Hello and .......

Welcome....to my blog "Grow Food with JOY!"

My name is Joy Story and I'm an avid gardener who believes that food is so important, that we all need to be growing it.

In May of 2010 , I began my business GROW FOOD Edible Garden Designs. I offer Garden Consulting, Designing, Gardening Classes and this online monthly blog as well as sell Organic seeds that we collect in our demonstration garden.

Our Organic Gardening Classes are called "Grow Food with JOY!" How I use perma-culture in my Backyard." We discuss all aspects to consider when designing your edible garden. Perma-Culture uses Mother Nature as a model with an emphasis on caring for the earth and caring for people.
So far, "Grow Food with JOY" has a series of 7 different classes with more being created all the time. Check out our Class Schedule on the website.


Happy Gardening

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Welcome To Spring..........................

April has a way of bursting into life just like this rhubarb that has suddenly emerged from the soil.

This month Grow Food is hosting a FREE gardening class called "Timing is Everything" at the Duncan Library this Earth Day, Tuesday April 22 at 6 pm.  

Join us to help make this an interesting and informative session for all who attend.  This would be a great place to start a Grow Food Gardening Club.

We are also hosting a series of Gardening Classes "Grow Food with JOY!" which could also be called "Why Gardeners Drink"   We will discuss ways to increase your harvest using organic methods.  Classes are on Wednesday evenings starting April 16.  (see info below)

Also, we want to see you in your gardening attire.  We are holding a "Best Dressed Gardener" Contest. See ad below, then send us your entry.

If all else fails in the garden......have fun!

This blog site has a mind of it's own.  It never publishes the way I put it together, if anyone can help me make it better, or has any suggestions, please let me know.  Thanks for your perseverance.

Meet William........

William is a young gardener who is growing food for the first time.  Grow Food is helping William to get started by planting seeds.  

When the soil drys out, we will begin to prepare the garden beds where his seedlings will grow.  Follow us during the growing season and witness Williams progress, successes and challenges.  As you can tell, he is keen to get started.

William could use some tools of the trade.  If you have any tools you would like to donate or some cash to buy amendments for the heavy clay soil he will be growing in, please contact Joy at growfoodnetwork.com.  It would be great to get him off to a good start.   Thanks

Grow Food Journal's For Sale $15.00

What other gardeners are saying about the journal:

"I entered a contest knowing the prize was a Gardening Journal by Joy.  Being the gardener I am, knowing I want to be better and want to do more, I entered, and two days later was chosen!  I already have a number of unused journals, but had a warm feeling this one would make a difference in my gardening days.  When I picked up my prize, I was excited to see Joy and was able to tell her about the "energy" this had created, and about my unused journals sitting at home.......I knew this one was 'the one'.  I am using it, dog-earing the pages and actually writing notes in the spaces.  It does make a difference!  Thanks, Joy, for the hard work you have put into this valuable book."

Order yours today at www. growfoodnetwork.com or contact Joy to arrange pick-up and save on the shipping fees.


What to Do in the Edible Garden this month:

Seeds to Start Indoors



Summer Squash
Winter Squash

Direct Seed  (Into the garden)
Broad /Fava Beans
Corn Salad
Onion Sets
Pac Choi
Peas (or in pots)

Garden Tasks:

- Lift remaining leeks in and refrigerate

- Harvest Purple Sprouting Broccoli

-Harvest winter root veggies and store in fridge
- Mulch garlic bed with seaweed
- Provide support for peas with pruning branches from fruit trees or bamboo poles
- Support cane fruits by tying to wire
- Remove weeds from under cane fruit and fruiting bushes.
- Plant bare root trees
- Feed rhubarb and asparagus with compost, well rotted manure or organic granular fertilizer
- Cut back perennial herbs and flowers if needed
- Plant out onions, Leeks and cabbage later in the month, once the cold nights warm up.
- Plant strawberry plants by spreading out their roots and firmly securing the soil around the plant.
- Bill Herring suggests tossing a hand full of salt onto the asparagus bed in the spring.  

What's Happening in Bill Herring's Garden:

This is Bill's Garden on April 1st.  In this shot he has winter leeks, garlic and shallots growing.

Bill likes to grow his lettuce in empty juice jugs with the bottoms cut away and the caps removed.  They act like mini greenhouses.

 Peas will grow up these branches that Bill has saved and poked into the soil as a trellis.
Gooseberry bushes are protected with Enviro-mesh from a small fly that lays it's eggs in the flowers and eventually the fruit.  Bill says that as soon as the leaves start to unfurl the flower is soon to follow.  Linda Gilkeson say's to leave the protection on until the end of May.

These pretty pink flowers are Nectarine blossoms.  Bill has a tree espaliered on a south facing wall with winter protection as in the photo above.  The front cover will be removed in May, but the bees have access for pollination from below and the side where the photo was taken.
Bill pricks out his leeks and plants them individually into cell packs and pots allowing for undisturbed root development during this growing period before planting out into the garden.
Bill's winter leeks.  They have a blue tinge to them. 



 Earth Day @ the Library
" Timing is Everything"
FREE Gardening Class 
Tuesday, April 22, 6 pm
Cowichan library in the Island Savings Centre

Join Joy Story from the gardening blog Grow Food for a free class on how to stay on track in the garden and have food growing twelve months of the year!


Sweet Rewards of Spring 
Just Another Day on the Herb Farm

Brian's NEW Herb Blog !

I am planning to do quick weekly posts of pictures of interesting herbs and other plants as they
pop up or bloom on the farm.
* easy fun way to learn to identify herbs.
* you can setup the blog to Email you when a new plant is added.

* learn about unusual herbs from other countries.

* as posts are added, the categories will become useful as herb selector guides for the local area.
Please pass this link on to any of your gardener friends that may find it interesting.
Plant Based Fertilizers

This NEW product is now available, thanks to it's inventor Roderick Lane from Courtenay, BC.

When asked why he came up with it, here was his response:

"I started working with these plants as a solution to the problems in my garden.  Mainly the idea of importing large quantities of off-farm products to increase soil health and productivity.  

These products give people an option to veer away from peoples dependence on chemicals and potentially contaminating animal by-products.  

I want people to enjoy their food, not be afraid of it.

Roderick Lane
As a general gardening tonic (100 parts water: 1 part water)  all four fertilizers in conjunction provide peoples plants and soil with a health dose of food. Where as  as a strong fertilizer the scope of what you want to use them on varies.  Each fertilizer has a brief description on plants that do and don't like heavy fertilization.  

A General Guideline:

Comfrey: On fruiting and flowering plants ie: during flowering and fruit set

Nettle:  On leafy greens

Horse Tail:  All plants, or as a transplant solution

Garlic: As a dormant fruit tree spray, or to deter deer

Each label contains a larger array of uses and I will gladly respond to any questions written to me at forbiddenfruitfarm@hotmail.com 

Currently the fertilizers are available at Dinters, Duncan, Art Knapp in Courtenay, Outback Nursery in Courtenay, and at the Comox Valley's Farmers Market. 

"Remember to talk and listen to your plants."   


Best Dressed Gardener Contest
Grow Food is holding a Best Dressed Gardener Contest

My partner thinks my Gardening attire is ugly.  I told him I'm the Best Dressed Gardener and underneath it all, I'm just as sexy.

We want to see pictures of you in your gardening attire.  Send them to us at www.growfoodnetwork.com
Winning Prize will be a GROW FOOD Gardening Journal  


April's Food Growing Related Events:

Mill Bay, BC

Wednesdays 16, 23, 30,  $20.00 per class

Grow Food with Joy, 3 Part Gardening Course that explores how to build healthy soil using organic methods, different ways of growing food through various planting methods including growing on haybales and hugel beds.  Lastly we will discuss the different needs of your favorite veggies so you can grow more food this year, with greater ease and success.
To register for the classes, or for more info: go to www.growfoodnetwork.com 

Mill Bay - Busy gardener in Mill Bay with much more garden space than gardening time, looking for someone in South Cowichan with more time than space, to share in the planning and work of growing food, in order to also share the harvest.  Please contact Valerie at 250-888 2383
or mmevalerieanne@gmail.com.

Courtenay, BC

LUSH Valley Garden
Work Party
, Tuesday April 8th
@ Lanan Rd Garden Comox  
We will be checking in on the garlic we planted last fall and planting potatoes that were donated by InnisFree Farm. 
Dawn to Dawn Community Gardens
Work party/potluck
Sunday April 20th 3-5pm
Alotments available!  We are looking for people interested in making the community gardens on Harmston Ave a wonderful place.
FMI: Dianne MacLean

Contact:  http://www.lushvalley.org/


Cowichan Valley, BC

Urban Food Forest
Learn how to grow perennial food plants no matter how much room you have. Join our Urban Food Forest team and learn how to start your own urban food forest!

Date: Friday, April 25
Time: 4pm-6pm
Location: Cowichan Library @ the Island Savings Centre
Cost: Free
Contact: 250-748-8506 or alicia@cowichangreencommunity.org

Edible Wild Plants
Date: Saturday, April 19
Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm
Location: Wildwood forest in Cedar
Cost: $35

For Lease/Rent

Farm Land for Lease/ Vegetable Farmer Wanted - For Rent 40 acres x $150 per acre on Richards Trail, North Cowichan. Call Catherine at Pastula Farms 250-748-0932 / 250-710-6767 or

Victoria, BC

Victoria Compost Education Center

April 12, 10 – 3 pm
Rainy Days: Rainwater Education Day with Free Workshops

Fun with Fungi for kids aged 9 – 11
April 26, 1 – 3 pm
For more info: http://compost.bc.ca/education/workshop-series/calendar/


Pacific Horticultural Center

Spring Plant Sale
April 26 – 27, 9 am – 4 pm

Build A Bat Box
April 13, 9:30 – 1:30


 Sooke, BC

ALM Organic Farm - Full Circle Seeds
April 26, 10 am - 2 pm
Plant Sale
3680 Otter Point Rd., Sooke, BC

May's Food Growing Related Events:

Hugelkultur Workshop
CGC will hold a one day Sepp Holzer Hugelkultur building workshop with Permaculture Designer and teacher Javan K. Bernakevitch, of Permaculture BC.  Pronounced “hoogle-culture”, this low-tech approach to gardening is essentially raised beds over buried wood. It’s a great way to use up those rotting stumps at the edge of your property, spring fruit tree prunings, or the mountain of yard debris sitting in a pile from last fall.

Date: Saturday, May 31, 2014
Time: 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Duncan. Location details will be provided upon registration.
Cost: $65 (10% membership discount applies for CGC members)
Contact: 250-748-8506 or nora@cowichangreencommunity.org

Be it big or small your property has the potential to support your need for food and water. Join Javan K. Bernakevitch of Permaculture BC for this engaging two and a half day workshop introducing students to the principles and design methodologies of permaculture through reviewing, analyzing, mapping, and planning of your property design.
Class is limited to 20 participants.

Cost: $150 + GST - Early Bird special until May 15; $250 + GST - regular fee
For more information contact: nora@cowichangreencommunity.org

Grow Food Blog publishes during the first week of each month.  If you would like to contribute to next month's blog, send us your article (250 words or less with photos)  
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Happy Planting -  JOY