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NESDAY | JUNE 4 | 2008

Wednesday.March 28.2018 Powell River Peak » prpeak.com

Spring

HOME AND GARDEN

Possibilities grow for indoor gardening Home-based systems abound for microgreens, herbs and fresh produce ANDY RICE Peak Contributor

Five years ago, Jen McGuinness had a major pot problem. Or, rather, a container conundrum. At the time, the now-Powell River resident was living in a townhouse under the shade of the Stawamus Chief in Squamish with a patio full of herb and vegetable plants. “All we wanted was a place to sit,” said McGuinness, “so I started researching on how to make an indoor garden that was more vertical.” Inspired by the living wall tapestries one might find in the pages of their favourite home and garden magazine, McGuinness began adapting the idea to suit edible plants. “Most of the tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers you get at the grocery store now are all hydroponically grown,” she said. “There were a couple of countertop systems available, so I knew it was possible.” However, McGuinness was insistent her system be both modular and space-conscious, so as not to merely shift the problem from the patio to the kitchen. “I had a pretty solid list of things the design had to meet,” she said. “It had to be vertical, it had to go on the wall. We also wanted to make it automated. Obviously, some people are into growing; some people are not.” McGuinness came up with a few sketches, contacted an engineering firm and eventually gained the attention of the National Research Council of Canada, who offered financial asB2

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Mother Nature owner Ron Pfister not only sells many of the components indoor gardening enthusiasts require for growing microgreens, herbs and other plants, he also uses the products in his own home. NYAH CHRISTIE PHOTO

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Wall unit produces edible greens

Green Thumb Technology’s VeggieWall system uses a method without soil that incorporates an LED light designed to simulate optimal growing conditions indoors. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

B1« GREEN THUMB

Jen McGuinness, Green Thumb Technology co-founder

sistance. Prototypes soon followed and Green Thumb Technology was born. The company’s VeggieWall system, which will see its first shipments go out the door later this year, uses a soil-less method and a flexible gooseneck LED light designed to simulate optimal growing conditions indoors. Lightweight and compact, it can hang on a wall much like a picture frame, provid-

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ing a leafy landscape that also happens to yield fresh herbs and vegetables at record speed. “It’s ideal for growing all different types of greens,” v McGuinness. “Lettuce, said kale, Swiss chard, Asian greens, different mustards, tomatoes, peppers, small varieties of cucumbers and especially herbs. I put basil in almost everything now because it grows so well and so fast.” As a general rule, plants

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grow two to three weeks faster on the VeggieWall than they might in an outdoor garden or greenhouse. “The roots don’t have to grow and source nutrients the same way, so they get a jump start,” said McGuinness. Mother Nature owner Ron Pfister has noticed an influx of indoor gardening products on the market in recent years, including the VeggieWall and many of its competitors. While McGuinness’ vertical system is not currently available at his Duncan Street nursery, he does sell many of the components needed for growing microgreens, herbs and other plants on horizontal racks. “People are really getting into it,” said Pfister. “To do a single tray you’re only looking at an area of about two square feet, usually on your kitchen counter.” The most basic system retails for less than $100 and uses little more than a seed tray, a plastic dome and a fluorescent light. With the addition of an optional heat mat the harvesting can begin as early as 10 days after the first planting. After all, microgreens are essentially the tender shoots of salad vegetables just after they have developed their first set of leaves. “There’s about 40 times more nutrition in a microgreen version versus the actual full-grown plant,” said Pfister. “They’re great in sandwiches and salads

because you can really taste them. Arugula, as an example, has kind of a peppery taste. It’s fantastic. And the pea shoots actually taste like peas.” The trend has not just rubbed off on gardeners and gourmets, either. Now, architects and interior designers have begun to take notice of the hobby as well, coming up with compact and aesthetically-pleasing ways to incorporate indoor gardening into their clients’ construction and renovation plans. “I know if I was to build a house again I’d have a specific room where I could grow microgreens and herbs,” said Pfister. “That’s really the way to go.” In the case of Pfister and McGuinness, the ability to harvest fresh produce on demand, rather than buying it in predetermined amounts, has reduced waste and saved money; not to mention providing a wintertime bounty that simply would not be possible in an outdoor garden. “Usually, come fall your harvest is done and you’re back to the grocery store produce,” said McGuinness. “It’s not as fresh, it doesn’t have the same taste and it doesn’t have the same nutrient density in it, so a big part of my enjoyment has just been being able to grow things in my kitchen for all 12 months of the year.” And, of course, to be able to fit a chair or two on her patio once again.

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Group setting benefits novices

LIN MORRISON Peak Contributer

No one is born a gardener. We all have to learn how and practise, practise, practise. The longer we work at it the more we learn. I joined the Powell River Garden Club in 1991 as a very novice gardener. There was so much I didn’t know and wanted to learn. New gardeners can read books and magazines, but somehow, information shared through personal interaction is so much easier to understand and use. The garden club has had many members speak at meetings, and it has been my experience that ev-

eryone is most willing to help and share their experience. At that time the club met at Malaspina College in a small room. I learned to go early in hopes of finding a seat. Then, meetings moved to Max Cameron Secondary School, where we would perch ourselves on the counters of the science lab or on the tables of the art room. Every month I attended, I learned something new, at least new to me. Then meetings moved to the former Inn at Westview, where there were chairs for everyone. All the while, the club’s membership continued to grow, and I continued to learn. I thought I was learning how to garden, but what I was learning through the club was how to be a gardener. It seems gardeners live more in the future than in the present. They are always planning for the next season, looking for the first spring bulbs, anticipating a particular flower’s bloom, starting seeds for next month’s planting, or waiting for crops to ripen. And, always, they are forming ideas of

how to improve things next time and what to change for the next season. They are thinking ahead to how their garden will grow and mature over the years. Gardeners are thrifty people. They will start their own seeds, make compost from scrap and recycle containers into planters. They will grow their own food and coax a maximum yield from their apple trees. Gardeners will bemoan the waste from insect and animal damage and will save seeds for the next year. They also, however, will generously share plants, cuttings, seeds and harvest, and the benefits of their own experience. Of course, all these economies help to justify the extravagance of some special plants. Gardeners are people who like to experiment. They like trying something new: plants, techniques, designs, and they will move a plant three times if need be, before they are satisfied. Gardeners might play with colour combinations, similar to a decorator, or they may randomly sow a

Powell River Garden Club members Diana Wood [left] and Lin Morrison, tend to Wood’s garden in Townsite. NYAH CHRISTIE PHOTO

mix of wildflower seeds just to see a bare patch of ground transformed. Gardeners work hard. When they come in from a stint in the garden they are tired, hot, sweaty and probably have a few insect bites. Their hands will be filthy, but that’s not dirt, that’s soil.

Gardeners work hard but they don’t see it as work. Instead, gardening is a continual challenge to create something worthwhile from our earth, to give something back and to add a bit of beauty for all to share. I am glad to be a gardener.

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Lifestyle changes with move from city Gardening adds to healthier living KATE KATO Peak Contributor

Shane and Kris Carlson make use of an old shed for growing cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Their dog, Luci, helps with garden chores by eating carrots during the thinning process.

When Kris and Shane Carlson moved to Powell River in November 2011, they were concentrating on purchasing a house and were not so focused on the yard. At the ground-floor condo where they lived in Vancouver, Shane had a garden created for Kris as an engagement gift, instead of a ring. “I knew she loved to plant flowers, but that was the extent of our gardening,” he said. Kris liked to go to nurseries and bring home various flowering plants for their garden and enjoyed watching them grow. “Our lifestyle completely changed moving from Vancouver,” said Shane, who was returning to his hometown. For a housewarming gift, they received a pruning session from a local landscaper. “I had no idea what trees we had in our yard, although our realtor did identify raspberry bushes,” said Kris. “I walked around with the landscaper, with a piece of paper and a pencil, creating a map of the trees and what type they were.” Turns out there were three plum trees, two cherry trees, and one apple, fig and nectarine tree. And, indeed, those were raspberry canes, right beside rhubarb plants. The couple also acquired ever-bearing strawberry plants that keep producing most of the spring and summer months. They are kept busy with the ripening process beginning with strawberries in May, then raspberries in June, followed by blueberries and cherries in July, figs and apples in August B5

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B5 Wednesday.March 28.2018 | Powell River Peak » prpeak.com

B4« GARDENING and plums in September. Unfortunately, the nectarine tree has never produced more than seven or eight of the fruit and will be removed this year. “We eat a lot fresh cherries and can lots of jars,” explained Kris, adding that last year was the biggest

crop they have had. They also consume fresh raspberries and Gravenstein apples right off the tree. “I love to eat figs off the tree as well, “said Shane, “but there is no way we can keep up without preserving fruit or freezing it, making applesauce and apple butter, as well as raspberry jam.

It’s satisfying to give some away as well.” Two raised garden beds were located close to their Wildwood house when they moved in. Because the site was not good for growing, after the first year they installed two 16 by four-foot beds near the back of their property. Then they contructed a six square foot bed B6

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Even in March, Kris Carlson harvests kale from raised garden beds as she prepares to plant a new crop of vegetables.

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Back yard provides yearround bounty B5« GARDENING and added a second one the same size last year. “No more trips to wine country during the summer,” said Kris. “Our garden keeps us close to home during growing season.” A small compost area was in the back corner of the yard when they bought the house. Now there is a large gated compost area in the other corner. Composting starts in the kitchen with a Bokashi fermenting system, then moves to the outside. Every year, there is fresh compost to add to the gardens. When Kris and Shane returned home from a cruise several years ago, they

found an old shed had been converted into a greenhouse by Shane’s parents. Transparent panels installed on the roof and removing part of the siding let light in through the plastic. Cucumbers and tomatoes like the growing conditions, as do peppers that are planted in large pots. “Our best birthday present ever,” said Kris, whose birthday is just five days before her husband’s. Shane uses the vegetables and fruits in many ways: juicing, meal preparation and baking. He and Kris bought a canner and a freezer so they have fruits and vegetables available throughout the year. “We make good use of

everything we grow,” explained Shane. That includes peas, parsnips, carrots, kale, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, garlic, broccoli and asparagus. He creates salads, baked goods, stir fry and juice, and uses pulp for muffins. “I like to experiment, trying different recipes, through cooking and baking,” said Shane, “so the more ingredients I can grow myself, the better. I like knowing where my food comes from.” Cookbooks are now read as frequently, if not more so, than novels. Shane grew up with a garden in his family yard. A picky eater at the time, he

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Inside a fenced area he built, Shane Carlson turns over compost from the kitchen in anticipation of adding nutrients prior to spring planting.

would only consume vegetables raw, carrots and peas served in their shells. And he would eat cooked corn on the cob. Kris did not have a vegetable garden at home growing

up but her grandparents did garden. “Mostly flowers though,” she said. It was not until they moved to Powell River that the couple became interested in

growing their own garden produce and taking care of the fruit trees in their yard. “It literally has changed the way we eat,” said Shane, “and we are both healthier as a result.”

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Family constructs dream home pectations throughout the entire Current builders process, and that you are comfortoffer advice to able with the financial obligation residents planning at completion. to create their own Hire the right future abode people MAGGIE ELLWYN Peak Contributor

Live in enough homes and soon you will have a mental list of must haves for your dream home. For many, this idealized list is something carried around subconsciously for life. For others, the idea of having everything they ever wanted becomes a reality as they take on the undeniably challenging yet equally rewarding task of building a house.

The small print Before starting, you must know what you are getting into, both in regard to finances and the process of building itself. Run through the numbers with a financial advisor and ensure you understand the ex-

Ask for builder registration and about the inspection process and warranty information. Discuss both the craftsmanship and the relationship with the builder’s past clients. Your builder relationship should also include a contract to ensure your protection. Aside from finances, this will be the biggest decision you make; ensure you do the footwork to make sure it is the best possible choice for you.

Plan ahead but be flexible Research and be able to communicate a clear idea of what you want before you get started. Whether you choose your blueprints online or work directly with an architect to draw up your own, ensure your plans have all the spaces you want

Workers began making the detailed building plans for the Ellwyn family’s dream home come to fruition in October 2017.

at a scale that works for you and your budget. Keep a binder of printouts, images, notes, samples and paint swatches. Planning ahead is vital, but not getting ahead of yourself is equally so. Be prepared to make quick decisions but also keep in mind the need to remain flexible. Ideals do not always translate to realism, so it is imperative you remain flexible throughout the entire process. Prepare for hurdles along the

way. There will be many moments of compromise; things will get lost in translation and mistakes will be made.

Communicate Ensure you are working with someone you can openly communicate with and who cares not only to hear you but also to understand you and your wishes. It is important to work with someone whose skills and abilities you trust, and with

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whom you feel comfortable asking questions or respectfully challenging something you are not sure is correct or what you have asked for. Assumptions and silence will lead to mistakes and missed opportunities.

It’s in the details If you have created that mental wish list, you have likely added things such as a mudroom, ample storage, a guest room, office space and perhaps a home theatre and B9

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Buying or Selling?

B8« CONSTRUCTION a deck to house a hot tub. These aspects will be built into your architectural plans, but do not forget to give ample thought to the little things. What kind of lighting do you want your home to have? Where should the electrical outlets be placed to best meet your design needs? How do you want your windows to open? Perhaps you want to enhance the view by installing some picture windows. What kitchen layout suits not only the space, but also the usage needs? At what angle will you situate your house on your lot to maximize the view and ease of access? What style of doors and trim match your taste? This is where you truly add personality to your home, so keep all of these considerations in mind.

CALL KAT FOR YOUR REAL ESTATE CHAT!

Ezrey Ellwyn, two, has been a big help to his parents and siblings during the construction stage of their new home.

being built from the ground up. Include your children in the process; take photos that include them at the different stages of construction; have them meet the individuals who are putting your dream together; include them in discussions and allow them to help you make decisions; encourage them to make their own decisions for their individual spaces; model

Include your children In a world where one simply wishes for something and they have it, there are incredible lessons to be learned in watching a home

appreciation for the hard work taking place; encourage them to ask questions and share opinions; and take the opportunity to discuss things such as anticipation and patience. Maggie Ellwyn is a Powell River resident who is building a home with her husband David and children Sidney, eight, Riley, five, and Ezrey, two.

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B10 Wednesday.March 28.2018 | Powell River Peak » prpeak.com

Small space tips

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Have a small room to decorate? Make sure it does not turn out stuffy or cramped by following these space-faking design tips.

Keep it subtle Light-coloured flooring is perfect to make a room look bigger. Avoid carpet, however, as it tends to have the opposite effect. Choose wide tiles or long floorboards and install them diagonally to make walls appear further apart. Use the same flooring throughout your home for a cohesive finish.

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Make sure every nook and cranny receives enough light by including lots of decorative lamps and spotlights in your décor. Nothing beats brightness when it comes to making a space appear larger.

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A mirror placed next to a window tricks the eye into seeing a bigger space while boosting the room’s lighting. A nice mural featuring a vanishing point is another clever way to create the illusion of space.

Keep the design minimal and functional by incorporating plenty of storage and choosing furniture that is transparent or serves more than one purpose.

Sheer and airy wins the Keep a pale, cool race palette. Dress your windows with light, airy textiles to keep visual bulk to a minimum.

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SPRING HOME AND GARDEN 2018

B11 Wednesday.March 28.2018 | Powell River Peak » prpeak.com

Clever ideas for under the stairs Think the space beneath your staircase is lost? Think again. There are 1,001 smart ways to turn it into a useful part of your home, regardless of the configuration of the space. Maximize your living quarters by making good use of the space under your stairs. Here are a few ideas for inspiration.

Big or small, we feed them all

to create storage; you can never have too much. Between kitchen cabinets, alcoves, modular storage units, baskets, and bookshelves and beyond, there is no shortage of options when it comes to neatly tucking away items of all kinds out of sight. You can even turn each individual stair into its own practical drawer.

Have enough storage? Then why not put in a glass display cabinet or some shelves to display souvenirs from your travels, family photos, artwork, or whatever else you’d like to showcase?

Cozy space A well-defined space such as the one under your stairs

is ideal for a home office, a reading nook, a minibar or a cloakroom (with a cubby for each family member, for example), among many other potential uses.

Secret space Hiding a powder room under the stairs is without a doubt an ingenious use of space. A secret playroom is another option that is sure to stir up your little one’s imagination.

Prices have never been higher What is your house worth? Call me today to find out Dawn Adaszynski (NÉE MANTOANI) 604.483.8258

dawnpowellriver.com dawnadaszynski@royallepage.ca royallepagepowellriver.ca

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Storage space Exhibition Take advantage of the space beneath the stairs space

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SPRING HOME AND GARDEN 2018

B12 Wednesday.March 28.2018 | Powell River Peak » prpeak.com

POWELL RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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Springtime renovations?

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tempcohvac.com

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Spring home and garden 2018  

Spring home and garden 2018  

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