The Columbine

Newsletter of Gardening Kingston

December 2021


President's Message

By Suzanne Maranda

Just a few more weeks and we’ve done it! Another year in pandemic mode, with hopefully all of us staying healthy. I am grateful to have a little piece of earth to work in and beautify for a few months of the year.
What’s in store for 2022? I won’t even try to predict how the virus will impact our lives or not, but one thing I can share is that 2022 has been proclaimed as the Year of the Garden. This has been endorsed by the federal government and many gardening organizations.

In the notice I received from the OHA, the Canadian Garden Council writes:
“A garden has the power to change the world. Gardens and gardening contribute to the quality of life of our communities and create safe and healthy places where people can come together.
Gardens are part of the climate solution by restoring soil health and sequestering carbon. Everyone can grow a garden, and everyone can take meaningful action on the climate crisis.
This is an invitation to all gardeners, whether they have a large or small garden, backyard, balcony, indoor or community garden, a seasoned gardener or a new one, to join the Year of the Garden 2022 celebrations and to recognize the positive environmental impact their garden is having. Everyone can join the celebrations.”
During the winter months we will expect more information and will share with you how we can participate. The website allows anyone to sign up for newsletters, if you are interested.
To begin, there is a call for all of us to plant something red, Canada’s colour. Something to think about this winter? One suggestion I heard was to use a red planter if you don’t want, or already have, red plants…to be continued.
If anyone is interested in helping to plan activities in this first Year of the Garden, please contact us.

Zoom Meeting

Thursday, December 9th at 7:00

We welcome Ben O'Brien, Landscape Architect, owner of Wild by Design in Prince Edward County. His passion for plants and naturalistic planting design has led him all over England, the US and Europe. His Growing GRIT project is just one example of his forward thinking and design style.
Registration required by Wednesday, December 8th

Learn, Grow, Share

Register Now

Never Zoom'd before and don't know where to start?
Check out these resources:
  1. Zoom FAQ's
  2. Step-by-step Guide (PDF)
  3. Video and Tutorial
  4. Or send us an email and we'll try to help you out
We also share garden related information on Facebook. So, if you aren't following us already, consider connecting with us there.
We also share garden related information on Facebook. So, if you aren't following us already, consider connecting with us there.

Mark Your Calendar

Thursday, January 20th

The January Zoom Meeting will be a week later than usual.
Join us for “Fabulous Ferns” with Catherine Kavassallis.
Further details and registration will be included in the January newsletter

OHA's Trillium Newsletter

Interested in seeing what other societies in the province are doing? Stay updated with the latest OHA news. Follow the link to the latest issue of the OHA’s Trillium newsletter.

Volunteer Hours

Remember to submit your Volunteer Hours to Veronica Butler.
Did you know that the following activities can be counted as Volunteer hours?
  • Working in your family’s, friend's, neighbour's, or community garden like the Paterson or Pollinator
  • Digging, preparing, and potting plants for our plant sales
The form is on our website under the Membership tab. We hope you will contribute to our grand total – every hour counts!

Winter Bounty

By Rebecca Kelly
The fact that we have been harvesting from the garden at the end of November, is an unexpected treat. There are many vegetables that seem to dissolve at the first sign of cold weather, leaving nasty melted piles for the gardener to gather up and put in the compost, but some vegetables just seem to get better with the cold.

Many root vegetables improve with the cold, which seems to concentrate their sugars, transforming them into sweet treats. Grocery store kindred seldom attain these heights, as they are often from the south, or are harvested before the ground freezes (making them easier to dig, but less tasty). So, next time you grow carrots, beets or parsnips, try leaving a few in the ground, mulching with straw to protect them, and you may be surprised at their transformation when you harvest them. Also part of the beet family, the Swiss chard pictured here is quite frost tolerant.

Kale is a famously cold hardy crop. There are many different kinds of kale, some hardier than others, so check the seed information if you want to grow some into the winter months. A layer of protection will also help them survive the winter. Again, winter kale is very sweet, if you don’t normally like kale, you may be converted.

The biggest surprise I had this year was how hardy arugula is. Usually, when I grow arugula in the spring, it starts to bolt as soon as it gets warm. I planted a few rows in September, and as the days shortened and got colder, the growth was very slow – no bolting. Last week, I harvested twice for salads. What a treat to get salad from the garden in winter. I didn’t know if they would still be good, as the stems seemed to be frozen. But once defrosted, they were fine.

Next year, I will try a few more winter hardy vegetables in the fall. Mache (or corn salad), Tatsoi, and New Zealand spinach are a few different greens that are purported to be cold tolerant. I’d love to hear some of your stories. What winter vegetables have you had success with?
Photos: Rebecca Kelly

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