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JULY/AUGUST 2018

FRE

ISLAND

E

ARDEN ARM F &G

Are you ready for a show?

Soil Alchemy • 4H Life • Edible Flowers SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

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10 WAYS TO REDUCE

making

connections

Your Food Waste! Shop smart Plan your meals and buy only what you need.

Try preserving Pickle, can, dehydrate and freeze your excess food...It's fun!

Improve storage Store in air tight containers to lengthen freshness.

Understand best before dates These are just a guideline, look, smell, and taste before throwing away.

Keep track Record what you throw away then work out what it's worth...It's scary!

Eat leftovers Use up everything in your fridge. Take leftovers for lunch.

Smaller portions Try adding less to your plate. You can always get more.

Get creative Try using what's left in the fridge to make a new meal.

Donate Give to a neighbour, food bank or CGC's own Food Recovery Project.

Compost If you do end up with food that's gone bad, compost it!

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Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

cover photo: Eric Morten by Eric Morten, Editor Local fairs are the heart of community. Families and friends come together and celebrate bounty with food, shows and fun. People young and old have the opportunity to show what they've learned and accomplished with their displays and livestock. There is something for everyone from bunnies to beehives. We hope this issue of Island Farm & Garden has a little something for our community of readers. From fall fair and 4H stories, to soil making a flowers for eating. Enjoy the summer, eat some local fruit and vegetables, go to a fair or an outdoor market or two Go out anc connect with your community. But most of all, happy gardening.


ISLAND ARDEN ARM & G F Publisher: Judy Stafford, Cowichan Green Community 360 Duncan Street, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3W4 tel: 250.748.8506 fax: 250.597.1112 cowichangreencommunity.org Editor: Eric Morten | publisher@islandfarmandgarden.ca Thanks to our "experts in the field" for sharing their wisdom

TABLE OF CONTENTS Cowichan Exhibition............................................................................4 Cobble Hill Fair.....................................................................................6 Island Good..........................................................................................8 4H Family...........................................................................................10 Edible Flowers....................................................................................14 Show Gardens....................................................................................18 Making Connections..........................................................................20

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Cowichan Green Community Notes..................................................24 Food Forestry.....................................................................................28 Find us at hundreds of locations on the Island, including all VIRL branches, medical centres, coffee shops and these fine establishments. SOOKE LADYSMITH COURTENAY/COMOX Island Farm & Garden Pemberton Holmes SAANICH Buckerfield's Marigold Nursery WESTSHORE Willow Wind Feed DUNCAN Cowichan Exhibition Cowichan Canine Cowichan Economic Dev. Top Shelf Feeds Equine Emporium Buckerfield's Shar-Kare Island Tractor Marigold Nurseries Royal LePage

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150 years of fall

fun

The Cowichan Exhibition celebrates a landmark birthday

photo: Eric Morten 4

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018


T

his year the Cowichan Exhibition is celebrating a very special anniversary. It is 150 years since the area’s first Exhibition October 14, 1868, was held at Saint Peter’s Church, Quamichan. In an article written up a few days later in Victoria’s The Daily British Colonist, it was reported that this Exhibition was held in conjunction with the Church’s annual Harvest Home Thanksgiving. Readers of the paper learned that “…the first effort towards an Agricultural Exhibition…caused quite an excitement in this otherwise quiet settlement.” Following the service and judging of the exhibits, 120 guests sat down to “…a sumptuous lunch….” Afterwards, due in large part to the efforts of Archdeacon William Sheldon Reece, the Cowichan, Salt Spring and Chemainus Agricultural Society was formed. While Reverend Reece was instrumental in establishing the Exhibition and the

Society, volunteers within the community helped make the event a success. For 150 years, the Cowichan Exhibition has been a true community event. In that time, thousands of unnamed volunteers, men and women, have continued to make each Exhibition grow and be successful. The number of donated hours, services, supplies and money is impossible to calculate. “150 Years of Growing” is a most appropriate theme for this year. It is also the title of a new book that follows the Exhibition through the decades. The book will be launched on the weekend of the Fair, September 7-9th. During the three days of this year’s show — September 7th - 9th, come take in the best showcase of 4-H clubs, cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, llamas, goats and pigs. Enjoy all that the Valley produces in field & garden, honey, baking, canning, needlework, photography, hobbies and

crafts. Looking for entertainment? Head over to the Spirit stage to listen to your favourite local talent and entertainers. This year’s fair features Yukon Dan – learn how to pan for gold, Carnival rides and of course a delightful selection of fine dining, shopping, and entertainment to round out the experience. With such a deep history of logging in the Valley, we are bringing it back to life; the 2018 LOGGERS SPORTS COMPETITION takes place on Saturday, Sept 8th. NEW this year on Sunday, Sept 9th is the FMX Extreme Freestyle Motocross show. The 2018 Cowichan Exhibition invites everyone to come see our past, our present and the future of agriculture in the Cowichan Valley. Come and celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event with us. Official catalogue and entry forms are available online at www.cowex.ca

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

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The Cobble Hill Fair offers fun in the sun

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Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

an old fashioned

good time


I

f it’s an Old Fashioned Country Fair you’re after then come join in the fun of the 109th Cobble Hill Fair! We provide a wide variety of entertainment the whole family can enjoy. Join us on Saturday, August 25th from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. as we celebrate the wonderful bounty of Cowichan. Earn your bragging rights! Check our online catalogue then follow the easy entry process and get set to win ribbons and cash prizes with your handicraft, baking, needlework, field produce, flowers, pottery or poetry. You can always enter your homemade wine or many of the other categories offered at the Fair. How far can you Wang a Welly? Can you win the much coveted ‘Pie Eater of the Year’ title? The Fish Pond and Children’s Area are sure to generate lots of fun for the little ones. Try your hand at the Treasure Hunt to win big or ride the crane to get a

bird’s eye view of the Cobble Hill Village. Are you a photographer or a fantastic cake decorator? If so, then there’s room at our Fair to showcase your hidden talent. Our theme this year being “Sew It, Grow It, Show It!” Enter the woodworking division where your skills can be on display with your wonderful birdhouse, hand carving or homemade wooden toy or check out our new pumpkin growing and pumpkin carving contests. The grounds open at 7 a.m. where you can start your day with South Cowichan Rotary’s legendary pancake breakfast. Watch the parade at 9:30 a.m. then view the dignitaries at the Official Fair Opening at 10 a.m. The children’s games, sheep dog trials and horse show always delight. Don’t forget to indulge in the fabulous food offerings and be sure to check out some of Cowichan’s finest photography displayed in the Youth Hall. There will be plenty of vendors on hand in the new Vendor Market, and the Mill Bay firefighters always

109TH COBBLE HILL

delight in giving the next generation of volunteers a chance to demonstrate their firefighting skills for a while. Whether your interest is in historical displays, old farm machinery, livestock, home crafts, domestic science, needlework, stage entertainment or the horseshow, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The sun always shines on the Cobble Hill Fair, so it’s sure to be a fine day to meet with family and friends in a wonderful rural setting. For more information about the Cobble Hill Fair pick up a catalogue or view it online at www. cobblehillfair.ca Email your enquiries to schfias.secretary@gmail.com Don’t forget to mark Saturday, August 25th on your calendar.... SEE YOU AT THE FAIR!

FAMILY FUN FOR EVERYONE... GROUNDS OPEN 7 A.M. - 5 P.M.

AUGUST 25, 2018

FAIR THEME - SEW IT, GROW IT, SHOW IT

ROTARY’S PANCAKE BREAKFAST (7 A.M.) GRAND OPENING (10 A.M.) HALL EXHIBITS VENDOR VILLAGE CHILDRENS AREA LIVESTOCK DISPLAYS 4-H SHOWS & JUDGING SCARECROW FRENZY WELLY WANGING TREASURE HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW PIE EATING CONTESTS VINTAGE FARM EQUIPMENT SHEEP DOG TRIALS DOG AGILITY DEMONSTRATIONS LIVE STAGE & GROUND ENTERTAINMENT ...AND SO MUCH MORE!

AGRICULTURE... IT’S IN ALL OF US!

FIND THE 2018 FAIR CATALOGUE & ADDITIONAL ENTRY FORMS ON OUR WEBSITE AT www.cobblehillfair.ca Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

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it's all

good I

f you were to prepare a meal using only food products produced on Vancouver Island, what would you include? How about meals all day or food for an entire week?

A few years ago, the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance decided to serve only foods made or grown on Vancouver Island at a luncheon it was hosting. What seemed like a simple enough task, turned into a scavenger hunt as the VIEA shopper combed the shelves and display cases of local grocery stores for Island food products. Products could be found on grocery shelves, in fact, lots of them, but a great deal of searching and label reading was required to identify these foods. This laborious shopping experience was the genesis for ‘Island Good’ a point of sale campaign championed by retail partners Country Grocer, Quality Foods, Thrifty Foods, and 49th Parallel Grocery to make it easy for consumers to find Island made and grown food products. ‘Island Good’ was launched across Vancouver Island in March and the pilot project continues through September 18, 2018.

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Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018


Response from consumers, retailers and food producers has been so immediate and strong that the Economic Alliance is already busy working with stakeholders on Phase II with intention to expand ‘Island Good’ to include more retailers, distributors and producers. We Islanders believe in local, want to shop local, source local, and eat locally sourced food. Local Vancouver Island food products are now much easier to find on grocery shelves. Just look for the colorful ‘Island Good’ shelf and product markers. As Islanders make more Island Good choices in their shopping, we think increased demand will lead to increased food production, more jobs, more production capacity, and more investment. Island Good is a pilot project to monitor consumer interest and support for local food products. Island Good is good for our economy, good for our communities, good for the families whose livelihoods will benefit, good for developing food security, and good for our pride in Island products and Island businesses. It’s all “Island Good’! Comparing same product, same store, same month sales activity from March-September 2018 to the same period in 2017, ‘Island Good’ is demonstrating that Islanders want locally produced foods. We also know that tourists especially seek out local products. And with tourist season now upon us, we expect to see strong visitor interest in ‘Island Good’. We think this is good. ‘Island Good’. How about you?

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4H

family A

by Eric Morten; photos courtesy of Belle White

t the fall fairs and exhibitions is when most of us get to see the 4H kids with their livestock: bunnies and cavies, goats, sheep and cows all groomed to perfection. Everyone who watches those kids 10

come out into the ring with their livestock appreciates the responsibility they've taken on in raising animals but, within the context of 4H, there are many opportunities for responsibility and learning. And they also have the opportunity for an experience which they

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

can keep with them for their whole lives. Belle White, a student at the University of Victoria has had the benefit of the 4H experience when she became involved as a teenager. "I joined 4H when I was 14. Most kids join at ages 9 or 10. My little sisters had just bought some goats for our little


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hobby farm and wanted to learn more about them. We ended up finding a club that offered a goat project relatively nearby." Beyond livestock, 4H offers various activities that engage youth. "After seeing my sisters complete their first year I decided to join the photography project the club offered as it was a growing hobby of mine and I wanted to meet like-minded people to learn from," says White continued next page

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"The club I joined was a community club, which means that instead of having exclusively chicken or horse projects, the club offered multiple projects. I participated in photography, which is one of the non-animal projects offered through 4H."

My mom started the extremely popular cloverbuds project, which is a project for kids 6-9 who are too young to take on a full project and instead do crafts, games, and field trips to learn about all kinds of animals and handcrafts."

An interested youth can become involved in projects including outdoor living, gardening, and wool crafts. "A project is generally made up of once-a-month meetings for your project, participation in the communications competitions, a record book, and some sort of achievement day (often showing your animal or craft at a fair in the summer)." says White.

"4H was a huge part of my family's life. Many weekends were spent at fairs around the island or hanging out with our newfound friends that connected over mutual love of bunnies or chickens. It was amazing to see my little sisters work so hard and get to spend so much time with my family.

And within their chosen project, youth can expect a variety of activities. Belle White's photography project included guest speakers, "And we frequently went for photo field trips to try out the skills they taught us. On top of projects and the communications section, there were parades, judging rallies, fund raisers, and of course the fairs." For White, 4H has been a family endeavour. At one point, all eight members of the White family had club involvement. "My dad stepped in as photography leader for a year and let me take on a leadership role so I could maximize how much I learned and practice organization skills. " 12

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

Nothing is easy though. "There were tough points too - 4H is a full time commitment for most people and it was a lot of work getting everyone’s record books completed and projects to the fairs - especially with a large family like mine" says White 4H also prepares young people for club as well as community involvement. Belle White joined the Board of Directors of her club in her second year. Her responsibilities included leading meetings and guiding younger members with record keeping and projects. "Kids get voted into a board of president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. It’s a fun way to engage kids with the structural and administrative side of the club."


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"I was a big advocate of the communications side of 4H so I made sure kids were ready for public speaking and led some demos on how to prepare and present their speeches and educational displays," she says. Of course everything that happens to you when you're young has an effect on you in adulthood. White's experience with 4H has been rewarding in many ways. "I received a 4H scholarship that paid for my first year English class over three years ago, it’s crazy to look back as I head into my final year before I graduate with my degree next June. I am a firm believer that everything in one’s past is a blessing or a lesson and that both shape who we are in the present," says White. "I will always be grateful for the opportunity to improve my public speaking and presenting skills. Both in the regional 4H competitions and as a senior member of the club leading the junior members. Every time I stand up and speak in front of a crowd I am thankful for that constant exposure through those key teenage years." "I am also extremely grateful for getting to spend time with wonderful people, my family and friends who supported each other through so much. But more than anything, I am really thankful for what an amazing and wholesome organization 4H was to me and still is to so many. It’s an organization that focusses on learning, doing, practicing kindness, having fun, overcoming challenges, hard work, and participating in the community - all qualities that serve me well as an adult."

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Flowers. Pretty to look at, nice to smell, delicious to eat!

summer salads that say

S

story & photos by Monika Vert Designs

aying it with flowers doesn’t have to stop with a bouquet. Spice up your summer dishes this season while exploring the unique taste experience that flowers can add to your plate. The addition of flower petals to food isn’t a new thing, particularly – though it has recently gained more momentum recently. My earliest memory of eating flowers is in the salads that an elderly 14

lady used to bring to church potlucks. I was a child at the time and would marvel at how pretty the added colours were in what was normally such a bland bowl of greens. Bright, almost crayon-hued petals of nasturtiums, carnations and roses sprinkled among tender, young salad leaves – all grown in her front yard. I’m sure I’m not alone in that experience. Perhaps you had a quirky auntie who would create sensational garden salads and garnish them with unusual edibles?

that I decorate her upscale, bakeryproduced cupcakes using edible flowers (cupcake towers in place of wedding cakes were very “in”). Though the wedding itself was unpretentious and relied mostly on simple elements, the resulting mass of cupcakes and flowers was nothing short of stunning. The array of fall colours was a gorgeous and commanding display and it is a perfect example of tailoring something to reflect one's personality -- even if that "something" is a humble flower.

In autumn of 2010, I had a bride request

Naturally beautiful, yet inherently simple;

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018


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it`s not just the way these petals will make your dishes look that will have you coming back for more. Flowers will surprise your taste buds as each type of flower, petal and even leaf offers a different flavour experience. Be prepared as some of these gems pack quite the flavour punch. Consider when you use flowers in your culinary adventures, you are not just telling a story, you are singing a song. Use petals to elevate an entree, a salad, or any desert from cake to ice cream, and you will see just how elegant the resulting presentation will be. Use your imagination to find ways of incorporating petals into various things. For example, sprinkle lavender buds atop to garnish cakes, cupcakes, delicately iced lemon loaf, or even on homemade vanilla ice cream (a little goes a long way with lavender; you don`t need much!). Pick cheerful, orange calendula leaves and toss them into a salad or incorporate them into ice cubes to beautify summer drinks and lemonade. Do the same with miniature roses.

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Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

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Lavender blooms more than once and picking the scented spikes is good for the plant. Pick more than you need, dry it and save it for use throughout the winter. Use flowers to garnish cheese platters. Dry blossoms and mix your own teas. My favourite combination is mint, lemon balm, and rose petals. Cornflower may also be added which lends a beautiful blue colour to the mix.

ALWAYS USE CAUTION:

Perhaps I’ve managed to convince you to move out of your summer rut and add some colour and whimsy to your dishes? It’s easier than you think. Edible flowers are everywhere. You just have to look. After all, if we are what we eat... beautiful! Here are just a few ideas for edible flowers that you may already have growing nearby:

Do not harvest hear roadways. Never use commercial plants or flowers from nurseries or florists as these likely have been sprayed and are not intended for food use. Always rinse before using, even if they came from your own garden (bug alert!). Not all flowers are edible – when in doubt, look it up. There are charts online and, as well, in books that will identify which are edible. Be aware that not all parts of the flower/plant may be edible, eat only the part or parts that are. Avoid eating flowers altogether if you have allergies. Never decorate plates or food platters with nonedible flowers and plants no matter what the occasion or circumstance.

Lavender, roses, carnations, calendula, cornflower, nasturtiums, borage, kale flowers, zucchini flowers, mint, basil, and other herbs once they flower. Summer is the perfect time to dry edible flowers in order to enjoy them later. Use flowers that hold their colours well -- in this 16

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

photo miniature rose petals and buds were used along with mint. Include cornflower petals to add a beautiful blue to the mix. Dry them in a food dehydrator (on low-to-no heat), or air dry in a clean and dry area. Once completely dry, label and store in a tightly sealed tin or mason jar in a cupboard. These make excellent gifts!

Monika is a local freelance floral designer whose passion is to create luxurious custom arrangements for all occasions, whether personal or corporate with a vision to be a green as possible. Monika can be reached at: monika@vertdesigns.com.


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RED QUINOA AND BERRY SALAD Salad: 1 cup (uncooked) red quinoa ½ cup strawberries ½ cup blueberries ¼ cup goji berries (if using dried; rinse but there is no need to hydrate in advance as berries will soften when combined with dressing) 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves

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Dressing: Juice of 2 large lemons Juice of 1 large lime (if citrus is organic, use zest if desired) 1/3 cup rice bran oil (or other neutral-tasting oil) 1 Tbsp agave syrup (may substitute with honey or maple syrup) 1 Tbsp fruit vinegar (I use black cherry) Salt and pepper to taste (optional – I find that none is required) Cook quinoa according to instructions (water only – don’t use broth). One cup of uncooked quinoa will yield about two cups cooked. Use what amount you like in this salad. Any left -over cooked quinoa will store in the fridge for another meal. Prepare dressing and set aside. Quarter or sliver the strawberries. Leave blueberries whole. Add any fruit you wish to at this point, however, make sure to cut into very small pieces. Finely chop the mint and basil. Mix in fruit, goji berries, herbs and dressing with the cooled quinoa. Garnish with petals and enjoy!

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This is an easy salad to prepare. Feel free to adjust the dressing proportions to suit your taste. Try adding fresh orange juice and/or cilantro. You may also consider serving this on a bed of baby greens to make this even more of a super-salad!

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Photo: Suzie Broadbent of Windrush Images

a new breed of

show garden A by Mark & Ben Cullen

new era of “garden tourism” is upon us. This is an exciting time in our history to explore recently opened, public attractions with a botanical theme.

Canada’s great public gardens are diverse and offer a new emphasis on native plant species, biodiversity and sustainability. As you tour around the country this summer, here are some of the newer horticultural attractions that are worth checking out:

Whistling Gardens bills itself as “Canada’s Newest Botanical Garden” and has the claim to fame “North America’s Largest Peony Collection”, with just over 1,000 varieties in addition to a rock/alpine garden, a marsh garden and an aviary or “bee colony” among other attractions. Located just outside Brantford, Ontario. www.whistlinggardens.ca Quinte Botanical Gardens might challenge Whistling Garden’s claim as the newest public garden, having opened only last year. It features a Bee, Bird and Butterfly Garden in addition to “the world’s largest colour wheel garden”. Located just north of Trenton in Frankford, Ontario. www.qbgardens.ca 18

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens opened at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in 2002 after nearly three years of construction. There are 6 acres divided into 9 habitats specific to the Acadian Forest Region, as well as the Walled Garden, Experimental Garden, Medicinal and Food Garden and the Conservatory. It is impossible not to appreciate the Georgianstyle construction which is so well executed you could fool us into thinking it was brought over brick by brick from a royal English estate. botanicalgardens.acadiau.ca MosaiCanada was a Canada 150 project so successful they brought it back for another year. Built by Mosaïculture Internationales de Montréal, 10 new features have been added to the 35 dramatic sculptures and scenes of plant material that illustrate places and chapters from Canada’s history. A very innovative piece of national pride, and worth the $20 admission – even if last year was free. Located in Gatineau, QC just across the bridge from Ottawa. mosaiculture.ca While you are visiting Gatineau, why not visit Ottawa and check out the Canadian Museum of Nature. Outside, you will find the brand-new “Landscapes of Canada Gardens” which features landscape designs inspired by the Boreal Forest, the Arctic Tundra, Prairie Grasslands and even a re-creation of the


Mammoth Steppe - an Ice-Age ecosystem traced to the Yukon. Inside, real plant nerds can find the National Herbarium of Canada, where the plant collections of the Geological and Natural History Survey of Canada have been housed since 1882. nature.ca Fryfogel Tavern & Arboretum is a worthwhile stop in Stratford, Ontario. Built in 1844, the tavern thought to be the oldest building in Perth County is now owned by Stratford Perth Heritage Foundation. In 2012, a community effort was initiated to establish the arboretum –a garden of native plants and trees which reflect the pre-settlement species that would have once occupied the site. Located east of Shakespeare, Ontario. www. facebook.com/FryfogelArboretum/ The Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs is a 100% volunteer-run botanical garden in Calgary which has operated as a registered charity since 2006. Thanks to the 33 volunteers, who last year alone committed 6,000 hours of time, the garden is free to visit and there is an extensive list of attractions to enjoy. Some of the highlights include the Wall Garden, Alpine Crevice and Native Plant Garden, western Canada’s only Shakespeare Garden sorry Stratford! and the largest outdoor labyrinth in all of Canada – something the kids will love. www.bgss.ca When Ben’s Grandpa was in the show-garden business with Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village in Whitby, Ontario, he would often lament that he worked so hard at building a world-class garden, and yet visitors often only had eyes for the miniatures. If you’ve read this far, and you have no interest in gardens at all, consider this: a selection of miniatures from our family’s Cullen Gardens are now on display at the Niagara Parks Floral Showcase – entertaining gardeners and nongardeners alike. www.niagaraparks.com/visit/nature-garden/ floral-showhouse/

Meet our Agriculture Services Specialist We know that farming is more than a business – it’s a way of life. We are committed to serving Canada’s farm communities by providing flexible financial solutions that let you get on with the business of farming. We’ll take the time necessary to understand your unique needs. Together we can meet today’s challenges and anticipate tomorrow’s opportunities. Michelle Curcio Account Manager, TD Agriculture Services Vancouver Island 250-701-4000 Ext. 305 michelle.curcio@td.com 1-351 Tran Canada Highway, Duncan

Brian Gordon Area Manager - Business Banking Victoria 250-507-0088 brian.gordon@td.com Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster, tree advocate and holds the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourthgeneration urban gardener and graduate of University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at markcullen.com, @markcullengardening, on Facebook and bi-weekly on Global TV’s National Morning Show.

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Call Nancy Direct (250) 514-4750 for Victoria & Southern Vancouver Island Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

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making the

connections

T

he BC Food Processors Association and the Small Scale Food Processor Association are excited to announce the launch of a business development tool that will help new and expanding BC food and beverage processors to locate manufacturing services with co-packers, commercial kitchens, and other complementary facilities. “Canadian food processors are the largest employer of all manufacturing industries, and the Government of Canada is very proud to support the development of BC Food Connection” says Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay. “This investment will help grow the sector and lead to more well-paying jobs for Canadians.”

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Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018


The creation of BC Food Connection is also supported by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. “This project is all about making connections and it will assist B.C. food processors in growing their business,” said B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham. “I encourage B.C.’s food and beverage processors to participate so they can make connections as soon as possible. The B.C. government is committed to supporting the value-added food processing sector as part of our larger Grow BC, Feed BC, Buy BC mandate priorities, in order to develop our domestic food system, and generate economic activity and revenue in communities throughout our province.” “As an Association, we regularly receive inquiries from food and beverage companies looking for co-packers to help them scale their business, which also presents a great business opportunity for companies willing to co-pack that aren’t running at full capacity,” explains James Donaldson, CEO, BCFPA. “This tool will more easily connect the two, so they can both expand their business operations.” BC Food Connection will reside on its own website, with access to it coming from both Association sites, as well as through the Ministry of Agriculture. An easy-to-use, drop-down menu will guide users through the tool, helping them to identify the type of product, preferred packaging, minimum volumes, and food safety requirements.

“We’re extremely excited about this business tool to stimulate growth for our members,” says Candice Appleby, Executive Director, Small Scale Food Processor Association. “Similar initiatives have been successfully launched in the Ontario and Manitoba food processing sectors, so we are optimistic that we are on the right track.” BC Food Connection’s database is currently being populated with co-packer and commercial kitchen business profiles. The website launched in March. To get entered into the database, co-packing and related companies are invited to enter their details at the www.bcfoodconnection.ca or contact the BCFPA or SSFPA for details. The BCFPA helps BC’s food, beverage and natural health products manufacturers to achieve economic prosperity and sustainable safe. For our members we provide support, training, a strong voice, and create a positive ecosystem that enhances our members ability to compete and grow locally and globally; and to serve as the industry’s advocate. They are dedicated to representing all segments of the food, beverage and natural health products processing industries in BC, and since 2004 our membership has grown to over 550. Our processor members represent over $6 billion in revenue and employ over 20,000 BC residents.

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

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a garden

alchemy of soil Tips from a Master Gardener

A

by Beth Walrond

s a Master Gardener I am asked a lot of questions and one that gives me pause is “Where do you get your soil from?" I pause because soil is a complex issue. Buying some bags of soil, or trailers loads or buckets to fill in some garden beds or make a lawn is just the beginning. For the me the more compelling question is what you mix into your soil to make your plants happy and build good soil structure? And that is an interesting, juicy story.

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Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

For example, my friend and fellow gardener, Chris Southwick, invited me to visit her garden recently. “I have over a 100 Rhododendrons blooming”, she said.” Well, that is a must move invitation. And while Rhododendrons are awesome, interesting plants I am a real sucker for Primulas and Chris has magnificent specimens in her garden. So big and lush. “Can I have one of these I asked”, trying not to plead or whine. “Sure”, she said and went off to get a shovel. I was home too late to plant them that night, so I heeled them into a just emptied seedling box of soil and gave them a little drink of water.


Next morning, I toured my yard, scouting for places to squeeze them in, it is really getting a bit tight. After locating an appropriate shady spot, I began preparing a soil mix. The soil mix consisted of some compost from my home bin, a little Pro Mix potting soil (it has the mycorrhizae fungus) and the best of the best amendment worm castings. What a wonderful mix. Into the holes went two scoops for each plant and them a drink of water with Transplanter liquid, then the Primulas, more water and soil. All patted down and in place. Looking happy as can be. Today there is a little wilt back but really it is negligible. See photo to judge for yourself. Worm casting is sold locally and is pretty pricey but well worth it for nutrition. For the real enthusiasts you can make your own worm farm and harvest the castings. The Pro Mix with the mycorrhizae fungus contains an essential element, mycorrhizae fungus helps plants deal with drought. If you have good soil you may find mycorrhizae fungus and not recognize it. It is white, stringy looking material. Leave it in the soil, it helps plants by working with the plant roots system to bring water. There are other good amendments such as manure, sea soil, sea weed and of course the best: compost, which is the queen of soil amendments and has so many qualities that make it worthwhile. Besides adding nutrition and soil structure, compost can do these things:

Buffers soil pH while increasing plants’ ability to tolerate acidic and alkaline soils. Supplies nutrients in ideal slow-release form. This is less than half the list of reasons to add compost and organic matter to your soil. See Secrets to Great Soil by Elizabeth P. Stell for the complete list. There are many other amendments that can be added to your soil to help build good soil structure and grow healthy plants this is just a bit of information on the topic. The main point is to be aware that soil needs amendments, raw soil trucked in will take 10 years by itself to build up the materials needed for a thriving garden. It is very worthwhile to get to know your soil amendments. Today the Primulas in bloom. Lovely magenta colour which is a welcome addition to my garden.

Beth Walrond has over 40 years gardening experience. She is a member of Vancouver Island Master Gardening Association. Beth enjoys growing and preserving foods from her small urban garden. For info on Beth’s gardening activities see Beth’s Garden page on Facebook.

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cowichan green

community notes

a moment in the

sun W

by Judy Stafford, Publisher riting this on Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, means that warmer, lazier days of summertime are finally upon us. With the balmy weather, brings an abundance of local, delicious fruits and vegetables bursting with flavour and nutrition. I always feel heathier as I snack on freshly-picked berries and savour all the aromatherapy benefits from fresh herbs and lavender plants that dot the gardens at my work and at my home. It never ceases to amaze me every time the seasons predictably continue to turn and that as quickly as summer arrives, 24

fall and winter are biting at its heels. I try not to look too far in the future but we all know it won’t be long before the sweaters come back out and the furnaces get turned back on. But for the lovely few weeks and months ahead, I am going to do my very best to enjoy nature’s heat and not dwell on the days becoming shorter already – it almost feels like a confusing time, joy mixed with sadness. Funnily enough, at a yoga class tonight, the teacher expressed the same sentiment. Appreciating this time of year, appreciating the times ahead too as they arrive and then appreciating the abundance that each season brings. And for all of us here at CGC, we are certainly taking advantage of the hot days to

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

ensure all our seedlings are flourishing, and that we grow and tend to as much local food as we can. The team at the Seed Farm are busy ensuring that our fall harvest is as bountiful as possible so we can continue on our quest to increase our local seed diversity and sustainability – just like those before us did, decades ago. Staying in the moment, but also doing just enough planning ahead – that’s the best way to ensure food security. I hope you all enjoy the magical days and nights of summer but keep your eyes looking ahead on saving seeds, preserving fruit, and storing food for shorter, leaner local food times to come.


Food Unites Us story and photo by Jennifer Dorby Cowichan Green Community’s (CGC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) took place on May 29th this year attracting over 70 people. After beginning the evening with a blessing by local Indigenous healer Della Rice-Sylvester, the AGM continued its Potluck tradition. In partnership with Transition Cowichan, participation in the 7th annual Eat Local 24 Hours challenge was encouraged. As we feasted on a spread of local delights, The Cowichan Food Recoverists highlighted the impact of food waste on the Cowichan Region. This group is working to redistribute excess grocery produce to local organizations securing food for people in need. The awards ceremony was jam-packed as we recognized several outstanding citizens of our region. The Board Award was presented to the Cowichan Valley Basket Society for their indispensable presence distributing food to the Duncan community. The Green Super Hero award showcases environmentally conscious leaders within the Cowichan Region. This year we celebrated Kayla Kremer (youth category), Moe Vesey (individual category) and Fisher Road Recycling Centre (group category). Cowichan Green Community is in the process of major change as we say goodbye to three long standing board members. Bev Suderman, Alan Philip and Mark Hazell were instrumental in the purchase of the Station Building in 2013 and have supported CGC through many challenges. Their knowledge, passion and dedication to CGC will be missed. With the loss of board members came three enthusiastic new ones. CGC would like to introduce and welcome Shannon Norris, Lucy Thomas, and Holly Frost to the Board. They come with rich community connections, a deep appreciation for food, and are excited to contribute back to our vibrant community. CGC welcomes members of the community to attend and participation in our workshops and events. If you are interested in becoming more involved please check out cowichangreencommunity.org or contact Jennifer Dorby at 250748-8506 for more details.

Aug. 25, 10-4 p.m.

Millstone Winery 2300 E. Wellington Rd, Nanaimo, B.C.

3 Wine Gift Baskets Drawn!

Demos, Talks Talks, Demos Vendor Spots Available Vendor Spots

www.herbalcollective.news/herb-and-wine-fair info@herbalcollective.ca Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

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The Station celebrates 5 years in the heart of Duncan by Madelaine MacLeod In 2012, the Cowichan Green Community (CGC) had an opportunity to purchase the building where they were leasing office space, and a vision to redevelop an aging Duncan landmark began to transpire. The Phoenix Motor Inn was built in 1994 after the old Commercial Hotel burned down, and at the time included 20 hotel rooms, a banquet hall and restaurant. Over the years, the rooms became home to longer term residents and the lower floor housed a pub and cold beer and wine store. CGC’s new vision included renovating the upstairs units into affordable accommodation units with kitchenettes, leasing to one or two main floor commercial anchor tenants, and retaining a portion of the building for CGC’s offices. With the old large commercial pub kitchen included in the purchase, CGC could offer food-based skills training programs and preservation workshops for the community, meals for those in need, as well as provide an Island Health-approved commercial kitchen space for local vendors to produce their wares, such as market ready meals, jams, dressings, baking, etc. Over the past five years, The Station has become a vibrant hub in the heart of Duncan. Harmony Yoga and Wellness Centre and Cycle Therapy Bicycles, who have been the anchor tenants since the beginning, continue to be part of a re-energized strip in the “fringe” of Duncan. “Since becoming the building manager, what I have learned is how much the residential tenants enjoy their friends and neighbours at The Station,” says Madelaine MacLeod, The Station’s building manager. “They love the opportunity to live downtown in small but clean and affordable units. Being on the second floor, the units have a view of the greenspaces around them and many units overlook CGC’s Demonstration Food Forest, established along the bank below Brae Road.” Through many hours by dedicated volunteers, and under the guidance of CGC’s landscaping team, Ceres Edible Landscaping, the edible gardens surrounding The Station are beautiful and abundant. At this time of year, the grape and kiwi vines, nectarine, fig, and apple trees, berry bushes, herbs, and clusters of edible plants burst with summer goodness.

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Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

CGC invites you to come celebrate their fifth birthday party July 14th from 9 am until 2 pm, in conjunction with their “Loot in the Boot” annual fundraising garage sale. Stop in for a visit, say “hi”, enjoy some refreshments, and a piece of birthday cake.


Cowichan Green Community holds second “Loot in the Boot” fundraiser sale

T

by Madelaine MacLeod

he Cowichan Valley is known for its bounty of fresh farm products, especially evident in the summer. Also during the summer, garage sales abound with plenty of treasures ranging from vintage collectibles to one-of-a-kind gems, to items you didn’t know you needed. These hidden gems tend to collect dust in closets, attics and basements until you feel the need to unburden. Let your treasures shine at Cowichan Green Community’s second “Loot in the Boot” fundraiser, coming July 14 from 9 am to 2 pm. Taking part in The Station’s parking lot, a building owned by the CGC, “Loot in the Boot” offers the opportunity for community members rent a parking stall for $20, and pop their trunk to sell treasures from their cars. Local food producers, artisans and antiquers are also welcome to rent a stall. Or donate your items for CGC to sell.

Proceeds from the stall rentals and donated items will go directly to supporting CGC’s many engaging and educational programs, such as Fruit Save, KinPark Youth Urban Farm, Incubator Seed farm and food-focused community workshops and events. By upcycling your treasures for someone else to enjoy, you are keeping more things out of the landfill, and that is a part of what Cowichan Green Community is all about. While you are on site for the “Loot in the Boot” sale, visit the Garden Pantry Store, where you will find an eclectic mix of local artisan crafts, upcycled items and locally produced products. And you are welcome to join us throughout the day as we celebrate the 5th birthday of The Station.

S

nd Ann o c u e

Loot in the Boot

al

Donated loot will be accepted through CGC’s Garden Pantry Store until July 12, and can be dropped off during store hours Tues to Saturdays 10:30 -4 pm. Please no clothing, linens or large furniture items. If you wish to rent a parking stall to sell your loot, or for more information, please call Madelaine at 2500-748-8506 or email info@cowichangreencommunity.org

Cowichan Green Community's

July 14th 9AM - 2PM

The Station's south parking lot,

360 Duncan St.

FREE

FAMILY FRIENDLY

FOOD

Come see what Cowichan has for sale from funky antiques, to vintage treasure, handcrafted gems and more at CGC’s fundraiser “Loot in the Boot” Rent a parking stall to sell your own loot Or donate your loot at the CGC’s Garden Pantry Store

Contact: 250-748-8506 or info@cowichangreencommunity.org. Follow us on...

Cowichan Green Community

cowgreencom #LootintheBoot

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

27


food

forestry Design a balanced natural food garden

A

Story & photos by Aislinn Cottell food forest, as the name implies, is designed to mimic the structure of a natural forest. It relies heavily on permaculture practices that encourage farmers to work with and learn from nature’s systems—which have been in place for far longer than us humans have been attempting agriculture.

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Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018


A functional food forest should be tailored to its environment, as opposed to relying heavily on altering the existing conditions to support it. One of the food forest’s main appeals is the lack of maintenance required once established, but this is only possible if its ecology is in balance. There are many aspects to keep in mind when designing a balanced food forest, but two main principles to start with are as follows:

Observe your surroundings.

One of the easiest ways to ensure a successful food forest is to take the time to observe what is already growing on yours and the surrounding land. Take a walk (or several) and see what species are already thriving without human assistance. Make notes, and do some research. Do the plants you observed need plenty of water, or are they drought-tolerant? What areas are most lush? Is anything being afflicted by pests or disease? As well, make note of the insects and animals you see—do you have plenty of friendly predators such as ladybugs, spiders, and beetles, or should you consider employing methods to entice some? Take some basic checks on your soil—moisture levels, acidity, etc. Although these conditions can be altered with irrigation and mulching, it will save you time, effort, and money if you can work with what you already have. Also, if you do not do these checks and begin making changes, you may end up overdoing it—if your soil already has a low pH, adding acidic fertilizer can make it inhospitable for many plants. continued next page

FREE FAMILY PRESERVATION WORKSHOPS Funded by Our Cowichan Communities Health Network (OCCHN), Cowichan Green Community (CGC) is hosting a series of FREE food preservation workshops geared toward young families. This project aims to teach or feature a variety of preservation techniques in workshop format from pickling, dehydration and freezing to hot water-bath and pressure canning. If you are interested in attending any of these workshops or wish to learn more please visit our web-site: cowichangreencommunity.org DATE

TIMES

PRESERVATION WORKSHOPS

Jul 07

12- 4pm

Jams and Jellies Raspberry,Blueberry & Blackcurrant

Jul 28

12-4pm

Green Tomato & Zucchini Relish

Aug 11

12-4pm

Salsa; Dehydrating and Freezing Tomatoes

Aug 25

12-4pm

Pickles Galore; Dill and Sweet Cucumber Pickles

Sep 8

12-4pm

Sauerkraut Kim Chi in a Mason Jar

Sep 22

12-4pm

Canned whole Beets & Pickled Beets

Oct 13

12-4pm

Apple Chutney Apple Mincemeat

Space in these workshops are limited so contact Debra from the Cowichan Green Community to reserve your spot today!

Phone: 250-748-8506 Email: debra@cowichangreencommunity.org

Funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program

Cowichan Green Community

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

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Adhere to the seven layer guild.

Based in the information you gather above, make a list of edible plants that would seem to fit well with your ecosystem. There may even be edible, or more productive, variants on the wild species you’ve discovered. Next, organize them into the seven layer food forest guild, as illustrated above. Each of these layers represents a part of a natural forest system. The upper story, consisting mostly of trees, provides shade, bank stabilization, and (***). At the CGC, our canopy and low tree layer consists mostly of fruit trees, including apple, fig, mulberry, and nectarine, as well as trellises of grape and kiwi vine. These should be planted using the ‘crown distance rule,’ i.e., far enough apart that the crown of each matured plant will not interfere with those around it, as well as taking in mind sunlight requirements for the layers planted beneath them. The midstory shrub and herbaceous layers can be some of your forest’s most productive, as there are many berry species to choose from. At the CGC, we grow currants, blueberry, raspberry, haskap, gooseberry sea buckthorn, saskatoon berry, goji berry, Oregon grape, and thimble berries. In the herbaceous 30

Island Farm & Garden - July/August 2018

layer below these, as the name implies, herbs such as rosemary and lavender, as well as pollinator flowers like calendula, lupin, and borage do well. The understory is an important layer as it provides soil cover that helps to both hold in moisture and provide natural weed control. At the CGC, our prized primary groundcover is our strawberries, however other options include creeping thyme, nasturtium, and verbena. Plants in the rhizosphere can often be of a more annual nature, including root vegetables such as garlic, onions, beets, radishes, and potatoes. When planning your forest, try to identify several options from each of the food forest layers that would go well in your ecosystem. Remember that each plant you choose can and will interact with the rest of your forest. When planning your garden, take in mind the roles each of your plants will take and which would do best in direct proximity to each other—research ‘companion planting’ or ‘garden guilds’ to help choose these mini-guilds. Again, it is also useful observe your local ecosystem and see what nature is already doing right.


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Read Mark Cullen for great tips to hone your gardening skills. Then shop your local Home Hardware for all your Home and Garden Needs!

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Island Farm & Garden July 2018  
Island Farm & Garden July 2018  
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