January 2021 SGI Newsletter

Happy New Year for 2021, and welcome to a new year of monthly newsletters from the SGI EDA.  We wish you good health and happiness as we all manage through this pandemic year, hopefully to a resolution of the pandemic and the beginning of recovery.  

This issue features TWO exciting upcoming events, a gardening update, and more. 


Green Party of Canada

The GPC is hosting an exciting town hall Monday January 11th at 3pm PST featuring Elizabeth May, Leader Annamie Paul, and David Suzuki.  Advance registration is required, as follows:

Register here



A possible federal election in 2021

The EDA is working toward election readiness in the event a spring federal election is called.  More details will be forthcoming in February.


Looking for a new Financial Agent!

The EDA will have an opening for a new Financial Agent this year as our dedicated volunteer Sharon takes a well deserved break after many years on council. If you have a financial background in accounting, banking or similar skills, this is a rewarding and much valued volunteer role. You will be a member of the executive where you can be involved in supporting the work of the Green Party locally and federally. In addition, you are one of two primary contacts with Elections Canada for donations and financial reports. You should be  comfortable with accounting software (ie. Quickbooks) to oversee banking and prepare financial statements. For further information, please contact Sharon Forrester or Harald Hommel.


Saanich North and the Islands Events

Our BC Greens Saanich North and the Islands Riding Association cousins will host some upcoming events as part of their Voices of Saanich and the Islands speaker series.  On January 26th at 7pm Wendy Wickwire will discuss the fascinating life of anthopologist James Teit as described in her book At the Bridge.  Read on for more information…... and you can register here.

Save the date:  Another upcoming event from the Voices of Saanich and the Islands will be a fascinating presentation about the life of one of North America's most prominent Indigenous leaders, Cecil Paul (Wa'xaid) as told by writer, naturalist and artist Briony Penn.  This will take place on February 23rd at 7pm online and we will include details in our February newsletter.

The January Garden

Aside from bailing out your garden beds from all the rain we have had this fall/winter, there really isn’t much you can do outdoors in the dirt (or mud) at this time of year. But if you have a greenhouse, your 2021 gardening season has officially begun with the turning of the calendar. But gardening wouldn’t be much fun without poring over the many seed catalogues and imagining your garden, and then your larder, filled with prize-winning vegetables. We typically order our seeds by mid-December. That way we beat the rush and our seeds usually arrive just before Christmas which for us is like a gift from Santa.

We are trying some new varieties this year. For the first time we will be trying to grow a parthenocarpic tomato (Siletz), which is very early, does not need pollination and sets fruit during our cool spring days. We are also still in search of a really good yellow tomato and will try Yellow Cab this year. We are also looking for a good storage yellow onion so will be trying Patterson. Our Redwing onions from last year are doing great in storage so they will be in our garden again this year.

If you have some room in a window in your house or a greenhouse that holds the heat it captures during the day, now is the time to plant those long season onions and leeks. We like to plant Walla Walla and bunching onions as well because you can never have onions too early. We have also started some kale to replace the overwintered kale that can get a bit tough by spring. By mid-January we will be starting celery and mustard greens and then cole crops nearer the end of the month. We will even plant peas in our greenhouse towards the end of January. Keep in mind that while we do not have a heated greenhouse, we have a lot of heat storage (rock) in our greenhouse. Most gardeners will be better off starting plants indoors. And don’t forget, once plants germinate they need more light that we get at this time of year so get them under grow lights (we use a combination of cool and warm fluorescent bulbs to reduce the cost).

Next month (February) we get our tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that are destined for the greenhouse started as well as beets, arugula, carrots (in large pots), lettuce, and a second planting of bunching onions and mustard greens. So those of you getting plants started in your house…you might need an addition by the time comes to set your plants out.

It is not like this is not a busy time for anyone with a garden. We take advantage of every nice day to do some pruning and then spray our fruit trees with dormant oil.  This is also a good time for construction projects because they do not interfere with a planted garden. Repairing or replacing garden beds and adding to the greenhouse organization is best done now rather than when there are plants occupying the construction space. We are building shelves along the back of our greenhouse to store the bits and bobs we keep in the greenhouse and to house the many pots of flowers that we bring into the greenhouse each winter. There is nothing like working in the greenhouse on a rainy day smiling that we are warm and dry inside. I think a gardener can always find something to do no matter the season. But I think finding time to do nothing is also important because it keeps us from “burning out”. So while there is some gardening that can be done, consider taking it easy and enjoying your “time off”. But then if you have a large orchard or perennial flower beds, well now you’ve just made yourself busy over the next couple of months….

Nancy and Gary Searing


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