Thursday, July 14, 2011

Plant Now for Fall and Winter Harvests

Harvesting garlic scapes for community kitchen.

Rising energy costs and bad southern weather increased Canadian food prices by 2.1% in February and another 3.3% in March. Average vegetable prices rose 18.6%--lettuce cost 66.6% more than it did in March 2010!

According to a report called Resetting the Table: A People's Food Policy for Canada, about 2.5 million Canadians have uncertain access to sufficient safe, nutritious food. Food bank use rose 28% in two years and many of our neighbours must work harder than ever to put food on the table. Meanwhile the Conservative government’s food policy focuses on profitable crop exports rather than food insecurity in our communities.

So it’s no wonder that Canadians are increasingly interested in growing food at home. For new and seasoned gardeners alike, 2011’s long, cold spring was very discouraging but not to worry--July is still the perfect time to plant!

Take advantage of our mild winters and enjoy garden vegetables through the cold months. Plant collards, garlic, crinkled leaf kales, kohlrabi, leeks, and rutabagas now. Try arugula, Asian greens, corn salad, curly parsley, lettuces (try Winter Density or Rouge d’Hiver), spinach, and Swiss chard—but cover in winter.

Weather varies from year to year so be willing to experiment and don’t give up if you don’t always get great results. Keep a gardening journal and take note of what worked and what didn’t.

Visit West Coast Seeds for more gardening tips for our climate. Good luck!

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