Vancouver Island Frost Watch

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According Farmer’s Almanac Naniamo gets an average of 171 frost free days, and the frost free growing season starts on April 28th. Further south in Victoria the average frost free date is April 19th. Expect a first frost around the beginning of November.

Of course many vegetable and herb plants can tolerate frost. Here is listing of Frost Tolerance of Vegetables to help you get started.

 

It is always interesting to see how Vancouver Island compares to the rest of Canada for frost free dates and growing season length, here is a handy table put out by the Farmer’s Almanac for various Canadian cities.

 

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Overwintering Bay Laurel on Vancouver Island

A flush of new spring growth on a Bay Laurel

A flush of new spring growth on a Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) is an evergreen tree native to southern Europe. It has a long history as a culinary and sacred herb. Growing this wonderful Mediterranean herb on Vancouver Island is not difficult, but it requires a little extra care to get it through the winter.

Key Points to Consider

Bay is considered a half hardy perennial in our climatic zone, so unprotected outdoor overwintering is a bit of a gamble.

Young Bay plants, less than five years old, are considerably less hardy than mature plants.

Bay is shallow rooted, so heavy frosts may damage it’s root system.

Bay foliage is damaged in the winter by cold temperatures and wind that produce low humidity conditions that cause the leaves and smaller stems to die back.

Overwintering Outdoors

The first line of defense is to select a sunny protected area with well drained soil for your Bay plant. In the winter, mulch to help protect the root system from frost.

If temperatures are expected to go below -5C cover the entire plant with frost cloth or burlap to help protect the foliage.

Plants may suffer cold or wind damage to the current season’s growth, which can be pruned out in the spring. If the worst happens and a ground-planted bay seems to have all of it’s foliage killed off, prune it back and be patient, there is a good possibility that it will put up new shoots.

Potted Bay Laurel that is going to be kept outdoors, should have the entire pot buried in a sheltered corner of your garden. Then mulch and cover it as described above.

Overwintering Indoors

Potted Bay Laurel that can be moved indoors should be kept in an area that does not go below -5C and near a window for a bit of light. Water your indoor bay very sparingly ( 1 – 3 times per month ), do not fertilize it and keep an eye out for pests. While we are on the subject of Pests, it is also advisable to carefully check over your Bay and remove any pests before bringing it inside. While inside keep it well away from your houseplants to minimize an exchange of pests.

Well that is all for this year …. Happy Holidays !

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roast-Turkey-with-Oranges-Bay-Leaves-Red-Onions-and-Pan-Gravy-105729

Vervain – Grow Your Own Vampire Repellent

Vervain - Grow Your Own Vampire Repellent

The myth and magic of Vervain ( Verbena officinalis ) has been embedded in human culture for 1000’s of years. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, all had beliefs about the powers of this plant. In the Middle Ages it was used as a key ingredient in a mixture for protection against demons. Of course in modern times, with our massive body of scientific knowledge it is used more often as a Vampire Repellent…. live and learn !

Plant of the Week – Meadow Clary and On-Line Tools for Selecting Herbs

Meadow Clary

I bumped into this Meadow Clary plant ( Salvia pratensis ) blooming  in the farm’s demonstration garden.. Then I found out that the Royal Horticultural Society have given Meadow Clary their Award of Garden Merit (AGM). Since England has a similar climate to Vancouver Island I explored the RHS web site further and found a really interesting interactive herb plant selector guide. It would be perfect for planning a herb garden since you may search for plants using a huge number of different requirements such as available sunlight, height of plant, when it blooms and many other factors. Check it out ! RHS Herb Selector Guide