Organic Master Gardener Course in Nanaimo

Have you ever wanted to create fabulous and healthy gardens without chemicals and pesticides? Are you interested in organic in your backyard? Then the Organic Master Gardener Course is for you! Gaia College’s signature and most popular course has been described as “life-changing” as students understand the connections between healthy soils, healthy plants, and healthy ecosystems.

Canadian Organic Growers is bringing the popular Organic Master Gardener course to Nanaimo this spring. This intensive, in class course with Connie Kuramoto will help you create beautiful and healthy ornamental and food gardens and lawns. This course is useful for backyard gardeners, market gardeners, farmers and anyone else wanting a better understanding of soil health.Designed for everyone from backyard and community gardeners to professional landscapers this course has something for everyone interested in sustainable land management practices. This comprehensive and inspiring course lays the foundation for making decisions on growing plants for ornamental or food purposes without the use of harmful pesticides or chemicals.

Course runs March 25 to April 25 at Beban Learning Gardens, 2300 Bowen Rd. Nanaimo.
Registration: $795 (COG members) $845 (non-members)
For more information and to register visit

Any questions about the course can be directed to

Seedy Sunday

Nanaimo Seedy Sunday 2019

Spring is coming and plans are in the making for Nanaimo Seedy Sunday! As spring bulbs start to show themselves and gardeners begin planning gardens, it is time to get ready for the Seedy Sunday seed swap and garden event.

Date: March 3rd, 2019  from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Nanaimo District Secondary School, 355 Wakesiah Avenue Nanaimo

(corner of Wakesiah and 3rd) ,take exit #18 off the Parkway

Admission: $3.00 (under 12 free)

Inquires contact: Glenda at  or 250-618-6323

The purpose of Seedy Sunday Nanaimo is to educate and engage the community in the preservation of heritage seeds through an annual seed exchange event. The Seedy Sunday event is a vital element in the cultivation and co-creation of sustainable communities. This event includes a seed exchange, educational workshops and displays that foster home gardening, local agriculture and sustainable practices which do not rely on the use of toxic chemicals.
Everybody is welcome to attend this popular annual event. Trade or purchase organic and non-hybrid seeds, native plants, bee houses, rain barrels and other tools for self-reliance. There will also be an activity centre for kids! Bring your own seeds to the seed exchange table. This popular event, which is put on by the Nanaimo Foodshare Society and the Nanaimo Community Garden Society, traditionally takes place on the first Sunday of every March, just in time for gardeners to pick up a great variety of seeds, seedlings, and other gardening material and supplies. The focus is on, but not limited to, organic, heritage and heirloom seed varieties. Attendees should be sure to bring their own well marked seeds to trade at the seed exchange table.

Free 2019 Workshops!


10:30- Dave Bodaly, Indigenous Lands and Food

12:00- Jen Cody, Seed Saving

1:30- Joyce McMenamon, Backyard Composting


10:45- Marcus Lobb, Seedling Starting -How to raise healthy seedlings on a budget!

12:15- Mathilde Gordon, Reducing Plastics in your garden

1:45- Rose McCulley, Mason Bees – How to care for these wonderful pollinators


11:00- Sunshine Goldsberry, Grow, Dry and Use Herbs
12:30- – Michael Geselbracht, Food Foresting- a Tale of Beaufort Park

2:00- Chris Brown, Year around Garden Development and restoration

Fall Cleanup (with Spring in Mind)

It’s that time of year to clean up organic detritus from planter boxes and gardens.  At the Beban Learning Gardens, that means we go into high gear making compost to nourish next spring’s plantings.  Here’s our composting approach:

Chopping for Compost


Volunteers chop tough stems with pruning shears, piling them into buckets to take to the composter.  In a few weeks, we’ll also start raking tree leaves; to chop the leaves, we put them into large garbage cans and use a corded weed trimmer to chop into small pieces that break down readily.

Adding Garden Detritus to Compost


Good compost requires a balance of fresh greens, dried materials and high density nutrients.  Our compost consists of fresh garden detritus, dried tree leaves, seaweed, coffee grounds and manure.


Mixing and Turning the Compost


Compost must be turned periodically to enable air flow, which ensures more even moisture levels and promotes the natural breakdown into a source of nourishment for next year’s crops.  We use a simple pitchfork and lots of manual effort; a composting tool (wing-ding) is also a good option when using a compost container system like ours.

If you’d like to see our composting in action, come join our volunteers at one of our work parties Wednesdays or Saturdays.

Beban Learning Gardens is growing again!

Our thanks to the volunteers from Team Home Depot for their efforts and generosity. These amazing volunteers came out to the Beban Learning Gardens bringing along their good attitudes and know-how and did a fantastic job constructing 5 new raised beds! We would also like to give our sincere thanks to Home Depot for their donation of gardening supplies and Sawmill Direct for providing the cedar.

The garden now has increased growing space and it’s exciting to have so much progress made in developing the facility.

Permanent Compost Boxes in Place at Beban

Here we are heading into winter at Beban Learning Gardens!  We have just finished building 12 spacious compost boxes.  Thanks again to Sawmill Direct for helping us out with their fine cedar lumber.

After Christmas we can dismantle our temporary wooden-pallet style boxes which actually served us very well.  In place of them, we hope to plant a few more fruit trees early in the spring, being sure to give them time to become established before the hot dry weather later on.

We are happy to announce that we will be able to extend our Saturday morning work parties, at least until the end of March.  Both Wednesday and Saturday groups will soon be busy starting seedlings for planting and for sale in the spring.  New volunteers are welcome to join us at any time.


There Goes the Summer…Here Comes the Fall!

Herb Boxes

Volunteers at Beban Learning Gardens had a busy time this summer. Besides the regular jobs of watering, weeding, seeding and harvesting, we managed to put together some designer herb boxes and three fine-looking picnic tables.

Thanks very much to all the patrons who bought winter vegetable starters from us over the last few months. We have several planter boxes full of gorgeous winter crops planted and they look ready to cope with whatever winter weather comes their way!

New Picnic Table have been built and our next major project is having a permanent composting and soil storage area built.

Great news! We will finally be able to start a weekend work party beginning Saturday, Sept. 23. New volunteers, as well as seasoned ones, are welcome to come to Beban Learning Gardens every Saturday through December (barring any extreme weather) from 10 am to 1:00 pm, to take part in various gardening activities both inside and outside our greenhouse. Children are welcome as long as they are supervised by a parent. Activities might include transplanting, weeding, harvesting (and sharing the harvest), seed-saving, planting garlic, composting, building, painting, and all the other jobs involved in keeping our communal garden in tip-top shape. Education is our mission so you can expect to learn gardening knowledge from others as well as sharing what you yourself might know. The first work party will likely include a tour of the garden. Work clothes and gardening gloves are a good idea but we do have spare gloves to share.

Nanaimo Community Gardens membership forms will be available but, if you wish, you can take a look at them by clicking here.