Here we go. Ready or not, the growing season is upon us! By now we have seen all the early Spring flowers popping up around our towns and it is such a great way to be inspired for the other perennial flowers and food plants to follow.
We've been lucky this Spring with beautiful sunny weather for many days in a row. Sometimes this can make us excited to start growing plants WAY too early. If you are one of those people and really need to get a fix of gardening in, you can always start some seeds inside or try your hand at winter sowing… It's a fun way to start early and creates hardy and happy plants. Check out this video for more inspiration.
If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse or covered beds, you may sow any of the hardy plants such as peas, favas, salad greens, radish, spinach asian greens, kale, and chard. Adding a cover (especially this time of year) is important to protect the small sprouting seeds from rotting or drowning with our wet, cool weather. Protecting your soil with mulch (even under cover) will help to keep the soil microbes happy and work on providing the much needed food for your plants too.
Inside, you may get a head start on planting any of the big brassicas like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Tomatoes and peppers may be started in March, however, you may want to wait until mid month or even beginning of April.
It's never too late to make a garden plan to ensure you get the most from the garden in the peak growing season. Did you know that lettuce is best planted every 2 weeks for a continual harvest? Instead of planting a whole flat of lettuce (guilty) that we will never be able to get through once it is harvestable, plant a quarter of a flat each of lettuce, spinach, asian greens, and radish. Then plan to plant another flat in 2-3 weeks and you’ll be harvesting them consistently without having to wait for another round to grow.
Think about the space that you have to work with and what your family's favourite garden foods are. I know potatoes are inexpensive but there is nothing like watching my daughter and her friends “hunt” for the new potatoes and they are oh so tasty too. We also LOVE peas and can’t wait for our first peas to come up so we try them really early undercover and then successively sow them until it's too warm for them to thrive. Also, think about what grows really well here: greens, peas, and herbs. If you are new at gardening, grow the easy stuff first.
The slugs are hatching and will soon be eager to eat all your newly sprouted Spring seeds. Now is the time to go on a little slug hunt! Place a board in the garden with some enticing bits of greens, etc. In the morning, check under the board to find the critters and dispose (or feed to your ducks).
Lastly, be sure to visit us at my most favourite event of the year, Seedy Saturday! There will be something for everyone. If you can’t make it, check out the Seedy Saturday calendar for another event on the island or beyond.
Board Member and Local Growing Enthusiast