THE GREAT CANADIAN REFRIGERATOR Or Planting Now for Next Winter’s Harvest.


Growing delicious vegetables at any time is satisfying, but planting now, with the knowledge that next winter you will have food in the garden, is nothing less than thrilling.  Yes, I realize the irony of talking about next winter’s harvest when we aren’t even out of this ‘winter’ yet.

These are a few seeds you can plant between now and late June:

Purple Sprouting Broccoli should be seeded from mid to late June for harvest next spring. There are several varieties, ensuring harvests from early February all the way to late May.

Brussels Sprouts should be seeded by the end of May, or first week in June at the latest. If planted later than that, the sprouts won’t be large enough by fall, and there will be little growth during the coldest months.

Swiss Chard can be direct seeded in May, with Cabbage and Kale following in mid-June. Here is my Lacinato (Black Tuscan) Kale, planted from nursery starts late last summer.  As I was a little late in planting, it didn’t do much until early this spring, but is now delicious and sweet, even raw.

Leeks for winter harvest should have been seeded in February or March (whoops, too late now), but we do sell the starts of winter-hardy leeks, which should be planted out in the garden now.

Be sure to check the variety when buying seeds, some are meant for winter harvest and some are just not hardy. Ideally, winter vegetables should be almost fully grown by Halloween if you expect to harvest in the coldest months. These winter veggies are always more delicious after being kissed by frost, so don’t worry about the cold.

The whole idea of growing vegetables to harvest in winter or early spring is a vast subject; we are fortunate to have not only West Coast Seeds, but Linda Gilkeson’s book Backyard Bounty for everything you need to know to be successful, and truly turn your garden into The Great Canadian Refrigerator.