Winter veg & spring dinners

I enjoyed Saturday’s whistle through the topic of winter vegetable gardening with local permaculturalist Geoff Johnson. He began by pointing out that we West Coasters follow, wrongly, the veg growing guidance from over yon Rockies, where the season is short but hot and the winter too cold to grow a thing; whereas we are blessed with the climate-mitigating force of the ocean, which means we can grow food all winter.

Some other things I learned include…

  • an easy way to sew salad greens: mix your seed with compost and spread it on the beds
  • make more use of growing space by planting quick crops like radishes among slower-growing things like parsnips
  • purple sprouting broccoli actually takes two seasons to produce florets
  • parsnips and leeks are easier to grow than carrots and onions
  • to grow leeks, seed them in pots and let them grow long and leggy; when the size of a pencil, trim their roots and their tops (to the first leaf joint) and drop them in a pencil-sized hole; this will give you lots of nice fat white root
  • higher sugar content veg like beets are particularly resistant to freezing (though they might lose their tops, so make sure you mark the rows)

After that it was time to go to supper. My birthday had gone a bit adrift, like some of the script on this lovely cake I had in Calgary, so I decided to go on celebrating.

Supper was in Shawnigan Lake, at Amuse Bistro, a little house set back and below the street, so a bit tricky to get to, but worth the navigational effort.

Amuse’s amuse-bouche: savoury bread pudding with quail egg.

Salt cod fritters…

Oysters with lots of stuff….

Pan-seared halibut on a bed of heritage grains…

Half of a spot prawn extravaganza, complete with poached egg, and more savoury bread pudding.

Local scallops.

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