Gardening in Calgary is challenging, but even the most well prepared urban farmer can get frustrated. This summer has been comprised of, in no particular order, rain, hail, temperatures under 30 degrees, thunderstorms and the worst hail storm on record.
We've been unusually lucky at WineCollective HQ, avoiding both the big July 12th hailstorm and the destructive July 27th storm which caused flooding and downed trees in south Calgary. The moisture was a boon at the start of the growing season but because our season is so short (90 – 120 days) we need heat. And heat is one thing which hasn't been around much this summer.
Complaining aside, the urban farm is paying dividends. We are knee deep in mesclun lettuce, having enough for a couple salads a day. We've also been harvesting our sugar snap peas and young beets, all of which are crops which enjoy cool weather. We harvested a good sized head of broccoli the other day and look to have 10 – 15 more heads to come. Our pumpkins are starting to take over the garden as planned, and as you can see in the picture above we have decent sized pumpkins already growing. Given 6 weeks of growing season left, we're hoping for 20 lbs+ pumpkins (come on Indian summer!) Unfortunately our melon and cantaloupe crop, while growing, doesn't look like they will produce any fruit. Just didn't get enough heat this year.
Our carrots and tomatoes (see above) have created a veritable jungle of growth. We'll be picking our beets within the next couple of weeks, while the potatoes, onions, parsnips and carrots will likely be in ground until late September. Last year we had carrots in the ground until November 1st (yes, even with the -20 degree temps last October). We mounded them up with dirt, covered them with blankets and they keep well until the ground actually freezes.
Follow us on Twitter for more updates as we get closer to harvesting. As we move into fall, we'll also be providing recipes for dishes which can be paired with some of our fantastic wine selections. Stay tuned!