After learning that indoor CO2 levels can be used as a risk proxy for Covid-19 transmission, I purchased an inexpensive sensor and started measuring CO2 levels in my environment. Read about it here: https://articles.hotelexistence.ca/posts/inexpensivesensorsproxycovidrisk/
Category Archives: urban living
2018 Balcony Crop
Our 2018 balcony crop is in.
We didn’t grow corn this year. This year, we bought our tomatoes and red peppers from Emma Biggs, co-author of Grow Gardeners. These tomatoes were the best we’ve grown so far on our balcony.
2017 Balcony Crop
We have harvested our 2017 crop.
This is an interesting year, as we had a late start to the season, and less sun than normal. We’ll have even less sun in future years, as a new condo building is going up in front of us and will certainly reduce the amount of sun received by our balcony.
- I’m not sure what happened to our corn, but we only had a couple of very sad looking cobs.
- As the corn didn’t grow very well, the pole beans didn’t have anything to climb, so they didn’t do very well either.
- The tomato plants did well
- We grew more carrots this year – they were amazing
- All the flowers did well
Finding Neighbors With Niche Interests
On the Internet, it’s quite easy to find people with similar interests. When I first started thinking about building out a mesh network in my neighborhood, a quick search led me to the Toronto Mesh, a very active group which actively contributes to the global mesh building community. But no active members live near me.
In a smaller area, you might know all of your neighbors, but it would be unlikely that you would find someone with the same interest.
My neighborhood is densely populated – how do I find people who might be interested in dabbling around with a WiFi mesh? First, I reached out to someone that I knew might be interested. This is the best way – we immediately connected our networks, and our mesh grew to two nodes.
Next, I posted to Facebook. Unfortunately, the subset of my Facebook connections in my neighborhood don’t overlap with my technology connections.
I printed a few signs and posted them on some community bulletin boards, which did not generate any response. I decided I would try a small mailing, targeting the apartment and condo units within WiFi range of my unit.
I’ve sent out 47 postcards over the past week – I mailed some to a neighboring building, and hand delivered others, hoping I might get a response from one or two. So far, no such luck. Given the lack of a compelling application, and the attention I pay to all the material we receive in our mailbox, the limited response is not a complete surprise.
I’m not sure what I’ll try next.
2015 Balcony Crop
Our 2015 balcony crop is coming in.
- Our strawberry plants have yielded a couple of mediocre berries every day
- The verdict is out on our first broccoli plants. They do not resemble what we get from the grocery store
- Cherry tomato yields are good (production is exceeding consumption)
- Carrots are tasty, but small
- All flowers are beautiful
- Pole beans are excellent
- Chives are excellent
- We added a third pot of sweet corn. In spite of our late start, it looks like yields have increased and quality is good.
Growing Popping Corn on a Balcony
The apartment we live in faces east, and in the morning, we get a lot of sun. This year, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to have a little natural shade? As corn grows tall, it seemed like a good candidate.
We successfully grew 8 popping corn plants in two large pots. It was pretty easy – plant the seeds, water daily, fertilize. This was not organic corn. The plants did grow tall, but 8 was not enough to provide us with any significant natural shade.
This year, we also grew pole beans, carrots, tomatoes, sun flowers and some other potted flowers. It was a pretty good reminder of how dependant we are on big agriculture, farms, transportation systems, food terminals, and grocery stores to economically feed ourselves. Given the start up costs of the containers and soil, these were not economically viable crops – it was vastly more expensive to grow than to buy.
The corn did pop. We’ll likely do this again next year.