What’s Growing – Seeds
By Melanie Priesnitz Conservation Horticulturist
Just as Shubenacadie Sam predicted, spring is around the corner. The days are getting longer, the sun is feeling stronger, maple trees are running with sap, and seedlings are starting to germinate in the windows of gardeners everywhere!
If you want a vegetable garden this year, now is a great time to start thinking about starting seeds indoors. Leeks and onions are often the first to start, followed by tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. There are many suggested seeding schedules online and in gardening books that you can use as a guide. Don’t, however, get so bogged down with growing information and gardening resources that you feel intimidated. Plants are very forgiving and truly anyone can grow a garden. I’ve started seeds as late as June and still eaten tomatoes off the vine at the end of the season.
If you haven’t saved seeds from last year, don’t panic! There’s still plenty of time to attend the myriad of Seedy Saturdays that take place across the province, and lots of time to order seeds. Do take the time to think about what you want to grow and plant what you like to eat! Don’t make the mistake that my family always makes and leave your garden planning until you’re at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market surrounded by lush-looking seed packets. When we do this it inevitably results in an over-abundance of basil and cilantro seeds and no brussels sprouts (which may or may not be a problem depending on your palate!)
While the air is still cold, take the time to plan exactly what it is that you want to grow, look through your drawer of seeds and write a list of what you need. If you have children in your life getting them involved with the planning and purchasing of seeds is a great idea. Many kids don’t have the opportunity to make a lot of choices for themselves; a garden is one area that you can easily give them total control.
Encourage kids to peruse seed catalogues and dream about what they’d like to grow. The only time you may want to step in is if they choose flowers that are toxic. Encourage edible flowers instead. Once kids have made their choices, suggest drawing out a garden plan for fun or let them feel free to plant at will in the spring. It’s best to give kids a space of their own to plant and experiment with. That way you won’t be tempted to interfere as you watch them mix all of the seeds together and plant in spirals instead of the orderly straight rows that you may prefer. Let them use their imaginations, get wild, get dirty and play with gardening.
If you’re up for a road trip and some garden inspiration there’s a Seedy Saturday coming up in Truro on Saturday February 24 from 10am – 2pm at the Douglas Street Recreation Centre. It’s always a great day filled with workshops and seed swapping. If you’re looking for a longer road trip check out the Seedy Saturday listings across Canada at seeds.ca/events
Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens