John Augustyn

New gardening book shares wealth of local knowledge

Mountain Harvest is a new book by the North Columbia Environmental Society in which Revelstoke's senior gardeners share their secrets.

Gardening is a big deal in Revelstoke. The North Columbia Environmental Society, through their Local Food Initiative, has actively promoted the activity.

Their latest effort is Mountain Harvest: Revelstoke’s Senior Gardeners Share Their Secrets, a new book where locals share centuries of experience of gardening in Revelstoke.

The book was published by the NCES through funding by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program and it features 38 gardeners, who were interviewed and photographed by a team of 38 people. Several people were both interviewers and interviewees.

Laura Stovel, who wrote First Tracks, A History of Skiing in Revelstoke, is credited as the main author. It was designed by Carly Moran.

Mountain Harvests is divided into five sections with between two and nine sections each. The 136-page book is full of colourful photos of the people and their gardens.

The first section is titled The Land, and has chapters on Sinixt elder Marilyn James, who talks about the First Nations uses of the land; and Pat Wells, a long-time local who has spent decades fishing, hunting, mushroom picking and berry picking around Revelstoke.

The remaining four sections are divided into the four seasons. The winter section contains chapters on greenhouses, early starts, fruit trees and more.

The knowledge imparted is invaluable. Manuel Amaral, well known for his giant tomatoes, speaks about his greenhouses. He uses an electric heater and fan to circulate the air and keep his greenhouse at a temperature of 24–27 C all winter. He stores rain water and funnels it through pipes to water his plants.

Giuseppe Iaccino talks about his fruit trees and figs – a fruit you wouldn’t expect to grow in Revelstoke. To make it work, he grows the tree in a big barrel, which he brings inside his garage during the winter.

Donna Hannah talks about composting and Biagio Palumbo about planting. Sam Olynyk, who grew up on a farm south of Revelstoke, talks about garden structures. There are chapters on raising chickens, beekeeping pest control, and on the history of the Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market.

Look for Mountain Harvests at stores around Revelstoke for $25.



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