It's been all about trees (mulching, inventory, watering, labelling, tagging, staking...) around here for the last 60 days. But in the background is my constant rhythm of work involving the growth of food which must nourish us amidst our projects' trials and errors. Our vegetable garden provides us with something for our dinner table 10 months a year, even… Continue reading Our Garden of Eatin’
The Styrian pumpkin (Curcubita pepo var. styriaca) is not your run of the mill jack-o-lantern garden product. For those of you familiar with my rant - you can stop here. For everyone else, please read on. The sight of hundreds of green gourds splashed with orange stripes in a late summer field is pure farm art. The bees adore the rich… Continue reading A Growing Affair
It's been a bit 'nutty' trying to source local edible chestnut cultivars. What was once the most popular source of starch in the Americas (twice the amount of a potato), the humble chestnut, or 'bread tree' has never fully recovered from the devastating Asian blight that wiped out this staple food in the early 20th century. We'll never… Continue reading Chasing Chestnuts
Take one giant "tea bag" (a large coffee bean sack). Loosely fill with 10 lbs of fresh cut stinging nettle (Urtica dioca) roots, stems leaves, whatever you've pulled out WITH GLOVES. Immerse in a 200 litre rain barrel. Use a small aquarium bubbler (battery powered or electric) to constantly aerate the tea. After 24 hours remove the… Continue reading Mother’s Day Tea
The cashier at our village grocery store was staring at my hands while I fumbled for my wallet at the till. It wasn't until later in the day, back at the farm while unloading the groceries that I noticed what she must have been staring at. My hands looked...well worn. Dirt was clearly visible in the nail beds, under my nails and in creases in my skin around my knuckles. Creases I didn't think I had. She would not have known that I was in the midst of a tree planting frenzy, and not just lazy. What would my mother say?! I should have recommended this movie to the cashier...
When most gardeners or farmers think about bee-friendly crops, bee-balm; borage; buckwheat, clover and alfalfa come to mind. Here in the gulf islands, we rely on road sides covered in Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) to feed our honey bees with enough nectar to produce a honey crop. In our agroforestry project, we've incorporated a subtle undertone… Continue reading Bees Need Trees
Phase One of this project was to plant at least 50 of the 250 nut trees the first spring of 2012. A small first order of 56 bare root nut trees (walnut, heartnut and pecan) were ordered from Grimo Nut Nursery and delivered right to our door in 6 days via ground transport. I was expecting… Continue reading The Giving Trees
This is our first of what will be many (insomnia curing) posts about our beloved agroforestry demonstration project on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. We officially started 'breaking ground' in April 2012 and will be working for the next 19 months to transform our 2 acre field of weeds into a diverse organically managed nut grove that… Continue reading Here We Grow…