The Winter Gardens

Winter SeedlingsI came back to Victoria in the first days of October thinking it would be too late to put in anything for the winter. But the warm, sunny weather stretched on and since gardening is all one big experiment, I decided to plant some winter seeds anyway. The West Coast Seed catalogue listed a few good winter varieties and on October 10th, I planted Winter Blend mesclun mix, Pac Choi, Bright Lights chard, Purple Top turnips, Easter Egg blend radishes, Bloomsdale Savoy spinach, French sorrel and Rustic arugula, covered them up with remay and hoped for the best. To my utter delight everything has come up. I now have rows of turnips and radishes, and patches or sorrel and arugula. The continued good weather throughout October helped get my little seedlings started.

Now that the weather is changing and there’s a definite nip in the air, I built a simple little hoop house over the baby plants using plastic PVC piping and a sheet of plastic. They are now safe from winter storms and the local cats.


Along with the growth in my own garden, Stinging NettleI’ve noticed new growth in Banfield Commons garden too. New leaves are forming on the rhubarb, and the stinging nettles are leafing out. The new leaves make delicious pesto that is full of Vitamin A and C, minerals potassium, magnesium and calcium, and is high in iron.  See my recipe under Community Kitchens.

The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus Unedo) is in full fruit now Strawberry Treeand looks great. The fruit can be used to make jam and is used in Portugal to make medronho a type of strong brandy.  That sounds delicious for a cold winter’s night.


Contributed by Ava

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