Category Archives: Community Garden

Gardens on the Go Earthship Workshop Series

2021 Gardens on the Go
Earthship Workshop series

Although we love hands on, in person classes, the first three sessions will be held as on-line Zoom classes from 1pm to 3pm.  As things evolve with COVID-19 safety protocols we will continue to evaluate the situation and will hopefully be able to offer classes in person at theDoighouse.  UPDATE: July composting class will be in person at theDoighouse Gardens.

Instructor Bio:

Connie Kuramoto has been teaching Horticulture for over 30 years, and gardening for even longer.  She was a technician and instructor for Vancouver Island University for 20 years, and currently teaches on contract for North Island College and Gaia College, as well as numerous workshops and talks throughout Vancouver Island and beyond.

Connie has worked in the Horticulture Industry in Greenhouses, Market Gardens, Florist Shops, Farms, and has managed her own Horticulture Training and Service Business, Gardens on the Go for nearly ten years.  Her zoom sessions are filled with information and growing tips.

 Series Dates and Topics

February 6, 2021 – SOLD OUT
Zoom 1-3pm
Pruning Basics: Learn the rules that make pruning fruit trees easy!

Join Connie Kuramoto, long time Horticulture Instructor and learn to prune those fruit trees! Using the keep it simple principle, Connie will introduce you to just a few rules that will give you confidence in your fruit tree pruning adventures. This class will introduce you to pruning theory during a two hour Zoom class. Bring your questions. Send pictures and questions about pruning to Connie at
Eventbrite Registration closed

March 13, 2021 
Zoom 1-3pm
Building a Garden Bed: Learn to build a sheet mulched garden bed right on top of what you have now, whether lawn weeds, or bare soil. No building skills required.

Join this class to learn to brew up some good nutrition for your soil. Using easy to grow plants and plants gathered from the wild, as well as inexpensive microbial solutions, you can blend and brew some nutritious garden teas that your soil microbes and your plants will thrive on. We will talk about using common weeds to make brews, as well as compost tea and microbial blends. Bring your questions! There will be time to answer questions after the session, as well as by email.
Eventbrite Registration closed

April 24, 2021 – Garden Teas & Brews: Learn to make your own garden fertilizers using easy to find materials.

Getting started on gardening can be easy with the no dig sheet mulched garden bed method. This method will turn any area of your yard into a garden in one afternoon. Grow fantastic vegetables, herbs, or flowers, with a minimum of effort and weeding using inexpensive and easy to source materials. Get a jump start on a garden this year. Food prices are expected to rise significantly and using this method you can build your bed and plant into it the same day. All questions will be answered either during class, or afterwards. Come and join us and join the ranks of thousands of gardeners growing fresh nutritious food for themselves and their families.
Eventbrite Registration closed

June 19, 2021 – Planting a Winter Garden: Learn about providing yourself with fresh veggies year-round. 

June is the time to start loading your garden with plants that will feed you all winter long, with little work involved. Learn what types of veggies do well over winter, what varieties are best, and how to care for them as the days get shorter.  Learn about watering in winter, and different methods of protecting your plants from excess rain, wind, and cold temperatures.  Discover some new vegetables.  Winter gardening and harvesting is a major step towards your family’s food security.
Eventbrite Registration closed

July 24, 2021 – Composting Methods including Worm Bins – learn how to build compost correctly at a hands-on class in theDoighouse gardens.

No more smelly compost, no more wondering what to do.  We will be building a compost from the ground up and learning what to put in and what to leave out.  Learn the difference between hot composting and cold composting.  We will discuss different methods of composting, including trench composting, bokashi composting, and last, but not least, we will be building a worm bin.  Come learn how you can compost in any space, no matter how small. All participants will go home with links to more information on composting and best of all, one lucky person will go home with the worm bin, complete with a population of worms, as a door prize.  Tours of theDoighouse Earthship will be available.

Eventbrite Registration

  • August – no class
  • September 25, 2021 – hold the date for the beginning of our fall 2021 ‘Gardens on the Go’ series.
  • October 23,  2021 – Propagation

Email and let me know if you would like to be put on our ‘reminder’ list.

Please note: Children welcome with supervision.



Christmas 2018

I am not sure you know this, but our family Christmas tradition is to share stories rather than gifts purchased. The Christmas stories are collected, and every 5-10 years or so a new ‘Brown Family Chronicles’ is published. We are currently working on the 4th volume.

Hungarian plum dumplings, known as szilvas gomboc, are a delicious dessert, meatless main dish, or side dish. I know this for a fact… 

One afternoon this past summer Diane’s friend called to let me know his plum tree was ready for picking.  Off I go to Parkville. It’s too bad Diane is away visiting her kids so we won’t get a little visit.  On the other hand, if she were home I may not have gotten the plums!

After a nice chat with Don, I climb the tree, which turns out to be two trees actually.  Soon I have two five pound pails and a couple of brown paper bags full of mostly ripen fruit. Back I go to the property to share the haul with our volunteers.  Several have little more than enthusiasm for food storage skills so we have been making jams, apple sauce, pickling cukes and having a lot of fun in the outdoor kitchen.  I have done no preserving of food for several/many years but find myself really enjoying the time in the kitchen. I am getting to know our niece Alesha, Maddy (Cecilia’s Swedish friend) and Iliya (our Jamaican friend living on the property).  Our plan is to perhaps make plum jam and can a few pints of plums. 

David & tony building the “Bear Paw Cafe”, our outdoor community kitchen

David Koblos is a ‘regular’ volunteer.  He has spent 2 summers with us now, learning and teaching us all. This year he started in May, shortly after Tony retired, and stayed until the first week in September.  He has a wonderful sense of humour and a passion for Earthships.  He always has a story to tell and a way of interacting that is truly authentic. 

David was born in Hungary and has lived in many different country and speaks several languages (beautifully).We can’t imagine building our Earthship without him. 

One of the best parts about the Bear Paw Cafe is people sharing their family recipes and even better… making them for sharing. Well… the minute David K. hears of the plums he is eager to share his family tradition of making szilvas gomboc

A typical Hungarian dish; we are assured by David he knows the recipe by heart.  It will only take a few minutes.  We can have them for dinner!  An excellent idea; given it is almost dinner time… David harvests about five (okay maybe six) pounds of potatoes from the hugel closest to the kitchen.  “How delicious these will be with such fresh potatoes”. As the potatoes cook David assembles the rest of the ingredients.  Iliya appears with a rolling pin! We have so many plums; it would be good to make a large batch. The dough is first a little too dry then a little too wet, then a little this and then a little that…Soon there are several people in the kitchen helping.

Several hours later with the plums nicely tucked inside the perfected dough the cooking begins.  Dinner is served… I can’t recall exactly the time, but for sure the solar light in the kitchen came on…The dumplings are delicious and enjoyed (for several meals actually), by our volunteers and Tony and I as the minor modifications and adjustments to the dough have resulted in dozens and dozens of dumplings, not the typical 18 the recipe below suggests.  I couldn’t say this recipe is exactly as David made it, but it seems close!

Hungarian Plum Dumplings (Szilvas Gomboc) Recipe (

  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield – 18 Hungarian plum dumplings


  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled, mashed and cooled (don’t use leftovers)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 18 damson or Italian prune plums, washed and pitted
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups very fine breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, and salt. When well combined, add flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
  2. Place a large pot of salted water on to boil.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/3 inch. Cut into 2-inch squares. Place a plum in the center of each square and fold in half, pressing out all air and sealing the edges. Moisten edges before crimping if necessary to seal.
  4. Carefully drop filled dumplings individually into boiling water. Repeat until all plums are in the water. Cook 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet, add breadcrumbs and brown. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove dumplings to a colander to drain. Place skillet back on the heat and add dumplings, coating with buttered crumbs.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

These dumplings were truly delicious!  They are easily reheated too, by frying the leftover dumplings in a little butter or olive oil the following day.

We have had such a lovely time this year at theDoighouse.  So many guests, volunteers, new friends and old have come to visit and have shared their time, patience, laughter and enthusiasm.  We would not be doing what we are doing without you! 

Thank you!

Social Permaculture Reflections

Susan recently achieved her Permaculture Design Certification (PDC) through Oregon State University.  Amazing course!  Amazing instructors and cohort.  Her final project was to design the layout of the Doighouse community gardens, orchard, personal, social and teaching spaces.  Here’s an example of the overall plan.

theDoighouse site plan.

Social Permaculture Reflections:

The goal of theDoighouse is to create community; using space and place as a way to bring people together to learn, to laugh and share our collective experiences. Continue reading Social Permaculture Reflections

Hugel gardening

This is my second hugel kultur garden.  It’s a whopping 79 feet long, 6 feet wide, 3 feet deep and about 4 feet high.  We haven’t watered the squash or the potatoes since early spring!  Don’t the plants look super healthy?

How it was built:
We started by digging a 6 foot wide 79 foot long trench dug down about three feet.  Once the trench was completed, a couple of layers of logs were place length wise covering the entire bottom of the trench.   Continue reading Hugel gardening