From talking with people about gardening, we’ve found that there are an enormous number of people out there that love the idea of growing their own food, but have never actually committed to it because of one (or all) of the following: 1) They don’t have an outdoor space or enough space; 2) They don’t have the time; or 3) They don’t know how and are intimidated.
Well, if you’re one of the ones making these excuses, here’s the bad and the good news: those excuses are most likely invalid, which means you can begin the veggie garden you’ve always wanted! To address “space” excuse, there are many products on the marketplace now that cater specifically to growing herbs and vegetable indoors or on patios – check out our blog post featuring a few of our favourites. And to address the “time” and “know-how” excuses, keep reading. Here are 4 of the easiest vegetables to grow in BC that do not take too much time and care, and tend to love our climate.
One more thing to keep in mind as a new gardener is to not bite off more than you can chew – no pun intended. The number one mistake newbies make is trying to grow too much the first go-round and then getting discouraged by the difficulty and sometimes wasted effort. Our advice: pick a few of your favourite veggies or herbs and master those the first year. When your thumb begins adopting a greenish hue, you can begin adding more and more to the repertoire.
When: Radishes can be grown all season but they’re easiest when sown March/April and again August through October.
How: Loosen the soil 6 to 10 inches deep, mix in good compost or well-rotted manure, and plant seeds a half inch deep and 1 inch apart, in rows approximately 12 inches apart. After the seedlings appear, thin radish plants to 3 inches apart. Seeds typically sprout in three to seven days.
Take care: Keep them watered and well fed – adding an organic fertilizer will help.
Pick ‘n’ Eat: Harvest when radishes are approximately the size of large marbles. The leaves are uber-healthy and tasty too!
When: Begin planting when weather is still cool – from the beginning of March to the beginning of May. Plant every 2 weeks for continuous supply. Also, plant a final batch mid-late August and cut right at the stems for a springtime auto-resurgence.
How: Plant seeds 1 inch deep, 10 seeds per 12 inches, in rows 12-18 inches apart. Thin to at least 2-3 inches between plants.
Take care: This heavy feeder requires rich soil. Dig in ¼-½ cup complete organic fertilizer beneath every 3 inch of row.
Pick ‘n’ Eat: When it comes time to harvest, you can pick the best leaves and allow the plant to continue growing. Or, alternatively, you can harvest the entire plant if you need a larger quantity.
When: Zucchinis can be badly effected by frosts and cold weather, so grow them during the warmer months – usually late May or early June.
How: Plant 3 seeds in each spot, 1 inch deep in the soil. When the time comes, thin to just one plant per spot (choose the biggest one). Space the plants no less than 18 inches apart to give amble room to grow.
Take care: These hungry plants love rich and well-drained soil and a lot of sun. When watering, water around the plant, not directly on top of it. Also, if zucchinis seem to be withered, they probably were not pollinated properly (due to a lack of bees in the area) – remove them. You can avoid this by pollinating the plants yourself.
Pick ‘n’ Eat: Picking zucchinis regularly will help encourage the plant to keep sprouting more fruit. You’ll need a sharp knife to cut the fruit from the stalk.
When: Plant beets in a sunny areas when the soil has warmed a little. This will be around the end of April on the coast, and mid-May in the colder areas of BC. You can plant seeds right up to about mid-July.
How: Like many root veggies, beets do well in rich soil that is well fertilized. Plant each seed about 1 inch deep and 2-4 inches apart under lightly compressed soil. Leave about 12 inches in between each row.
Take Care: When plants are about 2 inches tall, thin out the plants to about 3-6 inches apart. Keep the plants well watered.
Pick ‘n’ Eat: You can harvest the beets at any size, but for the best flavour and results, wait until the plant is full grown at about 6 inches high. And don’t just eat the root – the beet greens are full of nutrients and add will great flavour to a salad!
– My Garden Footprint: Local. Sustainable. Social.