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ARDEN ARM F &G Vitamin E: Horse Health Watersmart Rebates Make a Beautiful Floral Basket

SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


a time of

growth photo by Monika Vert Designs by Eric Morten, Editor We're aguably deep into the busiest time of year in the garden. At least nature is at her peak in bursting forth. Sometimes the growth is difficult to keep up with–will the need for mowing ever relent? And will those dandelions take a rest? Not for a while at least. Meantime, we'll work to keep things under a semblance of control. Here at IF&G, growth comes as a welcome addition to our little family. We're welcoming our Marketing Specialist, Arla Vander Voet to the Island Farm and Garden family! Arla is a long-term Nanaimo resident who enjoys the time in her own garden as well as spending it with her beautiful family. Arla's ongoing 35 years of experience in media sales and marketing for print, radio, events and organizations such as the Cowichan Exhibition and the Vancouver Island Symphony will result in effective marketing options for your business and we are excited to have her at Island Farm and Garden. Welcome Arla! This issue we talk about animals, garden prep (and the dues of not prepping) and much more. Give us a read during that rare opportunity when you can put your feet up! Happy gardening.


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

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 Editor: Eric Morten | Thanks to our "experts in the field" for sharing their wisdom

TABLE OF CONTENTS Prepare for the Best.............................................................................4 Be Watersmart.....................................................................................6 Vitamin E: Horse Health.......................................................................8 Spring's Comeuppance......................................................................10 Get Off Your Hobby Horse..................................................................12 Aim High, Use Manure......................................................................16 Cowichan Green Community Notes..................................................18 Feel Good Farm Experience...............................................................20 No Time to Waste...............................................................................23 Recipe: Marcia's Strata.......................................................................25 The Seediest of Sundays....................................................................26 A Tisket, A Tasket................................................................................28 4-H Farm Frolics.................................................................................31


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prepare for the



story & photo by Mark Cullen

ime to sweep away the mouse droppings in your garden shed. Spring is here and mice have moved out of doors for gardening season. You should consider joining them. Here are the top 5 tasks that will help you enjoy the great out of doors while preparing for your best gardening season ever:

Soil prep. Your gardening success hinges on it. Ben is an urban “container gardener”.

He removes the soil from his outdoor planters, including his hanging baskets and window boxes and spreads it on his allotment garden. Used container mix lacks nutrients needed to grow plants two seasons in a row. Replace it with a quality mix that will retain moisture, allows excess water to move through it and contains nutrients. Ben uses Promix, but there are other quality container mixes on the market. In Mark’s large vegetable garden, we spread mushroom compost mixed with 30% sharp sand, which adds porosity, about two to three centimetres thick over the entire planting area. We do not turn it under. Earthworms do much of the job for us as the travel up to the surface of the soil and pull the nutrient-rich compost into the sub soil. Compost benefits everything that grows, especially asparagus, rhubarb, perennials and roses, this time of year.

Control overwintering insects and diseases. As organic

gardeners, we recommend that you apply dormant spray to your edible crops like fruit trees and berry bushes now. Roses and most flowering shrubs also benefit from an application. The combination of refined mineral oil and lime sulphur helps to minimize insect and disease problems later in the year. Apply when the flower buds have not burst into bloom and while night time temperatures are above freezing.

Clean up your tools. Wipe clean and oil garden tools. Sharpen digging and

weeding tools either with a bastard file or have the local “tool sharpening guy” do it. Many hardware stores still offer this service as well. Get your lawn mower blades sharpened also. Change the oil, clean and oil the cutting deck. Mark Cullen is lawn & garden expert for Home Hardware, member of the Order of Canada, author and broadcaster. Get his free monthly newsletter at markcullen. com. Look for his new best seller, ‘The New Canadian Garden' published by Dundurn Press. Follow him on Twitter @ MarkCullen4 and Facebook.


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

Feed your lawn. Your lawn has been sleeping

(dormant) all winter and like a bear it is hungry. Your lawn has been fasting and has an empty stomach. An application of high nitrogen, slow release formula fertilizer will help to get it off to a good start. Look for iron in your spring application as well, as it provides the deepest possible green. Be sure to rake your lawn lightly before you apply lawn food, getting rid of loose debris and making the grass blades stand up. This will help circulate oxygen through the crowns of the grass plants, preventing snow mould and disease.

Sow grass seed. Now is the perfect time to thicken

an established lawn or start a new one. Rake the area to remove debris. Place a two or three-centimetre layer of compost or lawn soil over the area and rake that smooth. Sow grass seed at the rate of one kg. per 100 sq. meters (one pound per 400 sq. ft.) and double the rate if you are starting a new lawn. Rake smooth. Step on it or roll it with a lawn roller that is 1/3 filled

with water. Fertilize and water thoroughly, keeping the area damp until germination occurs. Don’t let your new lawn dry out completely for the first eight to 10 weeks. Alternatively, you can spread a 4-in-1 compost/seed/fertilizer/iron mix that will thicken your lawn without the fuss. Sow frost hardy vegetables like peas, carrots, beets, Swiss chard and leeks. Also, start your onion sets out of doors now. Leaves and needles from trees will rot down nicely and provide fodder for the worms, so leave them. Cut down ornamental grasses and perennials left standing from last year, but don’t rake up from under them. Don’t work too hard. Migratory birds are visiting your garden now, and if you have your head down all the time you just might miss them!

Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018



help residents be

watersmart by RDN Drinking Water and Watershed Protection Program Staff Lauren Fegan and Julie Pisani


ith the arrival of warmer, wetter days, spring is in full swing and summer is right around the corner. Will we get rain during the hottest part of the year? Will it be a prolonged dry season? Preparing ourselves for whatever may come starts well before summer arrives. Whether you manage your own private well or have water piped to your home by a local provider, there are many ways we can all work towards water efficiency and care for our watersheds. To assist residents of the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) in being water smart on their own property, the RDN offers a variety of region-wide water-related rebates including: irrigation upgrades and soil improvements, wellhead upgrades, well water testing, and rainwater harvesting.


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

The water savvy yard

Summer outdoor water use can double or triple the amount of water a household consumes. This peak demand puts strain on our water systems and we want to reduce these peaks by promoting innovative solutions. Upgrading the efficiency of outdoor automated irrigation systems with smart technologies allows watering times and schedules to automatically adjust to weather variances. Traditional sprinklers range in efficiency from 50 – 70% depending on water pressure, rate of evaporation and run-off. With matched precipitation (MP) rotors 75 – 80% and drip irrigation 90 – 95% of your water is being applied directly to your landscape, meaning you can water less for the same or better results. Soil improvements through the addition of organic amendments (mulch, compost, top soil) add vital nutrients to the soil and decrease evaporation. Annually adding top quality amendments to your lawn and garden will ensure a healthy soil food web and decrease the amount of watering required. Rebates are available for smart irrigation controllers, soil moisture or rain sensors, converting to drip irrigation or MP rotors, and for soil improvements.

For those that consume their well water, Island Health recommends bacteria tests to be completed one to two times a year and chemical analysis done every three to five years. To encourage private well owners to test their water, one-time 50% off vouchers are available for full-spectrum (both chemical and bacteria) analysis.

Rain as a resource

To decrease pressure on our shared groundwater and piped water resources when they are in the highest demand, homeowners can collect rain in the wet season for summer use. To promote homeowners to install a rainwater harvesting system with a 1,000 imperial gallons of storage or more, incentives of up to $750 per property are available.

Rural water quality stewardship

In 2005 the province of BC implemented new regulations and standards for wellhead construction that better protect groundwater from surface


contaminants. Rebates for secure well caps, well casing extensions to 30cm above ground level, low permeable underground surface seals, and closure of unused or decommissioned wells are all available for private domestic well owners in the region.

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Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


vitamin E: a vital antioxidant for

horse health


resh green pasture is a great source of protein, fiber, nutrients and energy for horses, including Vitamin E-- a powerful antioxidant that is really a composite of eight naturally occurring compounds, which are essential for protecting the body’s cells. For horses that can graze on green grass, there is, therefore, less risk of Vitamin E deficiency than for those that have limited grazing access. But, even grazers may not get adequate Vitamin E if they are heavy workers or in training, older, or have metabolic or health issues; these horses may need even more Vitamin E than grazing alone or grazing with hay supplementation can provide. When horses graze on vitamin-rich pasture, the body has an amazing capacity to store Vitamin E in the liver for the muscles, nerves, and immune system to “access� the vitamin when needed.


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

For horses that do not or cannot graze on green grass, including those at risk for laminitis or obesity, feeding hay alone will not likely provide enough Vitamin E to maintain health. Horses on hay-only diets are at serious risk of Vitamin E deficiency, and therefore, more susceptible to injury and illness. To determine if you need to add Vitamin E to your horse’s diet, the best place to start is with a blood test by your veterinarian. Once the results are in, your veterinarian can advise you if supplementation is recommended, the amount, and the best sources . Recommendations may range from adding more grazing time, if possible, for your horse to allow for natural absorption of Vitamin E to feeding commercial feeds (likely 2-3 pounds per day for adequate nutrient load), or even a natural Vitamin E source, often in liquid form. The powdered supplements for Selenium are often combined with Vitamin E, but the amount of Vitamin E may vary among manufacturers, so check with your veterinarian for the appropriate amount. A guideline is that the average 1100-pound horse will need between 500 and 5000 IU (international units) of Vitamin E. You can also discuss with your veterinarian the pros and cons of natural Vitamin E versus synthetic Vitamin E. While the products with natural Vitamin E are more expensive, you actually need less of the product for adequate supplementation.

We Care For Your Island Horses Epona Equine cares for horses of all ages. The doctors are based at their hospital facility in the Comox Valley, but provide mobile care for horses from Nanoose to Port Hardy, including several gulf islands and Powell River. EPONA EQUINE SERVICE OVERVIEW • Wellness • Diagnostics • Dentistry • Ophthalmology • Nutrition • Reproduction • Lameness

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So you know if you are getting natural Vitamin E, the label should read “d-alpha-tocopherol or tocotrienols. If there is an “l” after the “d,” the Vitamin E is synthetic. While that may not be a bad thing, the debate continues in the veterinary world, so be sure to discuss this with your vet. The bottom line is to recognize that Vitamin E is essential for your horse’s health, and your veterinarian is the best person to advise you for ensuring your horse is getting enough Vitamin E (and other nutrients) for a long, healthy life.

Dr. Andrea Plaxton is owner of Epona Equine Veterinary Services, which provides mobile veterinary care for horses from Nanoose to Port Hardy. The practice is based in the Comox Valley.

Dr. Andrea Plaxton



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comeuppance I

by Christina Rozema

t occurred to me today, whilst down on all fours weeding the garlic, that gardening is a task of future planning. To explain this revelation, you need to know that last July I abandoned my garden to all but the most cursory of tending and watering because of a huge work project. That project lasted to the end of October. We have had to work twice as hard this spring to get ready for all the crops but today’s focus is sorting out the garlic bed. Garlic doesn’t like to compete with weeds and this year I was determined to not let weeds take over – because of the work project last summer and a particularly harsh winter the season before – our garlic crop was a sad reflection of its former self. Small bulbs and reduced numbers all meant that we were basically back to year one after building up for three years. It was a harsh lesson. So here I am, meditating on the tenacity of weeds and yanking them out by the roots. It is the beginning of spring and I am thinking of fall and winter prep. Garlic, as most of us do it, is planted in early-mid October for the best crop but we a managed to get that done. What didn’t get done, in the garlic bed, or anywhere else in my gardens, was the soil preparation -- the green cropping, the mulching, the manuring and all the other tasks that help keep weeds at bay and improve the soil. Normally on our farm, right after garlic comes out in late June, buckwheat goes in. This strongman of the green crops fixes nitrogen and is absolutely wonderful plant material to till into the soil – just don’t let it go to seed, unless of course you are a fan of buckwheat. Then by all means let it go. The


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

funky geometric seeds can be dried and ground into a flour that makes terrific pancakes. Our bees also love buckwheat nectar and it provides a very dark, molasses tasting honey if you get some – but again it seeds like the dickens so be careful. It is starting to rain a little but I know that some of these weeds are close to seeding so I keep going trying to get them all. My knees won’t be happy later but I will have some satisfaction knowing the task is done. The other green crop that “normally” goes on our plots is a mix of hairy vetch and fall rye. Neither of these got planted in time last year so instead we simply covered some of the plots with old tarps we have, weighted them down against the brutal winter wind and that helped a lot. Something, anything needs to be done to prevent bare soil going into the winter. Not all the plots got the needed attention so this spring, I see the effects – silt-like soil in one corner of a plot showing that it is in critical need of a large load of compost; some thickets of couch grass that has crept in; the telltale signs of daisies starting to grow. All this requires my attention. For now, the garlic has it all. While the birds are chirping noisily in the strip of forest along the east of our property, the sun pops out from behind a cloud and the soil steams. Now I stop to feel a lungful of the thick, earthy air. It is a moment of comeuppance – a big "I told you so" from Mother Nature. It is also comforting – a simple recipe that only requires patience and perseverance. This fall, I will be more proactive in prepping the beds and will most definitely mulch the garlic. Maybe next spring, I will spend less time on my knees.

Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


get off your

hobby horse

Advice for those who are interested in making a little farm


by Pamela Walker

hey say to become a farmer all you need is a size-2 hat and a size-52 jacket. But by using a bit more brainpower, a bit less brawnpower will be required. Consider a small hobby farm instead of a section or two. Consider populating that small farm with smaller animals rather than the conventional larger sized ones. This, too, will keep the workload on a more manageable scale. And the rewards that come from it will be heftier than you think. The first thing you have to do is find a small farm to buy. This may be the most challenging part as the inventory of singledigit acreages has become quite depleted on the island. But once you’ve found your little bit of countryside, the next question is, what animal options are available for the smallscale farmer?


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


Chickens are an obvious choice. They provide instant entertainment, are great cultivators of next year’s garden bed, and are the best way of getting rid of your own food waste, not to mention that they provide you with breakfast every morning. But what kind should you buy? With over 500 breeds worldwide, the task of choosing the right breed will take some grey matter. I purchased some Bovan chickens from Mile End Farm in Cobble Hill. I am extremely happy with them: they produce beautiful brown eggs and whenever I go near them, they do this Funky Chicken dance as if they want me to pick them up for a cuddle. Too cute!

Araucanas are another interesting chicken choice. Although their eggs are smaller, their wonderful green or blue or even pinkish coloured shells are just too much fun. Even more fun are the numerous breeds of chickens who sport feathered socks such as the Cochins or Favorolles. But do some research. Some of these breeds don’t do very well with our wet winters and get flummoxed when their fluffy feet are sodden all season.


While typical breeds such as Suffolk, Dorset, and Cheviot are large and difficult to turn upside down in order to trim their

hooves, Babydoll Southdowns are small and require less pectoral proclivity and are perfect for a pea-sized pasture. Although quite pricey to purchase, they eat less hay in the winter, need less housing during lambing time, and require less area to graze in the spring, summer and early fall. Excellent at keeping the lawn manicured, these docile creatures will ensure that you won’t have to jump on a gas-guzzling machine to get that crew-cut look on your corner lot. In fact, this breed is used quite successfully in vineyards and orchards. They can’t reach up high enough to eat the fruit and won’t eat the bark or disturb the soil but do a marvelous job of munching the grass between the rows. continued next page

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Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

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continued from previous As a bonus, Babydolls provide plenty of beautiful droppings for your garden and rose bushes and lots of gorgeous wool that you can wash, card and spin. Their beautiful furry faces sport perpetual grins and their sweet dispositions make you believe that they really are smiling. You’ll need to have at least two Babydolls even if you don’t want to go into the lambing business. They are herding animals by nature and need constant companionship to ensure they stay mentally content.


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


“They” will tell you never to get goats as these boisterous animals get into too much mischief. But mischief can be enjoyable to watch and—if restricted with proper gates and fences—is not really a problem at all. Furthermore, if you consider smaller goat breeds, the mischief they do get into will be on a smaller, more manageable scale. Consider Nigerian Dwarf goats for your dwarf-sized farm. At only about 22-inches high, they are a good choice for the more angle cake/less beefcake farmer. Their diet,

which includes brambles, blackberries, nettles, and thistles, becomes invaluable when it comes to clearing the “back four.” And the variety of colours and stripes they sport on their pretty coats will bring you even more joy. These rambunctiously playful pets are wonderful with children, which is why they are the biggest draw at the petting zoo. Want to be the best grandparents in the land? Get some goats. Again, as they require companionship, the minimum you should have is either two whethers (castrated males) or two does (females) that you may or may not decide to get bred.


Regular pigs can tip the scales at a massive 350k (770 lbs) and are therefore not suitable for those who do not sport rippling biceps or massive six packs. Fortunately, some very smart people have brought New Zealand’s Kunekune pigs back from near extinction. Never packing on the pork past 100k and having a docile, friendly nature, these short-snouted oinkers can easily be kept as pets. Kunekune (pronounced “cooknee coo-knee) means “fat and round” in Maori. But to get fat, all they need is a bit of grass on which to graze. Being the only true grazing pig, an acre of grass is said to be able to sustain as many as five of these pretty porkers. Indeed, Kunekunes need little supplementary feeding and can provide hours of fun as they will follow you around your fields as you do your chores. Is it true that pigs are smarter than dogs? Find out for yourself by purchasing a pair or two. So now you have the low down about the “altitudenly” challenged cultivators that could be chewing their cuds on your hobby horse farm, the question is why would you choose to have animals at all if your goal is to have less work? The answer is that caring for animals has the ability to make us more human. It may sound ironic but it is true. We need only look at the lowered stress levels of old folks in care homes petting pet rabbits or angry teens learning to break horses or even children in 4-H programs which all produce the same results. Perhaps it’s simply a part of our evolutionary makeup. While our urbanized way of life may have moved us away from inter-species interaction, animal husbandry still seems to be an important component of own

mental health. Looking after animals has a way of making us better people. Even if you can’t find a small acreage on which to farm, consider a little chicken coop or even a wild bird feeder. The rewards will be on a scale larger than you expect, and honoring the bond between our fellow creatures hardly takes any effort at all.

To find Bovan chickens, contact Mile End Farm in Cobble Hill or White House Stables in Saanich at 250.656.8701 To find Babydoll Southdowns, Nigerian goats, or Kunekunes, contact Yellow Point Farms at

92509250 Somers RoadRoad - Port- Port Alberni Somers Alberni This well was aValley well known Alberni Valley This well maintained farm was a maintained well knownfarm Alberni landmark dairy operation landmark dairy operation for many years. The farm provided for many years. The farmon provided site feed, a milking parlour for over site feed,on housing andhousing a milkingand parlour for over 100 dairy cows. 100 dairy cows. In the last years the farmInhas utilized solelyhasasbeen a wellutilized irrigated haying operation thebeen last years the farm solely as a well irrigated haying operation three quality producing two to three quality cuts a year. All theproducing product istwo soldtolocally in the Alberni cuts a year. All the product is sold locally in the Alberni valley valley and nearby communities. More could be produced andbesold as demand is high. and nearby communities. More could produced and sold as demand is high. The farm has two very nice family homes and over 50,000 square feet of outbuildings all in quite good condition years useful lifehomes left. and over 50,000 Thewith farmmany has two veryofnice family square feet of outbuildings all in quite good condition with There is an abundant supply water thelife property manyofyears of on useful left. with domestic water coming from several shallow wells. Also, irrigated water is pumped from Bear Creek, which There is an abundant supply of water on the property with traverses the length of the farm. domestic water coming from several shallow wells. Also, irrigated water is pumped from Bear Creek, which traverses Two water licences for 103.4 acre-foot/annum is in place.

Kurt Nielsen

Cell/Text 250.898.7200 Office 604.694.7629 Kurt Nielsen Cell/Text 250.898.7200 Office 604.694.7629

the length of the farm.

Call for details...

Two water licences for 103.4 acre-foot/annum is in place.

Call forIsland details.... Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

Kurt Nielsen Cell/Text 250.898.7200 Office 604.694.7629 15

aim high, use

manure I

f you are aiming for fall fair greatness by following the path of award-winning vegetable growing, that is, if you want to grow a really big pumpkin, you’ll be getting a bit of a late start this year, but you may still have time to have impressive results if you have good soil.

After all, greatness is relative. You don’t need to rival Belgian Mathias Willemijns, grower of the world’s largest pumpkin on record coming in at a whopping 2,624 pounds in 2016. Although Willemijns’ formula is probably his secret, you can certainly impress your friends and neighbours with regular gardening skills, luck and by following the general rules for growing the big, big squash. Start your seeds indoors in a 6 inch peat pot. Since 1979, Howard Dill’s patented “Atlantic Giant” seed has been the only to produce world record-size squashes. Ironically, Dill also provides a seed called “Jack-Be-Little” which produces pumpkins around two inches in diameter. Plant your seed point side down. It should sprout within five days and, within the next few days, when leaves appear or when the roots grow out of the peat pot, they’ll be ready for transplanting.


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

Rosemeade Farm Use care when transplanting your starts to the garden. Pumpkins can be easily damaged and progress can be set back at this time. Soil pH should be around 6.5 and have been prepared with composted cow or horse manure as pumpkins are big users of the soil nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Protect the new transplants with a mini greenhouse--a simple frame with some clear plastic or a frame of old windows will suffice. For best success, you should hand pollinate when the flowers appear after 10 weeks. Female flowers have a small pumpkin at their base. Locate a male flower that is newly opened and swab the female with it. The sooner the plant starts producing fruit, the more time the pumpkin has to grow before harvest. Handpollination gains days in a process where growth is measured in days.

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Pumpkins naturally often grow with the stem at an acute angle to the vine. The best angle is the stem perpendicular to it. You can carefully reposition the squash over the course of several days to get the correct angle for optimum growth. Control the vines from random growth by pruning. Prune each main vine when it has reached 10 to 12 feet past the fruit. Train side shoots of the main vines perpendicular and cut the tips at eight feet long. To reduce water loss, bury the ends of cut vines. By the third week in July, you should have a couple of vines and several pumpkins. Keeping track of their amount of growth and rate with a measuring tape, you’ll need to choose which is the best to keep. Round and tall squashes offer the best chance for greatness. In terms of feeding, seedlings should get a formula higher in phosphorus, then a balanced formula until late July, then use a formula that stresses potassium until the end of the growing season. Whether you get a fruit the size of a small car, or just a monster size jack-o-lantern, it’s a bit of fun to try. Track your progress, measure your fruit and even if you don’t smash any world records, you can try to break your own.

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Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


cowichan green

community notes

seeds... planted I

by Judy Stafford, Publisher t’s hard to believe that this Spring brings CGC’s 10th annual Seedy Sunday. On one hand it feels like we’ve been doing this event forever and that other communities have been too, but in actuality, the idea of a community getting together to swap and share seeds only really started in the late 80s. Over the years, it became harder and harder to find heritage varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and grains. Thousands of different seeds have been lost and the idea of officially conserving them for future generations was the impetus for the Heritage Seed Program of Canadian Organic Growers, which in 1984 became the charitable organization Seeds of Diversity. In 1988, Sharon Rempel, an agronomist working in BC, wanted to find period-appropriate heritage vegetables, flowers and wheat for the 1880s heritage gardens she was growing at the Keremeos Grist Mill museum. She obtained many seeds from the Abundant Life Seed Foundation in Washington State. Sharon then went onto organize the first Seedy Saturday event in 1990 at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver. Since then, the Seeds of Diversity has helped support many of the


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

events and their volunteers maintain a website and help educate people about the importance of saving seed. There are now Seed Saving events all over the world, including the first one held in Brighton, England in 2002. The European Union holds national seeds lists and if a vegetable cultivator is not on the list it can’t be sold. It’s extremely expensive to get onto the list so not many seeds make it. In Canada, there are over 100 events every year. Close to home, Salt Spring has been hosting their annual event for 23 years, Cobble Hill, since 2000. Hopefully, no matter where you live you will be able to collect, share, and grow seeds and help to keep the diversity and knowledge of seed saving alive. We look forward to seeing you at Duncan’s event on March 18th at the Cowichan Tribes Si’em Lelum Gymnasium, 5574 River Road. Happy seed saving!

Cowichan Green Community Society 360 Duncan St, Duncan, BC V9L 3W4 250.748.8506 This survey is being presented by the Cowichan Green Community’s (CGC) new initiative: Farming Connections. We will be hosting six workshops in the fall on topics of interest to retiring farmers. This is your opportunity to tell us what information you require on your journey to retirement so we deliver relevant and current workshops. What age range are you in? Please circle. 40-50 50-60 60-70 70-80 Over What are your retirement goals? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ Do you already have a succession plan? Circle one. Yes No What are your successes/fears/struggles with retirement/succession planning? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ How much do you still want to work over the next 5-10 years? Circle all that apply. Full-time




Not at all

Which of the following topics interest you? Circle all that apply. Real estate options Law and legal issues Investment options Budgeting and planning Hiring/process applications for workers Connecting with aspiring farmers Succession planning Post retirement activities, education, and support Retirement facilities Farm share/rental options Other: _______________________________________________________________________________ Are you interested in learning more information about upcoming workshops? Circle One. Yes


Email/phone # -___________________________________________________________

Would you be interested in facilitating a workshop?



If so, what would be your subject of choice? _________________________________________________ Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey. Please return this survey to CGC at 360 Duncan Street, Duncan, BV V9L 3W4 Or fill out online at

Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


feel good

farm experience 20

Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


by Kat Brust eing outside, under the sun or in the rain, working at something that is so important doesn’t have to be done on a large scale or for a long time for the benefits to be felt. Any amount of time being something you aspire to be, doing something you love to do will result in a happier, healthier you. Why do I want to be a farmer? This is an easy question for me with a lengthy answer. After many years of being mentally depleted after work, spiritually starved and physically under-challenged, I have found a place in farming where these needs are met. Finding a career that not only inspires but nourishes is something I have worked hard to achieve. For me farming is a lifestyle. It is how I get my exercise, it is my therapy and it is my connection with the Earth. Not everyone is equal in their ability to balance aspects these aspects. I find that farming encourages this balance. Farming is hard work. Every day that goes by on this journey of mine, I can feel my body getting stronger, my mind clearer and my soul energized. Farming is an exchange of energy. I exert it by hoeing, planting, weeding, checking the rows for disease, minding the plants, taking care. And after all the time and energy put into it, the result is something deliciously full of nutrition, or new seeds for the following year. The little bundles of energy waiting to burst. This exchange is my therapy as well as my spirituality. I, am adding my energy to the creation of new life. I believe there is nothing so basically humane then putting your hands in the soil, working the Earth and the Earth giving back the sustenance we need to survive. Farming is an aging career with many farmers reaching the age of retirement. The next generation is finding fulfillment in leaving the farm and pursuing different dreams. This lack of young farmers leaves our current food security in a precarious position. If there is no one to grow, there will be nothing to eat. I do not come from a family of farmers, rather at twenty-eight I have chosen to farm. I encourage everyone to follow their dreams, but to also be fulfilled by these dreams and perhaps to consider farming as a dream come true.

CHOW DOWN FREE Family Cooking Classes Mondays 4-6:30pm

To pre-register with Jennifer, please call 250-748-8506

care Child ed! d inclu

For more information: or join our Facebook group “Cowichan Family Cooking!� In partnership with:

Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


a cowichan green community & Red Arrow brewing event

BREAD BEER (beer made with otherwise wasted bread)

August 9th @ Red Arrow Brewing 5255 Chaster Rd, Duncan 6-10pm


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

no time to waste


he Cowichan Food Recovery Project welcomes new team members John Stewart and Nanita Nair.

John and Nanita replace Jan MacKirdy who has been promoted to Manager of CGC’s Ceres Edible Landscaping and Dennis Jess who is now working for the Ministry of Agriculture. New to the Cowichan Region, John grew up on the shores and amongst the forests that surround Lac La Ronge in Northern Saskatchewan. For the past five years John coordinated a variety of programming with a charitable organization, aiming to improve the state of Food Security in core neighbourhoods of Saskatoon. He managed a one-of-a-kind, land-based urban agricultural internship for First Nations & Metis youth. Incorporating cultural learnings and works to explore traditional food systems in the context of the current, industrialized food system was John’s focus for the past two seasons. Excited to be part of CGC,

he brings his passion, education, and experience to this project.

Since completing her Bachelors in Business from Royal Roads University, Nanita has moved back to the Cowichan Valley and onto a hobby farm with her family. She owns a small business, working with local farmers promoting the purchase and consumption of locally grown and prepared meals. Nanita has joined the team to raise awareness for and limit the amount of food waste in our beautiful community.

Program updates:

The Food Recovery Project is planning a cask night fundraiser in August 9 with the Red Arrow Brewing Company. We are making beer from leftover bread & calling it OW! – Otherwise Wasted! The project is close to obtaining a distribution site in order to start a pilot project in July. The plan is to start small, work out the kinks, have everything running smoothly, and launch full bore by October.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District Grants in Aid generously donated $40,000 for a vehicle that will be used to transport product to and from the distribution centre. We offer many thanks to Cowichan Green Community supporter Sandy McPherson, who donated $10,000 for the Food Recovery Project. Thank you, Sandy! We challenge you residents of our beautiful valley and beyond, to match this generous donation with one of your own. Please help us – in-kind or cash - to divert to people, animals or compost - all the food currently going to the landfill. No one need go hungry … For more information or to donate, please contact us via our website address: www. or send an email to any one of us on the team: nanita, nancy, john, nathan or marcia@

Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


Cowichan's Cookbook Available at



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

Cowichan Green Community

Outfitted to suit a variety of cooking needs, CGC has an Island Health certified commercial kitchen available to rent seven days a week from 8am-10pm. It is equipped with a 6 burner gas stove and oven, a convection oven, walk-in cooler and freezer, tables and seating for workshop facilitation, and a complement of basic cooking utensils and equipment. There is also a second area perfect for simple food preparation. For guidelines, information & rental rates visit




Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018





MARCIA’S STRATA Ingredients 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced 1 cup tomatoes, drained if necessary and cut 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon dry mustard A couple of good shakes of Worcestershire sauce 6 large eggs 3 cups milk or almond milk (for dairy or lactose intolerant) 8 slices leftover or stale bread, cubed, divided into two 4 cups grated old (sharp) cheddar or 4 cups lactose free cheese 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, oregano, mint – take your pick) Directions In a large skillet, on medium low heat, fry onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil until softened and fragrant. Add another tablespoon of oil, turn up heat slightly, add and fry sliced mushrooms until done, adding salt & pepper. Set aside. Grease a deep baking pan or chafing dish with the last tablespoon of oil. Place half the bread cubes in a layer on the bottom. Layer half the onions, garlic & mushroom on top if the bread. Add half the tomatoes, sprinkle the chopped basil over everything and then

half of the cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheeses on top. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until smooth. Beat in milk or almond milk, salt & pepper. Slowly pour over the ingredients in the pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove pan from fridge at least 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 325. Uncover strata and place in oven when hot. Bake uncovered at 325° for 60-70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove sides. Cut into serving pieces. Yield: 8-10 Bon Appetit! Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018



seediest of sundays Images from CGC's growing March event


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


a tisket, a tasket a beautiful

handmade basket W

story & photos by Monika Vert Designs

Spring is in full bloom which means Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will be here in no time at all. If you are someone who needs a little help in this area, perhaps you’ll find a little inspiration here...


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

hile I love arranging flowers, creating baskets for clients has – over time – become one of my absolute favourite things to do. Personalizing a basket for an occasion, event, or holiday for someone’s “special someone” is very satisfying. The recipient ends up with a unique present consisting of multiple components which will either be consumed or collected and cherished. Either way, it is a gift that is never flat nor boring, undoubtedly personal, and always welcomed and appreciated. The best way approach basket creation is to first sit down and make a list. Identify your recipient’s likes, hobbies, and/or lifestyle. Next, organize your ideas on a sheet of paper. Write a list of possible items to include in the basket and then go back and note the approximate cost of each item. The

goal is to have a theme that the recipient can identify with; being careful not to create a disjointed assortment of stuff -- though this can inadvertently happen (been there!). Noting the value of each item will help you to edit and add according to your budget. Once you have a few items written down, step back and imagine what the basket will look like. Do you have items that are appropriate in size for the dimension of the intended basket? Remember: it doesn’t have to be large to be amazing. Do you already have an empty basket ready to fill? If not, budget at least $10-$30 for one (prices will vary depending style, size and on where you choose to purchase your basket). Also, a basket is merely just a vessel in which to contain those items; you can easily get creative here and substitute with another container that goes along with your theme. For example, a beautiful flower pot, cooking or stock pot, a beautiful handmade bowl, or even a pair of quirky rubber boots. You get the idea! Whatever base you choose, keep it lighthearted and fun. When in doubt, stick to being practical.



BASE: Stainless steel bowl, Wood/bamboo salad bowl set, Stock pot, Serving tray CONTENTS: Apron, dish towels, kitchen or BBQ tools (garlic press, mandolin, lemon zester, etc.) an array of organic spices or specialty seasoning blends, cookbook or food magazines


BASE: Basket, Flower pot, Galvanized bucket, Potato planter bag CONTENTS: Flower bulbs or seed potatoes, gardening calendar, gift certificate to local seed company or garden center, goodquality basic garden hand tools, fun/printed gloves, sun hat, sunscreen, natural bug repellent, homemade hand scrub, organic hand salve

Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018



BASE: Basket, Bread proofing basket, Cake pan, Cake storage container, Cake stand CONTENTS: Cookbook or magazines, pretty tea towels with coordinating oven mitts, vintage apron, novelty forms, fancy sprinkles, fair-trade chocolate


BASE: Basket, Modern chrome wire basket, Patterned fabric storage cube CONTENTS: Luxury bath robe, matching plush towel, slippers, natural/handmade soap, organic skin care, toe separators, toxinfree nail polish, travel/vacation magazine, selection of essential oils


BASE: Basket, Oversized mug, Wooden display box CONTENTS: Variety of specialty teas, organic matcha, local honey, cast iron teapot set, mini milk pitcher, frother, infuser, gourmet cookies or chocolates, printed napkins, journal and elegant pen

GREEN PRO BASKET TIPS: SKIP the plastic basket filler. Opt for crumpled craft (brown) paper or even newsprint crumpled, torn or cut into thin strips. Crumple newspaper underneath to act as “stuffing” – it is recyclable and compostable. If your completed basket needs to be more elegant than rustic… use crinkle paper; it is biodegradable and is available in many colours. Or, purchase cotton dish towels


Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018

in a colour (and/or pattern) that will complement your basket theme. Dish towels are always useful! PASS on the cellophane. While there may be some instances when cellophane may be the best option (I use it when items need to be contained and protected for shipping or long-distance delivery). Your options here are to either not use anything; enclose the basket in fabric (tulle works well as it comes in an array of colours and you can see through it); wrap using rice paper; or, envelop using netting (both of the latter two options are sold on a roll and are available in many different colours). The goal here is to reduce needless and difficult-to-recycle waste. INCLUDE a card. Consider a hand made a card. It isn’t terribly difficult to do and you don’t need to be a super creative person, either. Cut a piece of card stock to the desired size (best to use a paper cutter here), then, using a ruler and a blunt knife, score it and fold it in half. On the front of the card you can glue a simple dried flower (or fashion multiple petals into a flower shape), or place a photo or quote. If you have nice handwriting, opt to write something on the front using a fancy pen. This can be a quote, an inspirational saying, or a simple word (“Mom”, “Dad” or “Love”, for example). Remember to date and sign on the inside. Now hole-punch the corner and attach it to the basket handle. You’ve got this!

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:

4-H FARM FROLICS 5 Back in s e t u min SIT! STAY!

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Island Farm & Garden - May/June 2018


Island Farm & Garden May June 2018  

Local stories for farm and gardeners!

Island Farm & Garden May June 2018  

Local stories for farm and gardeners!