven months. *Sigh* I miss summer already.

Weather switch
September 27, 2007, 5:07 pm
Filed under: your outdoor space

My trip to Colorado afforded some breath taking views of a changing color palette, as Colorado moves from summer to fall. When I got back to Montreal, I found that the trees had started shedding their leaves in great numbers, although the weather was mild. I wore shorts and flipflops yesterday and almost felt a little hopeful that fall would hold off a bit longer. That hope would have been for naught: I saw my breath on the air today for this first time this season. It’s rainy and chilly, and it makes me want to knit and drink hot tea. Goodbye, summer. See ya ’round, next year!

Homegrown herbs
August 22, 2007, 3:28 pm
Filed under: your outdoor space

These four guys make up my tiny urban garden on my balcony. I love having a little bit of living green to call my own.

Clockwise from top left: lovage, basil, mint, Greek oregano.