March Newsletter

Check it out!  Link to MOBY March 2012 Newsletter.


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Upcoming courses at Langara for organic gardeners.

For details on these course, please visit:


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Starting from Seed work-shop & Seed exchange Feb 26

When: Feb 26 2012  @ 10:30 am
> Where: MOBY garden 1735 East 11th Ave
> What: Learn to start from Seed. Get that tomato plant for pennies  instead of $3.00+ at the garden center. Learn what is best to  direct seed or  start indoors.

Tina was  raised on a hobby farm in Ontario and has been a  member of MOBY  garden for 7  years… Tina has good practical advice.
> Fee: Suggested donation $5
> Cylia from the Cedar Cottage Seed Saving Collective will be on  site to ask about seed saving.
> Please forward to your friends.

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Build your soil with cover crops.

Definition: A cover crop is a type of plant grown to suppress weeds, help build and improve soil, and control diseases and pests. Cover crops are also called “green manure” and “living mulches.”

They’re called “green manure” because they provide nutrients to the soil much like manure does. And as “living mulches,” cover crops prevent soil erosion.

Once grown, cover crops are usually mowed and then tilled into the soil.

Also Known As: living mulch, green manure

Hardy legumes increase soil nitrogen and organic matter. After a slow fall start, they grow rapidly in March and April and may not mature until May in some regions. Mow these cover crops in spring at or before flowering, then till them under.

Field pea (Pisum arvense and P. sativus). Grows 6 inches to 5 feet high; hardy to 10 to 20� F. ‘Austrian Winter’ pea is low growing and late maturing. ‘Magnus’ grows to 5 feet. Sow 2 to 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum). Grows 1 to 2 feet high; hardy to 20° F. Will regrow after cutting. Produces high amounts of nitrogen. Sow 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Crimson clover (T. incarnatum). Grows 18 inches high; hardy to 10° F. Matures late and fixes less nitrogen than other clovers. Attracts bees. Sow 1/2 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If allowed to go to seed, can become weedy.

Dutch white clover (T. repens). Grows 6 to 8 inches high; hardy to -20° F. Perennial and shade tolerant so may become weedy. Sow 1/2 to 1 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa). Grows to 2 feet high; hardy to -15° F. Hardiest annual legume. Tolerates poor soil, matures late. Sow 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Fava beans (V. faba). Grows 3 to 8 feet high; hardy to 15° F. Bell bean is a shorter (3-foot) relative. Sow 2 to 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

The tropical legumes below grow quickly in fall to increase soil nitrogen and add abundant organic matter, but need warm growing conditions. Plant in late summer or early fall in the Southeast and Southwest before winter cover crops. These are best grown as summer annuals in the North.

Sunn hemp (Crotolaria juncea). Grows 5 to 6 feet high; hardy to 28° F. Needs same growing conditions as corn. Cut or mow before stems become woody. Can also reduce nematodes. Sow 1 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Sesbania (S. macrocarpa). Grows 6 to 8 feet high; hardy to 32° F. Grows like sunn hemp, but more tolerant of flooding, drought, salinity, low fertility. Sow 1 pound per 1,000 square feet.

Cowpea (Vigna sinensis). Grows 1 to 2 feet high; hardy to 32° F. Tolerates poor and acidic soils. Prefers humidity and tolerates drought. Sow 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Grasses grow quickly, tolerate cold, increase organic matter, and improve the structure of compacted soils. They also control erosion but don’t increase nitrogen. Mow these annual grass cover crops in spring before seeds set, or till under.

Oats (Avena sativa). Grows 2 to 3 feet tall: hardy to 10 to 20° F. Produces least organic matter of grasses, but tolerant of wet soils. Sow 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Barley (Hordeum vulgare). Grows 2 to 3 feet tall; hardy 0 to 10° F. Fast maturing and tolerant of dry and saline soils: intolerant of acidic soil. Sow 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum). Grows 2 to 3 feet high; hardy to -20° F. Fast growing and tolerates flooding. Absorbs excess nitrogen from soil. Can become weedy. Sow 1/2 to 2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.

Winter rye (Secale cereale). Grows 4 to 5 feet tall; hardy to -30° F. Best grass for cold winter climates: tolerant of low fertility, acidic soils. Sow 2 to 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet.


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Time to plan your garden- even though it just January!

It is hard to imagine for a new gardener that this is the time of year to start planing your garden…. well it is.

I always have this chart from West Coast seeds around:

If you want to really get things going early try some of these early cold hardy Veggies:

The first vegetables of the season that you plant will need to be cold hardy and able to withstand both frost and the later than normal ice storm. If you use the square foot garden method it will be easy to protect the plants in the event of a cold snap. If not you need to plan ahead for how you will protect your plants. Remember to look for heirloom seeds as well as seeds that will grow into plants that are open pollinated so that you can save your seeds for next year.

Kale is an excellent vegetable in the winter garden. It grows fairly easily and is not affected by frost. Try White Russian Kale or Winter Red Kale. Kale can be used in soups and casseroles. It is a member of the cabbage family, and has a bit of a bite when overly mature. Pick it when the leaves are small and tender.

Beets are also good to sow as soon as the soil can be worked. If you have a hot bed, or a cold frame, they can be planted now. Try Chiogga or Bull’s Blood varieties.

Broccoli can be started by about the middle of January and transplanted into the prepared bed in March. Try varieties like De Cicco and Purple Sprouting

Brussels Sprouts can be handled the same as broccoli. Long Island Improved is a good heirloom variety.

Cabbage can also be started early in pots and then transplanted in March. Brunswick, or Red Acre are hardy heirlooms to try.

Carrots can (and should) be direct sown as soon as the garden can be worked. You can make successive plantings until late summer. Gold King does well in heavy soils or try Thumbelina in a container garden.

Onion seeds can be planted in flats now and transplanted into the garden in March. Look for a short day variety for the best results.

Parsnips sweeten during frost. Hollow Crown or Harris Early are good choices.

Peas thrive at 50-60 degrees (10 to 15 celsius). Plan accordingly and get the seeds in the ground as soon possible. Alaska or Green Arrow are trustworthy heirloom types.

Rhubarb should be planted indoors 6-8 weeks prior to last frost and transplanted out to a prepared bed. Rhubarb needs cold temperatures (below 40) to break dormancy. Victoria is the standard crop.

Established rhubarb can actually be forced by placing a pot over the plant to keep it in total darkness. Place mulch over the plants.

Turnips and Rutabagas can handle almost anything! Purple Top or White Globe are good varieties to use.

Here is a good web site to give you things to think about: Location, soil prep and more.

Starting from seed information:


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Food Preservation: Drying Foods Feb 25 2012

Food Preservation: Drying Foods

February 25, 2012 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Rooted Nutrition Classes

3 Hours

Food preservation: Drying Foods with Andrea Potter
(dairy-free, egg-free, veggie, hands-on)
One of the most ancient techniques for food preservation is drying. You don’t need an expensive food dehydrator to dry food! A conventional oven can be used for all recipes.
Essential for food security, drying solves storage problems in the fridge and takes up less space in the pantry than canning. Not to mention that unlike canning, we can preserve these foods without added sugar or vinegar.
We’ll be:
• making oven-dried root vegetable chips ( And a tasty dipping sauce for healthy appetizer idea!)
• making apple and pear chips
• making naturally sweet ‘fruit roll-ups’ with apples, pears, stone-fruits and berries
• Drying herbs and chillies


728 main st vancouver bc, v6a 2v7  canada

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Andrea Potter

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Cheese Making Class March 4 2012

March 4, 2012 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Rooted Nutrition Classes

3 Hours

Fermented dairy-intro to CHEESE! With Cedana Bourne
(egg-free, veggie, gluten-free, hands-on)
In this fun and informative class, you learn how to make veggie-friendly farmer’s cheese ( no rennet) using dairy kefir grains.
You’ll be making flavoured soft cheese and going home with your own dairy kefir culture!
Other recipe ideas and uses for dairy kefir
Making ghee- Ayurvedic clarified butter
More than cheese, in this class you will be learning about the health and political issues around dairy:
What’s homogenization and how does it affect my milk?
Pasteurization: the raw milk battle and where to get real milk
* Please bring a small jar to take home your dairy kefir culture!


728 Main st.

Vancouver bc

Andrea Potter

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