Harrison Bragg says this has been a great year for gardening in the Codroy Valley.
The avid gardener has been growing his own produce for decades, and this year he expanded his crops to include some herbs like summer savoury and basil.
When it came to staples like his potatoes, this was one of the latest years for planting. Bragg remembers that by mid-April 1991 the ground was already dry, and by May 1 planting had begun. This year he wasn’t able to plant until late June.
“We don’t get spring anymore,” says Bragg. “We had frost every night and snow in June. Don’t let the warm weather in July and August fool you.”
Despite the late start to the season, his potatoes have also grown well. He planted about about 2,000 lbs. of seed potatoes this year, which is more than enough to see him through until next season.
This season Bragg also grew acorn squash, cucumber, peas, beans, onions, parsnip, bunching onions, cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, turnip, spinach, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and lettuce. Then there are his tomatoes. He’s got over 50 of those plants still producing yet, and he also grew a ground cherry called Aunt Molly’s.
“It grows encased in a lanternlike covering,” says Bragg. “With a very unique and pleasing taste.”
Bragg says growing his own vegetables has significantly reduced his food bill, and he rarely buys anything at the grocery store anymore.
“We might buy a 10 lb. bag of carrots and a couple cans of mushrooms.”
Now that the season is almost over, Bragg will start laying compost on top of his garden beds to prep them for next season. He highly recommends composting, and says it can make a huge difference when it comes to a vegetable’s colour and flavour.
“Everything we’ve got we compost. I’ve got four composters out there,” says Bragg, who also likes to wander the beach for kelp, which is rich in nutrients like iron. “I use a lot of kelp. I’ve been using kelp for years.”
The veteran gardener also helps out others with his gardening. He’s given spoiled vegetables to a local pig farmer and extras he has grown to share with other families. In the spring he will sell starter plants for others to grow their own food. The helpful advice and tips that come with the plants are free.