Gardening

There’s A Frog In My Fridge!

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Food, Gardening, General | 3 comments

There’s A Frog In My Fridge!

We used to offer farm stays to foreign travellers when we owned an acreage in Victoria; many people from around the world stayed with us over the years. I’ll never forget the day I opened the fridge to find a large taped brown box inside. Upon enquiring as to what this was, a young man from California sheepishly informed me that there was a frog in the box. At first I merely laughed him off, responding that he could “pull the other leg as it had bells on it”.   “Ask your husband. He told me to do it!” he replied. Upon further enquiry my husband told me that Dustin had found an...

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A Garden of Memories

Posted by on Jun 18, 2017 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Gardening, General | 0 comments

A Garden of Memories

They say ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and it seems this can apply to gardens too. As I take stock of all the plants from friends’ gardens, I realize that what I have is a garden full of memories. They go back to my earliest days when I had a gardening business in Victoria called Forget Me Not Gardening, and I was taking care of 30 gardens. That meant I got to know my plants pretty fast, and some were more arresting than others.   Margaret Gordon was a 95-year old spinster living in the same house she had grown up in, in Oak Bay. One day I walked into her backyard where the...

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My Garden Decor

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in Art, Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Gardening, General | 0 comments

My Garden Decor

Even when your thumb is not particularly green, you can have an intriguing garden– certainly one with more personal, perhaps nostalgic, history behind it than the heirloom rose in the corner. Not to knock the roses though, because my robust and invasive Rugosa, covered with scented blooms, carries with it a story of the Alaska Highway. But back to those garden specimens that have sprouted without roots and need no pruning or fertilizing. Probably the first of these is an ancient cast iron Franklin fireplace. While directing its placement in a corner by the hedge of my present yard, my husky...

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Gardening in a Changing Climate

Posted by on Apr 30, 2017 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Gardening, General | 0 comments

Gardening in a Changing Climate

Is it just me or has it been looking pretty bleak outdoors? I know every tim I see the sunshine I soak it up like a starved person. This winter has been just plain depressing, colder with more snow and rain and less sun than ‘normal’. It seems to me there is no normal anymore. Once the weather gets messed up you have to take what you get, but it can play havoc on some peoples livelihoods, and it definitely affects the rhythms of food production. That’s what it’s been like for farmers and growers over the years, with climatic conditions changing to longer cooler spring seasons. With...

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If Winter Comes …

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Gardening, General | 0 comments

If Winter Comes …

January, the winter month with probably the most shivery feelings involved, this year being no exception, is a month with a dual personality. Even the harsh sound of the month’s name grates on one. But January took its name full of stern consonants from a two–faced god so it does have some redeeming features.      The god Janus, supposedly adopted from the Greeks and given a Roman name, is sculpted, painted, and carved as a stern figure whose head looks in two opposite directions, backward and forward. He was known to preside over conflicts and wars; the gates of Roman cities were...

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hOMe Grown Living Foods

Posted by on Dec 14, 2016 in Business, Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Food, Gardening, General | 0 comments

hOMe Grown Living Foods

Not many people can say they have successfully built their company by putting lifestyle before profit. However Shani Cranston and Willy McBride, of hOMe Grown Living Foods, are an example of a local business that has managed to balance their entrepreneurial spirits with a deep reverence for Mother Nature. “Nourishing people is our passion, and living a balanced life is one of our core values,” explains Shani, Chief Formulator for hOMe Grown.  It is truly impressive how much Shani is invested in her work. She started producing her delicious and healthy snacks over eight years ago after...

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Keep Super Computer Humming

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Food, Gardening, General, Health & Wellness | 0 comments

Keep Super Computer Humming

It’s a fact that as you get older bodily functions slow down and parts don’t work as well as they once did. As I approach my ‘golden years’ I want to make sure that the years ahead are indeed golden, so I recently signed up for a one year diploma at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Nanaimo. I support their credo that the body is qualified to heal itself with a healthy whole foods diet and good lifestyle choices and I want to find out more. The 80:20 ratio of healthy to not that healthy works best for me. Fanaticism is no fun. It is recommended to limit intake of...

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Code’s Corner Organic Farm

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Food, Gardening, General | 0 comments

Code’s Corner Organic Farm

 Farming with a purpose .  Certified as an organic farm, Code’s Corner is run by the very energetic and charming Denise Code and her husband Bill. Denise, a former dietitian and Bill, a doctor, are very passionate about what they are doing. It is little wonder that health and well-being are what drive their farming philosophy; they have made it their vocation to provide healthy organic food to the residents of the Cowichan Valley. Code’s Corner Organic Farm’s journey started in 1993, when the couple decided to move to Vancouver Island. They named the 7 and ½ acres farm after...

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On The Garden Path

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Food, Gardening, General | 1 comment

On The Garden Path

The Season for Winter Squash. We know fall has arrived when piles of colourful squash start gathering at the roadside stands. Last year I enjoyed spectacular display at McNabs Farm, where Farmer McNab told me he was growing 100 different varieties of squash, 50 of which were pumpkins, and that he had shopped the world for the seeds. I was quite amazed to discover them sold out by end of the growing season – Canadians sure love their squash! We grew a good selection of winter squash on the farm this year – butternuts and buttercups, spaghetti and acorn, red kuri, Turk’s turban,...

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“Dear Little Buttercup”

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Gardening, General | 0 comments

“Dear Little Buttercup”

With a quote from Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore many a gardener could well agree: “I’m called Little Buttercup – dear little buttercup, though I never could tell why”. It’s that word ‘dear’, likely the very last adjective to come to mind as on hands and knees, we try to extract, eradicate, and remove forever the creeping scourge of Ranunculus repens. Although the buttercup has its tame and cultivated cousins, it’s the one that fills our spring fields and garden beds that earns the title of an aggressive major weed. A favourite walk down the back lane where I can...

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 Fresh from the Cowichan Valley!

Posted by on Jun 18, 2016 in Business, Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Food, Gardening, General | 0 comments

 Fresh from the Cowichan Valley!

The 8 ½ Acres Farm is located just North of the Highway 18, this family farm has it all. Mike Shelten and Talyn Martin grow various seasonal fruits and vegetables all year long. Among their usual products you may find garlic scapes, greens and beans, berries, herbs and many more! Although farming isn’t an easy job and working in this line of business means constantly facing new and unpredictable challenges, adapting to fluctuating weather conditions, and working long hours, these charming farmers enjoy the lifestyle farming offers. The fact that they are able to spend their days...

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Lawn to Food

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Business, Featured Slider Posts, Food, Gardening, General, Health & Wellness, Lifestyles | 0 comments

Lawn to Food

It’s a very unsuspecting location to find Lynda Smith’s business. In the middle of a Comox neighborhood where homes sit on lots not much larger than a quarter acre, an active vegetable farm is in production year-round. Lynda, founder and operator of Lawn to Food, is immersed in a small business that not only brings fresh, organic and plentiful food to her family’s table, but allows her to educate and coach others to do the same all while sharing the fruits of her labour for others to enjoy. “We had always gown food but I was always the one doing it and the one preparing it and I...

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Time To Think Spring

Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Current Posts, Featured Slider Posts, Gardening, General | 0 comments

Time To Think Spring

The seed catalogues have been here for a month. You might be spending evenings in the rocker by the fire, but as you start dreaming and flipping pages, drawing up backyard maps, planning and deciding, checking those boxes of saved or leftover seeds, you may come to the realization that the months of dirty fingernails are not far away. And … “SEEDY SATURDAY” is just around the corner. This year’s “Seedy” in Qualicum Beach will bloom on Saturday, February 6, from 10:00 AM till 3:30 PM at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, filling all the halls and overflowing outdoors, as usual. Many...

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Safety In My Garden

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Gardening, Lifestyles | 3 comments

Safety In My Garden

I have to thank Peggy Grigor and her Island Woman piece of March 23rd, “Lessons in My Garden” for finally getting me busy on this article! Her thoughtful thoughts remind me of that line from the Prophet Muhammad: “If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one of them and buy hyacinths for my soul.” In the interests of keeping body and soul together, I want to offer some tips to help us enjoy not only the planting of those hyacinths (and peonies, and asters …) but their bloom to come. Gardening is fun, but it’s also work, and it can nag at us if we get behind in the caring for...

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Lessons In My Garden

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Gardening, Lifestyles | 2 comments

Lessons In My Garden

We have been blessed with an unusually warm and sunny spring this year. Have you ever experienced such a wonderful February and March? (My apologies to those who don’t live on the West Coast – but I really can’t help bursting with the joy of it all!) It’s been such a bonus to get into the garden and get a head start on all the spring cleanup. My weeding is well in hand, pruning in good order and transplanting finished for the most part. Now I am free to just be outside, enjoy the fruits of my labour and relax as I watch nature blossom before my very eyes. Time in the...

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Growing food … not lawns

Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Gardening | 6 comments

Growing food … not lawns

I have been teaching horticulture for nearly thirty years and by now have racked up almost fifty years of practical experience in growing things. My mom Rita, was a great gardener, and always had the first beautiful ripe tomato on the block. Some of my fondest memories as a child include grinding home grown onions, tomatoes, and peppers with a hand grinder attached to a wooden bench in the kitchen to make salsa. We always knew grinding onions would make us cry, and that made us laugh. Many years and many gardens later, I still grow tomatoes, onions, and peppers, and I am still making salsa,...

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