Enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labours

Early June is a critical time in the garden, Brian Minter says, both for replanting and beginning some late summer and even winter crops.

June is an important month for vegetable gardeners

June is an important month for vegetable gardeners

It’s been a curious year for food gardening, especially with vegetables.  The unseasonably warm April weather gave everyone an early start, and many cool-loving crops like lettuce, chard, spinach, peas and brassicas are already being harvested.  Some of the heat lovers, like cucumbers, beans and tomatoes, that were planted early, have had varying degrees of success and some replanting has been necessary.  The two weeks of cool, damp weather in May were both good and challenging for many veggies, but overall it’s been a great year so far.

Early June, however, is a critical time in the garden, both for replanting and beginning some of the late summer and even winter crops.  It is a great time now to seed turnips, parsnips and carrots for a fall harvest.  The timing of when to plant brussel sprouts can often seem confusing, but now is the ideal time for seeding and transplanting for a Thanksgiving and Christmas harvest.  Try to use hybrid varieties for the greatest success rather than the old open-pollinated varieties – it makes a big difference in the quantity of the sprouts.

June is also an ideal time to plant winter squash as well as summer squash.  Today there is such an amazing selection of both, and they are one of the best investments for mid-summer and winter produce.  They are now available in container and small space varieties of both types, making them far easier to maintain.  Transplants are great, but honestly, there is still time to seed them.

Pumpkins have also exploded in popularity over the past few years but not only for fall and Halloween décor but also as food.  Pumpkin desserts or soup anyone?  The selection of varieties is over the moon, from the tiniest baseball size up to the ‘Atlantic Giants’ now reaching world record levels of 2000 lbs. plus.  They are fun to grow and what an engagement for children.   Gourds too are experiencing increasing popularity with many new cool varieties that add funky fun and humour to our gardens.

For mid-season and even late summer brassicas, keep planting – as one crop finishes another should be started.  For mid-season crops, it is important to get varieties that grow and finish well in the summer heat.  The many varieties of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli have kept these veggies at the forefront of popularity.

There’s lots of time yet for cucumbers of all types.  I still feel the Japanese burpless varieties are the easiest and best to grow for sweetness, flavour and productivity.  Pickling cucumbers too are growing in popularity, as well as the extra sweet European novelty forms like ‘Perseus’.  They love the heat and transplants can produce in 30-40 days.

Tomatoes too love summer’s warm temperatures and with longer days and extra heat, they will surprise you how quickly they can produce.  Trailing bush types, like the ‘Tumblers’ and ‘Tumbling Toms’, are the first to fruit, and larger plants with blossoms can be ready to enjoy in just a few weeks.  There is a trend towards yellow cherry tomatoes which folks are finding far sweeter and more flavourful than the red ones.

Peppers, too, love the heat and from the nice bell types to the spicy hots and super hots, there is still time to plant for great results.

Finally, it’s basil time!  Basil loves the heat and drought and performs best in summer conditions whether in a container or in the ground.  It is a ‘must have’ garden staple.

Summer gardening is here and the most precious part is being able to enjoy our own fresh produce all summer and fall.  So let’s keep planting!

Just Posted

Folks look through some of the items for sale during the Voice of Hope giant garage sale at 7350 Barrow Rd. in Chilliwack on Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Giant garage sale today in Chilliwack supports Kenyan widows, orphans

Funds go to Chilliwack-based Voice of Hope charity to improve quality of life for impoverished Kenyans

Ben Holwerda of the Chilliwack Spartan Swim Club competes in a swim meet at the Landing Leisure Centre on Feb. 12, 2011. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre to close temporarily for scheduled maintenance

Pools, steam room, and sauna at Landing Leisure Centre closing for maintenance July 19 to Sep. 4

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack woman’s 100-km birthday marathon to benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Volunteers will gather at South Gate Shopping Centre on Fathers Day before fanning out to help clean up downtown Chilliwack. (Facebook photo)
Kindness Chain Chilliwack Association organizes Fathers Day cleanup

Volunteers will spend 90 minutes fanning out to gather trash in downtown Chilliwack

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
‘Springsteen on Broadway’ clears way for AstraZeneca recipients to attend show

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

Most Read