Fresh produce is available in Sooke every Saturday at the Country Market.

Plan for July in the garden

Local gardener makes suggestions on planting and harvesting

If you are hoping to have winter carrots, beets, turnips and rutabaga you should be direct seeding this very week!

I plan to have my winter carrots and beets seeded, but you can probably push that by a week. More than that and they won’t get up to size before they stop growing in the cool temperatures and low light of winter. The main goal and reason for the specific planting dates for the winter crops is to get them up to size before they stop growing. Kale, leeks, spinach and salad brassicas (arugula, tatsoi, mizuna, etc) do seem to keep growing slowly, but the growth is at the lowest/slowest rate of the year, again due to the cool temperatures and lack of light.

We are also starting kohlrabi, green onions, and komatsuna in trays to transplant into cold frames for winter production right now.

The next couple weeks I’ll also be starting Fordhook chard in trays for winter production (under the cold-frame). If you want more kale for the winter, I would suggest seeding that soon, you can either direct seed or start in trays to transplant out, depending on whether you have open garden space available.

Brussel sprouts are ready to transplant, and the purple sprouting broccoli has germinated and will be ready to transplant in the next few weeks.

We will also be starting to seed spinach again, now that the light is starting to decline and the spinach won’t just bolt. Spinach is highly photosensitive and is best grown in the spring, fall and winter.

Salad successions are on-going.

I am also planning to start napa (Chinese) cabbage in trays to transplant and direct seed daikon for late summer/fall production around mid July.

There will be lots of weeding and harvesting in this month on the farm. Hopefully we’ll start to get the much needed sun and heat that will help our gardens ripen up.

We have had our first few earliest tomatoes: sungold and matina.  At this point they just get popped right into our mouths, but it is exciting to think of the big tomato harvests that are coming.

We have been harvesting zucchini for over a month and we had our first cukes at the market on June 30!

The cool weather crops have been doing very well this year, and now the root crops are starting to come on strong:  beets, carrots and potatoes are the main focus of harvest right now, and the shelling peas are also coming!

June bearing strawberries are going for it (in between rain showers) and the ever bearing strawberries should be coming on strong pretty soon, too.

The farmer’s tables at the Sooke Country Market are finally starting to fill up with the lovely colors and shapes of summer.

The Sooke Country Market is open Saturday 10-2 Otter Point Road Eustace Road.

Marika Nagasaka

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