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About The Garden

A Creative and Viable Small Farm

The Garden is a three-acre farm located on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. Our rare (in Canada) Mediterranean-like climate allows us to grow figs, almonds and olive trees outside, though with care as over the last few years our winter temperature has regularly dropped to -14C.

One acre of The Garden is dedicated to food producing perennials and two acres is coastal forest.

From 1994 to 2018, the 6,000 square foot greenhouse produced butter lettuce and basil for the wholesale market. A crop transition to citrus and avocado trees using the 7 principles of regenerative agriculture began in 2014 and was completed in 2019.

35 varieties of citrus, avocados, passion fruit and other sub-tropical fruit are produced and marketed to restaurants.

 

On-farm nutrient cycling is a priority with the goal of improving soil and plant health, fruit flavour and nutrient density. 

Rainwater catchment provides 100% of the horticultural requirements.

Farm and kitchen waste fuels an automated 'family scale' anaerobic digester. It produces biogas for cooking, distilling essential oils, and fertilizer for the farm.

A wood gasifier/hydronic system provides heat for cold winter days in the greenhouse using thermal mass. 

PV solar provides.

Maximum efficiency in the greenhouse is maintained with the use of thermal mass and energy curtains.

 

Greenhouse grown butter lettuce and basil were produced for the wholesale market from 1994 to 2018. The crop transition to citrus and avocado trees began in 2014 and was completed in 2019. Tree fruit and crops are grown using regenerative agriculture practices. Soil and plant health are monitored through the use of various techniques including leaf sap analysis, brix, and microscopy. Farm owner/operator Jane Squier is a certified Soil Food Web lab technician.

Experiments with closing the nutrient cycle, sustainable growing techniques and emerging technologies are carried out at a scale that is transferable to other small farms, both urban and rural.

 

The Garden has been a featured farm for the annual Rainwater Harvesting Tour, The Salt Spring Eco-Living and Home Tour, Salt Spring Farm Tour, and Transition Society's Community Energy Conference 

Articles:

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YAM Magazine - Anything Grows https://www.yammagazine.com/anything-grows-local-chefs-find-global-flavours-sprouting-in-greater-victoria/

FOLKLIFE Magazine - A Garden of Citrus Delights and Limitless Curiosity https://www.folklifemag.ca/

CBC - These British Columbians are growing lemons, oranges and other subtropical fruit in the province https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/british-columbians-subtropical-fruit-1.6689079

The National Observer https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/03/18/news/jane-squiers-unlikely-salt-spring-empire-citrus

Saltine https://www.saltine.ca/stories/the-garden-jane-squier

Growers Talk Magazine https://www.growertalks.com/Article/?articleid=24745

Harrowsmith Magazine https://www.harrowsmithmag.com/7326/one-of-a-kind-hydroponic-greenhouses

Vancouver Island Edibles https://m.facebook.com/TheGardenSSI/posts/834865293618725

Videos:

Moosemeat & Marmalade Season 6, Episode 1 http://moosemeatandmarmalade.com/

Curtis Stone https://fromthefield.farm/jane-squire-tropical-fruit-in-a-cold-climate/

BC Farms & Food https://bcfarmsandfood.com/low-carbon-citrus-greenhouse-canada/

Podcasts:

Field Guide to Eating in Canada - Episode 9 https://www.audible.ca/pd/Field-Guide-to-Eating-in-Canada-Podcast/B0924GFR55

Harrowsmith Radio https://harrowsmithmag.libsyn.com/episode-two-the-lemons-below-the-stars-above

From The Field Curtis Stone https://soundcloud.com/curtis-stone-805294109/111519-jane-squier-the-garden-salt-spring-island

Donna Balsor https://donnabalzer.com/episode-3-canadian-citrus-growing-tips-from-a-northern-gardener/

Jane Squier operates the farm with part-time help.

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