Welcome to Salt Spring Garden…


Path to Gardens


This blog will go live once the novel, The Family Garden, is published.

For now, I’ve used the blog post that ends the novel as a placeholder below.

The Family Garden – Breaking Through

It rained during the night here on Salt Spring Island where I live with a beautiful woman named Nicole in a home that has been a part of her family for generations. Late night rain is a good sign they say for the spring season ahead. I hope it’s an omen of fertility to spark the new garden we’re about to plant, as well as to guide our work restoring the overgrown apple orchard that Nicole’s mom planted decades ago.

It’s going to be an exploration for all of us, exploring both the old and new simultaneously, just like me jumping into the modern world by launching this blog, and yet going back in time, back to the land and learning how to grow our own food.

When Nicole and I walked through the orchard this morning, the branches were already dotted with young leaves looking as if green snowflakes had fallen during the night and stuck to the dark branches. After waiting all winter to get going, the new growth now has to fight for space and sunlight with other plants that have their own ideas in these fertile months.

I came upon an old apple tree that’s used to this kind of struggle. Its gnarled trunk had to finds its way through part of a fence that collapsed on it many years ago and split the trunk in half. The tree is doing just fine now and seems healthier because of the fight, with two stout trunks, one on each side of the fence.

It’s not just the trees that have to find their way to the flickering light that filters through the leafy canopy of evergreens that surround the orchard. There are wild blackberry and raspberry bushes thriving as they tangle their way through the wire braces designed to hold them back, climbing over them, using them for support, growing taller because of the barriers they’ve overcome, better able to spread out, to become some new, better version of themselves.

All of this is my first lesson from the garden and I haven’t planted a single seed yet.

Nicole and I are going to clear some of the weeds over the next week, fertilize the soil, and then lay out rows for runner beans, red potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, and spring lettuce. I figure if we work at it regularly and care for the garden properly, we should be eating fresh veggies by mid-summer and pressing apple cider by late Fall.

Then the garden will go fallow for the winter, and next spring we’ll begin again. Yep, the cycle of life. The Circle Game and all that.

Of course, there’s a long time between then and now and a lot of work to get done between now and then, before the days grow shorter and the seasons go round and round.

We’re ready for it. I hope you are, too.


Chris & Nicole








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