Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

a different story


During our brief experiment living in a townhouse I missed my garden. But more than the garden, I missed planning my garden during the darkest days of winter and dreaming of the summer experiments ahead.

Today, I spent the afternoon strolling through on-line seed catalogues.. I like to try different seeds every year. I spent the afternoon trying to give my business to a new supplier but at the end of the day I returned to West Coast Seeds. I normally alternate between West Coast Seeds and Saltspring Island seeds. This year, West Coast had what I wanted.

I saved all of my tomato seeds from last summers crop. The original seeds had been purchased from SaltSpring Island seeds. I figure if planting seeds I saved from last years plants doesn’t work, I can always go to the gardening store and buy starts….But I am quite excited to try to grow my tomatoes from my very own seeds.. One of my favorite tomatoes from past years was the Juliet and I didn’t have any last year, so I did need to buy seeds for Juliet from West Coast today.

I was quite envious of Anne’s cauliflower last year so I bought some cauliflower seeds. My friend Janice made dill pickles years back and I thought I would like to try to make pickles this year.. So in addition to a new long cucumber seed, I included a dill pickle.

To that end I also ordered some dill seed along with my coriander for homemade salsa.

Sheila made us a gorgeous roasted veg dish last year with multi colored beets. I have ordered a blend of colored beets to try to replicate the delicious flavour.

With a functioning greenhouse (hopefully) I am going to try cantaloupe and watermelon this year. Everything else is pretty routine. Nothing else new.

I do wonder where it is all going to fit into the garden… Last fall I added strawberries from Marion  and some asparagus volunteers from the family garden. Theoretically. if they all take I will have even less room for all of my annual experiments…

The trick as I work through this new landscape of vegetable gardening on the island is finding vegetables that I like to eat, that grow easily in my garden and are rewarding for the amount of work they involve to grow.

For example, corn takes up too much space and too much water for my wee garden. Turnips are prolific but I hate eating them.. There are only so many turnips I can convince my neighbours to take off my hands.

At the end of the day, deep down inside my soul I really just like to grow flowers.. Not just flowers but perennials… Mostly flowering  bushes…. I like to grow them because I like to make bouquets for my friends. They are easy to grow, are pretty and by and large smell wonderful.. I am talking about you my beloved mock orange.

Before I moved here, I would ask my self three questions before I planted anything in the garden. Does it smell nicely? Does it have a beautiful flower? Is it easy to grow….

Vegetables never fill any of those requirements. Their benefit however obvious to others,  have normally eluded their place in my garden.. But I am trying to grow as a gardener  and am giving it my best go… But, in truth… I find looking at the seed catalogues, planting the seeds and bringing them to life more fun than the actual eating of the vegetables. Perhaps if I could grow chocolate it would be

a different story













Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

8 thoughts on “a different story

  1. Gawd! That is EXACTLY my wife’s approach to gardening and gardens (and chocolate). First priority was &%$#! Marigolds! We had Marigolds up the wazooo that first year. Spent a whole day and a lot of energy and money going to the store getting vegetables but we had flowers………….?!

  2. Oooh I agree….flowers and chocolate!

  3. and wine…..!

  4. I’m sure you could grow cacao in your greenhouse.

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