Each month Redawna Kalynchuk draws on her extensive gardening experience to guide you through Growing Your Own Food in Canada: planning, planting, maintaining, harvesting and putting your garden to bed for winter. This month, we look back on the past growing season across Canada and give tips on recording your growing results to help plan for future seasons.
It was a busy summer across the country and many had amazing bountiful gardens.
The weather was very different for many parts of Canada this year, weather specialists noting the somewhat extreme weather patterns that crossed country. The most noticeable was in British Columbia, which had an extreme forest fire season. Fueled by drying, scorching winds and lightning, it was one of the worst forest fire seasons in BC's history. Some parts of Alberta were facing drought conditions and other areas had very high levels of moisture. Saskatchewan was similar to Alberta with some southern regions struggling with drought and northern parts with ample moisture.
Manitoba had what’s been termed a perfect summer. In both June and July, the average temperature was about 23 degrees with nearly 50 days of sunshine. After what was a wet, cooler start to the summer in Ontario and Quebec it finished off with some very hot fall temperatures that extended the growing season and subsequent harvest.
New Brunswick started their summer off with higher than normal amounts of fog. Environment Canada recorded 27 days of fog with 159 hours of thick fog recorded from mid-June to the end of July. Prince Edward Island had a dry start to their summer as opposed to the Northumberland Strait and parts of Nova Scotia that had a very wet start to their summer. Newfoundland and Labrador had a mild and mostly sunny start to their summer. And lastly, the Territories experienced an average start to their summer. And that was only the first two months.
How My Garden Grew
The heavy amounts of moisture had some very noticeable effects on this year’s growing season in my area. Fruit and berry trees were beyond bountiful. With weekly heavy soaking rains, then very hot days, everything grew extremely well. Vegetable gardens also benefited from the rains and it considerably cut back on watering requirements for lawns as well as flower and vegetable gardens. Along with the rain came more extreme weather with a large number of thunderstorms — which also bring hail and very strong winds that did a fair amount of damage to the older trees.
Be sure to make some notes in your Garden Master Plan about how the plants were affected by the weather in your region.
All in all it was a successful season in my area of the province. The only thing in my personal garden that struggled was my potted squash. Even though they weren’t successful in this year’s container garden, I’ll try again next year as the weather will likely be very different. If it happens to replicate this year then I know what I have to do differently. Be sure to make some notes in your Garden Master Plan about how the plants were affected by the weather in your region. It will help you in your gardening decisions for seasons to come.
Gardening and Community
I’ve enjoyed looking at the images and videos of everyone’s garden spots, from the large in-ground gardens to the multi-level above ground garden plots and the container gardens. Thank you to those who have shared and continue to share what your garden and harvests look like. It’s so inspiring to see what others are growing, as well as your successes and failures as we all can learn from each other.
It’s not a perfect practice so even the most seasoned gardeners have failures. Mother Nature is unpredictable and every season brings forward new challenges. Everyone’s growing spaces and soil are different, so how things grow for one person can be much different than for the next person. Perhaps you’ve learned a new technique, received some tips or tricks from a gardener in your travels or found some amazing new seeds … every time you grow something it’s a new discovery waiting to be shared.
There’s such a feeling of community when we all share a passion for growing our own food. I hope you’ve been inspired to grow your own food this coming season (you can start choosing your seeds now!). If you’re not new to gardening I hope you’ve been inspired to try growing something new, or perhaps have started to compost or tackled a fabulous garden project!
Looking Forward …
In our next articles we’ll talk about seed sources, plant rotation and drawing up garden plans. It's time to begin looking forward to growing our own food in 2018.
- Grow Your Own Food: Putting the Garden to Bed for Winter
- Grow Your Own Food: Harvesting Your Garden
- Grow Your Own Food: Know Your Canadian Gardening Zone
Grow Your Own Food is written by Redawna Kalynchuk. Redawna is the writer, photographer and content creator at Nutmeg Disrupted. She has over 20 years of gardening experience and has gardened from indoors under high-powered lights to frosty zone 2b gardens in northern Alberta. She enjoys pushing the boundaries of traditional gardening and loves empowering others to grow their own food. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.