See you at Seedy Saturday on March 8!

seed_savers_logo_largeHey there Skookies-

Powell River’s ninth annual Seedy Saturday is coming up this Saturday (March 8, 2014). Please note the new earlier hours: doors open at 9:30 AM and the event goes until 2:30 PM.  Admission is $2 and the Farmers’ Institute is happy to accept Powell River Dollars. Kids 12 and under get in for free, so bring the whole family! This is the annual event that kicks off the growing season in the region, and anyone who’s been there in the past knows that it’s both fun and educational. Inside, approximately six seed vendors and 20 community groups are participating.

Skookum will be there with an info table and Tattler BPA-free, indefinitely reusable home canning lids for sale:

Price List ( remember that your purchase also supports Skookum… for more info on the lids visit http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/ )

Our prices cannot be beaten– do some research and see for yourself.

  • 50 wide lids and rings ….. $40 each
  • 50 regular lids and rings ….. $35 each
  • 24 regular lids and rings …. $17 each
  • 24 wide mouth lids and rings.. $20 each
  • Regular lid+ring sampler pack.. (6 lids+rings) $4 each
  • Wide mouth lid+ring sampler.. pack (6 lids+rings) $5 each
  • Regular rings (8 per pack) ….. $2 each
  • Wide mouth rings (8 per pack). $2 each

More on the Seedy Saturday event this weekend… there will be lots to do for kids as well!

Workshop schedule:

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

  • Kevin Wilson:Three ways to start seeds
  • Margaret Cooper & Jo-Ann Canning: Surviving the invasion of the Spotted-Wing Drosophila (you will recall we had a blog post on this here)

11:00 AM to 11:45 PM

  • Julia Adam & Rob Hughes: Soil Health: The foundation for thriving plants
  • Leonie Croy: Saving seeds that sustain us

12:00 PM to 12:45 PM

  • Rosie Fleury: Gardening with poultry
  • Doug Brown: Should or shouldn’t I keep bees?

1:00 PM to 2:30 PM (BIG EVENT!!)

  • Carolyn Herriot (Evergreen Theatre): At 1 p.m. best-selling author Carolyn Herriot will be presenting on “How to Save Seeds to Grow Local Food” in the Evergreen Theatre at the Recreation Complex. Her talk is to help energize everyone into growing more food, saving seed and getting involved in the Farmers’ Institute Seed Bank . For more information about the event, please contact Wendy Devlin at (604) 483-9268 or visit http://prfarmers.ca/pr-seedysat/.

 

 

 

A fresh look at Skookum

Ah, the promise of spring is in the air as those earliest tree buds and flowers pop, it’s a good time to take a fresh look at what Skookum does and can do, with your help.

We are a network of regular folks sharing the knowledge, skills and supports to grow, gather, raise, catch, preserve, prepare and access local, healthful food.

We chose the non-profit, cooperative model because we feel that a network of ‘members helping members’ under our collectively-owned, democratic umbrella is the best way to make local food happen for our members and the larger community. Our actions include raising public awareness of topics related to personal food sovereignty via member-run workshops, events and gatherings, projects, presentations, work parties, film screenings, group buying clubs (like our own The Abundant Pantry bulk food buying club, our Tattler reusable canning lids, Eternal Seed and Rancho Vignola fruit/nut bulk purchases), that all aim at strengthening our network of engaged citizens, while increasing our individual and collective self-reliance when it comes to good, healthful food, as locally-sourced as possible.

One great way anyone can learn how to grow at least some of their own food is through attending Seedy Saturday this coming Saturday! Drop by and see us at Seedy Saturday on March 9 at the Powell River Recreation Complex (10am-3pm) at 5001 Joyce Avenue, for a chat.

Click to find out more...
Click to find out more…

 

If you want to help out with public events like this above (the Newcomers’ Social is coming up April 23, for example), or come up with our own events like hosting a film screening or guest speaker… let us know, and we’ll help you make it happen.

Also, for you writers/bloggers out there, please feel free to send us your pithy prose on how Skookum works its way into your food-related solutions (how you learned to can, dehydrate, etc.) ; we’d all love to hear from you. Just send us your writing via email to skookum@skookumfood.ca, and we’ll handle the rest.

Have a more concrete project or workshop or event idea and want Skookum to help you run it? You can contact us to submit a short proposal via email to skookum@skookumfood.ca, and we’ll get back to you. For ideas on what a project can look like, visit our past projects page.

Let us know what your interests are and how you’d like to help make your cooperative even better, take our on-going Members’ Skills Survey.

A Few On-going Projects

We just completed a bulk order of more Tattler reusable BPA-free canning lids (on sale to members soon), as well as a Rancho Vignola clearance order for our members only, and as you can see below The Abundant Pantry is ready for the next order…

Keep the evening of Thursday May 2 free, as this is the date of our Annual General Meeting (more on this shortly).

Click above to get the acorn rolling...
Click above to get the acorn rolling…

For you lucky The Abundant Pantry (TAP) Members: Your March bulk food order cycle closes this Sunday, March 10th, at 11:00 pm, so now is the time to become a member of TAP and to shop for the best prices and food quality, while stocking up your pantry. Find out how to become a member here.

 

Consider Cover Crops

co-vercrops

Cover crops — also unglamorously called ‘green manure’ (although the technical definition is different) — are well-known to larger-scale gardeners and farmers, but also worth considering even for the home gardener.

Cover crops are grasses (oats, wheat, clovers, buckwheat, barley, rye, alfalfa) and legumes (peas, hairy vetch, fava beans) that are planted to cover the soil surface. They help to reduce erosion and weed growth in unplanted and overwintering garden beds. Green manure crops (especially the legumes) have the added benefit of enriching the soil.

Skookum Food Provisioners’ Cooperative will have more information and sample packets of cover crop seeds for sale at Seedy Saturday, so drop by our table on March 9, 2013 at the Powell River Recreation Complex.

There are at least eight reasons why you should make cover crops part of your year-round  garden plan, including:

  1. To protect good topsoil from being washed or blown away;
  2. To keep the nutrients in topsoil from being washed out of your soil;
  3. To loosen the soil deeper than you can or would want to dig (thus avoiding the hard work and microbial damage caused by extensive soil disturbance);
  4. To increase organic matter, improve soil structure, drainage, and aeration;
  5. To control weeds (cover crops typically outperform weeds);
  6. To help beneficial insects, birds and micro-organisms overwinter (the plants provide protection and food);
  7. To increase yields and break pest/disease cycles;
  8. To grow your own mulch and compost material (when the plants are tilled into the soil and left to rot for at least 3 weeks).

It would seem that merely letting a garden go fallow would relax it, but the right cover crops provide the aeration and nutrients required when they are cut and tilled in before the seed heads mature (this is important as cover crops will self-seed and become unruly weeds if not managed). If you till in the whole plants, allow at least 3 weeks for them to decompose, as raw biomass ties up soil nutrients to the detriment of newly planted seedlings. Depending on the cover crop used, you can be planting any time between the late winter to late fall, so as you remove spent plants, you can plant cover crops and never miss a beat.

Cover crops provide the primary benefit of preparing your soil for further vegetable cropping. If you choose to allow your cover crops to go to seed so you can harvest the grain, be aware that their root mass can be extensive and difficult to turn over. That said, your own oats, rye or buckwheat straight from your own garden are really a treat and can aid the determined 50-Mile dieter.

The choice of cover crop seeds and when to plant them depends somewhat on what you will be planting once the cover crop is turned under, but the most popular cover crops for our Maritime Pacific Northwest region are:

Maritime Pacific Northwest cover crops: From http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/covercropsbook.pdf

Maritime Pacific Northwest cover crops: From http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/covercropsbook.pdf

Also, for more info, check this link to  Oregon State University’s article

“Plant cover crops to protect and nourish soil”.

The Oregon State University Master Gardener handbook “Sustainable Gardening” recommends planting the following cover crops in the late summer and fall after harvesting your summer vegetables. Mixtures of legumes and non-legumes are especially effective. Here is an excellent guide to when to plant/turn under different types of cover crops,

And below is a handy guide on how much seed is required per square foot:

from West Coast seeds- see their list of cover crops here: http://www.westcoastseeds.com/product/Vegetable-Seeds/Cover-Crops/
from West Coast seeds- see their list of cover crops here: http://www.westcoastseeds.com/product/Vegetable-Seeds/Cover-Crops/

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