Garden Tip of the Week: 14


(It’s not a ghost . . .it’s vegetables nestled under row cloth)

Planting fall vegetables in your garden?  The following may be of some use:

The Many Uses of Row Cloth

‘Row cloth’ is a lightweight white material the primary use for which is to cover crops vulnerable to flying-insect damage, in particular the cabbage butterfly that lays its eggs on members of the mustard family and on cole crops (cabbage, kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower) resulting in little green caterpillars that are very hard to see.  The cloth is a physical barrier to the butterfly so must be put over the plants as soon as they are set out or germinate if direct-seeded and left on for the whole season.

Use a wide piece of cloth so the edges come to the ground, or close to it, even when the plants are mature. The cloth is light and won’t crush delicate seedlings.  It allows water and sunlight through.  Small stones at the corners and strategically along the edges will hold it down and make it easy to lift the cloth to inspect your plants.

All row cloth is not equal; avoid any that say “biodegradable” as they will end up in the first season in tiny, irritating pieces all over your garden.  Good row cloth is available from Lee Valley (store in Vancouver or order online), can be bought in bulk, and has the best price around even with shipping added.  It can last several years if you’re careful not to put holes in it!

Row cloth has other uses.  Here’s a sampling:

  • To protect vegetable seedlings from variable weather conditions, help warm the soil, and prevent severe temperature fluctuations around the seedlings. Note: if temperatures drop significantly (ie towards or below freezing, you may need to add a layer of plastic over your seedlings on top of the row cloth
  • In extreme heat over smallish plants anywhere, to help preserve moisture and protect from direct sun, or over raised beds which tend to lose moisture more quickly than in-ground beds
  • Over tender plants in fall (tomatoes, peppers, melons) when night temperatures drop close to freezing, double layer if possible. If frost is forecasted, you’ll need to add plastic sheeting or other heavier protection (blankets, burlap sacking, etc.)

Garden Tip of the Week: 13

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Oops!  The post is late this week, sorry!  I’ve had my head in the canning kettle.  It’s that time of year again, when we preserve the garden’s rewards for the winter months ahead.  Still, your vegetable patch requires some work!

If your wax or filet beans are flowering but not producing beans, now is not the time to give up and pull the plants!  Beans become stressed in the heat, and they may sulk for awhile.  Keep watering them and they’ll produce again when it the air is a little cooler.  Continue to pick them (don’t let them go to seed) and they’ll reward you with a longer harvest.

Garden Tip of the Week: 11

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The time to harvest your garlic crop is when approximately half the leaves have turned yellow.  This usually happens mid to late July. Pull the plants, and gently brush any soil off the bulbs.  Be careful not to break the papery skin that encases the bulb.  “Cure” the bulbs outside on a tray out of direct sunlight for a few days to harden the outer skin for storage.  (Do not separate the individual cloves.)  Store in a cool, dry, dark place such as your  basement  pantry.

A garden tip on planting garlic will appear in early autumn.  Until then, enjoy your harvest!

A reminder: be sure to check out our “Courses” page, for summer and fall course offerings and instructions for registration!

Garden Tip of the Week: 9

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(“Taku”, a recent houseguest from Bella Coola,  delicately sniffs the beans)

If it’s not deer or marmots lurking around your yard, what next?  Aphid season has arrived again in the Okanagan.  Want to encourage aphid-eating, beneficial insects such as ladybugs to hang around your garden?  Here’s a recipe for an easy to make spray which can be applied to the leaves of flowers and shrubs near your vegetable plants, or to the leaves of broccoli,  carrot tops, potatoes, etc:

In a small container with a lid, mix the following:  ½ cup sugar, 2 tsp. honey. 4 tbsp. brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast, and 2/3 cup warm water. In a spray bottle, mix 2 tbsp, of the solution in a liter of warm water. Use the spray bottle to apply the solution to your plants. Apply every few evenings, right  after watering down the leaves, or after rain.   Keep the container of concentrated solution in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Garden Tip of the Week: 7

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Are you picking peas yet? Whether edible pod or shelling peas, those first bites are a delicious early-summer treat. They won’t stay that way long, however, unless they are picked regularly. To keep them at their tender best, peas need to be harvested every second or third day, particularly during a hot spell. That sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but the difference between sweet young peas and starchy over-mature ones is worth the effort.

And in case you’re short a few crops in your own garden, here’s a link to fresh local produce sources on the Okanagan.


Check out our Farm Bag Fundraiser

PUAA was offered an opportunity to raise money through enrollments in a CSA-style local produce program.  Customers sign up to receive 20lbs of produce on a monthly basis.  Each month costs $25 and PUAA earns 20% for each sale. Customers collect their produce from our C.Urb site once a month at a scheduled time.

The Farm Bag program runs monthly until April.

This program is a natural match for PUAA’s mandates to support local agriculture.  With many of the involved producers growing in the South Okanagan this program provides income-generation for those farmers through the winter months.