Burnett: Busy period for gardeners

Vegetables planted in early summer take advantage of the sun’s warmth yielding sweeter, stronger crops.

  • Jun. 17, 2015 3:00 p.m.

In the garden centre industry, May is the busiest month of the year simply because it is the month when most of us plant our gardens.

There is no doubt it is the month when heat lovers such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cucumbers should be planted out but gardening really begins when the frost is out of the ground in late February and carries on through the season until the garlic is planted around Thanksgiving weekend in the fall. At this time of year, when we are busy weeding and thinning and harvesting, it is the perfect time to sow some seeds for fall and winter harvest.

With a little planning and timing you can be harvesting fresh greens from your garden for Christmas dinner.

Vegetables planted in early summer take advantage of the sun’s warmth yielding sweeter, stronger crops that withstand the early frosts of winter.

Some of the crops you can do this with are beets, lettuce, radishes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, Swiss chard, turnips and the list goes on and on.

Growing a garden with raised beds is becoming more popular. Some of the advantages include warmer soil temperature, ease of keeping slugs and snails out of the veggie patch, less soil erosion and not having to bend down quite as far to work the garden.

As well, an arrangement of raised beds looks good and is an added element to your landscape.

Irrigating is also more practical with raised beds because water can be focused on the beds rather than on pathways.

Often when a new home is built there is very little if any good garden soil left once the property has been disturbed so building raised beds and bringing in a good blend of soil that drains well and includes adequate organic material is the answer.

Another option is growing in containers. I have fabulous success with sweet potatoes in large 10 gallon nursery pots simply because these heat loving plants thrive on the warmth of the soil. Also, containers can be moved around to follow the sun especially in smaller properties when a full days sun in any one location is difficult to find.

Keeping the nutrient levels up to par is the one challenge we have with container gardening because of the leaching action from watering.

A water soluble fertilizer such as 15-30-15 is the answer and for those of you who wish to use an alternative to manufactured fertilizer you can use products such as fish emulsion, seaweed or choose from several products on the market that are from an organic source.

I still garden with good old 20-20-20 as I feel the plants really don’t know the difference between the nitrogen in that than the nitrogen that comes out of the back end of a cow.

***

Just a reminder that this Saturday night is the annual Earth Wind Fire event supporting the Nature Trust of British Columbia.

There are still some tickets available by going to the website www.naturetrust.bc.ca.

Come out and enjoy an evening of fun, food and entertainment while supporting an organization that is key to keeping our sensitive natural lands safe and healthy for our children and grandchildren.

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