URBAN GARDENER: Tap into the joys of maple syrup

The annual bigleaf maple tapping demonstration will be held tomorrow

Learning To Tap Syrup from our bigleaf maple is a fascinating process and many Islanders are successfully producing maple syrup for home use and for sale.

It has become a small cottage industry in the Cowichan-Nanaimo area.

The annual bigleaf maple tapping demonstration will be held tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 2 at the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan.

Here’s an opportunity for readers to learn the secrets of extracting gallons of maple juice from our handsome western maples and converting the sap into rich tasting maple syrup.

The program includes a tapping demonstration, syrup tasting, luncheon with maple flavoured treats, talks with syrup vendors and, of course, a demonstration on boiling and syrup making.

It may be a bit chilly outdoors but there will be a large wood burning evaporater filled with hot sap. You can bundle up and keep warm while enjoying a bit of maple syrup therapy and sipping on a cup of maple sap mint tea.

There will be steam train rides to delight the youngsters. It is short notice for up-Islanders but if you are going call 250-715-1113 Ext. 4 for info or go to www.bcforestmuseum.com.

There is a modest entrance fee for the family and the demonstrations continue all day.

This rapidly growing industry started on Vancouver Island and has spread to Washington, Oregon and California.


While  In Duncan you may want to include the second annual Islands Agriculture Show held on both today and tomorrow. It is located in the Cowichan Exhibition Centre and is a unique opportunity to showcase the agriculture industry on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

There will be more than 60 exhibitors plus farm seminars that will be of interest to the general public as well as the farm community. For further info go online at  http://iashow.ca/ or call 1-250 748 0822.


Many Of My Readers experimented with planting the root end of green onions in order to regrow them.

My trial worked well and I was able to “harvest” the next generation of greens.

However, when I left the root ends in the soil for a another attempt at regrowing them, again, all I got were a few exhausted stems struggling to stay upright so I gave them a quick and merciful end.

However, I learned that organic onions are the only type that will produce a second crop.

As this was an experiment performed on my kitchen windowsill it will be interesting to see if a set of green onions, grown outdoors, can reproduce a second crop if the roots are left in the ground.

That really will be sustainable gardening.


Did You Know that North Island College has a course on Feb. 10 called Edible Landscaping.

You can have your garden and eat it too. Learn everything you need to know from expert Helena Hartwood about variety choice, bed preparation, planting and harvesting.