BC Garden Guru, Linda Gilkeson writes this week:
For successful winter harvests, plants have to have enough hours of daylight in the growing season to reach a good size because they can’t grow in the winter cold. When the sun is high in the sky at this time of year most gardens have enough daylength for good plant growth, but as the sun gets lower in August, sunlight is increasingly blocked in the morning and afternoon by buildings, trees, even mountains. Planting on the earlier schedule compensates for fewer hours of direct sunshine in late summer and fall.
In anticipation of that, the Beban Learning Gardens now have a variety of winter vegetables for sale, starting July 19 and every Wednesday from 10 am-noon thereafter:
Zidane (Frisee): A lovely frizzy endive that lasts well into the fall/early winter. Sweet flavour.
Sugarloaf: A upright, hardy plant that will take some frost. Inside the tight head, the center is pale-golden.
Markant: This good, large framed Wallone type endive with voluminous curled long and upright outer leaves and a heart that blanches well. Markant deals remarkably well with the cool and darker conditions in the late season and winter.
Broadleaf Batavian Escarole: The hardiest of the lot. Lettuce-like leaves in tightly packed heads, leaving the centers creamy-white.
West Coast Seeds notes that many of the endives, especially Markant benefits from being slightly cooked. Chop some into a pasta sauce, or use it to top a pizza. Another delicious way is to create a hot oil salad dressing to pour over the endive just before serving. This helps remove the slightly bitter taste and brings out a mild sweetness that balances perfectly with other vegetables.
Palla Rossa: This forms a tight red and white head (like the ones you see in the store). It is very frost hardy . If the head is cut at ground level with a sharp knife, secondary headlets often follow.
Radicchio di Treviso : Fairly winter hardy, this grows as an upright head . The center is red and white with thick succulent leaves.
Similar to endives , radicchios can also be cooked. Drizzle on some olive oil, salad and pepper and grill. Serve with balsamic vinegar.
Red Ball Brussels Sprouts: Needs frost to be at its best. These red sprouts are said to be sweeter and more nutritious than other Brussels Sprouts.
Galleon Cauliflower: An overwintering variety, that forms tight heads in late April/early May. Give these a good amount of space (60×75 cm). Grow in well drained but even moisture soil and protect from wind.
Purple Cape Cauliflower: A beautiful, full-size deep purple hear that is grown and harvested like Galleon.
Red Spear Broccoli: The shoots can be harvested starting in February. Once the main head is cut, many harvestable side shoots develop.
All this….. and an assortment of kales, such as Red Russian, Dwarf green curled.
Other fall and winter hardy vegetables will be coming before long.