By the time I usually think of harvesting dandelions, they have already turned bitter for the year. Not this year! A couple of days ago I pulled and cut the leaves from some dandelions in the yard, and mixed them with some fresh chives to make an excellent salad. It’s time to start thinking about fresh food from our yards. Spring has arrived. And eat those dandelion leaves while you can.
100 foot diet
Edmonton Garden Veggies, 2010
Vriends Organic Farm did Edmonton a service when they printed and gave away (that’s right, for free!) a calendar that included the following chart. Now known as August Organics, the Vriends have been farming organically in Edmonton for over 30 years (I’m not sure on the exact timeline. Anyone?). Visit their booth any Saturday at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market for the best seasonal organic vegetables around.
Please share your knowledge on the subject in the comments, and I'll add to the chart.
|First Harvest Dates|
|Beets||16, 29||6, 25||15||1 | 1|
|Cabbage, Bok Choi||10||15||10||15|
|Carrots||19||6, 25||15||1 | 1|
|Onion, Salad||19||10 | 15||8, 30||22||4|
|Spinach||10, 25||11||8 | 1||15||2,14,25|
Starting garden plants from seed is such a great way to get into the gardening mindset. The old Vriends organic market stall (now August Organics) at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market used to hand out these calendars that had a seeding chart at the back.
Representing 40-odd years of Edmonton organic gardening wisdom, the chart indicates when to start which seeds for best results in Edmonton’s short growing season.
This year I remembered that February 25th is the first date on that chart. It indicates that onions, leeks and herbs should be planted indoors for later transplanting.
So a couple of weeks ago I planted, and the results are getting me all jazzed up for gardening.
I planted oregano, basil, marjoram and dill.
I hope to get 200 yellow onions into the ground this year for storage over winter.
The vendors at the farmers’ market still have leeks from last summer, so they must also store well. I’ll figure that out later. In the meantime, I started up 200 leek seedlings as well.
Can’t wait for the big thaw.
Apache Seeds Ltd., 10136 - 149 Street, Edmonton, AB
Seeds for food-bearing plants are one of our most precious assets. Bred and tested over the ten thousand years that humanity has been farming, the seeds that we propagate today produce miraculous amounts and varieties of foods. There are entities and organizations in Canada that research and protect these treasures, but we could be doing much more. Specifically, I would like to see Alberta fund a university research centre to further research and preserve knowledge in the area of cold-climate agriculture and gardening. I think that they have a strong program like I’ve described at the University of Saskatchewan (to be honest, we could have something like that in Alberta that I’ve never heard of. Please comment if you can enlighten me).
We do have a burgeoning culture emerging around the issue of seeds. Edmonton’s annual Seedy Sunday event (for those “interested in plant biodiversity, heritage gardening, organic gardening, and seeds”) is happening this year at Alberta Avenue Community Hall (9210 118 Ave NW) on Sunday March 20, 2011 from 11-4.
And we have a local institution, Apache Seeds, Ltd. I went there today since it’s time to plant onions indoors. There’s no other place that I know of that carries garden seeds at this time of year (especially not unusual ones like onion seeds) .
As the old-timey sign implies, Apache Seeds is a long-time Edmonton company. I don’t know much about its history, but its reputation suggests that it is THE place to go if you need anything beyond your run-of-the-mill tomato and corn seeds.
I wasn’t disappointed. Apache has hundreds of different kinds of seed packets from at least seven or eight different companies. They have heirloom and organic seeds. Bulk seeds. Even grass seed (including drought-tolerant grass seed, which I have had problems finding I the past).
I had four or five kinds of onion and leek seeds to choose from, plus I picked up some eggplant and pepper seeds.
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