Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Sunday, September 5, 2021
What's Happening behind the SVYCC?
A Food Forest is an edible perennial garden that mimics the layers and patterns found in nature. It has many layers: groundcover, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, trees and vines.
This food forest will be full of berries, fruit, greens, herbs and more, all for the community to enjoy!
We Need Your Help!
We are looking for donations of:
manure and finished compost
rocks (gravel, river rock, beautiful rocks, boulders)
Birch logs and rounds (rotting is ok)
and People Power! Ideas, labour, connections, etc.We are meeting every Wednesday at 5:30 behind the SVYCC (covid protocols in place)
For more info, to get involved, or donate materials
or 250 505 4403
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Imagine a vibrant garden, teeming with colourful life. Birds flitting to and fro. Fluttering butterflies. Busy, buzzy bees on the hunt for nectar. All shapes and shades of green leaves soaking up the sunlight, swaying in the breeze. Trees casting dancing, dappled shadows. Flowers opening themselves to the glory of it all. Worms, centipedes, beetles and myriad other creepie-crawlies burrowing into and emerging from the soil. And the less seen but equally vital world and work of fungi, bacteria and energy, interacting with and supporting every thing...
Would you close your eyes for a moment and enter this garden? Smell the moist earth, feel the sun warm your bare skin, merge the energy of your being with this living example of imperfect perfection...
I mean really, close your eyes for one moment and indulge us both...
And now, tell me, where would this belong in that glorious scene?
Before examining the science or even weighing the pros and cons, I feel my gut calling out its verdict loud and clear, "Covering the earth with woven or thermally bonded polypropylene and polyester, is wrong!" Practically speaking, the majority of the time landscape fabric is unnecessary, and its long term effects are counterproductive and otherwise detrimental.
Let me take you on a neighbourhood garden stroll, featuring landscape fabric in its myriad glories...
Notice here the newly installed beds blanketed in a perfect, fresh-off-the-roll black woven plastic, shining in the sun, the uniformity broken only by a few chosen ornamentals, neatly plunked through cutouts into the earth beneath. Everything looks so tidy, so under control.
Our wild grasses seem to delight in tightly entangling root and rhizome into the haven of nooks and crannies that the fabric provides.
Geotextiles are not only a barrier in relation to the garden ecosystem, but one to the gardener herself. In their presence, transplanting, fertilizing and weeding (yes, you will still end up having to weed) can morph from serene garden tasks to nightmares staved off by dread and procrastination. I'm not exaggerating.
Although careful design and planning helps minimize the need for transplanting, let's face it, there are many plants in our neighbourhood gardens needing to be moved due to light, water, soil or other unforeseen considerations (and that's ok - experiment and learn, people!) Have you ever tried to transplant someone who has been growing amidst landscape fabric for a few years? Below, see the root ball of a shaded out, crowded and deer eaten blueberry shrub needing a new home. A notoriously shallow rooted plant, this blueberry has entangled her roots right into the surrounding geotextile. How do I move her without losing half the root mass? Must I plant a cut-out of root-ridden plastic as well?
With their inks, glues and tape residues, not to mention fungicide sprays for some produce, cardboard boxes are not completely natural. However with a bit of selectivity you can procure a weed barrier that has many advantages over geotextiles: when layered properly, cardboard can effectively smother weeds; earthworms are inexplicably attracted to it; it's recycled, repurposed and free;it's relatively natural and biodegradable; and my favourite part, it will not create a long lasting barrier to the ecosystem (or the gardener), instead rapidly breaking down with adequate moisture, allowing natural garden interactions to reestablish themselves.
I have also experimented with smothering patches of weedy ground with black plastic lumber wrapping from lumberyards. This is a short term (about one year) application, not one buried under mulches and left to become a permanent fixture in the garden. Yes, it is plastic (and unfortunately it's of a quality that tends to degrade quickly and can leave shredded bits in the soil if left too long) but at least it's free and repurposed plastic. Lumber wrapping is far from ideal, but I'd give a "waste" item a second (and third) life before it goes to the landfill rather than buy a new product, any day.
While there are many respectable ways to ease the chore, I encourage you to get comfortable with weeding. It's part of gardening. It can be a quiet time to reflect or let the busy mind empty; a time to personally greet and observe each plant and nook in the garden, a time to listen to the birds and bask in the outdoors; a time to practice more of the postural mainstay of our ancestors: squatting; a time to harvest some minerally and medicinally dense greens; a time to marvel at the irrepressible vitality life on this earth.
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
bite into me
in my tangles
and prick me
with my senses
rough up my skin
steal my breath
sneak into my house
fall over me
and after it all
embrace my body
this is life
and i am alive