Let's Talk Trash March 2022 - Grow Your Own Garden

Grow Your Own

 

One of the best ways you can cut down on plastic packaging is to grow your own food. On Lasqueti, that’s easier said than done but fruit, vegetables and nuts can thrive here. When you move towards eating fresh, flavourful, nourishing, home-grown food you’ll also experience the rewards of tending a garden. Growing plants connects you to all the creatures that live and visit the space you take care of. Pay attention and be curious.

 

After years of running a small farm operation, I’ve come up with a basic list to help a beginner get growing.

 

Establish your space in an area that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. The more light, the greater the harvest and the richer the taste. Don’t make the area too big to begin with. If you’ve never gardened before, you might be overwhelmed with the amount of work it takes. Most first time gardeners tend to underestimate the amount of time required but overestimate the amount of beds they need.

Build a fence to keep out the sheep and deer and be grateful the wild cows no longer roam Lasqueti - stories of their fence destruction are legendary. There are many ways to build a fence. Cedar posts, T-posts or rebar can be used to for all kinds of fencing, be it wire, or reclaimed fish nets.

Have a source of water. A pond that gravity feeds your garden is ideal but you can also collect water off your roofs or pump into tanks. In your first season, getting water to your site might be the biggest financial investment. 

Enrich the soil. You can buy amendments like horse manure, or make your own compost to nourish your beds. Seaweed and leaves are in abundance at different times of years. Collect them for use as mulch and in your compost bin. The ground loves organic matter!

Plant seeds at the right time. Now, in the beginning of March, you can sow peas, spinach, broad beans, and brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radishes, mustard and arugula). Tomatoes and peppers can be started in a sunny warm window as they need heat to sprout. Empty plastic lettuce containers from your recycling bin are perfect containers for this. Onions, leeks, and lettuce can be sown in flats in a green house. In late March and early April sow carrots and beets and potatoes. Wait for May to plant bush beans, corn, and squash. 

Grow what you like to eat! 

Start a compost bin for your kitchen and garden waste. (More on compost another time). Consider that rats may inhabit an open compost bin if you let them. Some compost bins are more rat resistant, like those made from concrete and some on the market made from metal with screen bases, like the SpeediBin.

Watering deeply once a week is better than frequently watering lightly. If you only water the top bit of soil the feeder roots won’t go deep and your plants will be more likely to experience stress in hot dry conditions. If you are growing in pots you will need to water more often! Water early in the morning and avoid wetting the leaves of the plants if possible as water can magnify sunlight and burn tender leaves. Mulch (straw, leaves, seaweed) is a great tool for reducing evaporation of water and suppressing weeds.

Weed, weed, weed. Pull out the plants you don’t want to eat. If you do it on a sunny day you can leave the plants on the beds and the sun will do the job of turning them back into organic matter.  If it’s wet and rainy, put the weeds (unless they are loaded with seed) in your compost.

Make a map of your garden and track what you’ve planted.  Keep it as a reference - his is to help you rotate your crops. It’s a risky practice to plant the same things year after year in the same spots, as this can increase disease and pestilence.

Don’t be afraid of doing something wrong. Gardening is an experiment -be willing to try and fail. So called failure is one of the best ways to learn. The plants are the best teachers if you pay attention to them, but your neighbours and their gardens are also awesome resources. Ask questions!

 

The more people that get growing locally, the more resilient we become as a community.

 

Notes from Waste Manager Mark: We are planning a tire drive sometime in April. Tires need to be clean and off the rim. Stay tuned for more information.

Trash Removal System:  Feb 9, 2022 the second Wednesday of the month, 10 am until the barge is full at the False Bay barge ramp.  Any changes due to weather will be posted on the email list, FB Lasqueti Hotwire, and the Lasqueti website. No construction materials, renovation or demolition waste, prohibited waste, organics, recyclable material or stewardship materials. $5 per bag, $25 per average truckload. Mattresses and boxsprings $15 each. Please call Mark (250 240 9886) if you have any questions about what constitutes acceptable garbage.

Recycling Depot: Fall/Winter Hours October 1st - March 31st

Mondays 10 am - 2 pm, Thursdays 1 - 5 pm

Closed on Statutory Holidays. All recycling is monitored. Staff are happy to help with sorting questions.

Free Store: Fall/Winter Hours October 1st - March 31st

Thursdays 1 - 5 pm and occasional Mondays

Drop donations during open hours. Useful items only i.e. clean, usable clothing and household items. No: food, garbage, recycling, TV’s, soft foam, mattresses or hazardous materials ie: chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, prescription/non-prescription drugs, or pills in general. There are recycling programs available for some labeled hazardous liquids, all light bulbs/tubes, and prescription medication can be brought to a pharmacy for proper disposal (empty pills into a ziplock bag and recycle bottle at depot after blacking out personal information).

Recycle BC Website: www.recyclebc.ca/what-can-i-recycle

Return-It Beverage Depot open 24/7

Front left of Free Store. It’s not part of Mark’s contract to deal with refundable beverages. He no longer takes glass (beer, wine, hard liquor) containers. Please take these over yourself. He’ll continue to accept aluminum beer, cider, pop cans, coconut water cans, boxed wine cartons (leave them intact) and tetra juice packs. Please leave the caps on and push the straws in. 

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions for me and the qRD Let’s Talk Trash team, please get in touch! jennyv [at] lasqueti [dot] ca or 8601

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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