Growing Food – Invitation #1

So, you think January is a strange time to be thinking about gardening? Not me. Winter is the only time that I let anyone into my backyard to see my garden. And I am even more likely to make that invitation if there has been a recent snowfall. Then everything looks really pretty.

After sixteen years of living on a boat, my gardening skills were pretty rusty. Since landing on Quadra, my most successful gardening has been overwintering broccoli. Plant in fall; harvest in spring. No weeding. No watering. No pests. During the summer, my garden looks like the oregano is trying to strangle the earwig-infested arugula and the pole beans have an attachment disorder.

During my first winter here, I was innocently buying groceries in the Tru Value in Q Cove, when the cashier asked me if I was planning to have a garden. No one had asked me that in my fifty years of adult life. Subsequently, every social gathering had me cornered by an amateur professional gardener. The depth of gardening knowledge surpasses the aquifer that is being used to water the garden. So, when visitors (rudely, in my estimation) ask to see my garden, I distract them. Suddenly, everyone prefers to go inside and have a nice cup of tea in a room without a view of the backyard.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t value growing your own food. Quite the contrary. However, after five years of attempting to grow various vegetables, I have way too much evidence of the gap between the rosy pictures in my mind and what arrives in my kitchen.

Meanwhile, despite Quadra’s rocky reputation, various farm stands provide samples of gardening success. The Quadra Island Food Guide lists sources of available produce. And there is a healthy underground market where friends and neighbours share and trade the bounty from their gardens.

The QI Garden Club/ICAN Food Security team is hoping to harvest some of this knowledge by promoting the growing of more food. An easy way to do this is to match folks who are willing to share their land or garden with those who would like to garden but do not have suitable space. Those offering land and those offering to garden might fit into either the experienced gardener or the intimidated gardener category. All are welcome.

Disclaimer. The QI Garden Club/ICAN Food Security Team will make the introductions and then you are on your own. We’re posing as a dating website. We’ll provide you with a cheat sheet ie. questions you may want to ask each other prior to any (prenuptial) agreement.

Many Quadrites already have this kind of arrangement, so we are simply offering our help in order to increase the number of gardens, increase the number of people who are able to garden, as well as increase the productivity of the gardens that already exist. Our recent experience with flooding in the Lower Mainland and the disruption to the “supply chain” added to what we already knew to be the tenuous nature of relying on vegetables from California.

If you have land or a garden that would benefit from some energetic gardeners, or if you are one of those potentially energetic gardeners, please send an email to quadraicansociety@gmail.com We will send you some questions to determine your location, what help you are seeking or what help you are able to provide. We will introduce you to someone that we hope will be a good match. Then it will be up to both parties to sow the seeds and watch them grow.

Leona Skovgaard for Jen Banks-Doll (co-chair) and the Garden Club/ICAN Food Security Team.

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