Spring Sunshine and Food Gardening


If you have not already done so, now is a good time to build vegetable beds. On Vancouver Island the geologically young soils – usually acidic – and high rainfall means that raised beds are the preferred means of growing vegetables. Not only does it contain the precious organic matter but it also helps the soil drain away icy rain, promoting a quicker warming of the soil.

If you have the space and resources, it also makes sense to plan some kind of cover, whether a custom built greenhouse, $20,000 worth of poly tunnels, or a humble shelter made of 2×3’s knocked together with some left over polythene sheeting (for example, builder’s vapour barrier, which is UV resistant). While the summers are sunny and sea air beautifully clear, Spring and late Summer into Autumn produce some cold nights that limit our growing season. This is where the protection comes in, allowing earlier sowing, hardening-off, and growing of early season lettuces etc., and then late season ripening of hot season fruit and vegetables. In particular, anecdotally the way to good tomatoes without blight and that will ripen well, is to grow them under cover (giving them good air flow on the hot summer days).

Normally, I do not promote other events or web links, but if you are interested in food vegetable gardening and err on the side or organic gardening, there is a 3 hour workshop aimed at “… Nervous Nellies and Veterens” at Pyramid Stables in Lantzville, on April 21st (contact Jamie Wallace jfcwallace@shaw.ca, cost $10 pre-register only).These kind of events can boost our enthusiasm and give us an opportunity learn new ways of gardening.

I must admit that my 3 new raised vegetable beds have been purloined for shrub cuttings (roses, rosemary etc) for now, with the excuse that it will keep the cats off. I will have to make some more. However, the vapour-barrier greenhouse has aubergines, tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, and some precious Fuschia cuttings. Spring is sprung.