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Let’s Get Planting

Seedy Saturdays are here: Let's Get Planting

Not sure if you’ve noticed but it’s spring out there (technically, anyway). Here at Earth + City we’re super excited. This is the time of year to get back into the garden (or onto the patio) and start planting delicious spring and summer produce.

Not sure how to begin? That’s OK: Seedy Saturdays are here to help. These seed exchanges and gardening events are run by the Toronto Seed Library, Seeds of Diversity, the Toronto Community Garden Network and other organisations. They’re a place to celebrate the upcoming growing season; get gardening information; exchange plants, seeds and tools; do workshops; join your local gardening group; and ask for advice.

The key dates are April 27, when the Toronto Central event takes places at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and May 11, when the Toronto-West and Toronto-Scarborough events happen on either side of the city. There are also other Seedy Saturdays across Canada: the full listings are available here.

If you want to get started early and impress the other green thumbs at your local event, here’s a quick guide to early spring crops, which the pros call “cool season vegetables.” As recent snowfalls have made obvious, southern Ontario has a fairly variable (read: crazy) spring climate, so it can be a good idea to start planting indoors and transplant into the garden once the danger of frost passes in early May.

If you do start outside, covering your veggies will make them more likely to survive (and protect them from trash pandas). You may also want to invest in a thermometer to measure the soil temperature. These crops will cope with soil temperatures of five degrees.

Carrots: Plant near onions, peas and beets. Your carrots should be supermarket sized by Summer.

Cabbage: Start indoors and transplant outside before the last expected frost date (around May 10 in Toronto). Leave lots of space between the cabbages and consider planting dill nearby to deter pests.

Kale: This hardy vegetable can cope with the cold, and is best suited to a mix of sun and shade. Should be ready in about two months.

Onions: Plant in a sunny spot in soil with compost added. The greens will be ready 20 to 30 days, the bulbs by late summer.

Peas: Plant in full or partial sun. Peas aren’t fussy about the cold, but they do hate being over-watered. Be gentle when weeding nearby, as they have delicate roots.

Well that should get you started. Remember: your local community garden is a great place to pick the brains of more experienced gardeners (and be part of something local). Happy planting!  

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