Mary Lowther: Water, carrot flies and beats

Most of my vegetables welcome the recent rains, but I’m hoping the raised bed my garlic inhabits allows

Most of my vegetables welcome the recent rains, but I’m hoping the raised bed my garlic inhabits allows much of this rain to drain off since too much water encourages rot. Garlic’s deep root growth in winter allows it to flourish until harvest in late July without irrigation. My garlic averages two inches in diameter, few of them rot and they hold up well in storage.

Potatoes growing in the box that David built are about a foot taller than the bed without it, so I’m wondering if they might keep producing longer too. It’s good to keep up with foliar spraying compost tea since the enzymes and beneficial microbes continue to protect against diseases. I had planned on harvesting all the potatoes this month but they are doing so well that I’m just going to leave them and see what happens.

When harvesting cabbage, if you cut just the head off without disturbing the large lower leaves, several more cabbages will probably grow around the centre stalk. Scratch in a quarter cup of organic fertilizer around the perimeter of each plant to encourage new growth. Keep cutting the smaller side shoots of broccoli, side dress the plants with more fertilizer and they should keep producing till late summer. Broccoli leaves contain more beta-carotene than florets and their mild flavour compliments the salad bowl so pick some of these too.

Carrot flies lay eggs that hatch into larvae that eat holes in carrots, but, as Vern Mitchell says, “they’re lazy and won’t fly higher than two-and-a-half feet.” I erect a 2.5-foot-wide plastic sheet around the perimeter of my carrot bed that keeps out this pest and acts as a wind barrier, slowing down evaporation. Alternatively, one could wait out the flies and sow in early June because they are often gone by the end of May.

Spring turnips, rutabagas and beets will be out next week so I’ll sow more for fall and winter storage. Beet seeds usually produce more than one seedling and I’ve learned that these can be successfully transplanted if dug up gently and placed four inches apart. Only half of the spring-sown parsnips came up so I’ll sow carrots there now.

It’s a good idea to record these harvesting dates and temperatures for reference this winter when planning next year’s garden. We can roughly estimate when to plant a succeeding crop and determine what kind of follow-up crop this should be, depending on the length of time left before a killing frost.

Just Posted

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Column: How to learn gratitude before it’s too late

In 2009 an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware wrote an article on “Regrets of the Dying”

Column Drivesmart: Consider safety when the fog rolls in

Speed limits the time available to process data.

Police looking for witnesses to Dec. 8 crash near Crofton

No injuries, but extensive damage reported

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Cowichan Coffee Time: Donations and fundraising success

• Treasurer Cyndy Dinter of the Auxiliary to Cowichan District Hospital recently… Continue reading

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Family of Vancouver Island RCMP officer killed by drunk driver sues

Lawsuit seeks financial compensation from Kenneth Jacob Fenton

SPCA seizes 74 animals from Barriere property

Constables removed sheep, piglets, chickens and more

Penticton addiction recovery centre plan halted by neighbours

Recovery centre operator said neighbours bought property ‘in haste’

Reservations to be needed year-round at Garibaldi Park

Change will go into effect Jan. 2 to protest environment from overuse

Most Read