SGI Greens February 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the February SGI News. In this edition you will find a message from Elizabeth, a report on the recent SGI Annual General Meeting, a volunteer call-out for the upcoming GPC Virtual General Meeting, upcoming local BC Greens events,  highlighting Creatively United for the Planet, and a gardening update from Gary and Nancy among other things.

Read on for more…..


Notes from Elizabeth

The world just got a whole lot more dangerous.  Putin is unhinged and a threat to world peace. This article from Andre Nikiforuk in the Tyee is helpful:

We cannot avoid the reality that as long as nuclear weapons are in silos, the world cannot sleep easy. It is time for Canada to sign and ratify the treaty to abolish nuclear weapons.

The events of last week and this are not unconnected.  Much of the disinformation promulgated by the so-called Freedom Convoy comes from Russian news sites.  Protecting democracy from fascism is not a Sunday School picnic. It will be increasingly difficult. We will need to be persistent, logical, and thoughtful.  I head back to Ottawa on Sunday for another week in parliament.  Please stay in touch!



GPC Virtual General Meeting (VGM) March 25-27, and Call-out for Volunteers

Phase 2 of the VGM will take place March 25-27thWe had wonderful volunteers help us to host a successful Virtual General Meeting last November. We are once again looking for the help of volunteers to ensure that the policies that we champion during elections and in Parliament are written and voted on by members. The roles are listed here; please email if you can help with all or part of one of these very important tasks. 

SGI Electoral District Association (EDA) Annual General Meeting

On January 22nd of 2022, the Saanich-Gulf Islands EDA held their twice-postponed 2021 virtual AGM via Zoom. If you missed it, you can watch it here.  The amazing guest speakers created considerable outside interest for the occasion and we saw good attendance from our local membership as well as many other parts of Canada.

The business part of the AGM went quickly.  Dan Kells was acclaimed as CEO, Mary Leslie was acclaimed as a new member and Linda Brown was acclaimed for another three year term on the executive. Harald Hommel and Bob MacKie both finished their time on the council with gratitude from all.

As a result, your Executive Council for 2022 is: Dan Kells, CEO; Sharon Forrester, Financial Agent; Nancy Searing, Secretary; Linda Brown, Helena Murray-Hill, Karen Lindsay and Mary Leslie, all members-at-large. You can read more about the EDA and Executive here.

Readers of this newsletter, wherever you may be, are encouraged to join their local executive committee and provide fresh ideas and energy to their local EDA. This party is very much a volunteer run organization and depends on its volunteers to keep it active in the community.

Our Financial Agent, Sharon Forrester, reported that the pandemic really reduced the activities and fundraising of the EDA, with most of the financial activity of 2021 related to the federal election in September.

After the business needs of the AGM were met, there were three excellent speakers for our enjoyment.

Of course our MP, Elizabeth May, brought everyone up to date on her activities in Parliament last year. The pandemic may have kept most MPs from personally being in the House but Elizabeth was able to continue her high pace of Green parliamentary activities via Zoom. Her behind-the-scenes look at the business end of an MP’s experience is always most interesting.

Mike Morrice spoke next and it was a great opportunity for everybody to meet him and appreciate his dedication, humour and wit. He graciously answered all questions asked of him and his presence was welcomed.

Finally, Lorraine Rekmans spoke on behalf of the Federal Council and graciously provided a good overview of current business and next steps.

I wish to thank each of these three very important Greens for attending our AGM and for being willing to answer our questions.

Many thanks to the local team that brought you this AGM event on Zoom. It was recorded, and you can watch all or parts of it here.

Finally, we would like to thank all the members of the SGI EDA for believing in the GPC. Over the last two years, there has been little opportunity to spend time and socialize with each other. The opportunity to gather again and enjoy our Green community seems to be coming soon. If there are any events you know of that our local federal Greens could participate in, please let us know.


BC Greens News and Events

Our BC Greens friends have been busy, and there’s more to come.

Saanich North and the Islands Greens: Coming up SOON!

Sidney-based Cascadia Seaweed is the largest cultivator of seaweed in North America. Its mission is to improve human health, support coastal communities and heal the earth by cultivating seaweed at scale in the ocean.

Join them  on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at Voices of Saanich and the Islands to learn more about this growing opportunity from Cascadia Chairman Bill Collins and Erin Bremner-Mitchell, Manager of Communications and Engagement.

To register for this event, click here.

Oak Bay Gordon Head Greens: 

The OBGH Greens recently hosted ​​Harry Swain, former federal Deputy Minister, for a discussion about the challenges turning brilliant policy ideas into reality.  This fascinating discussion can be viewed here.  The OBGH Facebook page also features recordings of past events such as Ron Rice, ED of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and Dr Trevor Hancock – 13 Municipalities, but only one planet: The challenge of creating a One Planet Region.


Focus on Community 

We are adding a new feature to our newsletter!  Each month we hope to highlight a local non-profit organization.  In this edition, we introduce Creatively United for the Planet.

Every Day is Earth Day on Free Community Solutions Hub

Since 2012, the non-partisan, non-profit Creatively United for the Planet Society, has been bringing individuals and organizations together in support of achieving common sustainability goals and accelerating climate action through creative collaboration.

For seven consecutive years (2012-2019), Creatively United annually produced one of North America’s largest multi-day, volunteer-run, zero-waste Earth Day festivals and sustainability showcases in Victoria, BC.

In 2020, Covid shut down plans for a live event in honour of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and the organization quickly pivoted into an online free event and sharing hub at that now has almost 6,500 subscribers worldwide.

Since then, has produced a free Climate and Artists webinar series and numerous short films, including Trees Matter, a creative collaboration featuring performances by members of the Victoria Symphony, the Emily Carr String Quartet, the Victoria Philharmonic Choir and Ballet Victoria.

This is Creatively United’s second production filmed in Saanich, BC, involving Ballet Victoria, the first being the film Awaken: A Forest Ballet, which was used in a campaign with the Habitat Acquisition Trust to save the wild area in which it was filmed and that will soon become one of Saanich’s newest parks. This creative collaboration included acclaimed Canadian recording artists: Ann Mortifee; former Chilliwack band guitarist, Ed Henderson; and cellist Finn Manniche.

Shaw Cable on Channel 4 regularly shows many of Creatively United’s videos and the entire webinar series can be seen on YouTube ( and

Be sure to sign up for Creatively United’s occasional newsletters ( to learn about exciting and timely events and information, plus check out for email addresses of key government contacts, free shareable artwork and post your stories and events.


West Coast Food Gardening with Gary & Nancy    

As the temperatures warm to near double digits (at least last week and hopefully next) and the sun breaks through the clouds more often, for us west coasters that is the sign of spring in the offing. And with spring, gardeners are anxious to get our hands back in the soil that we actually needed to take a break from after a very long 2021 growing season. But the danger of getting over-excited about spring and getting our plants started early is that unless we have a plan, those same plants will languish in pots until they are either too leggy to plant or have been sitting without growing for too long. On the other hand, not getting a “jump-start” on the growing season causes us to lose valuable growing days in our garden season. And given that we generally have somewhat mild springs (even though it may not always feel that way to us) we have lots of opportunity to get plants growing relatively early. We just need a plan to do it so that your plants are ready to go into the soil when the soil temperature is just right and the air temperature is not too cold (or too warm for early season crops). If you have a greenhouse like we do, that opens up a huge window for growing warm season crops very early in the year – and who wouldn’t want tomatoes in May? Even the use of cloches in your outdoor beds adds 2 or more weeks to the season start for many crops because the soil warms up faster than in the open air and the beds are protected from late season frosts.

So what to plant and when? Here is what we do in January-March…


Early January: Lettuce and mustard greens to plant into the greenhouse for early salads. Leeks, onions and shallots which are long season crops and develop large bulbs when started early. Also the first crop of bunching onions which tolerate the cold soils. We also plant kale to put out into the garden mid-to-late February. We also start celery because it is so slow growing that it seems to need more time before going into the garden in late March.

Later January: Parthenocarpic tomatoes to plant in the greenhouse to get extra early tomatoes. These fruit in cool weather so are well-suited to early plantings. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower for transplanting to the garden in mid March. Sugar snap peas which we then transplant into the greenhouse for an extra early treat. We also start spinach which we plant out in mid-March.

Early February: We plant some tomatoes and peppers for transplanting into the greenhouse by late March-early April when the soil is nice and warm. We plant beets to transplant in mid March and we start a pot of carrots which we leave in the greenhouse until we harvest them around the end of April.

Later February: We already start our second planting of lettuce and bunching onions for a succession crop. These lettuce plants will go outside under a cloche when ready. We plant arugula, cilantro, parsley for transplanting outdoors, and beans to transplant into the greenhouse for early eating. We direct sow sugar snap peas into the garden under a cloche because you can never grow too many peas.

Early March: We plant a succession crop of broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and celery as well as starting cantaloupe which will grow in the greenhouse. We also start some ground cherry plants for setting out in early May.

Later March: Another succession of broccoli and beets as well as chard to transplant in the garden in late April And then most of the warm weather crops are started now including tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplant, cucumber, and basil. The latter three we grow in our greenhouse, but the rest go into the garden under a cloche in mid May.

While space under our grow-lights is about 50% occupied now, it will quickly reach 100% and then force us to move the older plants out to ledges in the greenhouse where they have to rely on the natural light from the ever longer days. But it is very rewarding having a greenhouse full of plants even as the outdoor temperature dip below zero. And if you are thinking that this year seems to be colder than average, your plants will agree with you. Our 5° growing degree days are only 77% of what they were at this time in 2021, only 55% of what they were in 2020 and only 62% of what they have been on average since 2014. So that means the soil will be colder and everything will shift by a couple of weeks later. Given that it looks like we will be back to near zero temperatures until late February, it may shift things by a few weeks. So don’t hurry to plant the more heat-loving crops and don’t feel bad if you didn’t get the cold weather crops started. There is still time given the cold temperatures and they will catch up as the temperatures rise (hopefully) in March.

Happy growing

Nancy & Gary Searing

Honeysuckle Cottage


Keeping in Touch 

Have you changed a phone number in the past couple of years, or moved, or would you prefer that we use a different email address? We’ve noticed that some of our phone records are out of date as many people have discontinued landlines in recent years.

If any of your contact details have changed, please email us at – and be sure to give us your full name in the email to help us locate your details.

This newsletter (and Elizabeth’s Good Sunday Morning) is published from a separate system than our main database, mainly because it goes to many people who are outside of our EDA.  For many newsletter subscriptions we often have only an email, sometimes not even a name or address and it’s virtually impossible to connect these two databases and update one from the other.   So –  If you live in Saanich – Gulf Islands and receive this newsletter or Elizabeth’s Good Sunday Morning, but did not hear about our recent Annual General Meeting, we need to hear from you so that we can update our main supporter and member records.  Thanks for getting in touch!

Also – computer systems often seem to have minds of their own, and we’ve noticed that there are many profiles in our main database for supporters where “do not email” is flagged, making it impossible to send those individuals any information.  The emails simply won’t go out the proverbial email door!  Sometimes people deliberately unsubscribe from emails, for a variety of reasons.  However, quite often those flags show up when a person doesn’t actually intend for there to be a hard stop and we are not always sure why (but we’re working on it!).  If you would like to receive EDA-specific notices, or want us to check and let you know the settings on your profile, please let us know.  We appreciate your help with keeping in touch!


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