Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How to.... Start a Garden (Part 3: After Fear of Frost)

Lots of little wee vegetable plants don't like to get too cold.  And we live in Canada.  So we need to be considerate of their delicate natures when we decide when to put them out in the garden.

The magical safest-ever rule of gardening is to plant your garden after the May 24 weekend.  But if you like to live a bit dangerously or if you can handle the small risk of frost a few weeks earlier against the possibility of extending your growing season, consider reading up on the average frost-free date for your region. This website shows the average frost free dates for cities all over Canada. It says here that Burlington's frost-free growing season, on average, is from May 5 to Oct 8th. I am not bad-girl enough to sow my delicate seedlings as early as May 5th, but perhaps the following weekend....

Whatever magical frost-free date you choose, after that you can plant your frost-sensitive plants. These are the ones that are generally seedlings when they go into the ground.  If this is one of your first years of gardening, I recommend buying seedlings instead of trying to start them yourself. The crops that I put in after Mother's day include:
-broccoli
-tomatoes
-sweet peppers
-green beans and yellow beans (these are seeds sown as seeds)
-zucchini and other squash
-cucumber

Zucchini plants take up LOTS of space.  I didn't realize this the one year I put them in my garden and their gigantic leaves spread out and probably shaded out a square metre of garden.

Cucumber plants like to climb. I planted them near the chicken wire fence and let them climb up that.

 *For more space in my garden, I plant my tomato plants interspersed in my flower beds*
 Broccoli
Jalapeno plants produce lots of fruit (I'd guess 8-10 per plant). One year I planted six plants.  I've found that too many peppers for our family, so now I try to just buy one or two.

*Check back for special tips on growing your own Ontario garlic and asparagus*
~Miss Greenish Thumb~

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