Seedlings that soon will be ready to set outside. (Mary Lowther photo)

Seedlings that soon will be ready to set outside. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Time to sow veggies, and start thinking about next year’s seed sources

I'm hearing that some gardeners in the States cannot find seed packets for sale

Probably the best thing we can do right now is get our seeds sown so we can have a dependable supply of fresh vegetables as soon as possible. I’m hearing that some gardeners in the States cannot find seed packets for sale so I wonder about our own commercial growers’ supply. We gardeners need to plan for this possibility and save as many varieties of vegetables as we can, and the time to plan is now.

I keep a separate, un-watered bed into which I transplant biennials that will flower and produce seed next year. So far they’ve done well without water in the summer, but I’ll keep an eye on this year’s plants in case they start to suffer in the drought this year.

Now we should be sowing greens, lettuce and radishes every three weeks to ensure a steady supply right through the summer and as far into fall as we can manage. Almost everything else can be sown this month too — potatoes, root crops, onions, peas, the cabbage family, herbs and flowers.

I sow peas every three weeks until the end of May. As the first crop exhausts itself, I pull out the crop and sow the first batch of beans in their stead, to make use of the pea trellis. I divide my 30-foot bed into fourths and sow one fourth of this every three weeks to extend the season. As I pull out spent vines, I save the last pods for next years’ crop and winter soups.

RELATED: Mary Lowther column: Turning to the garden and getting inventive when the unexpected happens

In the spirit of not squandering food during this time of hardship, here’s a war-time recipe that shows how to get the best bang for your buck from coffee grounds. I’ve made this coffee with excellent results.

War-Time Coffee

1 saucepan

2 cups cold water

1 tablespoon ground coffee.

Directions: pour water into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the coffee grounds at the very moment the water comes to a boil, otherwise the water loses the air necessary to ensure good taste. If you wish, add a tiny pinch of salt. Stir until all the coffee is wet. Cover the saucepan with a lid and keep on the lowest possible heat for at least 20 minutes or a little longer. Without lifting the lid any more, remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to settle — about 8 to 10 minutes. Pour the coffee off the grounds. This is all, and you have made full use of the ground coffee. This coffee can be re-heated with no loss of flavour.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

Lake Cowichan Gazette

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