We read or hear about extreme weather situations around the globe every week, as well as shattering historical records of temperature and precipitation – too much or too little, on both counts. As gardeners, we’ve noticed subtle shifts in our own backyards: longer, cold and wet springs; short, hot, dry summers; longer, warmer and drier falls; and even, on the whole, milder winters, with less snowfall. We may even have noticed that some of our plants that used to do really well are struggling, while others that we once struggled to maintain are either dead losses or getting their second wind and taking off.
To help address climate change, OHA District 3 offered Societies this year a $150 grant opportunity. RLHS submitted an application and D3 Executive awarded us the grant. The goal of our project was to identify vegetable cultivars that are resilient to growing conditions and changing climate in our area, with reasonable performance (e.g. yield, health, pest resilience). In other words, we planted, mulched and walked away until harvest.
We cultivated a 20’ x 20’ plot at Lower Beverley Lake Park, with vegetable crops common to our area, using biodynamic practices, with no chemical amendments to soil or plant, and no shading or watering (except at the time of transplant or seeding). Some of the vegetables would be a variety common to this area, but not usually grown under the specified conditions. In addition, for about half of the cultivars, we grew 2 common varieties alongside a different variety claiming greater resilience in challenging climate conditions (such as heat and dryness). The vegetables we used were potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, kale, bush beans, summer and winter squash, tomatoes, corn, beets, rutabagas, and white turnips.
To see the results and conclusions from this project, watch our video in the link below.
The Board Committee that worked on this project consisted of John Carley, Mark Stevens, Meg McCallum and Yvonne Helwig.