Edible Beauties and Soil Amendment Trials at West Creek Farms

Sharon Hanna is thrilled by the results

Credit: Sharon Hanna

Finally, an update on what’s been going on out in Fort Langley at West Creek Farms, now with 42 raised beds

Those boys just won’t stop building ’em!

In the photo above are the savoy and purple cabbage transplants on June 3, 2010.

Et voila! The same cabbage bed on August 7! Aren’t they beautiful?

I have never grown a proper big cabbage in my life so needless to say, I am thrilled. They look too beautiful to eat, and who knows how big they will get? I can already taste the cabbage rolls or white bean and savoy cabbage soup with some kind of yummy sausage.

MORE: Sharon’s first trip to West Creek Farms >

These were planted in “Frederick’s Organic Concoction,” which is an evolving blend of all kinds of good stuff, sans added NPK or trace minerals. Instead, things like kelp meal, fish and/or feather meal, worm castings, rock phosphate etc. are added. As we try different recipes, we keep learning more.

We are learning in these trials that organic amendments work much more slowly than chemically enhanced soils, but these results about 60 days later are pretty decent. This soil will improve with age, as well; topping it up with organic matter once a year or so will keep it rich and producing, as long as you rotate crops.

Here is the lovely lettuce bed in early June:

The first row: “Merveille de Quatre Saisons”
The favourite at our Garden Party/introduction of the trial ground on June 26. It’s a butterhead type which gets huge and holds well, not bolting for an extended period.

The seed was introduced by the seed company Vilmorin a long time ago (over 100 years I believe). Vilmorin is one of the oldest seed producers in the world, and is still going—and hopefully will for a long time. West Coast Seeds and Renee’s Garden sell this variety, which is also known as ‘Continuity.’

The second row: red and green butterhead
These produced like crazy. Not sure about the source.

The back row: ‘Sea of Red’
This is a 2010 introduction from Renee’s. Intense black-red in colour—so dark you need something lighter to set them off! They look great in my own garden grown next to ‘Empress of India’ nasturtiums with grey/green leaves and psychedelic coral-red flowers.

All would look great in the flower bed, too.