Harvesting the garden

Patricia Hanbidge

This has been a very interesting summer from the garden perspective. We had every type of weather ‑‑ cool periods, a bit of hot weather, drought and now we are getting rain. I am not sure what happened in your garden but I hope you are enjoying a bountiful harvest.

In my garden the cherry harvest was less than usual, which was likely due to extremely windy periods when pollination needed to occur. There is a good example on how important it is to plant a variety of cultivars as the Sk Carmine Jewel had good pollination while the Juliet cherries, which bloom slightly later, had little fruit set as there was almost no pollination. Some of the crops like saskatoon berries were affected by low rainfall during development. A trip to the lake in north central Saskatchewan, showed good production of these berries close to the water and literally no production in other areas due to a dry season.

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Conditions in the garden itself has also been interesting. Asparagus did well and we harvested well into July. Some years, not a drop of water is needed to ensure asparagus can be harvested and enjoyed in multiple ways but this year in the spring and into summer I did water to ensure a good harvest.

We hope your tomato harvest is in peak production. There is nothing like garden-grown tomatoes for flavour. In my garden, I grow everything in containers which is especially amazing when you talk about tomato production. Each tomato plant has an individual home in what in the past held a tree. Pots that are at least 20 to 24 inches across are best, as later in the season, when the tomato plants are in peak production and large in size, it is possible to give them adequate water for growth if you water them thoroughly once a day even when it is 30 C outside. In the spring when you plant, it is tempting to plant a couple of plants in each large pot, but be strong, as a healthy tomato will fill the larger pot by August.

We have also harvested carrots, peas, cucumbers and peppers. This year I found that squash production, even the summer squashes were slow. So, if I wanted to enjoy zucchini often, I had to buy it from the market. Ensure that any of your squash or pumpkins do not get touched by frost as they will not keep if damaged. Root crops are fine to leave in the ground to harvest later in the season.

Short season crops like spinach, lettuce and spring onions are now in their third successive planting. We have been enjoying fabulous salads with all sorts of ingredients from the garden. My children, and grandchildren love to go and fill a basket from the garden to make a salad as there are edible greens, flowers and more that will make not only a beautiful salad but one that is filled with a vast array of nutrients.

If you are in a region where the temperatures are dipping down into the single digits it is likely time to harvest what you can. I made a vow to not cover the garden in fall but I do place a few of my favourite producers in the greenhouse to extend that lovely fresh produce.

Hanbidge is the lead horticulturist with Orchid Horticulture. Find us at www.orchidhort.com; by phone at 306-931-4769; by email at info@orchidhort.com; on facebook @orchidhort and on instagram at #orchidhort.


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