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From Food Security to Nutrient Security

I profess to being a kelp collector, a leaf lover, and a compostophile! Autumn weather here on the West Coast has deposited seaweed onto the beach and blown the leaves off the trees, and so it’s time for an annual ritual. The other day I gathered up some of this bounty, added glacial rock dust and Activated EM and started a new compost in a large round wire bin.

Fresh seaweed can also be used directly for mulch, especially under berries and fruit trees, and across the vegetable garden. Easy to break down and with a pleasant look and smell, it is a superb source for plant growth hormone-like substances, and supplies a host of vital micronutrients in the form of trace elements.

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Dare to garden differently with the Organic Gardener's Pantry!

It’s Year 8 for me running the Pantry! Time truly flies when you’re having fun. And I’m having so much fun, thanks to you!

Whenever I get to talk to one of you in person, on the phone, or online, I realize what great persons my customers are.

We make a connection, realize we have the same values and goals, share a laugh. I really enjoy this part of the business!

It’s going to be another grand season. What’s new?

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Bokashi Composting

BokashiI used to think I couldn’t be bothered with bokashi. After all, between my six chickens, a worm bin on the deck, and a two-bin garden compost out back, there really wasn’t any kitchen scraps left to dispose of.

Well… the chickens have all gone to chicken heaven; the worms died after I mistakenly put wet cat litter in their bin (I guess they couldn’t handle the ammonia, poor things, I still feel guilty); and unfortunately the rats have discovered my garden compost bins so I’m currently sending my kitchen waste away with the municipal organics collection system.

While this is far better than the landfill, it does mean extra trucks on the road, emissions from transportation, and energy spent on building and managing large centralized composting facilities. Isn’t there another way? There is: Bokashi composting!

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The Pantry on Community TV - Part 3 of 3

In the third part of my chat with Jack Etkin of Shaw TV's Citizens' Forum here in Victoria, BC, we are looking at organic gardening practices.

Nature always puts the right plant into the right place. So what is the ecological role of those plants we call weeds?

And how can we get away from endless hours doing chores like weeding, or digging, or trimming and cleaning -- and instead enjoy a lush vibrant garden that takes less time and less work with every passing year?

My favourite gardening techniques these days are the "rip-and-flip" and the "chop-and-drop". I also have some tips for organic lawns.

I bet you too will never look at dandelions the same way again!

The Pantry on Community TV - Part 2 of 3

Here is the second part of my chat with Jack Etkin of Shaw TV's Citizens' Forum here in Victoria, BC, about the science and practice of organic gardening.

Having explored the connection between nutrition and health in soil and plants, we are now taking the idea one step further by looking at the ecological role of so-called pests and diseases.

When our plants are not doing well, which are the symptoms and what are the underlying causes? I invite the viewer to consider pests and diseases as helpful messengers, rather than pesky problems.

Initially this perspective really challenged what I thought I knew, but after many years of observation, I find it makes so much sense.

What a relief to shift the paradigm from fighting to cooperation!

The Pantry on Community TV - Part 1 of 3

The Pantry is on TV!

In the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to chat with Jack Etkin of Shaw TV's Citizens' Forum here in Victoria, BC, about organic gardening.

We ended up filming three installments, actually, because there was so much to talk about!

Have fun watching the first episode today. We're looking at the way Nature works in plants and soil, and how everybody gets to eat healthy food as a result of cooperative natural systems.

I hope you enjoy the chocolate cheesecake analogy!

If Your Soil Needs Some Help, Here's Where You Can Find It

Today I would like to introduce you to my friend and colleague Kathleen who is doing some really cool and rather important work! Kathleen is a great person to network with, and that's what this blog is all about.

Her business ties seamlessly into what Phil and I and many others do: We are all passionate about healthy, naturally fertile soil.

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Wood Treatment In Your Organic Garden (Raised Bed, Fence, Deck, Etc.)

EMWhether a tree falls in the forest... or your wooden compost bin falls apart: To Nature, it's the same thing.

The body of a tree, cut up or intact, is a valuable source of carbon and other nutrients, and a whole crew of decomposers large and microscopically small are ready to transform this bounty into food and habitat.

Of course, we would rather preserve a precious resource - actually I'm not even sure if it's okay to call forests a "resource". So what wood treatment options does an organic gardener have for protecting wooden structures?

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