Lyis: Rankin Inlet Gardening

Nursery in Owen Sound, run by Andrii Logan Zvorygin a Ukrainian-Canadian
PIC lyis@liberit.ca PIC https://lyis.ca PIC 226-537-0147
PIC @lyis.ca PIC @aizvo PIC @lyisforestry PIC LyisForestry

Contents

1 Introduction
2 Greenhouses and Bonsai
3 Gardening
4 Traditional plant foods
5 Local Plants
6 Considerations
7 Community Engagement
8 Preserving Food
9 Connecting and Collaborating: Building the Arctic Food Security Ecosystem

1 Introduction

Congratulations on acquiring tree and shrub seedlings! You have the potential to embark on an exciting gardening journey that goes beyond just planting and harvesting. Here’s an action plan to make the most of your seedlings, foster community engagement, and cultivate a deeper connection with nature:

Container Gardening and Greenhouse: Begin by setting up a container garden using your tree and shrub seedlings. Utilize large pots or containers with well-draining soil to provide a suitable growing environment. For more control and extended growing seasons, consider using a greenhouse to nurture your plants and explore the possibilities of year-round cultivation.

Community Engagement: Reach out to local gardening communities, horticultural societies, or Indigenous groups in Rankin Inlet. Share your gardening experiences and connect with like-minded individuals who are passionate about plants and nature. Collaborate on community garden projects or host plant identification tours to learn from each other and foster a sense of belonging within the gardening community.

Wild Edible Plants: Engage in the traditional practice of gathering local wild edible plants. Explore the tundra surroundings, identify native edible species, and respectfully collect them for personal use. Learn from elders and experienced foragers in the community to deepen your understanding of traditional food sources.

Seed Collection and Propagation: Embrace the art of seed collection and propagation. Gather seeds from local plants during the appropriate seasons. Learn about the stratification requirements and germination techniques for each species. Nurture the seeds in your greenhouse or controlled environments to give them the best start. Once ready, plant them out in suitable locations to enhance the biodiversity of your garden and contribute to the local ecosystem.

Enjoy the Process: Embrace the joy and fulfillment that comes from nurturing plants. Observe the growth and development of your seedlings, witnessing the transformation from tiny seeds to thriving plants. Find solace in the daily care and appreciation for nature’s miracles unfolding before your eyes.

Cultivate Forgiveness, Compassion, and Unconditional Love: Gardening offers a unique opportunity to cultivate virtues beyond the physical realm. As you immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, let it inspire forgiveness, compassion, and unconditional love for all beings. Reflect on the interconnectedness of life and develop a deeper sense of empathy and appreciation for the natural world.

Remember, gardening is a journey of discovery, growth, and connection. Embrace the process, learn from the land, and share your experiences with others. As you nurture your seedlings and engage with the community, may your gardening endeavors bring you closer to nature, foster community bonds, and cultivate a sense of peace and harmony within yourself and the world around you. Happy gardening!

2 Greenhouses and Bonsai

Greenhouses and bonsai cultivation can offer interesting possibilities for gardening in tundra regions like Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. While the extreme climate and limited growing season pose challenges, these controlled environments can extend the growing season and provide better conditions for certain plants. Here’s a closer look at the possibilities:

Greenhouses: Greenhouses are an effective way to create a microclimate that supports plant growth in challenging environments. Some considerations for greenhouse gardening in Rankin Inlet include:

Design: Opt for a greenhouse design that maximizes insulation and heat retention, such as a double-walled or polycarbonate structure. This helps retain warmth during colder months.

Heating: Install a heating system to maintain optimal temperatures inside the greenhouse, especially during the winter. This can include electric heaters, radiant heating, or geothermal systems.

Ventilation: Adequate ventilation is crucial to regulate temperature, humidity, and prevent fungal diseases. Incorporate vents, windows, or fans for proper air circulation.

Cold-Tolerant Plants: Choose plant varieties that can withstand colder temperatures and shorter growing seasons. Focus on cold-hardy vegetables, herbs, and flowers suitable for Rankin Inlet’s climate.

Bonsai: Bonsai cultivation can be an artistic and rewarding pursuit, even in tundra regions. Some considerations for bonsai gardening in Rankin Inlet include:

Tree Selection: Choose tree species that are hardy and suitable for colder climates. Coniferous trees like spruce or pine can withstand the cold and provide an authentic northern feel to your bonsai collection.

Protection: During harsh winters, provide protection for your bonsai trees. This can include insulating the pots, creating windbreaks, or bringing them indoors to protect them from extreme cold and frost.

Monitoring: Regularly monitor the moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly. Avoid overwatering, as excess moisture can lead to root rot in the confined environment of a bonsai pot.

Pruning and Training: Regularly prune and shape your bonsai trees to maintain their desired form. Bonsai techniques such as wiring, branch selection, and leaf trimming can help create miniature versions of full-sized trees.

By utilizing greenhouses and adapting bonsai techniques, gardening enthusiasts in Rankin Inlet can explore a wider range of plant cultivation and enjoy the beauty and satisfaction of growing plants in a challenging climate. It’s important to research and select plant varieties suitable for the tundra environment and consult with local gardening experts or nurseries for guidance specific to the region.

3 Gardening

Gardening in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, presents unique challenges due to its harsh Arctic climate. However, with careful planning and consideration, there are still gardening activities that can be pursued. Drawing inspiration from the traditional activities of the Chukchi people, here are some realistic gardening options and plants that can thrive in Rankin Inlet:

Cold Climate Vegetables: Focus on growing cold-hardy vegetables that can withstand low temperatures and short growing seasons. Cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, radishes, and carrots are some suitable options. Extend the growing season by utilizing cold frames, greenhouses, or hoop houses.

Herbs: Hardy herbs like thyme, rosemary, and chives can be grown successfully in Rankin Inlet. They can add flavor to your dishes and provide fresh aromatics for cooking.

Root Vegetables: Root crops such as potatoes, turnips, and beets have a better chance of thriving in the cool climate. They are well-suited to the shorter growing season and can store well for winter consumption.

Native Berries: Explore the cultivation of native berries like crowberries, cloudberries, and cranberries. These hardy fruits are adapted to Arctic conditions and can be used for culinary purposes or preserved for the winter months.

Cold-Tolerant Flowers: Select cold-tolerant flowers like pansies, marigolds, and Iceland poppies to add color and beauty to your garden. These varieties can withstand cooler temperatures and add vibrancy to your landscape.

Container Gardening: Opt for container gardening to maximize control over soil quality and temperature. Containers can be moved to optimal locations for sunlight and protection against harsh weather conditions.

Traditional Chukchi Techniques: Consider adopting traditional Chukchi techniques such as using raised beds or mounding soil to enhance drainage and promote warmth around the plants. This can help create microclimates conducive to plant growth.

It’s important to note that gardening in Rankin Inlet requires careful planning, attention to soil quality, and protection against frost and extreme weather events. Consulting with local gardeners, agricultural extension services, or Indigenous communities can provide valuable insights into gardening techniques specific to the region.

4 Traditional plant foods

Gardening in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, presents unique challenges due to its harsh Arctic climate. However, with careful planning and consideration, there are still gardening activities that can be pursued. Drawing inspiration from the traditional activities of the Chukchi people, here are some realistic gardening options and plants that can thrive in Rankin Inlet:

Cold Climate Vegetables: Focus on growing cold-hardy vegetables that can withstand low temperatures and short growing seasons. Cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, radishes, and carrots are some suitable options. Extend the growing season by utilizing cold frames, greenhouses, or hoop houses.

Herbs: Hardy herbs like thyme, rosemary, and chives can be grown successfully in Rankin Inlet. They can add flavor to your dishes and provide fresh aromatics for cooking.

Root Vegetables: Root crops such as potatoes, turnips, and beets have a better chance of thriving in the cool climate. They are well-suited to the shorter growing season and can store well for winter consumption.

Native Berries: Explore the cultivation of native berries like crowberries, cloudberries, and cranberries. These hardy fruits are adapted to Arctic conditions and can be used for culinary purposes or preserved for the winter months.

Cold-Tolerant Flowers: Select cold-tolerant flowers like pansies, marigolds, and Iceland poppies to add color and beauty to your garden. These varieties can withstand cooler temperatures and add vibrancy to your landscape.

Container Gardening: Opt for container gardening to maximize control over soil quality and temperature. Containers can be moved to optimal locations for sunlight and protection against harsh weather conditions.

Traditional Chukchi Techniques: Consider adopting traditional Chukchi techniques such as using raised beds or mounding soil to enhance drainage and promote warmth around the plants. This can help create microclimates conducive to plant growth.

It’s important to note that gardening in Rankin Inlet requires careful planning, attention to soil quality, and protection against frost and extreme weather events. Consulting with local gardeners, agricultural extension services, or Indigenous communities can provide valuable insights into gardening techniques specific to the region.

5 Local Plants

Identifying local plants and growing them from seeds in pots within a greenhouse is a fantastic way to learn about the flora of the tundra and prepare for planting in new locations. Here’s how you can approach it:

Plant Identification: Familiarize yourself with local plant species by consulting field guides, joining local botanical societies, or connecting with knowledgeable individuals in the area. Participating in guided nature walks or workshops can also help you identify native plants.

Seed Collection: Once you’ve identified the target species, learn about their reproductive cycles and seed collection methods. Harvest seeds responsibly from mature plants, ensuring minimal impact on their natural populations.

Seed Stratification: Many tundra plant species have specific germination requirements. Some seeds may need a period of cold stratification to break dormancy. Research the specific needs of each plant species to ensure successful germination.

Greenhouse Cultivation: Start the collected seeds in pots within your greenhouse. Provide appropriate growing conditions such as temperature, light, and moisture to encourage germination and seedling growth. Observe and care for the seedlings as they develop.

Hardening Off: Before transplanting the seedlings to new locations on the tundra, gradually acclimate them to outdoor conditions through a process known as ”hardening off.” Expose the seedlings to outdoor temperatures and conditions for increasing periods each day to help them adapt to the harsher environment.

New Location Considerations: When selecting new locations for planting, research the ecological requirements of the identified plant species. Factors such as soil type, sunlight exposure, and moisture availability should match the specific needs of each species.

Useful Tundra Plants: Some native tundra plants that may be useful to grow and transplant include Arctic willow (Salix arctica), Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), Arctic poppy (Papaver radicatum), Arctic lupine (Lupinus arcticus), and Arctic cotton (Eriophorum callitrix). These plants have adapted to the harsh tundra conditions and can provide important ecological and aesthetic value.

Additionally, consider utilizing passive greenhouses and cold frames in your gardening endeavors. Passive greenhouses harness solar energy to create a warmer environment without relying on external heat sources. Cold frames are simple structures that capture heat from the sun and protect plants from the harsh elements. These structures can extend the growing season and provide a controlled environment for nurturing seedlings or cultivating plants that require additional protection.

6 Considerations

When gardening in Rankin Inlet, it’s helpful to keep the following considerations in mind:

Frost Dates: Understand the average last frost date in spring and the first frost date in autumn. This information helps you plan your planting schedule and determine the suitable growing season for different crops.

Short Growing Season: Due to the short growing season in Rankin Inlet, focus on crops that have shorter maturity times or choose varieties with faster maturation rates. This allows you to maximize your yield within the limited growing window.

Protective Coverings: Explore the use of protective coverings such as row covers, cold frames, or cloches to extend the growing season by providing additional warmth and frost protection for your plants.

Soil Preparation: Understand the soil conditions in Rankin Inlet and consider soil amendment practices to improve fertility and structure. Adding organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can enhance soil health and provide essential nutrients.

Watering and Drainage: Pay attention to proper watering practices. Be mindful of the moisture needs of different plants and adjust watering schedules accordingly. Adequate drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogging, especially in heavy clay soils.

Mulching: Apply organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around plants to help conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and insulate the soil. Mulching also helps regulate soil temperature and reduces erosion.

Season Extension Techniques: Explore various season extension techniques such as cold frames, hoop houses, or low tunnels to protect plants from frost and extend the growing season. These structures provide an opportunity to cultivate more delicate or longer-season crops.

Pest and Disease Management: Learn about common pests and diseases in Rankin Inlet and implement proactive measures to manage them. This can include regular scouting, promoting beneficial insects, practicing crop rotation, and using organic pest control methods when necessary.

Community Engagement: Engage with local gardening communities, horticultural societies, or Indigenous groups to gain insights, exchange knowledge, and learn from experienced gardeners in the region. They can provide valuable advice specific to the local conditions and share tips for successful gardening.

Continuous Learning: Stay curious and continuously expand your knowledge about gardening techniques suitable for Rankin Inlet. Attend workshops, participate in online forums, read local gardening resources, and experiment with new methods to improve your gardening skills.

By considering these factors and continuously adapting your gardening practices to the unique conditions of Rankin Inlet, you can increase your chances of successful gardening and enjoy the rewards of growing your own food in this challenging but rewarding environment.

7 Community Engagement

Organizing community engagement around gardening in Rankin Inlet is an incredible way to foster connection, share knowledge, and build a stronger bond within the community. Here’s how you can rally people together and create a thriving gardening community:

Community Gardens: Establish community gardens where individuals can come together to cultivate plants, share resources, and learn from one another. Provide designated plots for participants to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Encourage diverse gardening practices and the exchange of gardening tips and techniques.

Workshops and Demonstrations: Organize workshops and hands-on demonstrations to share gardening skills and knowledge. Cover a range of topics such as seed starting, soil preparation, companion planting, and pest management. Invite local experts, experienced gardeners, and Indigenous knowledge keepers to lead these sessions, ensuring a rich and culturally diverse learning experience.

Plant Identification Tours: Arrange guided plant identification tours in the tundra surroundings. Explore the local flora and learn about traditional uses of plants. Invite community members, elders, and knowledgeable individuals to lead the tours and share their wisdom about indigenous plant species.

Seed and Plant Exchanges: Host seed and plant exchanges where community members can swap seeds, seedlings, and divisions of their garden plants. This promotes biodiversity and encourages the preservation of local plant varieties. Encourage participants to share stories and tips related to the plants they are exchanging.

Community Events and Festivals: Plan community events and festivals centered around gardening. Celebrate the harvest season with a bountiful feast showcasing local produce. Organize garden tours, competitions for the best garden design or most productive plot, and educational exhibits. These events provide opportunities for community members to come together, learn, and celebrate their gardening achievements.

Indigenous Knowledge and Practices: Acknowledge and honor the rich Indigenous knowledge and practices related to gardening and sustainable land stewardship. Engage with local Indigenous communities, elders, and knowledge keepers to incorporate traditional wisdom and perspectives into community gardening initiatives.

Education and Outreach: Reach out to schools, community centers, and local organizations to offer gardening education programs. Collaborate with educators to integrate gardening activities into school curricula, promoting environmental awareness and hands-on learning experiences for children and youth.

Volunteer Opportunities: Provide volunteer opportunities for community members to contribute to communal gardening projects, such as maintaining public gardens or organizing gardening events. Engage volunteers in various tasks, fostering a sense of ownership and pride in their community.

By organizing community engagement around gardening in Rankin Inlet, you create a platform for knowledge-sharing, intergenerational connections, and the celebration of the unique gardening practices in the region. Together, you can create a thriving gardening community that fosters a deeper connection to the land, promotes sustainability, and enhances the overall well-being of community members.

8 Preserving Food

In Rankin Inlet, where the winter months are long and resources may be scarce, preserving food through traditional fermentation techniques can provide a vital source of essential vitamins and minerals. Drawing inspiration from Siberian indigenous communities, who have perfected these methods over generations, you can ensure a sustainable and nutritious food source throughout the winter. Here’s how you can incorporate these techniques into your gardening practices:

Outdoor Plantings: To sustain a winter food supply, consider dedicating a portion of your gardening efforts to outdoor plantings. The amount of land required per person depends on factors such as dietary needs, preferences, and crop yields. As a general guideline, approximately 0.1 to 0.2 hectares of outdoor plantings per person can provide a significant portion of their winter food requirements.

Harvesting and Quantity: Plan your harvest to ensure an abundant supply of vegetables, roots, and fruits for preservation. Quantities will vary based on individual needs, but a minimum of 100 to 200 liters of harvested produce per person is a good starting point for winter preservation.

Fermentation Process: Traditional fermentation is a preservation method that enhances the flavor, nutritional value, and digestibility of food. Begin by thoroughly washing and preparing the harvested produce. Cut or shred the vegetables into desired sizes, ensuring uniformity for consistent fermentation. Place the prepared vegetables into fermentation vessels, such as large ceramic crocks or food-grade plastic containers.

Salt Brine: Prepare a salt brine by dissolving salt in water. The ratio of salt to water varies depending on personal taste and the desired level of fermentation. Generally, a 2 to 3% salt brine is sufficient. Pour the brine over the vegetables, ensuring they are fully submerged. Weight the vegetables down with a fermentation weight or plate to prevent exposure to air.

Fermentation Time and Temperature: Place the fermentation vessels in a cool area, ideally between 10-15C (50-59F). Fermentation times can vary depending on factors such as temperature, vegetable type, and desired taste. The fermentation process typically ranges from a few days to a few weeks. Monitor the fermentation progress by observing changes in taste, texture, and acidity.

Storage: Once the fermentation is complete, transfer the fermented vegetables to storage containers, such as glass jars or ceramic crocks, and seal them tightly. Store the containers in a cool and dark place, like a cellar or root cellar, to maintain the quality of the preserved food throughout the winter.

By adopting these traditional fermentation techniques, you can harness the nutritional potential of your garden harvest and ensure a continuous supply of vitamins and minerals during the long winter months. Remember to learn from local indigenous communities and adapt their practices to suit your specific environment. Experiment with different vegetables, flavors, and fermentation times to create a diverse and nutritious winter pantry.

It’s important to note that these recommendations are approximate and may vary based on individual dietary needs, crop yields, and personal preferences. Adjustments can be made to the quantity of outdoor plantings, harvested produce, and fermentation techniques based on specific requirements and availability of resources.

Embrace the knowledge passed down through generations, and let the wisdom of traditional fermentation practices enrich your gardening experience and sustain you through the winter.

9 Connecting and Collaborating: Building the Arctic Food Security Ecosystem

In the face of changing energy landscapes and the need for increased localized food production, it becomes crucial for communities in Rankin Inlet and other northern regions to come together, share knowledge, and build a robust network for Arctic food security. By connecting with people in other areas of Nunavut and northern communities, we can create an international ecosystem focused on sustainable food production, resource sharing, and community empowerment. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Transitioning from Fossil Fuels to Localized Food Systems: As the era of oil comes to an end and energy costs continue to rise, the shift towards localized food systems becomes imperative. By growing our own food and supporting local agricultural initiatives, we can reduce reliance on imported produce and contribute to the overall sustainability of our communities.

Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: Engage with communities across Nunavut and other northern regions to learn from their experiences and share your own. Connect through community forums, social media groups, and gatherings to exchange valuable insights, innovative techniques, and success stories related to Arctic food production.

The Importance of Distributism: Distributism, a socio-economic philosophy emphasizing widespread property ownership, can play a pivotal role in fostering self-sufficiency and empowerment. By granting individuals ownership of land, such as a square kilometer of land with akilometer of shoreline, we can promote resource utilization, spread out hunting and gathering activities, and encourage responsible stewardship of the land.

Building a Sustainable Food Network: Establishing a robust Arctic food network involves collaborating with local farmers, gardeners, hunters, gatherers, and fishers to create a diverse and resilient food system. Explore opportunities for cooperative initiatives, sharing of resources, and joint distribution efforts to enhance the availability and accessibility of nutritious food throughout the region.

International Arctic Food Security Ecosystem: Extend your connections beyond your immediate community and connect with individuals and organizations involved in Arctic food security initiatives around the world. Collaborate on research, share best practices, and support each other in addressing the unique challenges of northern food production and distribution.

By coming together, sharing knowledge, and embracing the principles of distributism, we can build an international Arctic food security ecosystem that promotes self-reliance, sustainability, and community well-being. Let’s explore ways to maximize the utilization of local resources, leverage traditional knowledge, and integrate innovative techniques to ensure a resilient and prosperous future for all Arctic communities.

Remember, it is through collective efforts, cooperation, and a shared vision that we can overcome the challenges we face. By working together, we can create a thriving food system that nourishes our bodies, strengthens our communities, and sustains the beautiful Arctic environment we call home. Let’s embark on this journey together, and sow the seeds of a brighter future.