Strawberry – Everbearing
At the Suwa’lkh School program we propagate native plants with the students both for sale and to help rehabilitate and reindiginize our forest. In the future we will have native varieties of this delicious berry, but for now we have loads of these everbearing cultivated plants!
Physical properties: Perrenial small bush (20cm diameter) with large, juicy, red strawberries. Will send runners and establish a patch if left alone.
Preferred conditions: Dry heads, wet feet. Prefferably no more than one plant per sq. foot. Mulch will prevent fruit rot. Sunny loaction is best. Will die back in winter, but come up again in spring.
Edibility: YEAH! (but don’t tell the kids…)
For best results, replace every 4th year with new runners as old plants are less productive.
Large Leaf Lupine – Lupinus Poliphyllus
At the Suwa’lkh School program we propagate native plants with the students both for sale and to help rehabilitate and reindiginize our forest. This one is just too beautiful not to spread around!
Physical properties: Perennial, upright, up to 1.5m high
Preferred conditions: Moist to wet open habitats (sea shores, streamside, meadows, disturbed sites). Low elevations. Likes sun, will die back in fall and come right back in spring!
Edibility: Wild lupin contain toxins – Not edible
First Nation Uses: Unknown
Beautiful purple flower heads, fixes nitrogen, self seeding.
Salal – Gaultheria Shallon
At the Suwa’lkh School program we propagate native plants with the students both for sale and to help rehabilitate and reindiginize our forest. One of our favorites, this one has an incredible fruit!
Physical properties: Bushy perennial, 0.2-5 m tall (layering and suckering) – will grow into the space it has available.
Preferred conditions: Sunny edges of coniferous forests, rocky bluffs, to the seashore. Does not require watering once established. Winter hardy, just plant and forget till fruit is ready! Low to medium elevations.
Edibility: Berries are edible and delicious! Great for Jam, ripen in August
First Nation Uses: One of the most plentiful and important fruits for the northwest coast first nations people. Eaten both fresh and dried into cakes. The Kwakwaka’wakw ate the ripe berries dipped in oolichan grease at large feasts. For trading or selling, the salal berries were mixed with currants, elderberries, or unripe salal berries. The berries were also used to sweeten other foods and the Haida used salal berries to thicken salmon eggs. The young leaves were chewed as a hunger suppressant by the Ditidaht. The leafy branches were used in pit-cooking, and cooked as a flavouring in fish soup.
Please enjoy our vegetable song!
What did you first think when you heard about the SOYL Program?
I first heard about it attending the VSB’s 2016 Sustainability Conference.
During the conference’s opportunities fair, Fresh Roots had a small booth in the very corner with a little orange poster. I think I nearly missed it, but fate would have me approaching the Fresh Roots booth while I was waiting for people to clear up around the, quite honestly, much more exciting-looking booth beside it.
There, I was greeted by a friendly girl who gave me the rundown of the program. As she spoke, I began to think: would I be willing to spend my entire summer working on a schoolyard farm? Performing all the laborious tasks needed to grow vegetables? Outside, in the hot summer heat?
Heck yeah I would.
You see, while most sixteen-year-olds would be turned off by the idea of working on a farm, I was in love with it. I started getting involved in environmentally-focused volunteer work in grade 9, and over time I ended up developing a huge passion for environmentalism. Before SOYL, I was an avid volunteer for nature day camps at the Surrey Nature Centre. I was also, at one point, part of something called the Salmon Habitat Restoration Program, which allowed me to spend my last summer removing invasive species and doing industrial education work around the city.
Growing and maintaining a garden was something I had absolutely no knowledge about at the time, and it’s because of Fresh Roots that I’ve been able to learn how to do that. Thank you Fresh Roots.