David Suzuki Foundation's blog
A Chemical Reaction, a documentary telling the story of the first successful Canadian community movement to ban the use of lawn pesticides, is premiering this Friday in Montréal. Check out the trailer below, and if you're in the Montréal area head down to one of these theatres to see the film on the following dates:
Friday, Aug. 28, 5pm. Quartier Latin Cinema Complex, 350 rue Émery, Montréal
Saturday, Aug. 29, 1:30pm, ONF/NFB Theatre, 1564 Saint-Denis St., Montréal
Monday, Aug. 31, 7pm, ONF/NFB Theatre, 1564 Saint-Denis St., Montréal
If you're not in Montréal, keep an eye on your local papers and film festivals for showings.
When: August 27th from 7 – 8:30pm
Where: Capilano Branch Library – Potlatch Meeting Room, 3045 Highland Blvd, North Vancouver
Cancer Prevention & Pesticides
Presented by the Canadian Cancer Society, the District of North Vancouver and expert gardener Arzeena Hamir, this workshop will provide you with information on the non-essential use of pesticides and their links to cancer. With the District of North Vancouver's Pesticide Use Control Bylaw now in effect, this workshop will offer simple steps and tips you can use to manage a lawn or garden without the use of pesticides.
Arzeena Hamir is an Agrologist and the organic gardening expert with CBC Radio's BC Almanac. Come and learn how to enjoy your garden more while spending less money, time, and water looking after it!
Free; please call 604-987-4471 to register.
Garlic that was planted in October was ready to harvest in July. After a couple of days drying in the sun, it is ready. This garlic is incredibly delicious, and, an added bonus, cloves can be saved and replanted in the Fall.
Our garden is really producing this year. This is just the beginning of the tomatoes and cucumbers. We planted five different varieties of tomatoes and two varieties of cucumbers. The Foundation has a salad club and the garden is a continuous source of fresh produce.
When the Fall arrives, the salad club turns into the soup club, and by that time, this pumpkin should be ready.
Along with our cucumbers and pumpkin plants, we also have a variety of acorn and butternut squash plants which are slowly taking over this part of the deck.
These beautiful sunflowers grew from seeds. They are so strong and healthy, we haven't even had to stake them.
This sunflower is over five feet tall. One really important fact that I have learned is it is all about the soil. The best thing you can do for your garden, is use the best soil. Happy gardening!
Three white Echinacea and a few HUGE pink ones were dancing in the breeze when I watered the garden yesterday! They're so beautiful just the sight of them makes you smile. But even better — the butterflies love them AND they can be used to treat or prevent colds as well as to stimulate the immune system. Nature is amazing.
When I was a little girl my room often got a bit messy. The days would go by and the messiness compounded. Eventually, after tripping on something, my mom would rightfully ask me to clean it up.
I'd sit in the middle of the room and try to come up with a plan... hours later my mom would peek in the room. To her astonishment I wouldn't have touched a thing. "What's wrong?" she would ask gently. I replied, "I don't know where to start."
After some of her guidance I would be well on my way. I took pride in the final results and once I had the steps it never bothered me to actually DO the dirty work.
This is the same feeling that I got when I joined the "Garden committee" at the David Suzuki Foundation. I go out to the garden and I see this:
Oh lordy... it is the "messy room" feeling that creeps up. What do I need to do? What is the weed versus plant? Do I cut all of these yellowish stems off? I'm keen, but I've needed that little piece of personal guidance to help me get kick started.
Can anyone tell me what this plant is?
Or this one?
I have been following along with the advice from the "Green Thumbs" and also the many helpful bloggers who have given me some super guidance. I want to give a cheer out to all of you... you have made my "messy room" feeling diminish. I know that many of you out there are either just like me, beginners who are willing to share our experiences, or you are experienced enough to provide some help to those of us who may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Thank you for being there to help out and grow together as a community!
I'll leave you with one piece of guidance (for beginners) that has come to me recently from one of my colleagues: "Anything droopy or brown looking, just pinch it off. That way the energy of the plant goes to producing new blooms instead of trying to save the dying ones. Harsh but effective!"
I live in downtown Vancouver where apartments are small and yards even smaller. But even though I don’t have much space, I have found a few ways to grow fresh produce all season long. Here are two of my favorite new strategies for growing potatoes and greens.
Burlap Bag Potatoes: Go to your local coffee shop and ask for one of their used burlap bags. When you are ready to plant, fill the bag four inches deep with compost. Roll down the sides of the bag until they are level with the soil. Plant approximately 3 potato shoots in the soil and cover them lightly with more compost. As your potato plants grow, cover the new shoots with soil and slowly roll the burlap bag up to meet the new soil level. By covering the shoots, you signal to the plant that it is time to produce more potatoes. By then end of the season your entire burlap bag should be filled with soil and potatoes!
Mixed Greens Pot: Forget everything they ever told you about how far apart you should plant your vegetables. Find a pot about 1foot x 1foot. Fill with good soil. Plant a mix of lettuce, kale, swiss chard and herbs together in close proximity. It will get cramped in the pot but the end result is not only beautiful, it’s tasty too. In the end you will have created lovely edible garden décor.
While my potatoes aren’t yet ready for harvest, I’ve been eating out of my mixed greens pot for months now. Can’t wait to learn more from all of you so that I can try out a few more things next year.
— Akua Schatz
(Second year gardener)
Besides enhancing the natural beauty of our work environment, one of the primary goals for creating the garden was to create a functional space. We wanted an alternative meeting space to our admittedly stuffy indoor boardrooms that would be practical and well-used by staff. So in an attempt to lure more of our co-workers out onto the balcony to show off the fruits of our labour, the DSF Garden Committee hosted a BBQ this week.
Calvin serving up some awesome veggie dogs!
Paul and Katie with an uncharacteristically shy Siobhan...
Staff are starting to use our little urban oasis more and more for informal meetings, tea times, and lunch breaks. Whether it is volunteering for watering duty or donating an old BBQ, it has been amazing to watch our staff really come together to create this fabulous space.
Our next big garden project — besides trying to eat all the lettuce — is to build a picnic table and finish refinishing the patio table and chairs...
Next on the to-do list — chairs!
One of the first herbs to come up in our balcony garden was mint. One of my favorite "green" spa recipes for this easy to grow herb is a lovely foot bath. Here's what to do:
- Pick a handful of fresh mint leaves (any type will do like spearmint or peppermint)
- Cut 5 – 6 springs of fresh rosemary (fresh from the store will do)
- In a saucepan on the stove heat one cup (250 ml) of milk on low heat, add herbs
- After 15 minutes, pour mixture into a big bowl (enough to soak your feet)
- Top bowl up with cool water until you have the temperature you want
- Finally add 6 drops of peppermint essential oil, stir and insert tired feet!
Ingredient low down:
Milk — soothes itchy and dry skin
Peppermint herb and oil — antibacterial, antiseptic helping control the spread of bacteria on the skin's surface. Very refreshing and invigorating.
Rosemary herb — antibacterial and invigorating
— Suzuki's Queen of Green, Lindsay Coulter
See more recipes at queenofgreen.ca
As us folks at DSF were keenly awaiting spring a few months ago, a group of us sat down to start planning our patio garden's rejuvenation. Over the winter we acquired more space, giving us plenty of room to work with and to even include a bunch of patio furniture.
We had to clean up winter's leftovers and prepare the planters for new bulbs. Our late spring gave us glorious tulips, daffodils, and irises. The best was yet to come, however.