Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Annual Strawberry Tea

PLEASE NOTE: THE STRAWBERRY TEA IS POSTPONED UNTIL SUNDAY, JULY 29. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY CONVENIENCE. Next Sunday, June 24, is the 3rd annual strawberry tea, which is a fundraiser for the Tofino Community Food Initiative. Funds go towards the school and community gardens (and our efforts to create more) and other initiates of the TCFI. There's no need to dress up, but fancy hats, flouncy dresses and linen suits are, of course, welcome and encouraged. The event is in the garden at 380 Gibson Street and runs from 2 to 4 pm. This year we are only serving strawberry shortcake and tea (gluten-free and vegan options). We hope you can join us! For more information, contact Adrienne at 250.725.1288.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Great Wall of Surrey

How cool is this? This living wall is just on the boundary of Surrey and White Rock.

I was captivated, so had to circle the block to get some photos without causing an accident. There are little pockets on the wall, each with a plant inside. Some of the Bergenias were blooming.

Here's an article with some more info. and before and after pictures. Quite an improvement, don't you think?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Planting a Strawberry Pot

I have had a strawberry pot for years. I love the look of it, but don't love the fact that it is very difficult to grow good plants in. Watering is always the issue — it's hard to distribute the water throughout the pot. Too much and it just overflows out the pockets. Too little and it never makes it throughout the pot. So thanks to You Grow Girl for these tips on planting strawberry pots that work. (There is a great tip for watering at the end of the post.)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Advice for Starting Your Seedlings

Some great advice here on starting your own seedlings, from the blog Garden Wisdom.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mid-March Garden

I took some photos a few weeks ago, showing what's going on in my garden (and in my kitchen). Of course this was the year that I really got on the early seeding in indoor flats and just as a few things needed to be hardened off, the snow, sleet, hail and horizontal rains came (and stayed for a week). We seem to be back to rain now, so I'm starting to harden off some oriental greens, lettuce and peas to go into the garden (most under plastic or cloches for a bit yet) by the weekend. Wish me luck! Gardening is always a bit trial and error, but they're only seeds. They can be restarted.

My stalwart rhubarb bed that seems to hang in there every year despite having to deal with the shade and roots from a nearby "hedge" of cedar. I gave them a good mulch of alder leaves this winter and have fed them a few times with manure.

Greenhouse harvest! These radishes were planted last fall and just put on a nice growth spurt. Very tasty; not too woody.

Greens in the greenhouse: arugula and tenderheart (an oriental green, I believe). I have some other small lettuces starting to grow well in the greenhouse as well as mizuna in the garden.

This was the first winter for my little lemon tree. It seemed to survive just fine, despite the cold snaps and the greenhouse being blown apart a few times. I harvest 3 lemons from the tree (which is how many blooms there were on the plant when I bought it). It needs a good fertilize and perhaps a larger pot, but I'm eager to see what it will get up to this year.

I am a firm believer that the biggest challenge we have here is not so much the lack of sun, but the abundance of rain. I usually try to cover beds I'm about to plant with plastic (or glass) for a week or so beforehand. Then, once the seeds or seedlings are in, I also keep the beds covered until I think they are well-established. After that, I keep a close eye on the beds and when excessive rain or wind is on the way, I cover them up for a bit. I also have a small portable cold frame (about 3'x4') that I move around and an old window that I use to cover newly seeded sections of the beds.

Of course the kale is hanging on. This is Lacinato. I'm using most of the kale in juices and green smoothies at the moment as there will be new greens soon! Other plants in the outdoor garden include fava beans and garlic (both planted in the fall and looking well), a few stalwart beets and mizuna.

This year I have done a lot of seeding indoors. It helps that only two of us are at home at the moment, so most of the kitchen table, the sunny window seat and a table downstairs (with my first grow lights) are taken over by seedlings. Here's what I've put in:

leeks, sui choi, artichoke, fennel, broccoli (two varieties), lettuce (two varieties), collards, cauliflower (two varieties), several varieties of flowers (calendula, lupine, cosmos, sweet peas, etc.) I also sprouted peas and fava beans in moist paper towels. This worked very well and all of the sprouted seeds are now in peat pots and I'm hardening off the peas already, with some going in the garden this weekend. (The first batch were planted a few weeks ago in my cold frame.)

Outside, under glass, I have seeded: arugula, corn salad, kale, collard, radishes, carrots (a bit early; but they're only seeds!) and oriental greens (Gai Lan).

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

West Coast Compost

If you don't have a compost pile, it's time to start one. There are lots of resources on-line, but for starters, here's a great list of 80 things you can compost.

And something I learned the other day is about the ratio of browns to greens. (Browns meaning leaves, wood, paper, cardboard, lint, etc. Greens are kitchen scraps, green grass, etc.) My ratio has been way off. I think I might even have had more greens than browns, but apparently (thanks Josie O.) the ratio of browns to green can be as high as 25:1. So my project this week is to start stock-piling more browns.

What are your composting tricks?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Putting the Community in Community Gardens

Wow - what an inspiration the town of Tahsis is! Check out what a group of people accomplished in their community garden on a rainy Saturday (that would be yesterday).

Three of us met to do a little bit of digging in Tofino's first community garden at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. We turned in the fall rye and had a tour of where the new garden beds will be. The wood should arrive soon and we hope to construct the boxes for the beds in the next week or so.

If you are interested in a community garden plot, here are the details:

Eight 4' x 6' (1.2m x 1.8m) plots are available at the community garden site in the Tofino Botanical Gardens (TBG). Plots are available for a one-year lease and come ready to plant with access to garden tools and water. (The annual lease fee of $75 also includes a one-year membership to the TBG.) Preference will be given to people without secure access to garden space. Gardeners must make a one-year commitment and sign a user agreement. If you are interested in a plot, please contact the TCFI at tofinolocalfood@yahoo.ca by March 11.

A meeting of all community garden plot owners will take place at the end of March or early April. A soil preparation workshop/work bee will take place April 15th, so please be prepared to attend this.