Sheila Jones and her 11-year-old children Katie and Dominic van Oort stand amid Dominic’s Scarlet runner beans

Sheila Jones and her 11-year-old children Katie and Dominic van Oort stand amid Dominic’s Scarlet runner beans

Kids keen to get hands dirty

Saanich family looks to grow South Malahat 4-H gardening club

Dominic van Oort likes to take a stroll around his backyard, packing strawberries, tarragon, tomatoes and other fresh herbs he’s grown into kale leaves fresh from his garden. There he has it: a homegrown snack he’s dubbed the “outdoor sandwich.”

But don’t let the 11-year-old’s zest for freshness overshadow his keen eye for all things culinary.

Dominic and his twin sister Katie, the two sole members of the South Malahat 4-H’s Garden Club, aren’t just expert gardeners, they’re budding chefs, augmenting their meals with homemade berry vinegars, apple lemon jelly, mint and chive pesto, fresh salsa or a fennel, dill and tarragon white bean dip – all prepared themselves with food they’ve learned to grow on their own.

“I thought it was great to be able to make your own food,” said Dominic, between comments on how the late spring killed his squash season and the size of his rainbow tomatoes.

The two were impressed by British chef and opponent of processed foods Jamie Oliver during a TED talk and have since invested themselves in growing their own food.

Dominic and Katie have completed their second year with 4-H and showed their final projects during the Saanich Fair.

Katie opted to spend the growing season tending to several hypertufa planters around the backyard of their Quadra/Cedar Hill neighbourhood home, while Dominic chose to follow a more traditional vegetable garden structure and canned much of his harvest. His legendary pickles were a personal highlight.

“All the stuff we make in the summer lasts us all the way until next year,” said Katie.

She doesn’t see becoming a “hardcore farmer” in her future, she added, despite her enthusiasm in the Jerusalem artichokes she purchased after an inspired encounter with local organic gardener and author Carolyn Herriot.

Outside of periodically meeting with the 20-member South Malahat 4-H Community Club at the Prospect Lake Community Hall and accepting a little trouble-shooting or heavy digging help from their mother, Sheila Jones, their involvement in the Garden Club is an entirely solo venture for the van Oorts.

They’d like that to change and to gain the ability to take on community projects with the inclusion of more members.

“It’s not just kids raising goats,” Jones said. “We interpret it in a way that’s fun for us.”

Jones has bandied about the idea of creating a kids’ gardening podcast featuring Katie and Dominic, who have also taken home public speaking awards from 4-H, in addition to recognition for their gardening expertise.

For the time being, however, Jones would like to see her kids encourage other young people via face-to-face interactions with their hands in the dirt.

“There’s a lot of scope,” Jones said. “If you’re creative you can do a lot of fun stuff with this. I’m trying to encourage them to go down the road of urban gardening, to encourage them to develop a love of looking after their own diet.”

The 4-H Garden Club is open to new members nine to 19 years old and is $90 annually.

For more information, contact Jones at 250-294-1054 or greensvo@gmail.com.

 

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

The District of Sooke is looking to revamp its business licence bylaw. Council agreed recently that all businesses must hold a business licence to operate in the community. (Kevin Laird – Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke pushes ahead with new business licence bylaw

Proposal calls for all forms of business to require licensing, but bylaw can stil be tweaked

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

A multi-building residential development on Erskine Lane in View Royal was approved by council on June 15. (Courtesy Town of View Royal)
Dire shortage of three-bedroom apartments, says View Royal mayor

New development to feature wide range of rental units, amenities for tenants

Embracing the urban forestry rule known as 3-30-300 could improve the community’s mental health, says Saanich Coun. Zac de Vries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich council embraces 3-30-300 rule to improve access to green space

Coun. Zac de Vries says rule promotes health and well-being through urban forestry

BC Housing has brought in sanitation trailers to the former Mount Tolmie Hospital site so its current residents can access clean water, showers, sinks and toilets after a collapsed sewer pipe impacted water service to the building. (Google Streetview)
Mount Tolmie Hospital homelessness shelter using sanitation trailers after pipe collapse

Travelodge shelter residents faced intermittent hot water supply in late May, early June

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

Most Read