Farmers can grow a wide variety of field vegetables in British Columbia, thanks to a moderate climate, fertile soils and access to good water.
Crops produced in relatively large volumes include potatoes, sweet corn, cole crops (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage), beans, cucurbits (such as pumpkins, squash and zucchini), lettuce, carrots and peas. Other crops include asparagus, beets, Chinese vegetables, onions, radishes, rutabaga and spinach.
While the bulk of production takes place in the Lower Mainland, other production areas include Vancouver Island and B.C.’s southern Interior. Relatively small amounts of production occur in the Kootenay, Cariboo and northern regions of B.C.
Field vegetables are produced primarily for the fresh market — exceptions are peas, beans, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Production depends on well-drained soils, adequate irrigation and good fertilization.
Some field vegetable crops are eligible for production-insurance coverage, which helps producers manage their risk of crop losses caused by hail, spring frost, excessive rain, flooding, drought etc.
Commercial growers can use the following guide to find the latest recommendations on varieties, pest management and cultivation for a diversity of field vegetable crops.
Growers can manage plant pests and diseases to avoid damage to field vegetables.
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The BC Vegetable Marketing Commission regulates several varieties of vegetable intended for processing, including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, peas and beans. These crops are grown under contract with B.C. processors. Other storage crops — table potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, cabbage and beets — also fall under BC Vegetable Marketing Commission regulation.
Growing these high-volume storage crops requires quota, which is allocated based on a combination of the five-year average of growers and additional annual demand in the marketplace. Unless the grower has been exempted, regulated crops are marketed through a designated agency of the BC Vegetable Marketing Commission.
Fresh-market vegetables are mostly unregulated in B.C. This includes sweet corn, cole crops (e.g., broccoli), cucurbits (e.g., squash) and leafy vegetables. An exception is lettuce grown on Vancouver Island.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has a mandate to ensure a safe food supply for everyone in Canada. Other local, provincial and federal legislation and regulations apply.