Saturday, 29 May 2021

First work party of the season!

 It was a beautiful spring day today, and we had two shifts of wonderful volunteers starting to get the garden back in shape after our COVID winter. Many thanks to the math and physics teachers candidates, Orchard Garden team members and friends and family who did a heroic job of weeding and organizing to get the annuals beds ready for planting. It was wonderful to see each other, outdoors and at a safe distance, and to catch up!

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

The Orchard Garden in times of social distancing & COVID-19

Rosemary, green onions, carrots, mango & avocado

Cherry tomato seedlings on bookshelf (away from our cat)
Green onions from scraps grow SO fast!

Hello everyone. Hope you are all keeping well and getting some fresh air and moments in the outside world each day. Spring is here, and it's good to see new life springing forth everywhere.

What isn't happening:

  • No doubt you guessed that the workshop scheduled for this coming Saturday April 4 will not be happening with things being the way they are.
  • As we get closer to the May and June scheduled workshop dates, we will update everyone on what is happening. There is also the possibility of running workshops in July and/or August -- but no guarantees of anything in the present circumstances.
Overwintered kale transplanted from garden box

  • The UBC Teacher Education Office has also made the decision to cancel all Community Field Experiences (CFEs), and we will very much miss working together for these lovely three-week sessions at the Orchard Garden this year!

What is happening:

  • Our Guardian of the Garden, Audrey, brought home all our UBC greenhouse starts and is tending them at her home garden. At whatever time we are able to have one or two of us plant them out at the Orchard Garden (with a very safe social distance between us!), we will do so.
  • We received a small grant from the Jane Goodall A.P.E. fund to start a small permaculture food forest at the Orchard Garden -- and then all grants from this fund were postponed till next year, since most are dependent on school groups meeting. Nonetheless, we may be able to plant a few more berry bushes and fruit and nut trees this spring, to get the first level of our food forest established. Again, it would have to be a small group of us working in socially distanced ways to be safe.
  • As we see what is and isn't possible this year, the members of the Orchard Garden team will let you know adjustments to requirements for the informal certificate of garden-based learning. We keep track of participation in workshops and will honour your involvement!

Home follow-up on Growing Food from Scraps from our March 7 workshop:

There's lots of helpful information linked and shown on Qiaochu's previous blog post on the Orchard Garden blog if you'd like to try this at home!  At my house we are really thrilled to see the green onions growing almost as we watch. A sprouting turmeric root is starting to put out leaves, and half a package of cherry tomato seeds is turning into dozens of sprouts. I highly recommend this activity for some exciting windowsill gardening!

Warm spring wishes


Thursday, 5 March 2020

March 7th Hands-on Activity: Growing Plants from Food Scraps

Do you know we could grow vegetables from kitchen scraps that you would normally throw away?

Please take a look at this handy guide to grow real food from scraps, it's not only saves money, reduces waste, builds self-sufficiency, creates a sense of achievement, and also brings a lot of fun and spice to your life😉

Here is our plan:

1. A Small Introduction 
2. Game: Guess What Vegetable You Can Magically Regrow
3. Experience Sharing: Regrowing Rosemary and Valentine’s Day flowers by Joy
4. Hearing Your Regrowing Experiences At Home 
5. 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Transform the World

1. A Small Introduction 

'Growing tasty, healthy produce from clean kitchen scraps isn't garbage gardening. It can save money, cut down on food waste, and teach valuable lessons about nature and sustainability. From celery and onions to beets and ginger root, scraps often have plenty of life left. They just need a chance to avoid the compost pile.Growing plants from "inedible" parts isn't that unusual. Gardeners routinely grow crops from pieces of plants. Garlic, for example, is grown from single cloves, and tomatoes and peppers can be started from salvaged seeds. Even new potatoes are grown from their sprouting "eyes."To try your hand at this fun project, start with the following simple-to-grow scraps. You can also experiment with other vegetables by following the instructions for veggies that grow in the same or a similar way. Grow your new food indoors in decorative saucers or containers year-round, or move them outside to your garden in spring.'

And as teachers, we could exploit the possibilities of using garden as a place for teaching and learning...!

2. Game: Guess What Vegetable You Can Magically Regrow

Check the possibilities here:  

An interesting video to share:  

Some of the vegetables that are suitable for water-planting:



3. Experience Sharing: Regrowing Rosemary and Valentine’s Day flowers by Joy

4. Hearing Your Regrowing Experiences At Home 

5. 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Transform the World:

How many goals are related to food and life?

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Seed Planting in February 2020: Contemplative Eco Poetry, Spring Starts & Crop Rotation

2nd Orchard Garden Workshop in 2020:

Seed Planting in February 2020: Contemplative Eco Poetry, Spring Starts & Crop Rotation

After many rainy days, spring is finally coming to Vancouver. In the morning of Feb 8, 2020,  the Orchard Garden Team gathered and set up the workshop. In the garden, we celebrated the spring and the pleasant feeling it brings us.

The first activity was Contemplative eco-poetry in the Orchard Garden led by Jo Price. Everyone was encouraged to spend some time with the great plants and the nature in the garden, and write down few words that the land speak to them. We gathered and shared these words.

We picked up some vegetables for today's lunch. It seems more plants are awake and alive. They can't wait for the spring!

We moved to the Greenhouse to learn with Audrey Valerio about crop rotation, pest prevention, nutrients, and fallow/cover crops etc.

We planted 8 kinds of plants (including: Black Watchman, Candytuft, Gypsophila, Artichoke, Thyme, Leeks, Saponaria, and Chives) that are suitable to grow in the early Spring, and Audrey said we will be seeing them germinate and grow in the next couple of weeks! Isn't that amazing?

We also met two new friends in the greenhouse. They are responsible to guard the greenhouse from mice. Do you see them there?

We went back to Scarfe, to make our lunch together.

We all love the Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup! Thank you all for preparing this delicious meal for us!

That's all for the wonderful workshop! We were happy to see everyone there.

Please bring your family and friends to come. We all have a nice and beautiful day :)

See you next time :)

Friday, 7 February 2020

Apple Wassailing in January 2020

Happy New Year Everyone! 

Welcome to Our first Orchard Garden Workshop in 2020

The theme of the day was School Learning Garden Basics & Wassailing the Apple Trees!

It was our first gathering in 2020, we had a warm and nice welcome to our new friends, and brainstormed in small groups, to discuss about why and how to teach in a school garden.

with our warm&tasty wassail bow made with ginger, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and mulled apple juice.

We walked to the garden together to wassail apple trees and harvest fresh vegetables in our Orchard Garden... as you may see, there are plentiful variety out there! Can you name any of those?
Broccoli, Green Onion, Parsley, Garlic, Leek and more...

Brussel Sprout

The heavy snow in the beginning of 2020 seems didn't beat the spirits of the plants, a great majority of them survived. We had such great harvest! 

We learned about the UK Wassail traditions and sang wassail song.

Our wassail jolly wassail!
Joy come to our jolly wassail!
How well they may bloom, how well they bear,
So we may have apples next year!

We wassailing the apple trees and other fruit trees, we  laid slices of apples at the roots and 'howling' as performed the rite to "bless" the trees to produce a good crop in the forthcoming season.

We made Caldo Verde, the Portuguese Green Soup, Homemade Hummus, and Herbed Mushroom and many more! Everyone had a great time tasting and chatting! 

Spring is coming.

We wish everyone healthy, joyful and exuberant! 

Just like the rosemary we picked and water-planted, it has been continually growing its new branches and roots. Isn't that amazing?

It was such a wonderful day in the Orchard Garden, we wish everyone all the best in 2020! We will see you in our next workshop :)

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Saturday Workshop: Nature Paintbrushes and Weaving

A wonderful day at the UBC Orchard Garden!  The sun was shining, the food was plentiful and the company was delightful.  We even had a puppy visit!  We started the day with some fresh baked goods, fruit, tea and water and had a welcome circle before the activities began. 

Our first activity of the day was making nature paintbrushes.  Participants scoured the Orchard Garden for items that they could use to make paintbrushes.  Sticks, cones, grass, leaves, flowers and blackberry bark all went to good use to create beautiful paintbrushes that people used to paint signs for the garden.  The natural paintbrushes were also used as ornamentation in the garden.

Creativity was in the air!
Beautiful signs for the garden were created!

The second workshop was weaving in the garden.  We provided participants with the option to use natural materials found in the garden, yarn, or both.  A wide variety of weaving was created, and it was wonderful to see how different each person's piece was.  The weaving was a calm and meditative time where we all got to try out hand at making something with what the garden has given us.  

Weaving in and for the garden!

For lunch we all harvested ingredients from the garden!  We showed the participants where mint, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, lettuce, garlic scapes, and edible flowers were located and how to appropriately harvest them.  We were mindful not to take too much of each so we can allow the plant to continue to flourish.

We used these fresh ingredients to make tomatoe and garlic scape pasta salad, feta mint watermelon salad, and a fresh garden salad.  To supplement the lunch we had cheeses, bread, crackers, and homemade baked goods.  It was a delightful feast and a great way to end our workshop!

Garlic scape and cherry tomato pasta, yum!