From the garden

A few years ago, when our last daughter left for university, things started to feel different around the farm. For 25 years we all had worked hard to clear the land, build a good sized greenhouse, collect and haul the fertilizer provided mainly by the chickens and llamas. The chickens free ranged in the garden area and all around the property during winter scratching and pooping as they went. During the summer months the chickens lived in their coop and house otherwise they'd fly over the fences and feast on the garden. The llamas doubled as lawnmowers and fortunately have the innate habit of pooping in only one area making collection easy.

Of course we always had at least one dog and often more than one cat. The cats jobs were rodent control and snuggly companionship. The dogs were our best friends. They graciously accepted us into their pack, they chased away bears, raccons, and prowlers with unequaled pride. We never could have had the life we loved without our animal friends helping us.

Fortunately, as the place started to feel to big and the chores started to feel like work, along came a young family whose energy and good vibes made me realize that the old farm needed new blood, needed the sound of children's laughter, needed new ideas and directions. So now my dog Pancho, old kitty Holly and i are living a new adventure and the farm sings a new song.

Our climate and growing season set limits on certain things but overall we produced an wide variety of organic food and medicinal plants for ourselves and our neighbors.

Food crop wise there were:

  • Tomatoes - both cherry for munching and larger types for salsa and sandwiches
  • Peppers - 4 varieties, sweet reds and greens, slightly hot yellows and real hot little red tepines
  • Potatoes - open pollinated Equadorian finger type, super producers in our climate
  • Corn - Hopi yellow, we brought it here nearly 20 years ago from high/dry Arizona, and successfully re-planted here since then
  • Beans - both our bush and pole varitiess have been grown, saved and re-grown here on the coast for decades
  • Garlic - a stiff necked type brought to BC by the Doukabors from their native Russia
  • Sunflowers - this year ours come from an Amsterdam flower market
  • Basil - our #1 [non-medicinal] barter crop, the pesto lovers line up for this one
  • Lettuce - usually a romaine variety grown all year round except in the mid-summer
  • Kale - red Russian provides an excellent cooking green most of the year
  • Rhubarb - the first sweet shoots mark the beginning of spring
  • Chives - 2 varities, a regular purple flower and a garlicy white flower type
  • Leeks - another crop that provides an excellant fresh green all year round
  • Zucchini - super abundant soft skinned summer squash that can achieve Godzilla size almost overnight if missed during picking when they are hidden under a huge leaf.
Then there’s the berries:

  • Blueberries and Strawberries - that we do some stuff to help along
  • Raspberries -  22 rows, 80 feet long, producing about 1,500 lbs. per year on average. mostly these were bought up by u-pickers who came every other day through the season providing a small cash income that allowed me to stay home and work around the place during that month or so.
  • Blackberries, Salmonberries, Huckleberries, and Thimbleberries - that we don’t do anything about except enjoy
Finally there’s the medicinals:
  • Comfrey - grows abundantly here without any help works miracles on all kinds of skin ailments
  • Lemon Verbena - an instant cure for depression, like listening to the banjo, ya can’t smell it without smiling
  • Opium Poppies - easy to save and store plus its tea can make even the most worn out hip a little less painful and a lot more fun
  • Mota - like opium, another cure for what ails ya, both have been in use for thousands of years
  • Purple Sage - very strong tasting but also a very strong cleansing smudge comes from burning the dried flowers