THE SEED Garden Journal started as a personal desire to learn how to garden. I moved from the high rises of Vancouver, BC to the local farmland of South Surrey. I began by eating local and in season as well as researching how to plan for the winter. The following year I sourced local seed companies and learned that we are blessed with the best climate to grow food all year.
Each season I planted a new test a crop to study the growth, height, amount of sun and water required and how much food one plant produced. I ate some of what I grew and more often allowed the plants to go to seed so I could learn that process too.
Along the way I learned about hand pollination. I was not willing to accept the rumor of diminishing bees and I noticed that I was living inside a town-home community void of flowering plants. I decided to tackle the issue in two ways. I hand pollinated my cucumbers and zucchinis the first year and planted edible flowers and herbs around our home and community.
My test garden grew exponentially. Birds, bees and butterflies arrived as well as excitement from the neighbors that our community was blossoming! Soon quinoa, rhubarb, bergamont, and chocolate mint shared the common space along with the tree frogs.
Originally this journal was for me. Gardening, cooking and photography is a part of my lifestyle and I didn't think about turning it into work. Recently, I realized that creating for the love-of-it is the perfect thing to share.
I designed the journal to be used for my/your 28 favorite garden plants for 5 years. As much fun as it is to buy exotic seeds I've learned that simplicity is best. Plant what you love. Everything begins from a seed whether that be a seed of an idea or the seed of a plant. Focus on what you love and it will grow exponentially as well as the community around you. Bless the Planet.
Photographer and creator of THE SEED Garden Journal, Reine Mihtla
MEMORY: I was sitting in the baby seat of a grocery cart being pushed past the Chef Boyardee Ravoli. I pointed and said I wanted it. My mom stopped the cart and confronted me.
Mom: What do you want? Me: This. Mom: What is this? Me: Blank stare (the kids on tv liked it), I remained silent. Mom: This is ravioli, it is pasta. I can make you pasta for dinner and I can make it better than this. (can you hear the 'mom' tone?)
Later that night we had pasta for dinner and she reminded me of the lesson while we were eating. I'm grateful for her clear and direct teaching. I learned instantly that anything homemade is better than processed or canned and for that reason I'm not tempted by the allure of convenience or flashy labels today.
In 2000 I began photographing some of Vancouver's top Chefs in their kitchens and found myself surrounded by artist working in a new pallet of color, taste and texture. I was hooked and I confess that during those shoots I took my time because as I was shooting I was also studying their stoves, pans, knives and approach to cooking. The camera has always been my hall pass and being inside some of the city's best kitchens was a goldmine of information.
Currently, I'm a contributing photographer for Edible Vancouver Wine Country Magazine to further explore my passion of what is local & edible. Walking the fields, talking to the farmers and learning about production is rounding out my knowledge of the culinary arts and the slow food movement. This journal is the beginning of blending the two.