Thursday, May 28, 2009

Poultry related things

The tour of backyard chicken flocks is being postponed to the fall. Malcolm is very busy and no one jumped to get it all organized, so he put it off to the fall. Anyone that is interested in seeing backyard chickens can always contact me bernard at or call 744-0866. You come see my six birds and their enclosure.

Meanwhile over on Saltspring this weekend:

Poultry Swap

Sunday, May 31 at 12 noon til 2:00 pm at the Farmer's Institute.

Bring Poultry and related items for sale. Bring cages to

take home your new birds. There will be chicks, hens,

quail, ducks, eggs, roosters and more.

Everyone Welcome to buy, sell or trade.

No dogs off leash.

Questions? Call Pat 250-931-5179 (local #)

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Monday, May 25, 2009

How my garden is doing

It is time to update where the garden is at at to add some pictures. I am back to growing garlic, though still not as much as I would like to. I would like to grow about 150 heads of garlic, the stuff is so easy to grow though the financial return is not so good.

This year also sees an increase in our herbs, we are good in most types now that we regularly use but could do more if we knew what else we could use. The highest use is chives and this mainly because Daniel loves using them in every sandwich and every omlette he makes.

I will be growing a lot more fruit and veg this year than last. I have already moved the tomatoes and peppers to elsewhere in the yard, they are all now on the Maddock street side of the house. I think they will get more heat and sun there.

Ultimately I would like to see a large percentage of the yard we have be out of lawn and into something we can eat. We really do not have a large enough yard for playing in - I miss that from the house in Lillooet and the house on Balfour street. Entertaining makes the most sense in our yard that is closest to the back deck and kitchen door, though this is the yard that needs the most work, it really needs a major overhaul.

I have planted six blueberry bushes, I expect to see a handful of fruit this year. I have also added the apricot and yesterday I bought an apple tree. I plan on buying at least one more, maybe two or three more.

The apricot tree is doing very well, I am impressed with the growth on the tree, I hold out hopes for a few handfuls of fruit next year.

As to berries, I planted 60 Strawberry plants, I do not expect to see a large crop this year. The thornless blackberry is bigger than last year but I will need to work with it a bit in the fall to get it growing how and where it want it.I am going to grow all the big plants on the space between my fence on the sidewalk on Maddock. I planted the zucchini and some of the melons yesterday. I would like to get the pumpkins and cucumbers into that space this week. My goal is to get rid of the grass in the area and make a veggie garden bed.

I had more success with growing from seedlings this year, in the past I have either missed the watering schedule and had them die, or not had a bright enough location and they became all leggy. The only problem this year is that I used containers that were a bit too small. I also got had an issue with waterlogging with the peat pots.

We will be eating our first spinach today and had a bunch of radish greens last night for dinner. By moving the zucchini and cucumber from where it was last year, I have a much larger area for successive plantings of salad crops. If I keep on top of this, we should have salad greens from now until sometime in November, possibly longer if I use cloches. My one concern is running out of seed. I bought a bunch more today at Borden Merchantile.

The chickens continue to do their thing, they are averaging close to one egg each a day. We are also getting a lot of material for compost. The chickens eat almost all of our kitchen scraps. They really like all of the bread, consequently we are actually short of bread crumbs.

My hopes for the year:
  • 150 lbs of tomatoes
  • 20 good size pumpkins
  • 200 lbs of scarlet runner beans
  • 400 salad servings
  • 60 lbs of strawberries
  • 3 lbs of blackberries
  • 150 lbs of cucumbers
  • 150 dozen eggs
  • 15 lbs of kohlrabi
  • 150 lbs of zucchini
  • 30 lbs of bell peppers
  • 30 habanero peppers
  • 90 jalapeno peppers
  • 60 head of garlic
  • 60 red onions
  • All our herb needs

We will not be self sufficient, but we will produce a lot of our food needs from now till November.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Seedlings for sale at the Victoria Compost Education Centre

I will likely go buy some to augment what I have grown myself. The money you spend there will help them with their work in educating people about backyard composting, not sexy and earth shattering, but something all of us could be doing.

***********Seedling for Sale!****************
Miss the Organic Plant Sale? Have a few holes in your garden patch? Worry not...the GVCEC will be selling seedlings throughout the spring!

We just received our shipments from our local organic growers and have many varieties of:
- cherry tomatoes
- regular tomatoes
- broccoli
- kale
- brussel sprouts
- summer squash
- cayenne peppers
- tomatillos
- raspberries

Many of the varieties are rare or heirloom and all seedlings are $3.00 each (incl. tax) except for the raspberries which are $5.00 each.

Come and get 'em before we sell out like last year!

Contact Info

Open 10am-4pm Wed-Sat.

2009 Victoria Backyard Chicken Tour

My friend Malcolm has been organized a tour in the late spring of backyard chicken flocks in the greater Victoria area. This year he has asked if I would be willing to take on the organizing of the tour for the day.

The tentative date for the tour is Saturday June 13th. We will be likely touring ten to fifteen backyard flocks from Metchosin through to town.

Odds are that lunch will be at Malcolm's house again in the heart of the Tillicum Gorge neighbourhood.

Out in Metchosin and in rural Saanich you get to see people with small scale farms. In town you get to see people that have coops in all manner of neighbourhoods. Most of us in town people have between four and eight chickens in smallish backyard chicken enclosures.

I went on the tour for a couple of years before I got my own chicken flock. Seeing what other people were doing and how they look after their birds gave me the confidence to have chickens. You would be amazed at how many people have chickens in their backyards. I find meeting with other chicken people and seeing all of the flocks is a very uplifting and hopeful experience.

If you are interested in taking part in the chicken tour, please contact me via email at bernard at shama dot ca - note that is shama and not shaw.

Having had the chickens for a 13 months now, I can see where I went wrong with my pen for the chickens. The wet winter pointed out some flaws in my design. I would like to rebuild it, but I have so much to do around here that I do not think I will get to it any time soon. If things work out well I would like to get to it in the mid fall.

The Garden

This weekend I will be transplanting a bunch of seedlings, specifically zuchini, pumpkins and cucumbers. I will be buying some tomato seedlings, I never seem to have any decent success growing them from seed.

I will be putting all the plants that take up space on the grass verge between my fence and Maddock Street. I will need to dig a decent size hole for each seedling and fill it with compost to improve the soil along that side of the property.

This weekend we will be able to have the first spinach and lettuce from our garden. Enough to make several salads, but still not a lot, but I expect that to dramatically change in the next few weeks.

The 60 strawberry plants I planted in April are thriving, but it is still a long time before I expect them to produce a lot of fruit for us. My hope is that we will have about a half pound of fruit per day from the end of June to the middle of August. My goal for 2010 is to be able to grow 200 pounds of strawberries.

The thornless blackberry is becoming tamed and trained along the fence, I am hoping to be able to see a small crop of a few pounds this year. I hope to have a lot more canes to work with next year.

The one apple tree I have had no blossoms on it for the third year. It does not look very healthy. I am planning on buying several apple trees this weekend which I will be planting in the front yard this weekend.

The apricot is thriving! I will post some pics later today or over the weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I am enjoying using Urbanspoon on the iPhone and on the internet to find out about restaurants. In the Victoria are there are not enough users with enough reviews to be as useful as I would like as a local, but I am finding it very useful when out of town.

The iPhone app uses the phone's location to find the local restaurants, you can then either browse them or you can use the random fuction to choose one for you. You can select by food style, location and price.

Frankly it is one of the single best apps I have come across for my phone and I am not the only that thinks so.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kuku's Buffet

Sheila got us our dinner there last night, work and a sleeping baby stopping all the cooking I wanted to do for dinner. She got us take away, more great butter chicken and pakoras for me.

As of yesterday the buffet half was still not open.

Meanwhile half a block up the street, there is a lot or work going on at Szechuan City Buffet. I have seen several roll off bins leave with old materials. I have been meaning to peek in the window, but I have not managed to do so.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Victoria Compost Education Centre Organic Plant Sale Saturday May 9th

I got this reminder in an email from the Victoria Compost Education Centre on Facebook. I plan on going and seeing what is available. Their website is at this link.

Don't forget the Organic Plant Sale this weekend!
Saturday, May 9th from 10-1pm at the Greater Victoria Compost Education Centre (1216 North Park St).

Our largest number of local organic growers ever will be selling a variety of vegetable, ornamental, herbal and medicinal plants. We will have free courses on soil health, growing tomatoes, and there will be a free culinary demonstration from Terralicious. There will also be live Bluegrass music by Last Train and yummy coffee and treats from Fernwood Coffee. This is our largest Plant Sale ever so don't miss it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A new voice

So, my husband has invited me to post to this blog of his. I have decided to begin by addressing a missing category - bakeries. I have an abiding love of all thing carb, so bakeries and I are very friendly. All the breads, pastries, buns, and cookies - how is a girl to choose?

For those of you who are reading this and nodding in agreement you also know the pain of bad baking. Ordering the perfect looking croissant, expecting a rich, buttery, flaky treat that melts away in your mouth, you instead end up with something dry and crumbly, or tough and chewy, some sad excuse for a croissant that leaves you mouth with a fatty coating and your shirt covered in crumbs that you can not wait to get rid of. So for you guys I will tell you about my favorites.

At the head of the pack, currently, is the newly opened "fol epi", located on Harbour Road in the Dockside Green development. This bakery is owned and operated by a man named Cliff Leir (most recently baking as "House Bread"). He offers a small selection of breads and pasteries with some cookies and savory treats. Here you will find the most perfect of croissants, a wonderfully hearty brown, crisp crusted baguettes and a rye that my Germanic husband is impressed by. The product is organic and the flour is locally sourced, proving that using basic ingredients of high quality and purity pays great rewards.

Sharing a space - sort of - with a branch of Caffe Fantastico fol epi manages to be slightly rustic and slightly modern all at once. Beautiful timbers, a stunning wall of brick and stone and a brick oven for those wonderful breads and pasteries the space is inviting and bright.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tree Fruits around here

I wonder why we have very few tree fruits being grown in this region or on the east coast of Vancouver Island?

There is no reason we could not be home to many orchards with apples, pears and cherries. I know of no serious commercial tree fruit growers on the island.

The climate here is perfect for growing apples, we could have thousands of hectares of apples being produced here, we could easily rival the Okanagan for apples, but we are not growing them. Why now?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Vista 18

I have like liked the food in this restaurant in the last few years, though I have not been there for about a year now. Sounds like things are not going well there based on some of the recent comments at Vibrant Victoria about the place.

Vista 18 on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 3, 2009

10 Pound Turkey

Chickens have been too small for dinner when all the boys are here so I thought I would get a small turkey. I bought a ten pound bird the other day and roasted for dinner. I thought there would be masses of leftovers but there were not a lot.

Daniel and Ben can easily eat more food than Sheila or I do during dinner. It is only going to get worse as they are only 14 and 11 at the moment.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

2009-2010 Community Food Action Initiative


The 2009-2010 Community Food Action Initiative (CFAI) for the Vancouver Island Health Authority Region is now accepting Requests for Proposals (RFP). The Vancouver Island Health Authority is pleased to release this RFP with community partners on the Island to enhance accessibility to the application documents. You may find more information on the 2009-2010 CFAI process and the application documents by going to any of the following


Vancouver Island Food Security HUBS

The deadline for applications is May 12, 2009 at 4pm. The instruction document that can be found on the above websites will also provide contact information for community and VIHA resources that can be contacted regarding the 2009-2010 Community Food Action Initiative.


Interesting page here on the election and food security issues.