Are your green fingers itching to get busy in the soil? You don’t have to wait until spring to get some garden veggies going. The perfect time to plant seeds is now: If you start growing seedlings indoors, they’ll be ready for transplanting into your veggie garden when spring has sprung. Here are 10 garden veggies to start right now: Mid- to end of March if you’re in Ontario. Planting dates may vary by a few weeks depending on where in Canada you are; ask at your garden centre what the best dates are for your area.
The best time to start broccoli seeds is indoors is seven to nine weeks before you expect the last frost. Fill individual pots with seed-starting mix and plant each seed 6 to 8 mm deep in the mix. Keep the mix moist. The seeds should germinate after five to 10 days. The seedlings are ready for transplant when they’re 10 to 15 cm tall and have between two and four leaves.
Four to six weeks before you expect the last frost is a good time to start cabbage seeds indoors. Plant them about 6 mm deep in seed-starting mix, preferably in individual pots, and keep the soil moist at around 21 degrees Celsius. It will take 10 to 21 days for the seedlings to emerge. They’re ready for transplant when they’re 7 to 10 cm tall. Remember to use natural products to keep pests out.
Sow cauliflower seeds four to five weeks before you expect the last frost. Sow them in rows between 7 and 15 cm apart and about 1 cm deep. Keep the soil moist and make sure there is plenty of light. It will take eight to 10 days for the seeds to germinate. When the seedlings have at least two sets of true leaves, you can transplant them.
Want the perfect veggie for your outdoor pizza oven? Eggplant is a summer vegetable and you shouldn’t transplant the seedlings any sooner than two or three weeks after the last spring frost. So, start the seedlings about eight weeks before then. Plant the seeds about 12 mm deep in individual containers, spacing them about 10 to 12 cm apart. They’ll germinate in five or six days. The seedlings need plenty of light and a temperature of about 21 degrees Celsius.
Leafy greens like kale need two months of cool weather before you harvest them. About four to six weeks before you expect the last spring frost, plant the seeds about 1 cm deep in seed-starter mix. The seeds will germinate in about five to eight days. Thin the seedlings after about two weeks so that they’re 20 to 30 cm apart. As soon as you can work the soil, you can transplant the seedlings.
Like kale, lettuce is a cool-season crop. Four to six weeks before you expect the last spring frost, plant the seeds by sprinkling them over the top of loose seed-starter mix. They’ll sink into the soil when you water them but shouldn’t be more than about 6 mm deep. Keep the temperature between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius. The seeds will germinate in about four to 10 days. When the seedlings are about 10 cm tall, transplant them and have your pest repellents ready.
Sow mustard seeds from four to six weeks before you expect the last frost: The plants need to be ready for harvest before temperatures reach 24 degrees and take 30 to 40 days to mature, depending on the variety. Broadcast the seeds over the soil surface and cover them lightly with soil, so they’re 12 mm deep. When the seedlings are big enough to handle, thin them: You can eat the trimmings. Seedlings are ready for transplant when they’re about 7 cm tall.
Peppers are easy to grow in the garden or in containers on the balcony. About seven to 10 weeks before you intend to transplant the seedlings, sow three to four seeds per pot, 7 to 13 mm deep. The soil needs to be warm: Between 24 and 35 degrees Celsius. The seeds will germinate in about a week. Transfer the seedlings to a larger container when they’re 5 to 10 cm tall and into the garden two to three weeks after the last spring frost, when they’re 10 to 15 cm tall.
About a week before you plant spinach, refrigerate the seeds. This will help with germination. Plant the seeds six to eight weeks before the last spring frost. Plant them about 12 mm deep and 5 to 10 cm apart. They’ll germinate in five days to three weeks, depending on the soil temperature. Transplant the seedlings about four weeks before you expect the last frost.
Tomatoes are easy vegetables you can grow indoors all year round. For growing in the garden, plant the seeds six to eight weeks before the last frost, in well-drained potting mix in individual containers, about 6 mm deep and 25 mm apart. Keep the soil between 18 and 30 degrees Celsius. The seeds will germinate after five to seven days; let a gentle breeze from a fan rustle the seedlings so they grow strong stems. They’re ready for transplant two to three weeks after the last frost.