Grow Bag Potatoes
Planting and Harvesting Potatoes in Fabric Growing Containers

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
June 23, 2022

Grow bags are a compact way to plant and harvest potatoes, especially when you have limited garden space. Below are basics for planting and harvesting spuds in fabric growing containers. Including: a guide to potato varieties, optimal growing temperature for potatoes, and what kind of soil grow bag potatoes need.

Video: Planting & Harvesting Potatoes in Grow Bags

Potato plants in brown and black grow bags. Planting Potatoes in Grow Bags video.

Getting Started – Early, Mid and Late Season Potatoes

To start, you’ll need certified seed potatoes. Most of the seed potatoes available in Canada are classified by days to maturity as early, midseason or late season.
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How Oregano Can Help Save the Planet
Culinary Herb Reduces Cow Belches and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
May 24, 2022

oregano, a culinary herb that can help reduce methane emissionsCan a simple herb help fight global warming? The aromatic herb oregano, a staple in most modern kitchens, commonly meets our taste buds mixed with tomato sauce as a topping on pizza. This versatile plant’s virtues, however, extend beyond the kitchen into human and animal medicine. In 400 B.C., the Greek physician Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic and an aid to digestion.

Flash forward to today where oregano has emerged as a promising digestive aid for cattle. If you think this is not a major issue, consider the numbers. According to a UN report, livestock worldwide release 80 million metric tonnes of methane into the atmosphere. In the United States each year, 100 million cattle release 5.5 million metric tonnes of methane into the atmosphere — a significant 20 percent of U.S. methane emissions.
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5 Classic Salad Dressings
Homemade Salad Dressing

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
April 25, 2022


Homemade salad dressing greatly surpasses any you can buy in the store. Fresh herbs and lemons, quality oils and full-flavoured vinegars make all the difference. Here are five classic salad dressings to make at home: Honey Mustard dressing, Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette, Italian dressing with fresh herbs, Ranch dressing, and Sesame Ginger dressing.

A fresh green salad with five classic salad dressings: honey mustard, balsamic vinaigrette, ranch, Italian and sesame ginger.

Five classic salad dressings you can make at home: (left to right) Honey Mustard dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Ranch dressing, Italian dressing, and Sesame Ginger dressing.

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The Deer Resistant Food Garden
A Guide to Vegetables, Fruit, and Herbs Deer Don’t Like

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
March 8, 2022

Unless you build a tall fence, the best way to minimize deer damage in a vegetable garden is to grow plants deer don’t like to eat. This year, try planting from our list of deer-resistant fruit, herb, and vegetable plants below.

Two deer eating plums in a garden. The Deer-Resistant Food Garden.
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Seasonal Eating to Beat High Food Prices
Seasonal Foods Taste Fresh and Cost Less

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
February 5, 2022

When energy was cheap and the climate was more predictable, you might have given no thought to eating fresh tomatoes or cucumbers in mid-winter. But times are changing. Now, the high cost of fuel is making it expensive to transport food long distances. The pandemic is disrupting supply chains. And, on the farm, climate-driven droughts and unpredictable weather events are impacting crops. So how can we eat better in these changing times?

Fresh beets and cauliflower. Seasonal eating to beat high prices.

How to Eat Affordably and Well

The answer is taking us back to what our ancestors and grandparents practiced for millennia: seasonal eating. Seasonal eating means eating the foods that grow in your region when they’re harvested (or for as long as they keep in local storage), rather than having them at any time of year.

Are seasonal foods better? In many ways, yes. Seasonal foods are cheaper and have a lower carbon footprint because they don’t travel long distances. They also have more flavour because they’re fresher.  Taste some fresh carrots or parsnips just pulled from the winter soil, and you’ll know the difference!

So, if you’re wondering what’s in season now,  here is our guide to seasonal eating.


Know Your Flour: Traditional and Gluten-Free
A Guide to How to Use Different Kinds of Flour

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
January 4, 2022

Know Your Flour: traditional and alternative gluten-free flourWhether you use traditional or gluten-free flour, you’ve probably noticed that all flours are not the same. Made from grains, nuts, legumes, roots and seeds, they vary in texture, flavour, density and nutritional make-up. Knowing the qualities of different flours will help you choose the best for the bread, cake, muffin, cookie, pastry, pasta, or sauce you want to make.

Whole grain flours contain protein and other nutrients. People on vegan diets often rely on whole grain flours as a source of protein.

The guide below outlines how to use traditional and alternative gluten-free flours.
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Three Simple Ways to Test Your Soil
Four Season Garden: DIY Soil Tests and Reading the Weeds

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
November 20, 2021

New garlic shoots push their way out of the soil - Three Simple Ways to Test Your SoilWhat do you know about the soil in your garden? Knowing your soil type can help you determine what to plant and how to amend your garden to its best advantage. Three simple do-it-yourself tests can help you find out the texture, composition and pH (acidity or alkalinity) of your soil. By doing a 2-minute hand test, by assessing the texture of your soil in a jar, and by looking at the weeds that grow naturally in your garden, you can learn a lot.

Three Kinds of Soil

All soil comes from components of rock: sand, silt and clay. The kind of dirt you have in your garden depends on the proportion of each of these components.
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Six Ways to Screen and Winnow Seeds
Simple Tools for Threshing Seeds

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
October 21, 2021
Cleaning and separating seeds by shaking them through a set of screens. Six Ways to Screen and Winnow Seeds

A set of screens can simplify the task of cleaning barley seed.

Gardeners who save seed, or grow and harvest grains, know that separating seeds from their pods or husks can be a time-consuming job. While large industrial growers use machines to thresh and winnow seed crops, home seed savers can look to a number of simpler tools to accomplish the task. Once cleaned, seeds stored in moisture-proof containers can last for several years.

Here are six devices for separating seeds from debris and chaff:

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Pumpkin Pancakes

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
September 26, 2021


Pumpkin Pancakes are an easy, satisfying way to cook fall pumpkin or squash.

Hot pumpkin pancakes on the griddle. Pumpkin Pancakes recipe.

This is easily my favourite way to eat pumpkin. Hot and delicious, these tiny pumpkin pancakes never last long at our house. This recipe works with almost any kind of canned pumpkin or winter squash puree. Or, you can make your own fresh pumpkin puree (see how in this Pumpkin Apple Bread recipe).
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Eating Buckwheat May Help Us Live Longer
Research Shows Buckwheat’s Potential for Increasing Longevity

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
August 24, 2021

buckwheat groats, flakes and crackers. Eating buckwheat may help us live longer.

Buckwheat groats (left), flakes, and crackers. Research shows eating buckwheat can increase production of a protein that reduces chronic inflammation and may promote longevity.

Eating buckwheat can help improve SIRT1 protein production, which can increase your life span. Researchers, writing in the Journal of Cereal Science, showed that buckwheat in the diet stimulates the production of SIRT1 which reduces chronic inflammation and protects body cells. Both are key steps to extending the human lifespan by preventing chronic diseases such as heart conditions and cancer.
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Salad Greens You Can Grow in Winter
A Guide to Planting and Harvesting Winter Salad Greens

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
July 24, 2021

Want to eat fresh lettuce and salad greens this winter?  Late summer to early fall is the time to plant your winter garden.

Spinach grows well throughout the winter when protected in a cold frame or tunnel. Low winter light slows the growth. Young tender spinach leaves have an earthy flavour that pairs well with fruit in fresh salads.
Lettuce thrives well into winter in a cold frame or hoop house. Choose cold-hardy varieties such as Romaine or Cos, Buttercrunch or Bibb, and loose leaf lettuces.  Harvest as baby greens for crisp, mild salads. Grows slowly in low winter light.
Mâche (Corn Salad,  Lamb’s Lettuce) germinates best when overnight temperatures are below 10ºC / 50ºF. Low-growing, with a small rosette of delicate leaves, mâche has a mild, refreshing flavour. Cut the entire plant and serve intact. Easily bruised.
Claytonia (Miner’s Lettuce, Winter Purslane) is a cold-hardy West Coast native. Its succulent leaves and stems make it a top choice for salads. Cut the stems, leaving at least 5 cm (2 inches), and the leaves will grow back.
Arugula (Rocket) grows quickly with frost protection in the low light of winter. This tender green has a distinctive sharp flavour, which is milder during cold weather. Use arugula to add bite to fresh salads, or as a pizza topping.
Radicchio, such as the Treviso variety (above), thrives in cool weather and tolerates light frost. The bitter leaves of this chicory become mellower in cold temperatures. Radicchio's pungent taste goes well with balsamic vinegar.
Endive (above), frisée, and escarole grow easily during cooler months. Frisée has distinctive narrow, finely pointed leaves. Escarole has broad, rounded leaves. These chicories taste mildly bitter and add accent to salad.
Red Mustard greens, with their striking green and red leaves, grow well in winter. Frost deepens the flavour and colour. Tender when young, the peppery taste of this cold-hardy brassica sharpens as it matures. Eat fresh in salads, or stir fry.
Baby Bok Choi and Tatsoi are small-size relatives of broccoli, collards, and kale, which also grow in winter. These frost tolerant cabbage-like vegetables have thick crunchy ribs and tasty leaves. Bok choi grows upright; tatsoi forms a rosette.
Mizuna, an Asian green with distinctive jagged leaves and a pungent flavour, grows quickly in cool weather. Mizuna has a peppery taste that adds spice to stir-fries and soups. The small pointed leaves of mizuna bring texture to fresh salads.
Baby Beet Greens, the leaves of immature beet roots, like cool temperatures and tolerate light frost. Clip only a couple of leaves from each plant to allow the root to continue to grow. These tender, slightly bitter greens add vibrant colour to salads.
Spinach grows well throughout the winter when protected in a cold frame or tunnel. Low winter light slows the growth. Young tender spinach leaves have an earthy flavour that pairs well with fruit in fresh salads.

If you like fresh garden salads, you’ll be glad to know you can grow a full range of salad greens throughout the winter in our moderate southern BC maritime climate. Leafy winter salad vegetables come in a variety of flavours, colours and textures—from peppery to earthy, crunchy to delicate.
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