Mid-March is generally a very busy time for gardeners in our area. It’s the ‘normal’ time to undertake such outdoor chores as pruning roses, feeding the vegetable garden, fertilizing trees and shrubs, dividing and transplanting perennials, and weeding, weeding, weeding. It’s also the main ‘let’s get planting’ month for salad greens and other cool weather vegetables. This February’s mild weather not only allowed us a good head start on routine garden maintenance tasks, it also lured many of us into early seeding/planting.
On the indoor scene, March’s main gardening activities are starting seeds and tending to seedlings. I find growing food from seed truly satisfying, if not always a roaring success, and try to learn from previous triumphs and tragedies. (Of course I always intend to keep records so that there will be ‘facts’ to augment later recollections about seeds, sowing/planting dates, harvesting, productivity, and so forth.) For me, the taste of homegrown produce is reward enough for the time, effort, and inevitable frustrations involved.
As every farmer and backyard/balcony gardener knows from experience, a lot goes into successful growing. It’s about building good soil, using the right fertilizer, and selecting varieties suited to the particular climate/microclimate. It’s also about – and this is where it can get tricky – understanding and meeting each plant’s needs. Does this plant like cool weather or hot? When can/should it be planted outside? How much water does it need? How much space? Can it be planted next year in the same spot?
At this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club, Marika Nagasaka is going to help members simplify the process of growing a healthy, productive vegetable garden. She will talk about ‘calendaring’ for this area. More specifically, she will offer tips about calendaring, explain why creating a calendar and map of the garden is crucial to gardening success, and go a bit into specific dates, including winter gardening dates. She will also speak about the complexities of saving and germinating seeds and provide practical advice for improving the odds of achieving success in different conditions (e.g., early spring vs. late summer).
Originally from the B.C. Interior, Marika has been farming at Otter Point’s ALM Organic Farm and Full Circle Seeds since 2003. She is passionate about sustainable farming and has a particular interest in seasonal salad mixes and winter gardening. She is also an engaged community member who enjoys exchanging information with other growers. Whether making a presentation or teaching a hands-on workshop, Marika engages people at all levels of experience and believes that each one has valuable information to share.
Join us on Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. New members are welcome. Annual fee: $15; guests: $5. There will also be a parlour show and plant sale. Contest potatoes will be available. Questions? Visit our website at sookegardenclub.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone Rose at 250-642-5509.
Submitted by Loretta Fritz