British Columbia

It's not too late to grow vegetables for your victory garden

If you missed the vegetable gardening craze prompted by COVID-19 earlier this spring, experts say there are plenty of plants you can still get in the ground.

Tips on growing fall and winter vegetables

Lettuces and other leafy greens are some of the vegetables that you can grow for a fall harvest. (Getty Images)

If you missed the gardening craze prompted by COVID-19 earlier this spring, or if you've started growing a few vegetables and you're not sure where to go from here, experts say there are plenty of plants you can still get in the ground.

Victory gardens, the name given to the vegetable gardens people grew to support the war efforts during the First and Second World War, made a comeback this spring as people sought out new hobbies. 

Aleksandra Genest, director of marketing at GardenWorks, says it's too late to get started on heat-seeking veggies like tomatoes and peppers, but that doesn't mean all is lost. 

"There's definitely lots you can still plant," Genest said over the phone. 

Many vegetables perform better planted from seed when it's warm and grow by the time it has cooled off. 

Genest says these include:

  • Kale
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens
  • Turnips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Scallions
Brussels sprouts are also a good vegetable for late summer and fall. (Submitted by Jackson McLean)

On the South Coast, some of those, like kale, can be harvested throughout winter.

Also, there are some vegetables that can be planted now to be "overwintered," meaning they're not harvested until spring or early summer of next year. Garlic, for example, should be planted in the fall but isn't ready until July. 

Some other vegetables that can be planted now and harvested next year include:

  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
Carrots are another vegetable that can be 'overwintered' and harvested in spring. (Regina Farmers' Market Cooperative/Facebook)

Genest says gardeners should be sure to cover the plants they're overwintering with mulch to protect them from the cold, which can make them a bit more high-maintenance than summer plants. 

West Coast Seeds, which experienced a sharp demand this past spring, offers a downloadable PDF to see which vegetables can be planted in late summer. 

It suggests growing beets, cilantro and kohlrabi for a fall harvest, and broad beans, celeriac and walla walla onions to overwinter for spring. 

'We're still keeping steady'

In the non-vegetable category, fall is when you should be thinking about planting bulbs for flowers like tulips and daffodils, Genest says. GardenWorks will start stocking bulbs in September. 

Genest says the initial rush that came at the beginning of the pandemic has settled down, but the store is still experiencing higher than usual sales. 

"There's definitely been a lot more interest," she said. "We're still keeping steady."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maryse Zeidler

@MaryseZeidler

Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at maryse.zeidler@cbc.ca.

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