Gardening

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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Fall and Farmer’s Markets

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Food, Gardening | 2 comments

Fall and Farmer’s Markets

Here at Local Loves Nanaimo, we love farmer’s markets, and it seems like everyone we talk to these days does too! There were so many farmer’s markets happening all over Vancouver Island this summer and especially Nanaimo. Luckily, for those people who either worked all summer or hid in their houses playing video games, crops keep growing all year round and provide luscious fruits and veggies well into the fall. The Downtown Farmer’s Market, the Bowen Road Farmer’s Market, the Cedar Farmer’s Market and the Lantzville Farmer’s Market are all open well into...

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Winter is Coming, Plant now!

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Food, Gardening | 3 comments

Winter is Coming, Plant now!

Even though our yards are parched from the summer heat, it’s time to start thinking about winter, your winter garden, that is. When we moved to the Island in June 2011, we promptly got our vegetable garden started. One month later, we found out that you can grow veggies throughout the winter. We had heard West Coast gardening expert, Linda Gilkeson speak, and learned where to start. We raced to all the garden centres to see what plants were left. THE CONCEPT The whole idea of growing vegetables in winter sounds crazy, especially if you are from the prairies. We were pleasantly...

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Tomayto? Tomawto?

Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in Food, Gardening | 3 comments

Tomayto?  Tomawto?

Wouldn’t you agree that there is nothing like a sweet, ripe, home-grown tomato? They are precious to everybody who grows them, whether you have a whole field of them, or just one container on your balcony. Growing tomatoes on Vancouver Island can be a bit tricky, as the nights are cool. Just like peppers and melons, tomatoes like heat. Many people here grow them in their greenhouses and never put them into the ground. We don’t have a greenhouse, so decided to try a new experiment this year. My husband built a ‘hoop house’, out of PVC piping, some left-over plastic sheeting and a...

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It’s a Slug Fest!

Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Gardening | 4 comments

It’s a Slug Fest!

You’ve seen them. You’ve probably sworn at them. Every gardener’s nemesis, beware the Great Gray Garden Slug – Limax maximus. ‘Slug’ is the common name for any apparently shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusk. Have you ever heard of the Society for the Protection and Care of Slugs? NO! When it comes to protecting your valuable vegetable garden, there is no messing around with these guys. It’s all out war! There are many commercial and homemade ways to trap and kill slugs, but to be effective, you can’t use just one of them. If you’re going to annihilate slugs, it’s...

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Gardening is Seedy Work

Posted by on Jan 15, 2013 in Gardening | 2 comments

Gardening is Seedy Work

“The Seed Catalogues are here!” That used to be a special moment when we lived in cold, snowy Alberta. All cozy in our house, we would comb through them and circle beautiful flowers, dog ear the pages, and have sticky notes everywhere. Not anymore. Here on Vancouver Island, we discovered Seedy Saturdays. Instead of flipping through catalogues, we now wander around a huge hall and actually talk to people about their seeds, usually heritage seeds. These events are an incredible education in organic gardening with workshops, displays and seed exchanges, all focused on promoting local...

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War and Peace in the Garden

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Gardening | 5 comments

War and Peace in the Garden

We didn’t buy any fruit or veggies between May and the end of September. Okay, we did pick twenty pounds of strawberries at the organic farm, because you can’t have enough strawberries. Oh, and maybe a few garlic heads because, well, you can never have enough garlic. But honestly, we savoured our own fresh produce for months, and enjoyed giving many care packages to friends and family. We are still picking fresh items and will continue to harvest things throughout the winter. My husband and I moved here just over a year ago with the intention of becoming somewhat self-sustaining. Between...

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