In our mild West Coast climate there is no reason not to have fresh homegrown veggies year round. And now is the time to think about those varieties that grow well into the fall or, better yet, overwinter and feed us into the spring.
Many vegetables can be started now from seed: endives, radicchios which are wonderful in winter salads and winter soups. As well, now in mid-July is the very last chance to seed Swiss chard and winter beets and even some hardy romaine can still be started.
My own favorite varieties of endive are Zidane (Frisee), Sugarloaf and Markant and for radicchio, Palla Rossa or Radicchio di Treviso. If you have a covered area (like an unheated greenhouse or tunnel) you may be harvesting until well into April next year.
For the cabbages, kales, broccolis, Brussels sprouts and cauliflowers it is a bit late to start from seed because you want to put out transplants that are at least 6” (15 cm) tall by the beginning of August.
If you come to the Beban Learning Gardens on Wednesday or Saturday mornings (10-noon), starting July 24 and continuing until later in August, you’ll find that we have grown and are now selling, the following types of transplants: Broccoli: Red Spear; Brussels Sprouts: Nautic and Red Ball; Cabbages- Danish Ballhead, Early Jersey Wakefield and January King; Cauliflower: Galleon, Sunset and Snowball.
Later on there will be Kales: Dwarf Green Curled, Lacinato, Dwarf Green Curled, and Red Russian as well as a selection of endives and radicchios, Swiss Chard, and Winter Lettuce.
Orientation dates been completed but luckily for you, a final one is scheduled! You will need to attend this last one to join the program. You do not have to pre-register – just show up! Remember to bring your membership fee (sliding scale $15-$25) and any friends or family that want to glean with you. Everyone will need to attend the entire orientation session to join the Gleaning Program. Latecomers will not be fully oriented and will not be able to become a gleaner this year. All your questions will be answered at these one-hour sessions. Please come to the Pine St Community Garden behind the Foodshare Centre at 271 Pine St. As the sessions will be held outside in the gazebo behind the parking lot, please be sure to dress for the weather.
• Wednesday July 10th 6pm – 7pm
Do you wanted to volunteer at one of the Nanaimo Community Gardens Society sites? There are no rental plots, instead we garden together doing whatever is needed depending on the site and the time of year.
At the Beban Learning Garden work parties are held Wednesdays between 10am and 12pm. This garden is located beside the golf course at Beban Park. This site includes a greenhouse, fruit trees and bushes and outdoor gardening beds. During the late winter and early spring, the focus is on maintaining the site and growing seedlings for sale and donating to the community. Later in the season, the greenhouse becomes too hot to work in and the focus is growing outdoors.
The Pine St Garden has work parties on Wednesdays from 11am to 3pm. To participate in these work parties, visit the Pine St Garden behind the Foodshare Centre at 271 Pine St. These work parties continue year round but tasks are very weather dependent. Volunteers have lunch together at 1pm so drop by , bring your lunch and join us for a wonderful meal in the garden.
For May and June there will also be Thursday work parties at the Pine St Garden from noon to 3pm. If these are successful, they may continue through the summer. If you have a group that wishes to attend the garden, this time may be ideal as it is less crowded and we will have a teacher leading the work parties. Please call if this is something that interests you at 250-816-4769.
Do you want to grow your own food? Improve your food security? Or make your garden more productive? Then the Growing Organic Food course is for you!
Canadian Organic Growers is offering the Growing Organic Food course. In this 11 week in-class and hands-on course students will learn about soil health, water management, propagating plants, food preservation and more!
Dates: May 30 to July 4
Location: Beban Learning Garden, Beban Park 2300 Bowen Rd. Nanaimo
Registration fee: $845 +tax – COG Members save $50!
To learn more visit https://www.cog.ca/growing-organic-food/ or email email@example.com
Representatives Jenna Sutherland and Tammie Muir from Island Savings were on hand at a recent tree planting work party at the Beban Learning Gardens to present a cheque to Nanaimo Community Gardens Society. The cheque for $1,500 will to go towards the purchase of fruit trees for the site. The planting of young fruit trees, berry bushes and grape vines has been planned since the site was first occupied. In the years to come, the fruits will supplement the production of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers on the site to be used in programs and event. Island Savings has been focusing on reducing paper use in their branches and wanted to reinvest those savings in the community with the planting of food producing trees. Thank you Island Savings!
We took some time recently to take out the old tubes of mason bee cocoons and replace them with fresh, new paper tubes. These tubes are where the new female mason bees will lay their eggs, fully provisioned with pollen. These eggs will hatch and the larvae will eat and grow until they are large enough to spin a cocoon and wait out the cold winter all snug and cozy. In the spring the males hatch first and wait for the females. It is at this time that the mason bees provide their renowned pollinating services to flowering fruit trees. As you see in this picture, one of our youngest volunteers is helping to remove the old mason bee tubes and putting them in a special box where the bees can safely hatch out.
Beban Learning Gardens will begin selling starterplants on Wed., March 20, directly from ourgreenhouse in Beban Park, beside the golf course. Every Wednesday from 10 to noon, from now until June, you can come and buy vegie, herb, and beneficial and edible flower starter plants, grown as organically as we know how, right on our site. In an effort to help our friends the bees, we are also growing and selling plants that are the favourites of our hard-working pollinators. Lots of gardening advice is available, as well.
You are also welcome to browse around our garden and see what we are growing.
Plants we will be selling for the rest of March and into early April include:
Snap peas, broad beans, sweet peas, thyme, rosemary, mustard, mizuna, strawberries, and lots more!