No doubt about it, those of us in the intermountain regions of the U.S. and Canada have a big challenge harvesting our fruit and vegetables every year. We usually can’t start our seeds outdoors until very late in the season, around May, and we often get hit with late frosts even then. In the middle of a heat wave, our night-time temperatures can drop by 20 degrees. We have lots of wind to deal with too. The typical saying is, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes!”
But wait! There are hidden benefits to these harsh climates. Vegetables and fruits raised in challenging climates are more nutritious than those raised in more temperate regions. When plants grow in stressful conditions, the cellular structure is shorter and stronger. They develop cells called adaptogens, structures that help them adapt to stressful situations. And they develop more flavor and antioxidants. These are things you’ve heard about in relation to new herbal combinations and various foods to help us become stronger and healthier. Some foods have more of these than others, but all fruits and veggies develop various levels of these too.
Think about plants in your own garden that grown in the harsh sun and wind. Their stocks are short and thick, and if you know about tomatoes, you know they’ve got wonderful, rich, warm flavor. Plants that grow on the east or north side in shady protected areas are tall and lanky. Often they need supports to hold up the stems. The fruits can be watery and are definitely less flavorful.
Plan Your Garden
While you want to plan your vegetable garden to be in the sunniest most protected areas of your yard, this is often not possible with fruiting trees and bushes. You can help them out with some protection, but now you should feel more comfortable knowing that those that survive our wild weather will give you healthier food.
Now, while the weather is cool, you can start planting your cool season crops like lettuce, broccoli, peas and carrots. Don’t forget herbs that will self-sow, like Italian parsley. Mine is planted near a big rock, so even when there is snow on the ground, on a sunny day, I can dig down and harvest some small shoots. These are truly the sweetest parsley you’ve ever tasted. These are all plants do best while we have cold temperatures and the flavors are sweeter. They are definitely exposed to weather that will develop those adaptogens, antioxidants and lots of flavor.
In sync with nature,
If you want more information on the new plant-based mineral supplements that are loaded with adaptogens to help you sleep and have more energy, take a look at these posts and pages you may have missed and then fill out the contact form below.
Pick up the Mountain Home issue of Tahoe Quarterly on March 1, where you’ll get to read my new Mountain Garden column! WooHoo!