Garden Tip of the Week: 19


. . .Summer bounty at the Penticton Farmers Market

Planting and growing garlic isn’t difficult; however, attention to a few critical details will help ensure a good harvest. You can find lots of info online of course, but the best tips I’ve ever had on growing garlic were learned at Brenda Lende’s course at C.URB last year.  I planned to attend this year’s again but couldn’t make it.  (Maybe you were there?)

Here are the main points:

Softneck garlic heads (thin necked varieties) store longer than hardneck (thick neck) types.  Plant your own cloves or buy seed.  Garlic bought in the grocery store, which has been shipped from afar (i.e. China) is often irradiated and will not sprout, so avoid those for planting.

Mix compost into your soil a week or two ahead of planting.

Separate the garlic heads into individual cloves, being careful not to break or remove the papery skin from each clove.

Plant individual cloves a foot apart, or in a 10” grid, staggered. When garlic cloves are planted  too closely, they will stop growing as soon as their roots touch the next plant, so give them lots of space!

Pointy end up! (That’s the end of the clove that sprouts  to form leaves . . .)

Plant 2 inches deep near frost, or 1 inch deep earlier, when the soil is warmer.  Mid to late October works well in the Okanagan.

Put one teaspoon of bone meal in each planting hole. Fill hole with soil and cover your new garlic patch with straw or leaves.  Water lightly.

In the spring, keep the patch weeded and watered.

I’ve grown garlic in past years, but this summer’s crop had the biggest heads ever after following the above planting instructions!

Garden Tip of the Week: 18


(. . . Where did summer go?)

So you’ve successfully grown a crop of winter squash (Butternut, Buttercup, Delicata, Kuri or other varieties) and are wondering when to harvest them. Winter squash are ripe when you can’t pierce the skin with your thumbnail. They benefit from ripening further on the vine and even a light frost, however, so leave them until the vine begins to die back. Cut through the woody stem at least an inch above the fruit. Clean them, if necessary, with a damp cloth, and allow them to cure for two weeks in a warm dry place out of the sun. Store winter squash in a cool, dry place, dark if possible, and check them every few weeks for signs of spoilage. If you see some, cook and freeze the good parts.

Note that Acorn squash belong to a different family. They need to be stored in cooler, moister conditions (e.g. the fridge) and don’t last as long as the other varieties.

Garden Tip of the Week: 16

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If you don’t already do this, consider keeping a garden journal.  Buy yourself a blank, hardcover notebook and “dig in!”   There are many ways to approach it.  Here’s what I do:

Each spring, I draw a rough “map” of the vegetable spaces in the garden.  I draw lines and label each area with what I have planted.  That way, I can keep track of crop rotation from year to year.

I keep a record of what date I planted each crop.  If I remember, the brand and variety of seed gets listed!  I make a note of when I start harvesting each vegetable, just for an “almanac” sort of record.

I record which vegetables  grew well and what flunked despite my tender care. And  make notes about what to do next year, as these ideas come to mind.

Also, I keep a list in the journal of what canning, drying and preserving I did.

If you keep a garden journal, you don’t have to start form scratch every spring, wondering what you did last year and where you planted what!

Remember, it’s your journal.  You don’t have to show it to anyone, so it can be as neat or as messy as you please.  You can adorn it with drawings, and paste in clippings of interest.

Mine has now been going for a decade and I started a new one this spring.  It’s fun to look back and realize how your knowledge has grown from your own experience, from any courses you took, or from good old trial and error!

Course reminder:

PUAA is offering a course in “Seed Saving for Beginners.” Instructor Michelle Younie is a young farmer who has been successful in saving seeds from her favorite vegetables and using them to grow next year’s crop. She’ll share her methods with us and answer our many questions. She’s offering this class on Tuesday, September 16 from 6 to 8 PM.

Tell your friends and register soon; this one will fill up fast. Reply to this email or call  250-494-8244 for more info and to register.



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.


Tool Swap Meet at Seedy Saturday, April 14th

Tool Swap at Seedy Saturday

April 14, 2012

200 Block of Main Street, Penticton

Are idle gardening tools hanging around your home?

Swap for other tools, sell them, or donate them to the Centre for Urban Agriculture (C.URB)!

We (C.URB) will collect and put them to work in a new home!

Suggested tools: shovels, spades, digging forks, rakes, hoes, trowels, clippers, pruners, pruning saws, weed diggers, hand hedge trimmers

For information on where to drop off your tools before April 14 and what we need to know from you, email or call 250-492-0158.

Courses for Summer 2011

Our first Seasonal Curriculum is UPDATED!

Click the link below to learn more about our fun and informative Food Gardening Courses running this June.

Classes are 1.5 hours long and will take place each Wednesday evening from June 15 – June 29th.

**NEW** Due to insufficient registration for our June 8th course ‘Gardening Fundamentals’,

we will add the content to be learned in this first course to the remaining three classes. **

Sign up here