Growing fresh produce through the coldest winters, with Catherine Sylvestre
I’ve been so happy to see how popular the concept of growing one’s own food has become in recent years. Especially since the pandemic, a lot of us have connected deeply with the need to build food resilience by cultivating our own gardens, and quite a few have even gone further and started to grow at a market scale.
It’s a beautiful thing to be able to eat fresh healthy produce from your own land, but I’ve often wondered as well, how we can cross the long dark and cold period of winter, when fresh local veggies are tough to come by. Though there are quite a few volumes about season extension in the garden, I had never really come across anyone who was actively planting for deep months of winter, and so I was thrilled when I found that New Society publishers were putting out a whole book on exactly this subject.
Building on years of research, experimentation, and collaboration, and co authored by Catherine Sylvestre and Jean Martin Fortier “The Winter Market Gardener” is a beautifully illustrated practical guide to winter vegetable production for small farmers growing in northern climates.
I got to speak with Catherine Sylvestre who is a professional agronomist and director of vegetable production and leader of the market garden team at la Ferme des Quatre-Temps (The Fours Seasons Farm) in Quebec, Canada. She develops, implements, and teaches best practices for cold-season growing, specializing in crop protection and greenhouse production for northern climates.
In this episode we cover just about every focus in this very complete book, from where the interest and research into winter growing started, sources of knowledge and inspiration for their ongoing experiments into winter growing, strategies and season planning, and even sales and marketing advice for the off-season produce.
Catherine also gives crucial advice on the very practical side for things like structures and season extension tools, greenhouse heating devices, disease and pest protection, harvesting and cold storage, and even lists of plants that have grown well for them as well as those which have struggled.
This episode could very well be the key to extending your home production of fresh veggies, whether at home or in a market garden, for the entire year, so you may want to have a notebook for this one and follow the link in the show notes to get your own copy.