Soil Testing Underway For Healing City Soils Project

April 6, 2016


DSCN0721
DSCN0717It was a successful first day of soil testing for the Healing City Soils Team! The team will be taking samples from residential yards and boulevards for the next two months around Victoria and Esquimalt and the information collected will be uploaded into an interactive soil health map. Learn more about the project here.

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Compost Education Centre Spring Fundraiser on April 6th!

March 16, 2016


For-the-Love-Soil-Poster-2016Join us for our Spring Fundraiser to give back to the earth while having fun, chatting with friendly folks and bidding on fantastic silent auction items!

The wonderful musical talent that is the Blackwood Two will be performing their acoustic melodies and your ticket includes a pint of Hoyne beer and an appetizer buffet.  Tickets are $25 and are available online through Eventbrite.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will directly fund our school workshops and projects such as the Healing City Soils Project, an initiative offering free soil tests to analyze Victoria’s soils and create a virtual “soil health” map of Victoria. Fundraising allows us to continue these great projects and to educate children and adults about the importance of soil conservation, composting and creating and sustaining local food systems.

Bid on fantastic silent auction items generously donated by:

 

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Brand new factsheets!

March 16, 2016


We are excited to share two new factsheets with you!  We have been getting lots of inquiries about tumbler composters and bokashi and we decided to put together a factsheet for each one to help answer your questions and spark your interest.  If the descriptions below spark your interest, check out the new additions on our factsheets page.

bokashiBokashi is a Japanese term meaning “fermented organic matter”. Different from composting, which is aerobic, it is an anaerobic process that allows a person to deal with a wide variety of food waste on-site. Bokashi harnesses the power of effective microorganisms (EM) dehydrated onto a cereal base to carry out the fermentation process . It is best used as a partner to a compost pile, because you will need a place to compost the ‘spent’ material once it has finished going through the bokashi process. It is a great alternative to the green cone food digester as it breaks down the same types of materials but doesn’t need sunlight or to be buried down 2 feet in your garden work. You can make your own system or purchase a ready-to-use unit.

 

tumblerIn general, tumbler composters are in the form of a barrel mounted on a stand so the unit can be turned or “tumbled” around a central axis.  They can be mounted horizontally or vertically, both work  well.  Turning these units easily incorporates air into the material inside the tumbler, which can speed up the decomposition process.  It is possible that you may get a finished product faster than with passive backyard composting due to the increased aeration that tumblers make possible.  However, beware of manufacturers that say you will have finished compost in three weeks or less – anything that looks finished in this short amount of time will be unstable and need to sit for at least 6-8 weeks longer to cure.

 

greenhouseWhen we built our new greenhouse wanted the plans for this project to be free and readily accessible.  As such, this factsheet includes a budget and materials list for the greenhouse, a list of the lessons I learned, and some photos of the building process.

 

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Introducing our new Healing City Soils project!

February 25, 2016


Bioremediation (1)We are very excited to announce that we have partnered with Royal Roads University and Danielle Stevenson of DIY Fungi to launch a new project called Healing City Soils.  Bridging urban agriculture, composting, food literacy, ecological restoration and bioremediation, this initiative brings together the municipalities of Victoria and Esquimalt, local post-secondary institutions, food security organizations and people who are interested in growing food and building the soil beneath their feet.

This project is about getting to know the soil beneath our feet, and building community around healing it. Ensuring the soil is healthy is a first step to any urban agriculture project; from backyard growing to community and boulevard gardening. Urban soils can sometimes contain heavy metals and other contaminants as a result of our industrial past and present.  This is not so great for our urban food gardens as the contaminants can get into or onto our veggies and fruits. Soil testing can be expensive, and the results can be confusing or disheartening, which ends up being a barrier to getting more folks growing.

The goal of Healing City Soils is to analyze the health of Victoria’s soils and create a virtual soil map of Victoria highlighting areas where heavy metals need to be addressed before growing food. This map will be paired with factsheets and workshops to empower people with the knowledge and skills to grow food safely or to heal the soil with compost, plants and mushrooms.

Interested in having your soil tested or learning more about this exciting project?  Find more information here.

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November 7th is Mushroom Education Day!

September 25, 2015


Continue reading “November 7th is Mushroom Education Day!”

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Organic Plant Sale on Sat Aug 22nd!

August 1, 2015


Continue reading “Organic Plant Sale on Sat Aug 22nd!”

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Presenting our new video!

July 22, 2015


Drum roll, please! Presenting our OFFICIAL VIDEO!

Huge thanks to Aldridge Street Print & Media for doing such an awesome job!

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New cold frame in our teaching garden

July 22, 2015


Continue reading “New cold frame in our teaching garden”

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Check out our updated factsheets!

June 24, 2015


If you’ve popped into our office lately you may have noticed our swanky new factsheets, but we wanted to give an official introduction to them as well! Continue reading “Check out our updated factsheets!”

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Last week to get green cones at current price of $150!

June 12, 2015


We’re expecting a new shipment of our beloved green cone food digesters in shortly.  Due to the increased cost of shipping and of the products themselves, we will need to raise the price of them slightly.   Continue reading “Last week to get green cones at current price of $150!”

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