With fall comes the bounty of harvest…
Cranberries and Kiwis celebrated at harvest festivals
This month come out and join in on two harvests of two very different crops!
Yellow Point Cranberries
Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water and in fact, prefer well drained soil. Adequate water supply is required for irrigation, frost protection and harvest. Cranberries grow on vines not bushes and require bees to pollinate the flowers for the fruit to set. Native to North America, they grow in the wild on the margins of swamps and marshes.
Cranberry plants are perennials and can take three to five years to become established before the first harvest. Of the over 200 varieties of cranberries, about ten varieties are grown commercially. At Yellow Point Cranberries they have chosen to plant Stevens, Bergman, and Ben Lear, each with different characteristics such as size, colour and keeping quality.
Join in at Cranberry Harvest Days at Yellow Point Cranberries, 4532 Yellow Point Road Ladysmith, Saturday, Oct. 5 and Sunday, Oct. 6 from 11am to 3pm.There will be complimentary tours at 12:30 and 1:00 and the Tasting Room will be open for you to sample the cranberry delicacies.
Kiwi Fest Event
No fussing with the fuzz! Small, sweet, grape-like and harvested during October, the Hardy Arguta variety of kiwi fruit is one of several varieties are grown at a small farm at Kiwi Cove Lodge for the past 11 years.
An overhead wire pergola supports 134 vines taking up less than one acre of space. In 2012 approx 1,300 lbs were harvested and sold to local stores. There’s a lot to learn about kiwifruit, they are amazing vines with lots of attitude!
Come out to Kiwi Cove, 5130 Brenton Page Road, Ladysmith on Sunday, October 20, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and help us celebrate the delicious and nutritious Arguta Kiwifruit. The Kiwi Special Event Café will open with an exciting kiwi menu along with kiwi jams, kiwi chocolates for sale and fresh Arguta kiwi by the pound at this open house. Free admission and parking, tours of the kiwi vineyard, samples, information on growing kiwi and entertainment.
Best year ever at Kiwi Cove Community Garden
By BILL TILLAND
The Kiwi Cove Community Garden is a unique partnership, begun in 2006, between the Kiwi Cove Lodge and the Ladysmith Food Bank. The Lodge proprietors, Peggy and Doug Kolosoff donate the land, prepare it for planting in the spring and help with irrigation during the growing season. A handful of steadfast volunteers mobilize every year in the late spring, planting the seeds and starts, weeding and watering, and then harvesting the vegetables and boxing them for the Food Bank, which picks them up every Monday during the summer.
Every year we experiment with different vegetables and growing techniques. and try to build on the previous year’s success. This year we were blessed with an early start to the season and lots of sunshine. As a result, our present yield is 3660 lbs. of produce (our best year ever!!) and we will approach 4000 lbs. grown for the Food Bank by the end of the harvest. We have had particularly good luck with tomatoes this year and have picked and delivered close to 600 lbs. of tomatoes alone.
By DIANNE ANDREWS
This was our third garlic harvest. It was a very wet spring and the tops of garlic grew to a huge size, with some of the plants actually falling over and laying along the ground. I was very busy with real estate and luckily Karen kept an eye on the crop, gave it some water and pulled out the weeds.
Thank goodness the sun started shining on July 29th and two weeks later we pulled the garlic! It is important for it to NOT be watered for two weeks before harvest time. I chose a sunny day and started pulling which is pretty easy work in our fluffy raised beds. All of a sudden storm clouds appeared. Karen came to the rescue and we managed to jam the whole crop into the ram’s shed before the rain came.
Then a friend helped me shop vacuum out the barn loft and it all went up there this year to dry with the end doors tied open, creating a breeze. The drying conditions were perfect but hauling the tied bundles (8 in each, secured with baling twine) up the stairs was lots of work!! Then once it was dry it had to all come down again! I began to wonder why I planted 700.
The part I like the best is “processing” it for sale or storage. All of this has to be done carefully by hand.
The tops are cut off with secateurs and then the roots with scissors. A few wrappers on the bulb need to be peeled off so the garlic is free from dirt or mould. I then brush the dirt off the bottom with a tooth brush.
This whole process is complimented by late night CBC programs. I find handling the garlic is soothing and calming. Weird I know…The amount of work time involved in this process is not for people who are not “smitten” by garlic like I am.
Last year Karen came up with the name “Garlic Genies” because our garlic is magic! We’ve had rave reviews from customers and friends. Most of the crop (700 bulbs in total) was sold to a local organic gardener for “seed”. Since he is my “garlic mentor” I considered it a compliment that he felt our garlic was good enough for his future crop! We are proud to say that 3 or 4 of our garlic bulbs weighed a pound.
It’s time for Karen and I to get the farm truck on the road to collect the “ingredients’’ for the new lasagna beds! My goal is to eventually be planting at least 10,000 when I retire, but this fall we’ll settle for as much as we feel like planting since this is simply an enjoyable hobby.
Of course our family members now expect garlic from us and how can we refuse? We want them to be vampire free as well as us!
We asked “How does your garden grow?”
To add your harvest photo or story, or to view readers’ photos visit us on www.facebook.com/take5publications or take5.ca/harvest