New ideas for your garden.

Well, as everyone in PEI may know, the weather can vary significantly from year to year. This summer much of our garden growth is later than a typical year but it is still turning out to be a fine season. Many types of produce are growing well, even if the harvest is a little late. It’s worth the wait to taste the crisp, fresh veggies. Yummy!

The variation in the weather reminds me that there are always new things that you can try in your garden or backyard. Sweet cherries, like the varieties Vista and Van, grow well here—you just have to keep ahead of the birds. Netting can sometimes help keep birds at bay and protect the fruit. There are actually cherries that grow on a small bush if space is limited for you. Or what about trying golden raspberries? They are large and grow well here, like their wild cousins.

This year I planted some haskap berries for the first time. I have never even tasted these but I believe they are very nutritious and a bit tart. I particularly like ever-bearing strawberries and raspberries as they have a long harvest window. Tomatoes seem to have an endless combination of size, colour, shape, flavour, heritage, disease resistance, and so on. Every year there are new varieties of fruits and veggies to try. It is a marvelous thing. 

So don’t be afraid to try new and traditional varieties; grown in your garden or picked in the wild. It is more about fresh vegetables and berries than anything else. Often our veggies and berries travel hundreds and even thousands of kilometers to get to our home. Technology and packaging has improved the way they look and maintain their flavour and quality, which is a great thing, but nothing compares in taste and nutrition to the unprocessed fresh stuff that you pick yourself. 

Local sweet corn should be ready by the end of August; I think that is the one I look forward to most in summer. Well, I better get out and do a little weeding and pick some cucumber and beans for lunch. Maybe I will do a little preserving too—more details on that next month.

Stay safe. Happy gardening.

About Christopher Dunbar

Christopher lives in western PEI along with his spouse and 4 kids, on a property that was once owned by his great grandparents. He grew up in a large farming family and has deep island roots. This rural background and exposure to outdoor living has given him a keen interest in our maritime culture and the many plant types that grow here. He furthered his interest in growing things by obtaining a master’s degree in in plant biology. Not surprisingly, all of his 25-year career has been involved in agriculture and food. He spends some of his spare time growing berries, flowers, vegetables and tree fruits of all kinds in his gardens. He and his family really enjoy the unique lifestyle that PEI has to offer.
Writing creatively about adventures in rural living is also one of his passions. Feel free to contact him if you want to share any of your interests.

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