Posted by: silverspringsgarden | October 12, 2016

Not Just Vegetables at the Community Garden

The Silver Springs Edible Garden has more than just vegetables. Some of the other “edibles” we have in our perimeter garden are shown below.

 

One of the more exotic berries was introduced to Canada just down the road in Saskatchewan.

Trying the Haskap Berry

About 3 years ago 2 Haskap bushes were planted in the perimeter of the edible garden. They seem to like our crazy weather because this year we have harvested enough berries to be shared with everyone involved in the garden. Haskap crumble – yum!

“Haskap” is the name given to this fruit by the Japanese, who first used it. Other names include edible honeysuckle, blue honeysuckle and honeyberry. The Haskap is a member of the honeysuckle family. It was first introduced formally to Canada around 1967 as a result of the University of Saskatchewan Fruit Breeding Program. Its popularity is rising because it is such a healthy berry, tastes lovely and is so tolerant of Canadian weather.

Haskap plants require pollination in order to produce fruit. For best fruit production, it is recommended that you plant at least 2 varieties in close range to get adequate pollination.

Haskap berries are high in vitamin C.  Research has shown that they have higher levels of anti-oxidants than the blueberry. Its taste is likened to a tangy combination of blueberry, raspberry and black currant. You judge. Haskaps can be used for fresh eating, jams & preserves, baking, juice and now even wine.

At our recent Solstice Social at the garden, one of our gardeners shared a Haskap Crumble with the group.

solsticesocial

SILVER SPRINGS SCHOOL AND THE EDIBLE GARDEN

June 13th was the last official visit to the garden for the grade 1 and 2 students until September.  We had a sunny afternoon to spend inspecting the gardens, mason bees, ladybugs, herb planters and working on the potato patch.

These cheerful girls and boys have been learning about the role of a Community Garden in their Social Studies class, and how bugs, soil and plants work and depend on each other for their Science class.  They have put a tremendous amount of energy into the donation garden! Starting with planting potatoes, they paid us weekly visits watering, hilling and measuring how well their crop is growing.      Our project with the Teachers, Students and Parents, who volunteered their time to chaperone, has been very rewarding for everyone!

After 3 hours in the garden, taking great care with the plants, making their observations and gleefully shouting comments such as “I can’t wait to bring my Mom and Dad here to see the garden over the summer!”, we were presented with a very special gift.  Hardly able to contain their excitement,

80 bubbly kids brought us a beautiful poster, hand drawn cards and 250 Ladybugs to release!

We will take over tending the donation garden for the summer.  I expect we will have little visitors from time to time…..it is such a pleasure to see the unbridled enthusiasm the children bring to our wonderful garden!  In September we will help them harvest their potato crop for donation to the Calgary Interfaith Food bank.

Mike Dorion Compost Presentation

Mike Dorian of ‘Living Soil Solutions’ greatly educated us at the most recent Community Gardens Speaker Series on June 15th, as the third of the talks in this series. He shared his extensive knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm in a most entertaining style about the soil and the benefits of composting- of giving back to the soil. His one important message: Feed the soil, and the soil will feed you!

Mike spoke about the ‘circle of life’ and how it also applies to the ‘soil food web’ where all aspects of what creates soil cooperate in harmony. He mentioned that a forest is self-fertilizing and then spoke into how we might take some of those strategies that the forest uses into our own back yard. Good soil requires food (nutrients), water, and oxygen; they all come from the soil. The plant above the soil is in a complex symbiosis with the soil microbes in the root zone.

There was a brief discussion on using earthworm castings (excretion) on both indoor and outdoor plants which won’t burn like chemical fertilizers. And how about making earthworm casting tea to use on your plants and lawn? Mike recommends the book: ‘WORMS Eat My Garbage’, for those interested in indoor composting.

Mike was unyielding that if we fix the soil first, then everything else will fall into place. If the soil is in correct balance and has the right nutrients, there will be no reason to use weed killers. To read more about Mike Dorian and his Company, ‘Living Soil Solutions’, please visit: http://www.livingsoil.ca/

Speaker Series

The next event in the Speaker Series, that takes place on July 20, 2016, is a presentation by Adrian Buckley & Luke Kimmel from regenerate Design. The presentation is entitled “Food Forest” and asks the question,” How can a natural forest maintain its own fertility without constantly needing input from humans?”

How can it do this while creating balance and resilience in the ecosystem, and providing food and habitat for the creatures that inhabit it?

And is it possible that humans can design and plant productive “forest” gardens that can function in a similar way, providing us with food and medicine while helping regenerate the natural ecosystem?

The event takes place at the Parkdale Community Centre at 3512 – 5 Avenue N.W.

In August, again at the Parkdale Community Centre, the Speaker will be Julie Walker who will be speaking on Culinary & Medicinal Herbs.

September 21, 2016 the topic with an as yet unidentified speaker will be Canning, Drying, and Preserving.

. Details on upcoming topics are available at: https://silverspringsgarden.wordpress.com/events . Speakers we have engaged are all very knowledgeable and passionate about their respective topics!

Please join us for these information and dynamic packed evenings!

Tickets are $15.00 + GST available on-line (PayPal) at http://parkdalecommunity.com/garden-2/speaker-series/ or cash/chq at the door.

 

 

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