Opinion

Keeping in fresh greens and saving the ALR

Morgan Ostler - Campbell River Mirror
Morgan Ostler
— image credit: Campbell River Mirror

If you only had one large tub, a small deck and less than six hours of light per day what herbs would you choose for a year round kitchen garden?

Here’s a suggestion that has worked for me. Try a combo of chives, sorrel and green onions.

You’ll find that chives are the most versatile herb in the pot.

They pop up in February and continue to produce through to November. Just keep clipping them back and they will shoot up new stems within a couple of weeks.

As the chive plant matures it will produce a much larger crop than you could possibly use so just chop up the surplus and toss it into a freezer bag.

When defrosted they don’t lose that rich green colour and will turn a dull looking dish into something special.

Sprinkle on a split baked potato, mix with a grated  slaw or brighten up an uninteresting slice of grilled cod with  chive and cream sauce.

Just remember to ensure the leaves are dry before they are stored in the bag.

This is same method you would use for freezing parsley and you will have an endless supply of greens to highlight the most humble meal.

The other plant that keeps me in fresh salad greens almost year round is French sorrel.

It’s a cinch to grow, produces large crisp leaves, has a slightly lemony bite and behaves much like chives.

Just keep clipping it back and you’ll discover it’s a non stop producer.

The leaves are bright green but not crunchy so try mixing the sorrel with pale Iceberg lettuce and thin sticks of carrot or rutabaga.

Raising a crop of green onions is simple.

The secret to sustainable growth is to plant only a dozen bulbs at a time. Two or three weeks later plant another dozen and continue this alternating process from early spring to late autumn.

 

Those reading this column must care very much about quality soil and protection of farmland.

Mother Earth needs your help.

In this green province, just five per cent of the land is suitable for agriculture.

Forty years ago the government knew how important it was to protect this land and they created a provincial Agriculture Land Reserve.

Food security, food safety and local food production is more important today than it has ever been.

It is an irreplaceable resource  for all of us.

The present government has introduced Bill 24 which will irrevocably change the ALR and our food security.

The plan is to open the doors to  development on ALR  other than the area in the lower mainland, the Okanagan and Vancouver Island.

That means 90 per cent  of the outlying farmland will be managed by committees and lose its protection under the ALR.

What you can do to prevent such a loss is to write to the Premier and Minister of Agriculture or go to savethealr.ca and tell them to Kill Bill 24.

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