GET GROWING, VICTORIA!

This free food seedlings distribution program created by the City of Victoria in partnership with community and non-profit organizations supports communities disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

 

There is renewed interest in community resilience, food security and learning how to grow food at home. In April 2020, City Council directed staff to temporarily reprioritize operations in the existing municipal nursery in Beacon Hill Park for the growth and distribution of food starts to be shared over the 2020 growing season. 

 

Over 75,000 edible plant starts are being grown by the City, to be distributed by over 30 community partners who directly serve of marginalized communities over the 2020 growing season.  

This program has partnered with non-profits, growing programs, Indigenous communities, schools, community centres, neighbourhood associations, and more. 

FALL / WINTER PLANT SELECTION

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SUMMER PLANT SELECTION

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WINTER PLANT SELECTION

 
CHARD - Fordhook Giant 

Swiss chard is a hugely productive plant, extremely nutritious, packed with beta carotene and Vitamin C and an excellent plant source of iron and calcium. 

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Plant: in the ground or in containers

Needs: Chard prefers rich soil and generous watering to produce large plants.

Plants that were planted in April onwards will continue to produce into the fall. Applying a liquid fertilizer or compost tea a few times in the summer will help these plants remain productive.

Spacing: Can be planted closely (6”) for baby greens or further apart (12”-18”) to produce larger plants

Harvest: as baby greens or allow to grow large. Harvest outer leaves by cutting individual stalks (stalks are tasty and somewhat celery-like).

Put a cloche over your plants as temperatures get colder. Chard holds up ok to freezing, but wait until leaves thaw on the plant before harvesting.

 
GREEN ONIONS - Kincho

Green onions don’t bulb but produce tender green leaves and a tall, straight, single-stalk stem. You can increase the white portion of the stem by planting in a small trench when transplanting or by hilling up soil around the stem.

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Plant: In the ground or in containers

Spacing: plant 1-2” apart

Providing a cloche over it for the winter helps it to grow slowly all winter. Harvest whenever desired.

 
KALE - Winter Rainbow & Lacinato

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Plant: can be grown in the ground or in containers

Space: 18-24” apart

Harvest: pick leaves from the bottom up as plants grow (leave smaller, inside leaves to grow)

Kale is very cold hardy and can be left in the garden or replanted in August for winter harvests (does not need to be covered or sheltered in coastal climates). The cold and frost increases the sugar content of kale leaves making them sweeter! In the following spring, the plant will produce flowers that are very tasty and can be picked as small broccoli florets.

 
KOHLRABI - Purple Vienna

Kohlrabi is a close relative of cabbage and was bred over centuries for its enlarged, tasty stem. It is very rich in vitamin C and potassium. It has a crisp texture and mild taste. Can be eaten raw or cooked. 

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Plant: in the ground or in containers

Spacing: plant 4-6” apart 

Harvest: for the most tender kohlrabi, harvest the entire plant when the beautiful purple kohlrabis are ~6cm (2 1/2”) in diameter. You can also let them get larger (tennis ball size).

Kohlrabi is frost hardy and can be left in the garden throughout winter without protection.

 
LETTUCE -Rouge d'Hiver & Grand Rapids

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Plant: in the ground or in containers

Spacing: can be spaced very closely to harvest as baby-leaf lettuce or further apart (12-18”) for head lettuce

Harvest: individual leaves or cut the whole plant 1” above soil and let it regrow. Regrowth in the colder season is very slow.

Using a cloche or cold frame over lettuce helps to extend it into the winter season, keeping frost off the leaves (which can cause damage) and preventing the soil from getting waterlogged. It's also helpful to heavily mulch lettuce to insulate it.

 
MIZUNA 

Mizuna is a sweeter and milder mustard green. Eat fresh in salads or blanched / stir-fried. Mizuna prefers the cool season and tends to bolt (go to flower) quickly in the summer heat. 

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Plant: can be grown in the ground or in containers 

Harvest: Cut individual leaves or cut the whole plant down 1” above the ground and let it regrow. Regrowth in the cooler season is slow, and the plants will perform best if covered by a cloche by mid October. Leave in the ground into the beginning of the spring when you can harvest all the greens before it goes to flower.

 
PEAS - Little Marvel

This heirloom variety is a great dwarf shelling pea that does great in containers. Grows up to 30” tall. 

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade (produces better with more sun)

Plant: can be grown in the ground or in containers 

Harvest: peas when plump, and open and discard pods.

 
SPROUTING BROCCOLI - Purple Peacock

This great overwintering broccoli is planted in the late summer (July/August) and produces many small, delicious, purple florets in early spring (Feb-April). Unlike summer broccoli, it does not produce a large central head, but numerous, small sprouts. 

Plant: in the ground or in a large container

Spacing: 18-24” apart

Harvest: stay on top of harvesting shoots as they come up, before any flowers open up, to get the most out of your plants

Sprouting Broccoli is hardy to below -12°C and therefore does not need protection on the coast.

SUMMER PLANT SELECTION

BASIL  

Sun exposure: prefers full sun

Can grow in pots or in the ground

Needs: Make sure plants get adequate moisture as basil doesn’t like to be water-stressed

Harvest: Start harvesting once plants have a few sets of true leaves and are about 6” high. Prune the top set of leaves by cutting the main stem. This will encourage the two smaller buds below to grow and the plant to get bushier. Basil needs to be harvested regularly to encourage bushy growth and to delay the plant from flowering which will discourage further leaf growth. Continuously harvest top leaf sets and pinch off flowers, even if you don’t have an immediate use for it, basil can always be frozen or dried!

Companions: Tomatoes and basil make excellent companions not just in the kitchen but planted side by side in the garden too! Basil also makes a great companion for peppers and helps repel aphids, asparagus beetle and mites from the garden.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO ON BASIL HARVESTING

 
 
CABBAGE

Sun exposure: full sun

Cabbage does best planted in the ground, but could be grown one plant in one large pot

Space plants 18-32” apart

Needs: cabbage likes rich soil, amend with compost or well-rotted manure and ½ a cup of complete organic fertilizer mixed into the soil below each plant. 

Cabbage is a long season crop, it will first focus on growing big leaves and then start forming a head. If a head isn’t forming it could be because there is too much nitrogen in the soil compared to phosphorus. Cooler conditions are needed for the cabbage to form a nice head, expect your cabbage to be ready in fall. 

Companions: plants well with many herbs, including chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary and sage. Avoid planting with peppers, potatoes or tomatoes.

 
CHARD

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade

Needs: Chard prefers rich soil and generous watering to produce large plants.

Spacing: Can be planted closely (6”) for baby greens or further apart (12”-18”) to produce larger plants

Harvest: as baby greens or allow to grow large. Harvest outer leaves by cutting individual stalks (stalks are tasty and somewhat celery-like).

Companions: great with beans, Brassicas (kale, cabbage) and onions

 
CUCUMBER
Cucumbers can be distinguished from zucchini at their young stage by the end of their leaves, which are generally pointed, where as zucchini has a more rounded leaf

Sun exposure: full sun

Can be grown in pots or in the ground

Needs: Cucumbers like rich, nutritious, warm soils and lots of water. Add plenty of compost or well-rotted manure, dolomite lime (to balance pH), and ½ - 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer (available at garden stores) mixed into the soil when transplanting. 

Cucumbers are trailing in nature (can reach 7-8 feet) and benefit from being trellised up. This saves a lot of garden space in small gardens and reduces the risk of powdery mildew caused in damp conditions. 

Avoid overhead watering cucumbers (getting their leaves wet) as this will encourage mildew, water at the base of the plant, early in the day. 

Harvest: regularly, before cucumbers get too big to encourage continuous production. If fruit is allowed to get too big the plant will stop producing more fruit.

Companions: Cucumbers can be planted with many plants including Brassicas (cabbage, kale), lettuce, corn (can climb up corn), onions, peas, radish. Planting nasturtiums close are said to improve the flavour and growth of cucumbers

 

KALE
Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade
Can be grown in the ground or in containers
Space: 18-24” apart
Harvest: pick leaves from the bottom up as plants grow (leave smaller, inside leaves to grow)
Kale is very cold hardy and can be left in the garden or replanted in August for winter harvests. In the following spring, the plant will produce flowers that are very tasty and can be picked as small broccoli florets.
Companions: Brassicas, such as kale, benefit from being planted with many herbs, including chamomile, dill, mint, rosemary and sage.

 

 
LETTUCE

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade, benefits from some shade in the heat of summer

Can be grown in the ground or in containers

Lettuce grows best in the cool seasons of spring and fall and has a tendency to want to bolt (go to flower) in the hot summer. Water regularly to prevent bolting and consider planting somewhere where it gets shade in the heat of the day. Can be planted into August for fall salads and extended with the use of a cold-frame or greenhouse. 

Spacing: Can be spaced very closely to harvest as baby-leaf lettuce or further apart (12-18”) for head lettuce

Harvest: individual leaves or cut the whole plant 1” above soil and let regrow

Companions: Lettuce pairs well with many plants including beets, kale, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, strawberries...

 
MUSTARD GREENS/ MIZUNA

Sun exposure: full sun to partial shade, benefits from some shade in the heat of summer

Can be grown in the ground or in containers

Mustards are cool season crops, they grow quickly and they bolt (go to flower) quickly in the heat. Flowers can be harvested and eaten. 

Sowing continuously every few weeks ensures continuous harvest. Can be sowed until September, for late fall / winter harvests. Very cold hardy plant!

Space about 6” apart

Water regularly, especially in the heat of summer! 

Harvest: Cut individual leaves or cut the whole plant down 1” above the ground and let it regrow. Young leaves tend to be more mild tasting that bigger leaves. Mustard greens tend to be much SPICIER when grown in the summer heat and milder and sweeter when grown in the cooler off-seasons.

Eat fresh in salads or blanched / stir-fried

 
PARSLEY

Sun exposure: Can be grown in full-sun to almost full shade, but prefers a little bit of shade in the hot summer months.

Can be grown in the ground or in containers

Space plants at least 6” apart

Harvest: individual sprigs from the outside of the plant (leaving the small, inside leaves)

Sprigs can be eaten fresh or dried for preservation

Companions: parsley has many friends and does great planted with tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, chives, corn, onions.

Parsley is very cold hardy and can survive the winter here on the coast.

It is a biennial, which means it has a two-year life span and will go to seed on the second year.

 
SQUASH - DELICATA

Sun exposure: full sun

Needs: These very large plants need a lot of food. Plant in rich soil and dig ½ - 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer (available at garden stores) beneath each transplant. 

Harvest: fruit is ripe when your thumbnail does not mark the outside of the skin. To cure for storage let sit for about a week in the sun or indoors in a warm room with good air circulation before storing in a cool, dry location. 

Always avoid overhead watering squash (getting their leaves wet) as this will encourage mildew, water at the base of the plant, early in the day. 

Companions: corn, lettuce, peas, radish. Avoid planting near Brassicas (kale, cabbage) or potatoes

 
TOMATOES
Varieties distributed: Elfin Cherry, Black Cherry, Sweetie Cherry & Stupice
Stupice, which is a small slicing tomato, can be distinguished from the others as it is a 'potato leaf' variety

Sun exposure: full sun and lots of heat!

Grows great in pots, or in the ground

Needs: tomatoes like rich soil that is high in organic matter. Add plenty of compost or well-rotted manure and mix in ½ - 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer (available in garden stores) into the hole before transplanting. Fertilize regularly for best results. Switch to a fertilizer that is high in P & K and low in N (look on fertilizer to see 3 numbers, ex: 3-10-10, which corresponds to N-P-K) for when the plant is starting to produce flowers and fruit. 

All of the varieties provided by the City of Victoria are indeterminate types and will need to be trellised up with a pole or string (tomato cages are designed for determinate types and are not appropriate for these varieties). 

Indeterminate varieties will continue to grow tall and produce more fruit until they are killed by frost. At the end of the season, water less frequently to encourage the fruits to ripen. 

Tomatoes need a lot of water to produce fruit. If fruit has ‘Blossom End Rot’ (bottoms are rotten) the plant could be not getting enough calcium, but most-likely the problem is not enough consistent, deep watering.

Avoid getting water on tomato leaves as this encourages blight. 

Companions: Tomatoes don’t make the best of companions with many plants. They grow great with basil, peppers, nasturtiums, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce and parsley, but should NOT be planted with potatoes, brassicas (kale, cabbage) and dill. 

Click here to see a video about trellising/suckering tomatoes!

 
ZUCCHINI

Sun exposure: full sun

Needs: plenty of moisture, nutritious soil and lots of space. Use plenty of compost or well-rotted manure and dig ½ - 1 cup of complete organic fertilizer (available at garden stores) beneath each transplant. 

Spacing: Zucchinis are large plants and should be spaced 2-3 feet apart.

Harvest: regularly to promote continuous fruiting

Zucchinis have male and female flowers - mis-shapen fruit, or fruit that rots at the end is due to lack of pollination. This can be solved by hand pollinating.

SEE THIS VIDEO ABOUT HAND POLLINATION

(Note: this can also be done with a paintbrush or Q-tip - applied to the male flower first and then to the female flower. Zucchini flowers tend to be open and easier to pollinate in the mornings). 

Always avoid overhead watering zucchinis (getting their leaves wet) as this will encourage mildew, water at the base of the plant, early in the day. 

Companions: Zucchinis are great planted with nasturtiums, parsley, spinach, radish, beans, peas and flowers that attract many pollinators!

References:

https://www.westcoastseeds.com/blogs/garden-wisdom/companion-planting

The Jawl Foundation

We are growing on unceded Coast Salish territories.

This initiative works within the territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən, SENĆOŦEN, and Hul'q'umi'num speaking peoples. Within this are the territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees), Xwsepsum (Esquimalt), W̱JOȽEȽP (Tsartlip), BOḰEĆEN (Pauquachin), SȾÁUTW̱ (Tsawout), W̱SIKEM (Tseycum), Sc'ianew (Beecher Bay), T’Sou-ke, Pacheedaht, MÁLEXEȽ (Malahat), Pune’laxutth’ (Penelekut), Stz'uminus (Chemainus), Ts’uubaa-asatx (Lake Cowichan), Halalt, Lyackson, sc̓əwaθən məsteyəxʷ (Tsawwassen), SEMYOME (Semiahmoo), and Quw'utsun (Cowichan) Nations.

The presence of settlers (non-Indigenous peoples who live on these lands) is not neutral; it continues to have devastating impacts on many aspects of life for Indigenous peoples. Many settler practices, including the seeds planted, the forms of education, and methods of growing food come to these lands through the ongoing process of colonialism. Colonialism has suppressed local well-being by harming Indigenous food systems, whether they be land-based or of the sky and sea. We honour the stewards of these lands, including the people, plants and animals, who have an intimate knowledge of the foods of this land. We hold them up for the work they continuously do to protect and connect with the land.

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