Zero Mile Diet

Food self-sufficiency  --  Eating well out of your Garden --  Tips on Local Gardening

A series of articles on year-round eating from the garden, by Sue Wheeler

These articles, arranged by month, are intended to pass on information to help us become more food self-sufficient by eating well out of the garden all year round. I will include tips I've picked up from my own and friends' experience, plus information I've run across that I haven't seen elsewhere. I don't plan to include info that is widely available in garden books and articles, such as how to grow squash or potatoes or other crops that are harvested in Fall and stored. 

"Winter gardening" is really spring and summer planting for winter eating. It requires planning to be sure there is a place in the garden for the overwintering crops to go in at the right time. For example, when you plan where you'll plant carrots, allow space for spring planting of the summer carrots and also summer planting of the carrots that will be left in the ground and harvested through the winter and into spring. A bed that had the earliest peas and lettuces will be finished in time for the overwintered cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower. I reserve a spot from the beginning of the season for kale and chard, which need to be seeded in the garden before any of the early crops are finished. 

A good source of information is Linda Gilkeson's articles about winter gardening on the coast, which can be found at

Linda also has an excellent book, Year-Around Harvest, which can be ordered from West Coast Seeds, Salt Spring Seeds, at local bookstores, or through her website, 

Another recommended book is Eliot Coleman's Four-Season Harvest, available at the regional library (

Here is a table of what to plant when on Lasqueti (adapted from Linda Gilkeson's "Salt Spring Planting Dates" in her book Year Round Harvest)



Feb. or March



Celeriac, parsley, leeks, chard

Early June

Brussels sprouts, carrots

Mid- to late June

Purple sprouting broccoli, winter & over-wintering cabbage, parsnips, beets

Early July

Rutabagas, endive & radicchio, kale, kohlrabi, overtintered cauliflower

Late July-early August

Arugula, fall & winter lettuce, mizuna and other Asian greens, collards, kale, daikon and winter radishes, spinach, corn salad, basil (for transplanting to pots for a windowsill indoors in early fall)


Early August                  

Late August to mid-September

Over-wintered onions


Corn salad, cilantro, arugula, winter lettuce

early October

Lettuce and spinach in greenhouse