If you have a vegetable garden, you have been harvesting all of the cold crops and have been picking tomatoes for a few weeks, depending on when you did your initial plantings. But now the fruit crops are starting. Usually, the first weekend in August, starts with the raspberry U-Pick farms opening. Then right on the raspberry’s heels are the saskatoon, cherries and early apples. I know a lot of people who drive to the Okanagan in BC with empty vehicles to load up on tomatoes and fruit for canning. The stores are stocked up with canning supplies and pickling spices. This is such a great time for children to become involved in the garden. They can see the fruit, eat it and then learn how to preserve it, freeze it, make jam and then eat some more. For children early exposure to nature can fire up their imaginations, and help develop a keen interest in the world around them.
When I was a kid, we lived up in the high arctic in a tent on the Mackenzie River. I had my own rabbit traps and fishing nets that needed to be checked every morning (at least, I think it was the morning, it was always daylight and I remember never being sure what time it was). After everything was skinned and fish set out for drying we jumped into boats and went off to secret sites on the tundra. There I learned how to identify strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries. When we got back to camp, I then learned all of the amazing things that you could then do with the harvest. That experience had a deep and lasting impact on my life. Well, that and the grizzly attack.
-Kevin Napora, Landscape Designer & Master Gardener, Salisbury Landscaping, Edmonton & Area