For many Canadians, the May long weekend starts a busy summer filled with planting, harvesting, canning and freezing all of Mother Nature’s bounties before the frosty nights return in the fall. This year, it is especially important that each of us take responsibility for feeding our families and preparing for the promised … errrrr … anticipated food shortages.
When we moved onto our farm 8 years ago, our experience with growing plants was limited, but my husband and I threw ourselves into the process and proceeded to run a farm-stand for the next few years as we worked to surround ourselves with vegetables, fruit trees, berry bushes and grapes. Given all of the negativity and sadness that we have all felt over the past few years, it is important to exercise self-care and make sure we stay physically and mentally strong and healthy. On top of producing food, gardening is a great way to stay fit, improve mood, fight depression and take control of one’s life. It is also immensely satisfying to have a full pantry of cans by fall, all replete with flavourful and nourishing ingredients that remind us of summer through the long, dark winter (made especially long and dark since, as unvaccinated Canadians, we are prisoners in our country with no opportunity for a Mexican beach reprieve).
If you are new to gardening and food preservation, I’d highly recommend buying a copy of The Encyclopedia of Country Living (available here: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-encyclopedia-of-country-living/9781632172891-item.html). It’s a great resource for planting and harvesting guidance for almost any vegetable one can imagine, and also goes much further in teaching one how to become self-sustaining. There are a lot of great online seed stores, including some in Canada and the United States. Unfortunately, one of our favourite seed providers on the west coast partnered with Dr. Henry during the pandemic, so they are on the naughty list.
This year, we have planted lettuce, kale, mizuna, mustard greens, potatoes, onions, beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins, herbs and a wide variety of other plants in our 20’ x 60’ garden. While part of the fun (for me) is starting the seeds inside while it is still cold and dark to give myself a bit of hope when winter is refusing to let go of its frosty hold, it is of course much easier to visit your local garden store or farmstand and buy seedlings. Don’t forget to harden off delicate seedlings by sheltering them for a few days before planting to ensure they aren’t shocked by the transition.
This summer, I will chronicle our summer labours and preparations as we work to take advantage of all of the great food that is available locally in British Columbia, and I look forward to you sharing your best homesteading tips with me as well so that we may all become stronger and more independent. The government has shown us that it has no plans to obey our nation’s laws, or to respect our sovereignty, and it is up to each of us to slowly and methodically eliminate our reliance on the current nanny state, both to save ourselves and to save our nation.