Amazing fruit and vegetables are available right now in the Lower Mainland of B.C. In our garden this past weekend I picked 15 - 20 pounds of ripe tomatoes which have since been canned. How does your vegetable garden grow? If you are not a home gardener hopefully you are taking advantage of our local farmers markets and purchasing fresh local produce ... time to dust off the canner. Here is a brief run down of our great summer garden with notes on our favourite fruit and vegetables:
Main Vegetables & Fruit
Early in the season it was questionable how the plants would do as the seemingly endless rain was harmful for the early transplants. They recovered once pruned and the sun came out. This year the top tomato producers were Early Girl and a Super Fantastic variety, both of which have given us heavy crops of medium-sized, firm fruit. We have been eating tomatoes daily since the beginning of July and they are still producing.
It has been a fabulous year for strawberries and still is. They are large, sweet and juicy thanks to our warm weather this summer. They have produced continuously since Spring and plenty for our grandchildren to pick and eat at the end of August.
Two of last year's kale were left in and unbelievably they are still growing and we regularly pick leaves for Udon noodle soup and juicing. It has been a very hot summer for the new kale which was mostly destroyed by the white butterflies. They were an absolute pest and I am looking for a non-pesticide control solution.
- A second harvest of raspberries is maturing now
- Zucchini and pole beans keep producing
- A couple of spaghetti squash plants are coming along fine just in time for Thanksgiving.
- In the early spring there was a noticeable reduction / absence of bees in the garden. The first blossoms on one of the apple trees were successfully hand pollinated. We have been eating our own no-spray apples for over a month
- A new supply of fair trade coffee grounds (about 10 gallons a week) were added to the composting and mulching regime - so far so good
- We have enjoyed sharing apples and tomatoes with friends and neighbours and love their reaction to the taste sensations! Comments like "I had forgotten what real food tastes like"
Variety of Local Fruit & Vegetables
There are many fresh vegetables available for sale now such as non-GMO corn - Jubilee my favourite - which is available until the end of September in the Valley kiosks. Fresh local melons are available from Ashcroft as well as apples, garlic, peaches, potatoes, onions and other produce from the Interior.
There are lots of options for you to enjoy the summer's fruit and vegetable bounty as well as grow your own:
- Visit your local Farmers Markets in B.C.
- Meet your local farmers
- Join a Buying Club
- Take time to plant some herbs such as parsley and basil in pots in your kitchen
- Start some quick-growing sprouts for healthy salads
- Buy a fruit tree for your yard or container at home.
This summer I spent time away from the garden, once during a very hot week (30 degree C plus), so the garden has been somewhat neglected. To my surprise and pleasure, it carried on regardless, and is still producing bountifully although looks somewhat wild. I hope your home garden has been as productive, fun and amazing as ours is this summer.
We are most fortunate to be able to grow and buy local food and preserve, can or freeze some of the surplus fruit and vegetables. Hoping the photos will inspire you to plant or preserve some of your own fruit and vegetables.
In almost every garden, the land is made better and so is the gardener.
~Robert Rodale (1930–1990)
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