Friday, February 28, 2014

Have You Petted Your Micro Greens Today?

Did you know micro greens like to be petted? This was just one of the great tips we got from Heather and Cathy during their talk on Tuesday evening.

Running your hand over them strengthens them and helps them grow into vigorous and healthy plants. You could also put a gentle fan on them but not nearly as much fun. These shoots have 20-50 times the nutrients of the mature plant and only take two to three weeks to grow. Sounds like an excellent way to eat well during the winter months.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fertilizer Update

If you have a fertilizer order but could not make it to the meeting yesterday there is still time to hand it in. Because of the weather the deadline has been extended to Saturday March 1st. Drop your forms and cheques off at Coast Realty, 4766 Joyce Avenue.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Change Of Topic And Fertilizer Orders

You may have noticed a change in the topic for next weeks meeting. The supplies for water garden features have not come in yet, so we have changed to a more timely topic for February.
The same excellent speakers, Heather and Cathy from Mother Nature are still on board, so we can look forward to an enthusiastic presentation on growing microgreens.

Microgreens are tiny, delicate and incredibly flavourfulsalad greens. They are an easy and economical way to grow your very own vitamin packed fresh food all year round. They can be used as toppings for salads, sandwich ingredients and fancy toppings and garnishes
Unlike sprouts, that are germinated and grown in water, microgreens are started in soil, and harvested at the seedling size.  Because they are grown in soil and do not need to grow quickly (like sprouts), the possibilities are nearly endless. Everything from basil to carrots to sunflower microgreens can be grown, adding a new dimension to home-grown harvests.

Note: Bring your fertilizer orders and a cheque to the meeting on Feb 25. Orders will be taken in the kitchen.  The updated form was attached to the newsletter.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sweet peas

One way or another it will soon be time for sweet peas.

westcoast seeds

Garden Making magazine has a good article on them in this month's issue.

Garden Making spring 2014 cover

Sunday, February 9, 2014


File:Snow drop.JPG

Do you have snowdrops in your garden? Let us know when they begin to bloom.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Welcome Harvest Farm

Dave Murphy of  Welcome Harvest Farm gave a comprehensive run down of his 100% organic fertilizer products at the Jan 28th meeting.
Dave Murphy

The topics ranged from promoting biologically active matter in the soil, choosing the correct formula and sustainability of the soil. He even gave us tips on how to store the bountiful harvest we will enjoy if we follow his instructions. Take note-he offers his products at a discount for Garden Club members. Updated forms were emailed to members. If you haven't received one please contact the club. Take a look at his website for product information and useful advice on how to grow a wide variety of plants. Dave finished up by inviting each and every one of us to visit his farm on Texada Island. It sounds like a fun outing. Contact him via his website.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fruit Fly 1

FRUIT FLY BULLETIN #1  (Nov 6, 2013)


Hello to Everyone on our 'Fruit Fly Distribution List'.

As we stated at the public meeting, we will send out timely information to talk you through your first season of systematically combating the spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) and the cherry fruit fly (CFF).

First: Thank you for your interest and support! You are the key to controlling these dangerous invasive pests that have infested our area.

 AUTUMN CLEANUP. You may want to save these instructions for future reference.
Here are autumn clean-up strategies for trees and bushes infected with SWD and CFF (use any and all that apply):

1. Don't move any suspected host fruit from your property. You are just spreading the infestation further and further. The local land fill is not set up to handle invasive species. You will just be spreading it by putting it in your garbage. Dumping blackberry canes in the bush is the SINGLE WORSE THING you can do, as you will be carrying the infestation into our wild fruits.

2. Begin a rigorous garden clean-up. If you had grubs in your fruit this year, you will already know you must be very careful. CFF hosts on cherry trees, and SWD host on so many fruits and were very active until recently.

3. Pick all fruit left on trees and bushes.

4. Pick up all fruit from the ground. Both CFF and SWD survive Ontario’s harsh winters. Frost slows them down, but does not kill all of them.

5. Cut off all canes with dried fruit hanging on them.

6. Ensure infected and suspected fruit and eggs are no longer a threat as follows (depending on the quantities):
- put the fruit in the freezer for 48 hours to kill any grubs
- boil the fruit (for grubs and eggs) in a pot on your stove
- cook them in the microwave
- bake them in the oven

7. Bag the cooked fruit, and put in your garbage. This is the safest disposal. Want to compost? See #8 below.

8. Composting: The cooked/frozen fruit can be safely composted under the following conditions: bury the fruit DEEP, away from the air, in the centre of your compost where the worms will work, but nothing else can get to it. The cooked fruit will ferment in the open air on top of your compost pile, attracting those fruit flies that may be still alive and lurking nearby!

9. Bury the infected or cooked/frozen fruit in a deep hole, so they can't burrow out (a hole at least 2 feet deep, 3 feet deep is safer).

10. Put the infected fruit in a plastic bag, add some leaves to help it decompose, and seal it. Stash it somewhere on your property until the contents decompose MAKING SURE THE BEARS, RACCOONS, CROWS AND RAVENS CANNOT GET TO IT AND TEAR IT OPEN! Now that the weather is cold, you will have to leave it for several months. When it has finally turned into compost, it can be safely used. Although you could put it around your plants, it is better to bury it, or put it into your compost bin to go through the usual cycle.

11. Burn infected canes and fruit in a bonfire. Within the city limits, we can have outdoor fires in November. Be sure the fire is hot! A smoldering fire will not kill the flies and/or grubs right away, and may give them time to move to a cooler, safe spot.

12. Chop into lengths and burn infested branches or canes in your wood stove or fireplace. Be sure to store these canes out of doors! If they are infected and you bring them into shelter, that will allow eggs and grubs to hatch on your protected porch or woodshed, and inside your house!

Did you have infested cherry trees?

CFF pupates in the ground under the tree over the winter. Here is the recommended IPM after you have disposed of the ruined and windfall fruit:

1. Mulch all the tree leaves under the tree out to the drip line.

2. Cover the ground with heavy plastic, anchoring it well at the edges, and tucking it tightly around the trunk. Do not use landscape fabric or mill cloth. Both are permeable, and will allow the tiny flies to get out. Plastic will kill off the majority of the larvae in spring when it pupates into the fly and it tries to emerge from the ground. If you choose to tape the plastic around the tree trunk, it is not wise to leave the tape in place after the weather warms up, as this can create an environment for rot and encourages other pests against the bark.

3. Budget for professional pruning and / or spraying (we will talk about these options next week).

Later in the season, we will discuss how to deal with ground-covers and plastic for next spring and summer
Please spread the word to you neighbours and friends, encouraging them to contact me to get on our confidential e-mail list. You are the real force behind control of these pests, and establishing safe disposal sites as laid out by the British Columbia Invasive Species Council.

The garden club and master gardeners are hoping to make this a joint venture of all the public agencies and private associations and stake holders for the mutual benefit of area farmers, home gardeners, wild fruit harvesters and wine makers, and our environment.

(I just read all this out aloud to my husband, and he said he is glad he is not a fruit fly!)

All the best,
Margaret Cooper (and Jo-Ann Canning)

Fruit Fly 2

FRUIT FLY BULLETIN #2  (Nov. 12, 2013)

Fruits susceptible to Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD)

While you are finishing up your garden's autumn clean up, don't forget to give special attention to your fruit canes and trees. If you are not sure, here is the list of fruits susceptible to SWD.

According to the BC Ministry of Agriculture:

In British Columbia, spotted wing drosophila has been confirmed infesting:
- strawberry (Fragaria)
- crabapple (Mallus)
- plum (Prunus) – including Italian prune plum
- cherry (Prunus)
- Raspberry (Rubus) -- the first choice, and most susceptible to attack
- Himalayan blackberry (Rubus)
- loganberry, tayberry, boysenberry
- blueberry (Vaccinium)
- peach, nectarine, apricot (Prunus) -- though not a first choice
SWD is suspected in:
- hardy kiwifruit (Actinidia)
- grapes (Vitis) -- especially soft-skinned varieties or if skin is broken
- fig (Ficus) -- can be infested when conditions are right, or like grapes, if the skin is broken.
Berries in the Ribes genus are also susceptible:
- currant
- jostaberry

Wild hosts confirmed as infested in Coastal B.C. include, or susceptible here because they have been infested in other areas with similar growing conditions:
- saskatoon (Amelanchier)
- dogwood (Cornus kousa)
- salal (Gaultheria shallon)
- wild honeysuckle (Lonicera)
- Oregon grape (Mahonia)
- mulberry (Morus)
- Indian plum (Oemleria)
- wild Prunus species (Indian plum, wild cherry, etc.),
- black cap raspberry (Ribes)
- currant (Ribes)
- wild rose hips (Rosa)
- trailing blackberry / dewberry (Rubus)
- salmonberry (Rubus)
- thimbleberry (Rubus)
- elderberry (Sambucus)
- wild cranberry (Vaccinium)
- red huckleberry (Vaccinium)
- wild blueberry (Vaccinium)

SWD does not attack:
- apples
- pears
- tomatoes
However, they will lay their eggs in these fruits if the skin is broken. Do a thorough autumn cleanup of these fruits because they can offer breeding sites.


Himalayan blackberry are the bridge crop that will re-infect both domestic fruits and carry it into our wild berries. Here are some control strategies:


-Remove all fruiting canes and old fruit and burn them in a hot bonfire this autumn.
-If you are renting, ask your landlord to manage the stands. Blackberries fruit on the second year’s wood.
- If you are not harvesting your HB stand, but still want them as a hedge or barrier, here is an ongoing strategy:

1. Minimize possible SWD infestation by cutting down and burning the whole stand this
autumn / winter.

2. HB fruit on second-year wood. Next year, before they fruit, CUT THEM DOWN IN
EARLY SUMMER. Within a month or so you will have more than half the stand back
again. If you keep cutting each year, the canes will always be first year growth – nice
hedge but no fruit.

If you have a susceptible tree that is too big to pick or cover, please consider the following:

- Hire someone to pick it clean, and offer to share the harvest, or

- Budget to have it removed this winter or next spring before fruit sets.

Wild and neglected fruit trees can sabotage the efforts of getting SWD under control.

If you wish to keep the tree:

-Reduce the height of the fruit trees to a manageable height so fruit can be picked. If the tree is quite large, it will take a few pruning cycles (ie years) to get down to the desired height.

-Talk to a certified arborist, like John Meilleur of Ferns to Firs, to help to you with information and schedules. This type of pruning is done in the dormant season. John is making the SWD challenge a business priority. Email him at or telephone 604-483-7774 or website

Margaret and Jo