Get ready for gardening!

Spring is in the air! And that means it’s time to start thinking about your garden, sharing knowledge about gardening and getting involved with local food initiatives organized by the North Columbia Environmental Society. There are also some important dates coming up.

As well, if you haven’t started your basil, tomatoes and other starts, then get to it as soon as you can. Mid-March is a great time to get them started. If you are not sure how to get started, check out this site for tips:

Monday April 2nd at the Community Centre

  • 6:30 -7 pm — Seed Swap
  • 7 pm — Local Food Initiative Committee Meeting – All Welcome! We will be discussing: Community Garden plan, Garden Guru topics/presenters, Local Food Initiative Forum for ‘knowledge/tool/land/seed – sharing’, more seed swaps, and any other food related ideas. Click here to find out more about the Downtown Community Garden.

If you would like to have one of 18 plots at the Community Garden, applications are available at Valhalla Pure, Mountain Goodness Natural Food, or by emailing There is also an application attached in this email.

Here are some other important dates:

  • April 19th – Garden Applications Due by 4pm
  • April 23rd– Plot Holders Selected and Informed
  • April 30th – Orientation for Plot Holders

General Updates

  1. Alice Weber is passing the carrot to Kate Walsh  as the lead of the Local Food Initiative Committee (formerly the Community Garden Committee)
  2. The Garden Guru this summer will be carried about by NCES contractor Hailey Ross
  3. A volunteer or paid position will be needed this summer to help oversee plot holders and ensure extra produce is delivered to the Food Bank, please respond if you are garden savvy and are good with people and might like to spend an hour or two in the garden each week for June, July, August.

The Garden Guru Series will be running again this summer. Come out to learn more food growing and preserving skills from local volunteer experts!

In the meantime, there are some other amazing workshops being offered with Gaila Hemphill for very reasonable prices through Okanagan College:

Square Foot Gardening

The equation: 1, 4, 9, 16 + perfect soil + a grid = a Square Foot garden. This course teaches you how to harvest more food with less space, less water, less seed and less effort! learn howto put the equation to work for you. Could there be a better time to learn this proven, earth-conscious method of gardening? Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, young or young-at- heart … anyone can Square Foot garden! Mar. 14, Wed, 6 – 9 pm.

CRN# 80771 $45 + H.S.T. Instructor: Gaila Hemphill


The Art and Science of Pruning

Pruning is perhaps the least understood of all gardening chores. This course will answer the five W’s: why plants should be pruned; when the best time to prune is; what needs to be pruned; where on the plant the pruning should occur, and who should not be pruned. You will learn about proper tools and how to use them. Mar. 21, Wed, 7 – 9 pm

CRN# 80772 $19 + H.S.T. Instructor: Gaila Hemphill


What Perennial Where?

learn to use perennials as accents, focal points, masses of colour, or intriguing scenes of constant change. The colour, form, and texture available in perennial plantings can add elegance and beauty to your home garden.

Mar. 28, Wed, 7 – 9 pm. CRN# 80770

$28 + H.S.T.

Instructor: Gaila Hemphill


A Gardener’s Soil

learn the basics to improve and maintain your soil in optimum condition. Apr. 4, Wed, 7 – 9 pm.

CRN# 90336 $28 + H.S.T. Instructor: Gaila Hemphill


Principles of Organic Growing

Simple, organic gardening principles you can put to work in your garden. learn about the dynamic relationship between healthy soil and healthy plants. Take a look at soil texture, structure, microorganisms, basic composting, insect control and companion planting. let nature take its course in your garden.Apr. 11, Wed, 7 – 9 pm.

$29 + H.S.T.

Instructor: Gaila Hemphill


Birch Tapping and Syrup Production 

Be introduced to “sugaring off” boreal forest style. Tapping birch sap is considered “agro-forestry” and the sap itself is a “non-timber forest product” (nTFP). With the massive distribution of birch across Canada, coupled with a growing interest in alternate crop agriculture, local food production, food security, and the small number of commercial producers operating today, the birch syrup industry has potential for expansion. The workshop will focus on tree and sap physiology, backyard and commercial supplies and equipment, legislation and marketing, food safe production, culinary uses, and an introduction to other products that can be made from the birch tree. As a form of small lot agriculture, an emphasis will be made as to how birch tapping fits into healthy community sustainability and economic diversification. The workshop will include a demonstration on tree tapping in addition to evaporating sap using a backyard hobby method. Mar. 10, Sat, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 pm.

CRN# 80176 $125 + H.S.T.