Quebec's Winter Garden
( Originally Published 1907 )
TO the enterprise, skill and business capacity of one man, is due the successful establishing of a winter garden at Beauport that not only supplies mushrooms and vegetables to Quebec all through the winter season, but helps to supply the market of Montreal with those "out of season" delicacies. We made a visit to these glass gardens a few weeks ago upon the invitation of their proprietor, Mr. Dubord, and it was he who accompanied us on our round of inspection to explain the method of work. This winter garden is a vast enclosure of glass with some six stories of plant life. It covers thousands of square feet of surface, and is so ingeniously laid out that there is not an inch of room wasted. Beneath the long rows of beds in which at the date of our visit were growing thousands of heads of lettuce, were the vast mushroom beds darkened by hanging strips of bagging at the open sides. One of these beds was in full bearing and several men were engaged in gathering the pink tops and carrying them to the packers who carefully arranged them in one pound boxes, as this is the manner in which they are sold. From 40 to i00 boxes are disposed of daily during the season to the dealers in fine groceries at $1.00 per lb. Mr. Dubord stated that his sales of mushrooms alone amounted to about $6,000 per annum. Very considerable skill and care must be exercised by the successful grower of this succulent delicacy. Mr. Dubord imports all his spawn from England and from only the best concerns.
The growing of lettuce is almost as important an industry with Mr. Dubord as the mushroom culture. We saw acres of lettuce in all stages of growth. "The people of Quebec," said Mr. Dubord, "will have their daily salad even in January, and I do not pretend to supply this great demand, notwithstanding I send in thousands of heads daily to the dealers, but then I grow other greenhouse vegetables that are also called for when the snow flies. On the floor above this, if you will follow me up, I grow cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbages and radishes." We followed Mr. Dubord, and as he said we found the foregoing vegetables in all stages of development so as to ensure a daily supply. It seemed strange to us with snow outside, to see ripening tomatoes, beautiful fully grown heads of cauliflowers and cabbages, also cucumbers well advanced. Again we climbed a pair of stairs and on this upper floor were growing thousands upon thousands of various varieties of flowering plants as well as the colored leaf plants. "Flower plants," said Mr. Dubord, "are only a side issue with me and I do not give them a great deal of consideration. They just happen to fit in at this particular season and at no other.
Mr. Dubord is an innovator. He has practically demonstrated the advantage of a root house above ground—always of access, and where every bin of stored vegetables can be inspected or drawn from all winter long. This root house is electric lighted and has a gangway running down the centre so that a horse and load can be driven in or out. The ventilation is perfect.
One whole field we found given up to cold frames, glass covered. About a dozen men were employed here in transplanting from the green house.
"Can you make it pay?" we asked Mr. C. E. Dubord.
"Organized on a large scale, managed indoors by an experienced man, and conducted on business principles, it can be made to pay very well," answered our genial host as he shook hands with us good-bye.