Keep Calm, Stay Well, And Garden On

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Dame Judy’s Passion For Trees

I hope your holiday season has been as quiet, peaceful and relaxing as mine! Winter is a time when I catch up on sleeping, eating with friends, strolling along the breakwater, and spending a whole lot of quality couch time with the cat. I finally get to read some of those books and magazines that have been piling up all year, and, I’ll admit, I watch a lot of TV. Naturally, some of my favourite shows are — nature documentaries! 

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If You’re Growing Cannabis

Before October 17, 2018, people would sometimes approach the subject in a roundabout way; “Which of your products do you recommend for growing medicinal herbs in indoor containers?” (Wink wink, nudge nudge.)

Now that Canadian adults can legally grow up to four cannabis plants per household, the questions are more direct. And while general opinions on the topic naturally differ, I appreciate your desire to grow your plants organically in a safe and healthy way, be it for recreational or for medicinal use, or indeed both. After all, who wants toxic pesticide residue on something they smoke, ingest, or put on their skin? The reasons for growing organic weed are not so different from choosing organic food, really.

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A Tale of Three Bees

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to get a seat in a two-day Pollinator Steward workshop, hosted by Pollinator Partnership Canada and the Island Pollinator Initiative. It was an eye-opener.

I came away with so much more respect not only for the celebrated honey bee, but also — and even more so — for its humble cousins, the wild pollinators of all sorts. Assuming most of us already have the basics of “pollinowledge”, I thought I’d share some fascinating and thought-provoking background information that was news to me.

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Feedback, Compliments, and FAQs

Today I feel like tooting my own horn! Over the years, many of you sent me great feedback, charming compliments, and more than one “frequently asked question”. In this blog I’d like to share some of them. Enjoy!

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Hilarity In The Grocery Isle (and what flies have to do with it)

Have you ever chuckled at the sight of suggestive appendages on carrots? How about extra limbs on parsnips? Knobby looking potatoes, gnarly peppers folded in on themselves? Misfit fruit and vegetables range from the grotesque to the bizarre — and sometimes the belly-laugh funny!

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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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Drink your probiotics, wash your bits, and go easy on that sanitizer!

I burst out laughing the other day when an order came in for a liter of fish fertilizer and a bar of soap. How appropriate!

It’s true, that liquid fish can get pretty smelly, especially now at the height of summer. And yes, my wonderful, locally made, plant-based soap (now discontinued) is perfect for getting the fish smell off your hands.

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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!