Cool Weather Crops, Soil & Seeding | Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Barrhaven

Posted in For the Love of Food, Spring Gardening

Early Spring Planting & Growing from Seed 

If this is your first season growing your own garden WELCOME! Here is the first edition of our Victory Garden 2.0 series.


Once the ground is unfrozen and workable you can turn your garden and topdress with composted manure & sea compost to amend the soil. Healthy soil is the key to successful vegetable gardening( any gardening for that matter!). It is honestly the best investment you can make in your garden. If you are building a new garden be sure to remove all the grass, do not turn it under or you will be fighting grass seedlings forever. If you need to build up your soil always choose triple mix , garden soil, manure or compost . Never use black earth . It may be cheap but it has no nutrients and is a dense soil that gets easily compacted and can suffocate the roots. Liz also recommends adding lime to your garden as it sweetens the soil and allows other nutrients to be more readily available to your plant roots.

Indoor Crops

Many people are trying their hand at starting their veggies indoors. The simplest recommendations I can make are:

  1. Try & not start seeding too early. Always read the back of your seed packs and if it says start 'x ' number of days before the last frost then count back from May 24th and start them then. TIP: Many old timers don't plant their veggie plants out until after the last full moon in late spring which this year is June 5th. Although you may think planting earlier will result in earlier crops, planting after the last full moon will result in warmer soil, no risk of frost & surprisingly the same or better results in the end.
  2. Always start your seeds in a lightweight seed starter mix. Never use topsoil or black earth to start seeds. No explanantion needed just trust us!
If you haven't started indoor vegetables or are struggling with your seedlings, rest easy as we have doubled our vegetable starter production this season so you still have time to purchase some in May. The full list will be online by May 1.

Cool Weather Crops

While lots of vegetables need heat to germinate and are best started indoors, many crops can be direct seeded into the garden in early spring (late April -mid May). Also some veggie starts are happy to be planted out in May before the last risk of frost( May 24th in this area). See chart below for a quick guide. Liz Gemmell just seeded radish and planted her onion sets along with spinach, peas & kale.

Patio Plantings

Those of you who do not have a space for a garden may want to try your hand at container gardening on your patio. I will address this style of gardening in more detail in future emails and blogs, especially since this is the way I have to garden, having a mostly shady yard and a sunny deck. For now one suggestion is starting a window box or pot of mesclun mix or lettuce, which I did this weekend! Lettuce prefers cool weather anyways so I try and grow it May / June then again in September.

Note: If it is your first time growing this year please embrace both your successes and your failures and don't ever get discouarged. Even the most seasoned gardeners have crop failures & losses. Every year and every season has it's challenges. It's the journey that makes gardening so much fun. This year more than ever is a perfect opportunity to learn something new that may stay with you for a lifetime. When you taste your first tomato, I promise it will be worth it!

Keep growing....keep going!


Cool Weather Crops, Soil & Seeding | Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Barrhaven | Patio Garden | Backyard Garden | Edible Gardening Tips | Victory Garden 2.0


Tips on Early Spring Planting & Growing from Seed

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