Plan ahead for spring vegetables

Sooke Garden Club meeting to focus on growing food for all seasons

  • May. 16, 2012 1:00 p.m.

Purple srproouting broccoli

There’s no denying spring’s generosity when it comes to blooms, scents and colours – uplifting bewitchers of the senses that we can all experience simply by looking and walking around. Less experienced, however, is an equal, if different, pleasure that comes from eating spring delicacies from our own garden. We are indeed fortunate that in this climate we can grow vegetables year round. Still, there’s something special about spring, when the warming sun and soil spur the growth of new, delicious shoots and leaves.

Gardeners being gardeners, of course, a ridiculously high degree of personal satisfaction comes from sharing the fresh and healthy ‘fruit’ of their labour with appreciative recipients. Case in point: On Friday afternoons we enjoy ‘Happy Hour’ (okay, closer to two happy hours) with special friends. Finger foods magically appear as well. Last Friday, those finger foods included a vegetable tray containing, among other items, hour-old florets of amazingly tender and tasty purple sprouting broccoli. While this may not be a big deal for those reluctant to profess a fondness for broccoli, it’s a distinct treat for those who do. Maybe next week’s offering will be kale chips (which I ‘discovered’ last year) or asparagus tarts … well, you get the idea.

Speaking of kale, I’ve become increasingly taken with the idea of winter vegetable gardens (planted in late summer/early fall), probably because they require such little effort – no watering, no weeding, no bugs. Dig up some beets, pick some greens, grab a cabbage, pull up some carrots and leeks – what’s not to like? But some seeds can also be planted in late winter/early spring to give us even more crop variety while we wait for summer to deliver on the heat lovers (tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, etc.).

Emily Moreland is a certified horticulture technician who knows first-hand about growing food in this area – for all seasons. Her grandfather, Don Collis, has farmed here for 30 years and for years on end routinely ‘cleaned up’ (in ribbons, that is) at the Sooke Fall Fair. Emily is next week’s featured speaker at the Sooke Garden Club, and her presentation is entitled Forward Thinking for Winter/Spring Vegetables. She will also talk about growing a ‘kitchen garden.’

Emily is young, enthusiastic and well- known in Sooke for her mentoring at the community garden. She will be drawing on her personal experiences and discussing gardeners’ most frequently asked questions. Her primary focus will be on choosing the right seeds to grow, planting a winter vegetable garden, and solving problems associated with growing vegetables. Bring your questions and enjoy a relaxed evening with others who share an interest in gardening.

Please join us on Wednesday, May 23, 7:30 p.m., in the Sooke Legion Hall. There will also be a parlour show and spring plant sale. New members are always welcome. Membership is $15 for the calendar year and can be purchased at the door. For more information, e-mail:  sookegardenclub@yahoo.ca or phone Jane at 250-646-2573.

Submitted by Loretta Fritz

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