Living in Whistler has its great advantages, but it also has its challenges when it comes to food. As the cost of living continues to rise, we can all agree that shopping at the resort makes it quite difficult to survive, especially if we enjoy a more organic and sustainable lifestyle. We might opt for a quick grocery run down to Squamish once in a while to stock our pantry with non-perishable goodies, but finding affordable, organic and fresh fruits and vegetables could become quite a task.
Luckily, in the summer we are thankful to have the farmer’s market offering gorgeous produce twice a week througout the season.
Another thing you can also consider is having your own garden. Not only does gardening keeps you active and reduces stress levels, it also brings you the benefits and joys of eating the nutritious whole foods that you grow.
Gardening in Whistler is a beautiful thing, but with a coastal and mountain climate, the presence of bears and the amount of sunlight in the valley, we have to consider a few things:
Gardening Tips in Whistler
- The best time to plant outside in Whistler is usually at the end of May.
- Purchase good potting soil and ensure there is good drainage.
- Watering should be done once a day or twice if it’s very hot, before or after the sun hits them (be considerate of water regulations).
- Vegetables that grow well in Whistler are kale, spinach, radishes, celery, tomato, green and red peppers and horseradish.
- All herbs grow well outside.
- Fertilize with compost or composted manure.
What bears are attracted to:
- Plants and fruits with a heavy concentration of fructose or proteins.
- Fruit-bearing trees and shrubs.
- Berry bushes + fruit trees.
- Tomatoes, squash, melons, early vegetables, sweet corn, potatoes, carrots, beets and other root vegetables and any other particularly aromatic plants and foods.
- Flower gardens that contain sweet vetch, dandelions and clover.
- Download the Whistler’s bear food plant list.
Things to consider:
- If you wish to keep your trees/shrubs, spray down the flowers with a garden hose in order to prevent fruit from forming.
- If you choose to let your plants produce, harvest vegetable and fruit when ripe; do not allow to accumulate on the ground.
- If you have problems with picking fruit yourself, Bearsmart has a ”picking” program to help you with this task.
- Do not use blood meal, fish fertilizer or deer repellent in any garden.
- Consider a permanent electric fence to keep bears from orchards and gardens.
- Keep your grass cut and free of dandelions.
- If you have a garden compost, do not compost anything other than grasses and leaves.
- Download the Bearsmart brochure: Wildlife-friendly Landscaping: Resident’s Guide. Professional’s Guide.
Whistler’s community gardening program encourages community members to grow their own organic vegetables in one of their greenhouses and community gardens in order to promote social and environmental sustainability.
Cheakamus Community Garden
If you choose to grow a garden this summer, what will you plant this spring?