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DECEMBER 2019-MARCH 2020

FRE

ISLAND

E

ARDEN ARM F &G PLANTING

SEEDS

& planning for the future

islands agricultural show green gifts

native plants SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

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COWICHAN EXHIBITION • WWW.IASHOW.CA • 250-748-0822 • COWEX@SHAW.CA February 7 & 8, 2020

The Islands Agriculture Show is the only agricultural trade show with conference sessions that serves the farm and food community on Vancouver Island. This show brings together farms, rural landowners, farm organizations, equipment dealers, service providers and the general public, to educate and share the latest in new farming technology while providing a stunning venue to learn, connect and engage. Join us in Duncan, at Cowichan Exhibition Park, to discover the latest in farming techniques, new regulations and innovative technology geared to farmers and agri-food producers. This year will feature noted conference speaker Gerry Friesen who will share his presentation titled “Pigs, Politics and Diet Coke: Stories from a Recovering Farmer”. Gerry specializes in presenting and facilitating workshops on a variety of topics under the umbrella of conflict and stress management.

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Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

In keeping with this year’s theme “Cultivating Connections and Spreading Prosperity”, there will be several conference sessions to choose from within four main segments: Food & Beverage Processing, New Opportunities in Agriculture, New Farmers and Change Management. Admission to the trade show is $5/day. The fee for all-day conference sessions is $10/ day (Pre-Registration) or $15/day (Drop-in). The trade show will feature over 60 exhibitors as well as a number of outdoor equipment displays. Seating is limited for the conference sessions, so sign up early at www.ias.ca or contact Shari Paterson at 250-748-0822 or cowex@ shaw.ca. The Cowichan Region takes its name from the Quw’utsun, an aboriginal word meaning “the Warmland”. Since the Valley has the warmest yearround temperature of anywhere in Canada, the area is the site of many farms with a diverse range of products, wineries, distilleries, orchards and more. Join us at the Islands Agriculture Show to learn what’s growing on the Island!


Conference Segments Each segment will feature different conference sessions

Gerry Friesen comes from a diverse background of experience, learning and discovery. Never short on humour, Gerry’s presentation titled “Pigs, Politics and Diet Coke: Stories from a Recovering Farmer”, shares tales of farming, relationships and tips on how to survive difficult times.

Sponsored by FCC

Gerry Friesen - Keynote Speaker The Recovering Farmer

Gerry was raised on the family farm, which he took over in 1983 and operated until 2007 when other interests demanded more and more of his time. Gerry’s passion is helping others find solutions for the various issues that life throws at them in the area’s of conflict and stress. Aside from his private practice Gerry provides mediation services for Farm Debt Mediation Services and the Automobile Injury Mediation office and is a conflict management specialist with Backswath Management Inc. He enjoys presenting and facilitating workshops on a variety of topics under the umbrella of conflict and stress management. To learn more about Gerry visit his web site at www.gerryfriesen.ca. Conference Segment: New Opportunties Cannabis: “Growing a New Industry; Don’t Worry It’s Legal”. Evaluating emerging markets, what works and who can help.

Pre-Conference Panel Discussion & Workshop: “Expanding the Influence of Regional Agricultural Support” Feb 6: 6:30pm-9:30pm This pre-conference session seeks to discover feasible actions and next steps for building better connections between Regional and Provincial Ag Initiatives in BC.

Conference Segment: New Farmers - How the next generation is putting their own spin on farming. Providing tools and resources to help new and established farmers succeed.

Conference Segment: Food & Beverage Processing How to meet the purchasing requirements of a variety of differnt buyers. Panel discussion on results of Cowichan Valley local products demand study.

Conference Segment: Change Management Wildfires, Water & Waste: Preparing for the expected and unexpected challenges that are on the horizon.

COWICHAN EXHIBITION • WWW.IASHOW.CA • 250-748-0822 • COWEX@SHAW.CA

TO REGISTER GO TO WWW.IASHOW.CA Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

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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

seeds of tomorrow

T

by Eric Morten, Editor here are so many ways to look to the future, especially at this time of year, for island farmers and gardeners. Once past the season of conspiring and dreaming by the fire comes the season of seed exchange and prepping for growth.

Whether you attend a conference session at the Island's Agricultural Show or shop for seeds at you local events there are a lot of chances to plan for 2020. Not every plan becomes reality as Christine Rozema describes in her assessment of 2019 on the farm. And some plans are more than a person can hope for as detailed by Jennifer Barnes van Elk in her rags-to-riches horse story. Whether you're busy planning a garden or a farm crop or getting a well-earned rest and moment for reflection, we at Island Farm & Garden wish you a season of joy and prosperity. Happy gardening.

Islands Agriculture Show.....................................................................2 Sowing Seeds of a Future....................................................................6 Green Garden Gifts...............................................................................8 Rags to Riches....................................................................................10 Best Laid Plans...................................................................................14 Seedy Day Calendar...........................................................................16 Everything Nice..................................................................................18 Growing Farms for the Future ...........................................................20 Flights of Fancy .................................................................................22 Cowichan Green Community Notes..................................................24 Growing Cannabis..............................................................................26 Seed Catalogue..................................................................................28 Native Plants Contest.........................................................................30 4-H Farm Frolics.................................................................................31 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

MLA Routley Office Shar-Kare CASSIDY Riverbend Hay NANAIMO Buckerfield's Fredrich's Honey Gordon's Homes Harbour City Equipment MLA Routley Office Plecas Meats Shar-Kare PARKSVILLE Shar-Kare Buckerfield's PORT ALBERNI Arrowvale Farm Alberni Economic Dev.

Black Creek Farm & Feed CV Economic Dev. Top Shelf Feeds Westview Ford CAMPBELL RIVER Shar-Kare POWELL RIVER Top Shelf Feeds

Ask about being included in our distribution list.

is available as a free digital version

www.islandfarmandgarden.ca Subscribe and have your copy delivered hot off the press @ $20 per year. Our advertising family is growing as more and more of our 10,000 plus readers refer to the businesses who support us to meet their agricultural needs. Let our happy readers from all over the Island know about your business and enjoy our affordable rates.

Contact Eric Today!

be sure to enter our NATIVE PLANT CONTEST on page 30!


sowing

seeds of a future M by Pamela Walker

y neighbour just dropped by to pick up some eggs and give me some scraps that she’d saved for my chickens. She also bought me a packet of seeds from her “Giverny garden.” Giverny, in the south of France, is the site of the impressionist painter Claude Monet’s famous garden. He loved his garden and painted scenes from it incessantly. “Plant these,” my neighbour said to me, “and then start painting.” The seeds have all come from her garden. She waited until the flower were spent and the seeds were at their peak for drying. She then lay the seeds out on a paper towel for a couple days to ensure not a nanoparticle of moisture was left.


Then she packaged them in a small paper bag, and placed this in a glass jar for safe keeping. Seeds are a bit of magic that Mother Nature has invented. Like fireflies and kangaroo pouches, they are almost uncanny in their simplicity, yet brilliant in their design. The oldest viable seed that ever grew was a small, Siberian Arctic flower seed that had been buried by a squirrel in the permafrost and was found more that 125’ below today’s surface. By using carbon-14 analysis, scientists estimated it to be about 32,000 years old, give or take a century or two. It blossomed in 2007 to the surprise of everyone—except perhaps, a gardener. Seed saving has become a thing lately. In fact, organizing an exchange has become extremely challenging with too few days of the week in which to plan them. Seedy Sunday shows have now expanded to Seedy Saturdays and even Seedy Mondays in some communities.

Foundation, and Monsanto (now Bayer) have built a bunker in the Arctic ice called “The Doomsday Project” or the Svalbard Global Seed Vault where they have stored more than 400,000 seeds. Seedy Sunday, indeed! On the other end of the scale, local libraries are also doing their bit. If you take out a book and return it three weeks later, why not take out some seeds in the spring and return them, or ones just like them, in the fall? Check out your local branch to see if they have a seed exchange catalogue. As for me, I think I will just rely on the kindness of neighbours. I will sow the ones I received this morning in the spring when the earth has warmed, and the beds have been tilled and fertilized with compost made from the scraps and the droppings in our chicken coop. When they bloom, I will cut some the flowers and bring them to my neighbour as a way of saying thanks. For the things she brings for my chickens. For the seeds. And for the friendship.

Even the Bill Gates Foundation is getting on the bandwagon. He, along with the Norwegian government, the dreaded Rockefeller

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green gifts great for gardeners

T

by Mark and Ben Cullen here are a lot of things that a gardener might wish for which you are not able to give during the holidays.

Perfect weather, ideal soils, 100% germination and a permanent solution for the neighborhood squirrels to name a few. We have talked to a lot of experts on these topics, but there is no quick fix. We can, however, help you find something else the gardener on your list might be wishing for with our 2019 Holiday Gift ideas: Garden Clogs. Yard activity of any kind can require good “garden footwear”. A good garden shoe or boot has a comfortable 8

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

sole, is water-proof and easy on-and-off. The on-and-off is important because it makes it that much easier to step outside when you just need to deadhead for a few minutes, or even for bringing out the trash without bringing the dirt on your shoe back into the house. Sloggers (https://www.sloggers.com/) are a popular Made-in-USA brand available online and at many garden retailers, or you can do like Ben and opt for the Birkenstock “Super-Birki”, a waterproof clog designed for chefs who are on their feet all day. We note that many professional gardeners prefer wearing Blundstone boots. Made in Tasmania (of all places), they are waterproof, easy to slip on and off, comfortable and they are available in a steel-toed version. A New Lawnmower. If you love someone enough to spend a


few hundred dollars on a gift and it you love our planet, consider an eco friendly lawn mower. We only recommend an electric lawnmower for most sized lawns even while Ben sticks to his allmanual Mark’s Choice reel mower. Cordless electric lawnmowers have come a long way in recent years. Like your cellphone or Mark’s new Tesla, electric mowers on the market now employ lithium-ion batteries, which are lighter and more powerful than the old nickel-hybrid units. We have both tried and like the Stihl brand of lithium-ion cordless mowers, which are available only through their dealers. If you’re a real “techie”, check out their iMow robotic mower – no gardener required (and therefore no boots). A Potato Bag. No, not a “bag of potatoes”. Growing potatoes in a reusable container eliminates the need to find yard space for them. It works remarkably well. The potato bag has a “trap door” which makes harvesting easy. It also warms up quicker than the potatoes in the ground due to its’ dark colour. A walletfriendly gift item that really makes growing one of our favourite vegetables a joy. New Pots. Too often we see beautiful plant material in garishlooking plastic pots. It’s easy to cheap out on pots, but there are better quality alternatives out there. At craft fairs across the country there are local potters cranking out stunning pottery. Any natural material – clay or wood – is an improvement over the plastic alternative. Green Orgs. Why not donate in the name of a family member or friend to an organization that is committed to changing the world. There are many not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to planting trees in the urban environment. Check out Tree Canada https://treecanada.ca/ and our favourite Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign (www.hohtribute.ca ).

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In addition, consider World Wildlife Fund http://www.wwf.ca/, Nature Conservancy Canada http://www.natureconservancy.ca/, Nature United Canada https://www.natureunited.ca/ and ICFC (International Conservation Fund of Canada) https://icfcanada. org/. If you are interested in saving the planet by conserving the everdecreasing Amazon rain forest, our favourite charity is ICFC or International Conservation Fund of Canada. They partner with the native Brazilian people of the Kayapo nation to protect Amazon land that is legally theirs. Now is a great time to act when celebrating a green holiday.

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster, tree advocate and Member of 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, and on Facebook.

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rags to riches From $1 to 1st place: the comeback story of a dangerous one-eyed horse

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Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020


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by Jennifer Barnes van Elk

am a “horse girl” who never grew out of it. I’ve been riding for over 3 decades and worked as an equestrian coach to put myself through University. These days, I work outside of the industry and compete as an amateur on the south Vancouver Island show circuit. Over the years, I’ve started and trained all types of horses including a number of ex-racehorses and “problem” horses. Because people keep saying I should share it, here is the story of the most difficult, and most rewarding, horse I’ve ever worked with – #MarvelTheOneEyedWonder. Marvel is a big bay horse with one working eye and a checkered past. Records show he is a Hanoverian who was bred on Vancouver Island. At some point early in his life, he lost sight in his right eye. Whether it was the eye injury or just his innate highly sensitive temperament, Marvel grew up to be a highly reactive horse. Over the years, this reactivity began to manifest as volatility. His escalating behavioural issues caused Marvel to change hands frequently and earned him an unfortunate but not undeserved reputation as “dangerous.” Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

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As I understand it, in the summer of 2017, the decision was made to put him down. He was spared this fate by a young lady who took him in over the fall of 2017. In the winter of 2017-18, I met Marvel when I responded to his sale ad. He was a thin horse with chronic stomach ulcers and tight painful muscles that made him averse to touching and grooming. He had terrible hooves because most farriers (rightfully) could not/would not work on him. Against advice (including my own), I followed my heart and decided to take a chance on this one-eyed mystery horse. I paid $1 for him and brought him home. Because of his considerable safety issues, I decided to treat Marvel as a blank slate. I completely re-started him at 10 years old – handling the full-grown adult horse like one would a young colt or filly. We started by introducing basic handling (leading, tying, picking up hooves) and worked up to elaborate obstacle courses (chock full of tarps, pool noodles, flagging tape, pinwheels, and other “spooky” objects) to develop his confidence and gain his trust. I enlisted vets and nutrition expects to figure out his health issues and his body started to rebound. In the summer of 2018, after 6 months of groundwork, I decided it was time to get back in the saddle. While the arena work was quick to develop, travelling continued to pose a challenge. We took thousands of baby steps in order to start leaving the property and visiting new locations. At times, we spent hundreds of hours on inches of progress. Eventually, Marvel gained the confidence to make small road trips in the horse trailer and even ride out alone on the mountain trails. By this time, he had transformed into a very large and impressive horse. He was physically unrecognizable. Under saddle, I began to realize Marvel’s potential as a dressage horse. In the winter of 2018-19, with the help of a number of amazing local coaches, our training began in earnest. In the spring of 2019, we entered our first horse show. Despite considerable horsey stage fright (including a Tokyo-drift-style entrance on our very first round), Marvel managed to rise to the occasion and bring home a firstplace ribbon at this inaugural competition. That summer, we competed in 2 other local 12

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020


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horse shows, each time entering classes of escalating difficulty, and each time winning or placing in the top 3. Turns out, he’s happiest when he knows his job and he loves to work. A born competitor, he shines in the show ring. These early victories aside, training Marvel has been, and will continue to be, a non-linear journey that comes with both setbacks and breakthroughs. We are continuing to work on socialization because crowds and high-traffic environments still make him quite anxious. This winter is dedicated to lots of exposure through trips to new places and participation in as many training opportunities and practice events as possible. Our goal is to move into recognized competitions during the 2020 show season and to keep advancing through the levels from there. Notwithstanding his late start, Marvel shows the talent to make it as an upper-level dressage horse. Despite his quirks, this one dollar, one-eyed mystery horse has turned into my competitive mount of a lifetime. Because horse sport is so financially prohibitive, the irony of the situation is that if not for his challenges, our paths would have never have crossed and this partnership would never have happened. I’m so excited to see where our journey goes and thankful for every moment that he trusts me to lead the way.

Jennifer Barnes van Elk is the Development Officer with the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association and life-long "horse girl."

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Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

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the best laid

E

by Christina Rozema very year, my husband and I sit together during January and plan out our year. We review our goals from the previous year and look to the current year to see where we would like to be. We are both Type A planners and it shows. We move into February with deadlines marked on the calendar, planting diagrams, and a strong sense of determination.

plans

in a long time. Blueberry buds shrunk back and my chickens stopped laying for six weeks. By the time the weather started to warm towards the end of March and the chickens again began to lay, the first of the goals to increase the chick sales was long past achieving.

But this year was the year that nothing went as planned. The year started out innocuous enough – we had a strong plan for expanding our bee colony numbers and for moving towards a self-sustaining operation. Our garlic was all in the ground. The chickens were already in the breeding phase.

The second goal seemed doable. A couple years ago we adopted an apiary management model where we overwinter small colonies to have spare queens in the spring, if needed, and focus on producing our own queens by a process known as grafting. The first graft of 15 larvae went into their cells in April with a hatch date of around May 21st. This would ensure we could manage bee colony swarms by splitting and have a good supply of our own queen stock. It would also mean we could plan on a decent honey crop with the expanded number of hives.

January was exceptionally warm and farmers all around my area were worried about their blueberries, which looked ready to burst bud already. Then came February. The coldest, windiest February

Well May 17th came and my husband actually had a heart attack. A flight in a helicopter to Victoria and 5 days in the cardiac care ward post stent insertion and he was on the mend, grateful, subdued and

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Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

now a non-smoker. He came home with a three month lifting ban, and I became the head beekeeper. On May 24, I went out to bring in the frame that would have had the queen cells on only to find they had all just hatched and two were actually crawling on me. We managed to cage several of them out of the hive and proceeded to split all the hives in half so we wouldn’t have to tend them much for the rest of the summer. We had a couple of swarms already so I worked to keep as many of the rest in their hives as I could. With the help of a neighbor, I split the hives, put in the virgin queens and basically tucked them up for the summer thinking “Que Sera Sera”. We carried on through the summer just adjusting to the new reality of post heart attack and actually giving ourselves a break. I didn’t harvest the garlic. I left the potatoes in the field. The bees, remarkably, did just fine although we, like many beekeepers this year, got very little honey. Other things were more important. We sat. We talked. We reaffirmed what were the priorities in our lives. Mostly we


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Mark your calendar!

seedy

a month of sundays (saturdays, too!) January 11 Saanich Seedy Saturday

10am to 2pm Haliburton Farm presents its 5th annual Seedy Saturday at Horticulture Centre of the Pacific, 505 Quayle Road, Victoria Quality vendors, seeds, plants, starts, local wineries, seed exchange, children’s table. Contact: info@haliburtonfarm.org www.haliburtonfarm.org

January 25 Denman Island Seedy Saturday Denman Island Community Hall

February 1 Qualicum Beach Seedy Saturday

10am to 3:30pm Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, 747 Jones St., Qualicum Beach Seed Swap, local garden related Vendors, Master Gardeners, Seedy Cafe and the “Shoots with Roots” family program. Admission by donation, proceeds going to school and community garden projects. Raffles and Door prizes! Check out our new website for more information. 70+ Vendors, Farmers Market, Seed Swap, Milner Garden’s “Shoots With Roots” children’s program, Master Gardeners, Seedy Cafe, Door Prizes and Raffle.www. qbseedysaturday.ca

February 8 Salt Spring Island Seedy Saturday 10am to 3pm Farmer’s Institute, 351 Rainbow Road Salt Spring Island Island Natural Growers presents: Salt Spring Island's 23rd Annual Seedy Saturday 16

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

February 15 Victoria’s Annual Seed & Garden Show

10am to 4pm Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas Street. Admission: $7 cash at the door, under 16 free Seedy Saturday Victoria, hosted by the James Bay Market Society, promotes seed diversity and local food security. Entering its 26th year of operation in Victoria, Seedy Saturday hosts more than 70 local businesses with seeds, plants, food products, garden services and not for profit organizations who continue to assist in growing greener communities in the Capital Region. For more information on Victoria’s annual Seedy Saturday find us at www.jamesbaymarket/SeedySaturday. For Exhibitor and Volunteer enquiries, or comments, please email vicseedysat@gmail. com

February 22 Tofino West Coast Seedy Saturday

10:00 am - 3:00 pm at the Tofino Botanical Gardens, Darwin's Cafe A fun filled, family friendly event that includes kids planting table and seed bomb making, island seed companies, garden related vendors, farmers coop table (local farm fresh food), seed swap table, compost demonstrations, workshops. Bring your cash to purchase this years seeds, local food and lunch! Suggested donation of $2. http://www.tofinocommunityfoodinitiative. com/ https://www.facebook.com/ TofinoCommunityFoodInitiative

February 29 Comox Valley Seedy Saturday

10am to 3pm Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay Comox Valley growers and seed savers host speakers are Des Kennedy and Lynda Smith. 40 vendors with locally and organically grown seeds and other garden related products. As always there is the seed exchange where you can bring in seeds to exchange or you can buy them. Vegetarian lunch will be served at the Seedy Cafe and there is a children's playroom. Entrance is $5 from 10 till 2 and free from 2 till 3.

March 1 Nanaimo Seedy Sunday

10am-3pm Nanaimo District Secondary School, 355 Wakesiah Ave. Nanaimo Seedy Sunday is all about the seeds! The Seed Swap is the core of our Seedy Sunday event. This is Nanaimo’s only event all about gardening and growing plants from seed. Admission is $3. Included in the price of Admission are 6 FREE 1 HOUR Workshops. Highlights: Seed exchange, 65+ Exhibitors of local seeds, seedlings, plants, small fruits and succulents. Displays of garden  & food products, Fertilizers and much more! Admission $3. Contact info Glenda 250-618-6323 or seedysunday@shaw.ca www.nanaimocommunitygardens.ca


March 14 Cobble Hill Seedy Saturday

10am to 3pm Cobble Hill Community Hall, 3550 Watson Ave, Cobble Hill Seeds, seed saving, community seed exchange, vendors of heritage seeds, organic seeds, locally grown plants, displays and info. FREE admission.

March 22 Duncan Seedy Sunday

10am to 2pm Cowichan Tribes Si’em Lelum Gymnasium 5574 River Rd., Duncan Cowichan Green Community hosts the 9th annual Duncan Seedy Sunday. An event for local gardeners to source locally and ecologically grown seeds, garden starts, and perennials, this event will also feature activities for children and a series of gardening workshops. Admission is $2/person. CGC members and children under the age of 13 years enter for free.

March 23 Campbell River Plant & Garden Expo

11am to 2pm Campbell River Community Centre A fun and interactive event for the whole community. Seed swap and sale featured. Attendance is free; refreshments available.

can't make the show? Check out these local seed producers online Brother Nature Organic Seeds Providing, preserving, protecting and teaching about sustainable seed, soil & food sources. Catalogue on line only. www.brothernature.ca Eagle Ridge Seeds Rare and endangered vegetables, herbs and flowers are our specialty. We practice organic gardening methods, use raised beds, water saving techniques and companion planting. Our designs attract beneficial insects. Order on line only. www.eagleridgeseeds.com Fraser's Thimble Farms Pacific Northwest natives, ferns, hardy orchids, erythroniums, corydalis and other rare plants. Main catalog on-line. www.thimblefarms.com Full Circle Seeds A certified organic seed co-operative that carries many heritage vegetable, herb and flower seeds. Catalogue on line. www.Fullcircleseeds.com Nature’s Garden Seed Company

Quality products inspired by nature that will allow you to give, or enjoy for yourself, the everlasting gift of nature of flowers, butterflies, hummingbirds and bumblebees, year after year. www.naturesgardenseed.com Ravensong Seeds Medicinal and Culinary herbs seeds organically-grown on Vancouver Island. Seed garlic too. Herb plant starts can be bought direct from the farm. Free catalogue and online. www.ravensongseeds.com Salt Spring Seeds Organically grown open-pollinated seeds. Specializes in beans. A large and interesting variety of vegetables grains and garlic. Catalog on-line. www.saltspringseeds.com The Market Garden Over 200 varieties of certified organic seeds. www.themarketgarden.ca

Custom Grinding, Granulating and Mixing Calcium Carbonate Dolomitic Lime Granulated Feathermeal Fish Bonemeal • 7-2-4 • Gypsum Find a Pacific Calcium, Inc. distributor near you. web: www.naturesintent.com email: info@naturesintent.com Int’l Toll Free 877-571-3555 OMRI, WSDA Organics and ODA Certified

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everything

nice D

by Monika Vert Designs o you love sugar and spice? So do I. Here’s my take on a make-ahead, ready-when-youare chai spice blend.

Spices, all of them, rank high on my list of cupboard must-haves. I cook from scratch and enjoy the depth and dimension that spices add to any dish. While I don’t go overboard, nor do I spice everything, I do reach for at least one spice jar from my eclectic collection every day. I just love variety and I love flavour. I am blessed to have a friend who frequently travels to far-away places for business and has, on many occasions, sent me gifts in the form of exotic spices. Intense spices in unpretentious packages, completely out of the ordinary, incredibly fresh, immensely fragrant and kissed with saturated colour. Certainly nothing you would ever stumble upon in a grocery store. I absolutely love the unusual. For example, he once sent a large package of pure ginger from Thailand. This ginger came in singleuse packs intended for hot ginger tea – but I have used it for so many things from sweet to savoury and it certainly packs a big 18

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

punch of flavour. On another occasion, I received a package of the most intense blend of ground chillies from Turkey – the kind that set your soul on fire and inspire everything. More recently, he has been sending single-origin coffee beans, roasted just prior to being sold at dawn in a market somewhere in the Philippines. Pure happiness. On occasion, I open my cupboard and just stand there and inhale. Can you blame me? This past summer I decided to blend my own chai spice. It seemed like the right thing to do, given my love of spices and my addiction to everything sweet. While the concept wasn’t challenging, I didn’t want to end up with something mediocre and then have to contend with a pile of left-over spices – in bulk packages, nonetheless – crammed behind my already bursting spice collection. I’ve been known to give up on things before. However, after deciding these were already spices I use (or would use) on a regular basis, I acquired all of them as per my rough recipe and brought them home to DIY my way to chai bliss. It worked beautifully. My result was a harmonious blend of sweet, pungent spices that are a welcome addition to everyday things, from hot, morning porridge to smooth, plant-based milks. The real beauty here is that, when making the blend yourself, you


have the ability to personalize it to suit your taste. You can dial up the flavours that you adore and go easy on the ones you’d prefer to be in the background. Just use my recipe as a guideline. Go easy on some of the spices – it is easier to add to the ratio than try to subtract or subdue. Omit the sugar if you’d like. I include it as most of what I would use the blend for would contain a sweetener anyway. Another benefit of making this blend up yourself is that you will be amazed at how much more economical it is versus purchasing a pre-blended pack (upwards of $12 for a small, under 80 grams, package that contains mostly sugar). I may have spent over $20 on purchasing packages of individual spices (I surprisingly already had cardamom pods in my cupboard), but I enjoyed the batch I made for several weeks before I had to make another one. You won’t use up all of the spices you purchase (for example, you will only use a small amount of the ground pepper, but you will use most, if not all, of the packages of ginger and cinnamon). The trick to saving money is to avoid purchasing any of the spices in glass jars. Look for bulk packages. If stored properly, any leftover spice will keep until you are ready to make another batch.

On occasion, I open my cupboard and just stand there and inhale.

You will also be surprised at how quickly you will go through the blend, especially if you use it daily. I make it up in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and pour it into a smaller jar (or jars) for easy, every day use as needed. You can use the spice blend when cooking oatmeal. Sprinkle it on top of waffles or pancakes. Add it to black tea as it steeps. Mix it into milk or plant-based milk for a creamy and fragrant drink that is really good – hot or cold. When you mix it into liquids, stir it well. Don’t expect it all to dissolve as it won’t, but if you incorporate it well, especially into hot, frothy beverages, it will be just fine. How much you use is purely your preference. Since the holidays are around the corner, why not make this up and package them into small mason jars to use as gifts? Top it with a beautiful ribbon and a card and you’re set. Want to get fancy? Drop it into a mug and include a spoon along with some cellophane and ribbon – oh, and maybe include a little card with a handwritten recipe on it to make it extra special.

Chai Spice Mix 1.5 - 2 cups Organic Cane Sugar

8 Tbsp Organic Ground Ginger (1/2 cup) 8 Tbsp Organic Ground Cinnamon (1/2 cup) 2 - 3 Tbsp Ground Cardamom 1 - 1.5 Tbsp Ground Nutmeg 1 - 1.5 Tbsp Ground Cloves 1 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper Once you’ve mastered the mix, experiment with some of the following ingredients: Allspice, White pepper, Coriander seeds, Fennel seeds, Orange peel Pink salt Turmeric Vanilla pod (cut in half lengthwise and inserted into your mix before you seal and store it) A note about Cardamom: Cardamom can sometimes be difficult to find. Some brands will offer ground cardamom in small jars (50g). You can find bags (100g - 200g) of cardamom pods in most ethnic food sections. If you purchase whole green cardamom, just dry roast them in a frying pan over medium heat, watching them closely and stirring often. Once they are slightly browned, transfer the pods onto a clean kitchen towel and crack them open using a rolling pin or wooden cutting board. It won’t take much to crack the pods open. Separate the seeds from the shells and finely grind the seeds in a spice grinder. The scent these pods release as they are warmed is amazing. Yes, this adds a few extra steps, but it is totally worth it if you can afford the time. This is how I prepare my cardamom and, in my opinion, the quality is far superior to the pre-ground option.

So now that you have created your own chai spice... you’re surely set to make everything nice. Enjoy! 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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growing farms for the

future F

by Azja Jones Martin armer JJ White worked as a farmhand for six years before deciding it was time to start a farm enterprise of their own. With the support of the B.C. Land Matching Program (BCLMP), White signed a lease in fall 2019 for one acre of farmland in Cowichan Bay. White is now preparing the land to launch Flora and Fungi Farm, a mixed vegetable and mushroom operation. The BCLMP is delivered by Young Agrarians and funded on Vancouver Island by the Province of British Columbia, with support from Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. With land prices as high as $79,300 per acre on Southern Vancouver Island, according to Farm Credit Canada’s annual Farmland Values Report, leasing land was the obvious solution for White. Aspiring young farmers face a wide range of barriers to getting established, from limited training options to the high cost 20

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

of farmland. Meanwhile, the average age of a farmer in B.C. is 56, making alternative ways to access land essential to ensuring the future of farming as the older generation retires. As White prepares for a productive first season in 2020, they reflect on the opportunity to enhance the land they are leasing. A background in ecological restoration motivates them, White says: “I’m really excited to see the potential for how much restoration I can do to the soil, how much more life and biodiversity I can bring to this little plot.” Through cultivating the land, White is creating carbon sinks, “and the production of vegetables and mushrooms is the benefit of that.” According to White, there is “a lot of excitement around mushrooms at the moment but not a lot of people are growing them, so I’m looking forward to seeing where this will lead.” The BCLMP is helping farmers like White across B.C. connect with farmland owners to find suitable land opportunities and

negotiate clear lease agreements that provide them with the security they need to build sustainable farm businesses. Since the BCLMP was launched on Vancouver Island in summer 2018, the program has helped create 15 new farms on the island by matching farmers to available land opportunities through lease agreements, and more matches are underway. On Vancouver Island, the BCLMP has supported everything from White’s fungi operation, to apiaries, garlic growers, seed companies, local grain producers market gardeners, flower growers, and farmers with ducks, cows, and flocks of sheep – on plots of land as small as a few square metres for bees, to 22 acres for wheat and livestock. There is value in leasing for both farmers and farmland owners – and it goes further than just the physical sharing of land, says White: “Beyond getting farmers who are looking for land onto the land, land matching is a really important tool to get more dialogue happening between the different generations of farmers in B.C.


Cowichan Green Community Catering Let Cowichan Green Community do your Christmas catering for you!! Whether its baked goods or savory meals we can tailor make a menu to suit your needs Contact Executive Chef Sharon at (250) 748-8506 or simply drop in.

HUNGRY FARM ANIMALS? and addressing the issues facing the future of agriculture. None of us can do this alone.” Landowners and farmers seeking land are encouraged to get in touch with Azja, the Young Agrarians Land Matcher in the Cowichan Valley/Vancouver Island, to start a conversation about the potential of leasing land for farming. Get in touch with Azja today (azja@youngagrarians.org) to keep our farmland in use and ensure the future of local food production! The B.C. Land Matching Program is funded on Vancouver Island by the Province of British Columbia, with support from Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Real Estate Foundation of B.C

Azja Jones Martin is the Young Agrarians Land Matcher for the Cowichan Valley Vancouver Island region. She farms at Little Mountain Farm. For more information about the B.C. Land Matching Program, please visit: youngagrarians.org/land

Portofino Bakery is happy to donate our day-old loaves as a healthy and hearty supplement for your hungry livestock. Please contact our office at (250) 475-6099 to arrange for free pick-ups.

Bread is one of the oldest, most basic and familiar of foods. That is why portofino european bakery tries to make bread as it was intended – a simple, natural staple of life that everyone can afford and enjoy.

6828 Kirkpatrick Crescent, Victoria, BC portofinobakery.ca Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

21


flights B of fancy

by Valerie Burton orn into a hive of activity, fully stretching, I am greeted by my sisters. They are busy girls and I will come to learn that, that’s the nature of the beast. While I’m so young they do everything for me as mother is way too busy with other children to care for us. As I grow there’s others younger than I and it will eventually befall me, to care for them, freeing my older siblings do tasks that require more advanced skills. So many mouths to feed and only a limited time to collect food and stores for the winter when it’s impossible to get outside because of the rain and even just the cold. Without an extra layer of a warm winter coat as others have we could freeze in an instant so every day, as long as there is warmth and light, my older siblings are out hunting and gathering making many trips abroad and back again. It’s a difficult life and while our mom is busy producing young and having a long life ours is… comparatively speaking … short. So in what seems, and actually is, a very brief period of time I am joining my older siblings out in the fields. First I watch and listen to those coming home do a happy dance when they’ve found a new source of food for us to gather, then I head out on my first trip, It’s invigorating even if the work is difficult. I really feel like I am spreading my wings for the first time. Today there are so many flowers to choose from, wondrous vibrant colours of yellows and oranges; blues and purples all waiting as if just for me. Huge green trees each with their own lure that I take time to examine but time is precious… and work I must. Flitting around exploring I am satisfied with my first collection and proudly carry it home for my sisters to process into winter stores. They gratefully meet me at the entrance and unburden me. A short rest and I am back in the fields admiring and gathering natures bounties. Many, many foraging trips later while the crops were plentiful I over-loaded, it was a arduous trip home under the weight. I think I was about half way when I had to stop and rest for a while. I didn’t give much thought where to stop I just knew that if I didn’t I wouldn’t make it home at all. I balanced on a very straight piece of wood that was surrounded by pretty coloured flowers that if I’d known were so close I wouldn’t have gone so far in the first place. Note to self, tell my sisters about this location. All of a sudden something came flying at me, I decided that must be one of the perils that my siblings had warned me about and instantly shortened my rest to continue on my way. When the home entrance was in sight I relaxed a little knowing that I would make it but it was too soon for those thoughts and I actually ended up collapsing on the ground exhausted within mere metres of the entrance. With encouragement from my sisters I mustered the last of my strength, picked myself up and made it home. Once again I was gratefully unburdened. Too tired for nourishment and overcome with tiredness I lay myself down feeling blessed I was able to help my sisters do our little bit, I know without each of us cooperating as a team life as we know it will come to a screeching end. I close my eyes for the last time knowing the next generation has already taken up the quest for world sustenance.

Valerie Burton is a hobbyist beekeeper whose thoughts are often with the bees. 22

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020


Bees play a vital role in British Columbia’s environment and to B.C.’s agriculture sector. Crops and flowering plants cannot live and reproduce without the help of bees and pollinators. Honeybees play a major role in agriculture as pollinators of crops, contributing an estimated $538 million to the B.C. economy and over $3.2 billion across Canada. There are almost 2,700 beekeepers throughout B.C., operating as a hobby, or part-time or full-time business, with more than 52,000 colonies.

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Caramelized Squash Caramelized Upside DownSquash Cake

Upside Down Cake

Ingredients: 1 medium Butternut squash ( peeled, halved and seeded) 2 TBSP honey 6 TBSP unsalted butter ( room temp) 1⁄2 cup of brown sugar Cake Batter Ingredients: 6 oz of unsalted butter (room temp) 1 cup of brown sugar 3 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla 2 cups of All Purpose Flour 1 TBSP of cinnamon 1 tsp of ginger 1 1⁄2 tsp of baking powder 1⁄2 tsp of salt 1 cup of sour cream Instructions: Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Put squash on lined baking sheet. Drizzle with honey.Bake for appox. 20 min or til fork tender. Remove from oven. Let cool for 20 min. Reduce to 350F. Meanwhile, cream butter and brown sugar together until well blended. Incorporate eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and mix through. In another bowl, add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Mix til blended. Add half of the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar. Add half of the sour cream and mix. Next, add rest of dry ingredients and rest of sour cream. Mix well. Next, generously butter your cake pan. Add the squash in an even layer. Add brown sugar. Pour over the cake batter and bake for approx. 35 to 40 min or til done. If you are unsure insert a toothpick and it should come out clean. Cool for 15 min. Invert. Use offset spatula around the edges. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Enjoy! Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

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cowichan green

community notes

A

by Judy Stafford, Publisher

s another year starts to wind down, it’s the perfect time to take a few minutes to send out some love and gratitude to those who’ve helped us the most. At CGC, we have so many people to be grateful for it’s actually hard to keep track. This year has been exceptional, from the support we’ve received from our very 24

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

generous funders to the people who’ve spent hours and hours of their time volunteering picking fruit or helping with our programming. Our community partners helped us ensure over 120,000 pounds of recovered food went right into the hands and tummies of thousands of people right here in the Cowichan Region who needed

it most. We’ve had hundreds of students come to help out and learn about farming at the KinPark Youth Urban Farm and the Cowichan Agriculture Seed Hub. Dozens of families have tried, tested, and tasted tons of delicious recipes at our cooking classes, helping to spread the love of good food with other people in their lives. How can we possibly convey enough


thanks to people like Susan Smith, who has been a consistent volunteer for over ten years, showing up with her smiling face, generosity, and willingness to roll up her sleeves and getter done. Or to Tom Devereaux, who is the most inspiring person we know, relentlessly helping at KinPark, whether it’s letting us use his trailer to haul stuff to the dump or fixing things we didn’t even know were broken. We have people in our CGC family who are our eyes and ears and who call us when things are not happening as they should at our farms. We have people who pop in out of the blue to make financial donations just because they heard about what great work we do. We have people who help spread the word about our low-cost grocery store on social media because they want others to know where they can stretch their food dollars. We have people who just drop off tools for our community gardens, or excess peppers and tomatoes they’ve grown to share with others. It’s generous people who make a community vibrant and it’s the same people who make it easy for us to be grateful. And gratitude is like a perennial flower garden - the more you care for it, the more it grows. So let’s all spread some gratitude in our own circles this season, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving! And those are the best kinds. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

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S

News Canada ince cannabis legalization last year, you can now legally grow up to four cannabis plants per household in all provinces except for Manitoba and Quebec. According to a recent survey, nearly a fifth of Canadians with home insurance said growing legal cannabis in their homes would not affect their home insurance policy, and that their cannabis is covered. But, that’s not the whole truth. While many homeowners are aware that their policy covers their plants, some may be unaware of all the specifics. Here’s some key points to keep in mind: Rules may vary depending on your province. Some insurance providers, such as belairdirect, have a $500 limit on recreational cannabis products under your home insurance policy in certain provinces. Many providers also don’t cover plants growing outdoors. These rules are different in Quebec though, where the maximum amount covered depends on the type of policy you have and other limitations that may apply. It’s important for homeowners to check their policies and ask their agent if they have any concerns.

growing

cannabis? make sure you're

covered 26

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

You’re at a higher risk of damages. Homeowners need to be aware of the possible increased risk of theft or fire when growing or consuming cannabis at home, which can affect insurance premiums. Just like smoking cigarettes, smoking cannabis in or around your home could increase your risk of a fire, which could negatively impact your home insurance. If you’re a smoker, remember to let your insurer know. Consider the impact on auto insurance, too. Drugimpaired driving is against the law in Canada. As with drunk driving, police can use field sobriety tests and drug-screenings to check for impaired driving. If someone is caught driving while high, they’ll face legal penalties and there will be repercussions for their car insurance as well. Legal or not, there are plenty of cannabis factors that can affect your home insurance. Always remember to exercise caution, prioritize safety, and call your insurer when in doubt to make sure you’re covered. You can find even more useful tips for fully understanding your policy at belairdirect.com.


Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

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cowichan agricultural seed hub

highlights of available varieties Anasazi

60-70 days for green bean, 125 days for dry These beans are similar to the pinto and make great baked beans as well as being good for chili. Also tasty as a green bean.

Shelling Pea Carruther’s Purple Podded (Pisum sativum) Heirloom These peas are deliciously sweet and stunning in colour.

Desi Chickpea

(Cicer arietinum) 100 days High fibre content and delicious when eaten fresh, these brown coloured peas will not disappoint!

Earth Lentils

(Macrotyloma geocarpum) 110 days These lentils, marbled with green and blue, look like little planet Earths. Lentils are a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet.

28

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020

Table King

(Cucurbita pepo) Heirloom 105 days The Table King Bush winter squash was named an allAmerican selection in 1974 and is suitable for a small home garden or raised beds. It is sure to delight all with its flavorful 2 lb fruit.

Les Orielles du Diable (Lactuca sativa) 7585 days Loose Leaf Lettuce “The Ears of the Devil” describes this lettuce perfectly. Ear-shaped leaves that are red in colour can be harvested individually allowing the plant to continue to grow and produce.

Shungiku

(Glebionis coronaria) 45 days Edible Chrysanthemum. These beautiful yellow flowers with mildly bitter leaves are a magnificent addition to any salad!

Mixed Sunflowers

(Helianthus annuus) We grew single headed six foot yellow sunflowers next to multi-headed, six foot tall red sunflowers, and let them cross! This package contains seeds from both types of plants and it is true surprise what you will actually grow.


seed catalogue Blacktail Watermelon

(Citrullus lanatus) 70 days Dark rind and sweet red flesh, this watermelon is great for our climate. Produces 8-12 lb fruits and will ripen right up to nights as cool as seven degrees.

Paul Robeson

(Lycopersicon lycopersicum) Heirloom (indeterminate) 90 days Paul Robeson’s amazing flavour is distinctive, sweet and smoky. This beef steak slicer’s 7-10 oz fruits are redbrick colour.

Teardrop Red Grape

(Solanum lycopersicum) 120150 days indeterminate As the name says, these tomatoes are teardrop in shape and grape in size! We found this tomato to be quite sweet and very prolific.

Phacelia- Purple Tansy

(Phacelia tanacetifolia) 90-105 days approx 170 seeds germ rate 85% These 3’ tall plants produce a profusion of purple coloured flowers that attract bees from a mile around. Not edible themselves, they encourage pollinators that will surely visit your other plants.

Ground Cherry Otto’s Brush Creek

(Physalis pruinosa) 90-110 days Only about 6” tall, these lovely plants form a nice ground cover. The fruits are truly exquisite with their own definite flavour. They are perfectly ripe when they fall to the touch.

Winter Density Lettuce

(Lactuca sativa) 65 days A cross between butterhead and romaine with heavy, compact and dark green heads. Grow in spring, summer and fall as it is very cold tolerant and quite bolt-resistant. On the coast, an August planting will overwinter as full-sized plants if given some protection from rain. Sow in September to overwinter as small plants to head up in March.

Black French

Bush, filet 70 days Filet beans are best enjoyed when harvested pencil-thin. Sautée whole in butter for a delicious treat.

Cowichan Agricultural Seed Hub Pre Order of 2019 Seeds Subject to Availability

All our seeds are open pollinated, open sourcedand I.O.P.A. Certified. For a complete list of available seeds please contact

kat@cowichangreencommunity.org or phone 250-748-8506

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There are many benefits to choosing native plants for your landscape. Harmonizing your garden with nature will result in: Beauty. A natural garden can have year-round interest and variation. The scale of native plants can give a landscape a sense of place in its familiarity. It feels like "home." Choose a variety of plants that are seasonally interesting—colours in the fall, berries over winter and the like. Natural water management. Outside of drought, native plants require little watering. Moisture loving plants can also absorb more rainwater reducing the velocity of storm runoff.

native

soil

Less maintenance. In addition to less water, native plants don't require fertilizers or pesticides. Plants in their native habitat can also last for many decades as well as tolerate wide ranges of light exposure. Plants also propagate more easily in their native conditions. Resistance to deer browsing. Deer know which plants to avoid. Plant those ones if deer are a problem where you garden. Plants with aromatic foliage will often deter deer—same with plants with coarse or thorny textures they dislike. Wildlife habitat. Arrange your native garden to be a welcoming haven for insects, birds and other wildlife. Whether you are a novice or pro gardener, you can create a landscape based on sustainability and coexistence.

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN! Send us your experience with gardening with native plants, either a photo of your plants or a statement about how your garden would benefit from natives. Submissions will be chosen for publication in our spring issue and all submissions will be entered into a random draw to win a copy of Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Arthur R Kruckeberg and Linda ChalkerScott.

Email your submission to: publisher@islandfarmandgarden.ca Draw will take place February 15, 2020 Good Luck! 30

Island Farm & Garden - Winter 2020


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Island Farm & Garden Winter 2019-2020  

Vancouver Island, Gardening, Gardens, Farming, Agriculture

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