Healthy Plants, Healthy People!

As us, plant have needs to grow healthy.  If those needs are met in the proper manner, the better the quality our plants are, the more nutritive value our food has, and the better our health. Have you ever thought about the quality of food in our grocery store? Nation of Change has an interesting article on the nutritional value of the produce we buy at the supermarket.

Nutrients, the building blocks of our health!

Soil, water and air provide food to our plants. Various sources say that plants need between 16 and 70+ types of minerals to be fully healthy. The 70 are rarely mentioned, but the main ones are classified in three groups:

The major nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Remember the numbers on a bag of fertilizer? It is what these numbers refer to, N-P-K. 

Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are used for structure and mainly come from water and air. Secondary nutrients include calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Micro nutrients are comprised of iron, boron, chlorine, copper, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, cobalt, and nickel.  Check this out to find out more about the important roles they play in gardening.

Down to the nitty gritty..

Image borrowed from

Image borrowed from

Building amazing growing soil is an affair of a few years…. Be patient!  And in the meantime, you may want to use seed starter soil.  Almost any type of soil can be turned into garden soil. The key is to know about it’s composition, pH and structure.  This knowledge will guide your next actions.

Ideally, garden soil structure should be composed of about half pore space per volume, which will contain water and air, and half solids, a mineral portion that contains at least 5% organic matter. The water retaining capacity of soil is key if you want to reduce the amount of work you do. Additions of composts, perlite, and/or vermiculite are various ways to improve soil structure and water retaining ability.  pH is essential as it helps determine how available to plants nutrients are. Visit us at the Budding Farmers table this summer to know more about nutrient availability and understanding this chart that will help you diagnose what might be wrong with your soil.

If you want to be a serious gardener, be ready to invest some money to get your soil tested.  Contact us at the Farmer’s market to get oriented.  


Time to start those seedlings!

Marvel at the unique development of various flowers and vegetables! Prepare your transplant to sell at the market!  Long season plants should have been planted a while ago. As the weeks unfold, it is now time to get the varieties that require 12 weeks and less before transplant. Tomatoes, peppers and short season broccoli and cauliflower should preferably be planted this week at the latest!

Choose seed varieties that require a minimum number of days to maturity to help guaranty a decent harvest. Yellowknife has around 123 frost-free days, not all of those are growing days (with periods above 5˚C). Be aware of plant requirements, read and follow packet advice.

Choosing seed is also part of making a statement about our food system, inform yourself about the seed grower and his growing methods. Here is a good place to start to understand the importance of seeds and find seed companies.

For more information on climate and growing tips, visit Yellowknife Garden Collective. The Territorial farmer’s website is also filled with resources.  One that is certainly interesting at this time is How to read a seed catalog.

University of Alaska also has helpful vegetable starting charts and more. Note that they plan outside June 1st, one to two weeks prior to us. Adjust to chart!

Northern Gardening Tips

Yellowknife Farmers Market is pleased to bring you “Northern Gardening Tips” – a series of short gardening write-ups by tried and true northern farmers Caroline Lafontaine and Christine Barker.

Just a few lines in length, these weekly posts will get you thinking about what you could be doing in your garden on that particular week – a gardening timeline so to speak!  Most of the write-ups will also provide a link to other useful sites to help you on your gardening journey.

Yellowknife needs more gardeners and sustainable local food solutions, if this inspires you to want to do more, contact us!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest tips, or continue to follow this blog to read everything that’s been posted so far.

Coming up Sunday: "Time to start those seedlings!"

Dreaming of the 2015 Market

The lake is still frozen and the ground is still covered with snow. But here at the Yellowknife Farmers Market we are dreaming of sunny Tuesdays on the grass at Somba K'e Civic Plaza, eating dinner from the market and buying fresh greens and delicious baked goods made by our friends and neighbours. The 2015 season of the Market is less than three months away!

This winter has been busy with lots of new exciting developments at the Yellowknife Farmers Market. You're looking at one of them! We're excited to stay connected with you and share with you our latest news with our new website. We've received grants from the City of Yellowknife to allow us to continue to grow the market and work on food security initiatives. We're also excited to receive an NWT Arts Council to add an entertainment component to the market this year.

There will be many more exciting things to come! For now, if you are interested in selling at the 2015 market, check out the Become a Vendor page.