gabriola garden

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My wife and I moved to the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia (hey, that's on Canada's West Coast) right after 9/11. It's not that we didn't feel safe in the city we were living in, but the tragedy caused us to re-evaluate our lives and seek out an ideal place to raise our children. We have two--June, age 10 (otherwise known as Hedgehog) and Jim, age 8, a rambunctious, tree-climbing, Game-Boy playing boy.

Along with the move to the country came the desire to be self-sustaining. What better way, than to grow our own vegetables. My wife and daughter are mostly vegetarians, while my son and I indulge in the occasional steak, only to be labelled "carnivores," loudly, by our daughter. She loves animals and is really upset when she has to look at us eating them. So I usually solve this problem by taking my son out to dinner, man to man.

We also have a coterie of pets. There is our rather large, lovable Golden Retriever named Max, a bunny rabbit named (what else?) Hoppy, and three cats, Nina, Pinta, and Maria, named after Columbus' ships. One of my favorite Bob Dylan quotes is "I saw three ships heading my way. I asked the captain what his name was, and how come he didn't drive a truck? He said his name was Columbus, and I just said 'good luck!'"

We were fortunate--we made enough money selling our condo in the city to buy a 3-bedroom house on an acre of land. So there's plenty of room for gardening. The soil is very fertile, but I had to top it up with a pickup full of rich, dark topsoil I generally grow yams, potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, squash, and radishes. I tried celery, but the kids ate so much of it that now they stick their fingers down their throats if I cut some up for dip.

My wife's name is Sara and I'm Tim. She works the occasional shift as a registered nurse in the local hospital, and I work out of my home office. I do contract work involving corporate communications. Luckily, I can choose my own hours, leaving more time for gardening.

In an attempt to grow the biggest and healthiest vegetables around, I started to experiment with some products made by the Advanced Nutrients company. I'd been using their organic fertilizers with excellent results for a number of years now, but last summer I started using some of their more exotic plant growth enhancers and inoculators. Carbo Load Liquid, for instance, has to be added during the flowering cycle to insure maximum fruiting and Scorpion Juice inoculates a plant against all sorts of diseases.

We love life on Gabriola Island and will continue to post articles about gardening in the warmest part of the Great White North.

posted by Tim at 2:19 PM | 0 comments