Brussels sprouts are still sprouting in the garden in December. (Mary Lowther photo)

Brussels sprouts are still sprouting in the garden in December. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Still eating from the garden in December!

Hardy herbs like parsley and rosemary sit on a sunny shelf in an unheated room

My brother-in-law gave me three heating pads that sit underneath a flat of seedlings. Two of them were twice as wide as my seed table, so I let them curl up on both sides of the flat. Since the flat needs to be heated all the time, I bypassed the lighting socket that was fed from the timer. So far so good, and I think the plants are ready to go into the heated cold frame. I guess that’s an oxymoron.

Since I’ve got the equipment and the hydro cost hovers around $12 a month, I’m going to keep re-seeding flats and grow seedlings to go into the heated cold frame as I harvest the present crops and see if they’ll take us through to spring.

Since clouds and rain prevent much sun from reaching the cold frame, I’ll just try greens that don’t require a lot of sun, like escarole, winter lettuce and Chinese greens.

Hardy herbs like parsley and rosemary and microgreens like arugula and cress sit on a sunny shelf in an unheated room in the house with the door shut because Mom taught me to close doors to rooms we don’t use in the winter to keep heating costs down. She also recommended keeping plugs in sinks and the bathtub to prevent spiders from coming out of the drains. I forgot to do that last week and was extremely sorry the next morning when I glanced in the bathtub, but not as sorry as the huge spider that valiantly tried to hang on as I mercilessly flushed it back down the drain where it probably begat more of itself.

I cloister my seed table in plastic, including the bottom shelf, with a flap of netting and plastic on the front for easy access that I open on sunny days when it can warm up substantially in the seed table. Tending to these seedlings and transplanting uses up a half hour each day, and it’s fun to see how far I can push the envelope.

Brussels sprouts, kale and turnips still sit rooted outside and really perk up our meals. There’s just no comparison between vegetables freshly harvested from my backyard to those on store shelves. Yesterday I cut up a stored carrot and turnip, skinned and chopped a few kale stalks after trimming off the leaves for soup, and steamed them together for dinner. David even ate the kale stalks without complaining. I wish I’d cooked more. The Brussels sprouts should be sweet, having undergone a few frosts. They’ve opened up a bit but that won’t affect their flavour.

Please contact with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The firefighters at the Mesachie Lake fire hall could soon be working out of a new retrofitted building if the Cowichan V alley Regional District is successful with its application for a $350,000 federal grant to fund the project. (File photo)
Major retrofit planned for Mesachie Lake fire hall

CVRD applies for $350,000 federal grant

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy requires emergency treatment 3 times after ingesting drugs from Chemainus parks

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

The Cowichan Valley School District is holding an online session to discuss the future of Koksilah Elementary School, closed since 2013. (File photo)
What’s the future of the old Koksilah Elementary School?

The district is hoping to collect feedback on options for the future of the school.

Jim Neiser of Neiser Sales, Service & Rentals Ltd. died suddenly on Jan. 4. after suffering an apparent cardiac event at work. (Submitted photo)
Prominent Lake Cowichan businessman Jim Neiser dead at 63

Lake Cowichan Mayor Bob Day said the long-time laker will be missed.

The Judy Hill Gallery took home top prize for its window display during the Christmas season from the Downtown Duncan BIA. (Submitted photo)
Business notes: Judy Hill Gallery wins festive window display contest

A look at what’s going on in the Cowichan business community

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Most Read