It’s Time to Think of Planting Winter Vegetables

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.

Look for a nursery that has good-looking transplants and snap them up. If you come to the Beban Learning Gardens on a Wednesday mornings (10-noon), starting July 18 and continuing until later in August, you’ll find that we have grown and are now selling, the following types of transplants: Broccoli: Purple Sprouting; Brussels sprouts: Roodnerf and Red Ball; Cabbages- Danish Ballhead and January King; Cauliflower: Galleon and Purple Cape; Kales: Dwarf Green Curled, Lacinato, Redbor, Red Russian and Vates Curly Blue.

Later on there will be a selection of endives and radicchios.

Below, just to tempt you, is a photo of Purple Cape cauliflower- a most flavorful variety with large heads.

Beban Learning Gardens is growing again!

Our thanks to the volunteers from Team Home Depot for their efforts and generosity. These amazing volunteers came out to the Beban Learning Gardens bringing along their good attitudes and know-how and did a fantastic job constructing 5 new raised beds! We would also like to give our sincere thanks to Home Depot for their donation of gardening supplies and Sawmill Direct for providing the cedar.

The garden now has increased growing space and it’s exciting to have so much progress made in developing the facility.

Permanent Compost Boxes in Place at Beban

Here we are heading into winter at Beban Learning Gardens!  We have just finished building 12 spacious compost boxes.  Thanks again to Sawmill Direct for helping us out with their fine cedar lumber.

After Christmas we can dismantle our temporary wooden-pallet style boxes which actually served us very well.  In place of them, we hope to plant a few more fruit trees early in the spring, being sure to give them time to become established before the hot dry weather later on.

We are happy to announce that we will be able to extend our Saturday morning work parties, at least until the end of March.  Both Wednesday and Saturday groups will soon be busy starting seedlings for planting and for sale in the spring.  New volunteers are welcome to join us at any time.


There Goes the Summer…Here Comes the Fall!

Herb Boxes

Volunteers at Beban Learning Gardens had a busy time this summer. Besides the regular jobs of watering, weeding, seeding and harvesting, we managed to put together some designer herb boxes and three fine-looking picnic tables.

Thanks very much to all the patrons who bought winter vegetable starters from us over the last few months. We have several planter boxes full of gorgeous winter crops planted and they look ready to cope with whatever winter weather comes their way!

New Picnic Table have been built and our next major project is having a permanent composting and soil storage area built.

Great news! We will finally be able to start a weekend work party beginning Saturday, Sept. 23. New volunteers, as well as seasoned ones, are welcome to come to Beban Learning Gardens every Saturday through December (barring any extreme weather) from 10 am to 1:00 pm, to take part in various gardening activities both inside and outside our greenhouse. Children are welcome as long as they are supervised by a parent. Activities might include transplanting, weeding, harvesting (and sharing the harvest), seed-saving, planting garlic, composting, building, painting, and all the other jobs involved in keeping our communal garden in tip-top shape. Education is our mission so you can expect to learn gardening knowledge from others as well as sharing what you yourself might know. The first work party will likely include a tour of the garden. Work clothes and gardening gloves are a good idea but we do have spare gloves to share.

Nanaimo Community Gardens membership forms will be available but, if you wish, you can take a look at them by clicking here.