Sitting writing this post on a blustry winter’s day it seems hard to believe that Spring is just around the corner. Here in downtown Toronto, the sun is shining but the temperatures have dipped below -10C. As I nurse a cup of hot tea made from homegrown herbs, my mind is wandering to the season that is to come: Spring.
Planning the garden has been on my mind in these quiet, calm moments when I’m indoors. Seed catalogue from West Coast Seeds in hand, I thought I’d offer up what is going into my personal garden and some of the favourites of the Good Seed’s clients.
Spring in Southern Ontario is chilly and direct sowing for some greens can start as soon as the ground is workable. This is typically end of March or beginning of April - once the soil has warmed up a bit and the soil has been amended with a healthy application of compost. Sowing seeds directly in the garden has its advantages - it’s a one-step process that lets the plant establish roots right into the garden and avoid being hardened off or suffering from transplant shock. While germination may take a bit longer due to the colder temperatures, you should have some inspiring growth in very little time.
Below are some ideas for you to ponder. I’ve linked them to the West Coast Seeds website for ease of purchase, should you be ready to dive into your seed amassing.
Seeds to start in Spring:
Peas: first ask yourself which types of peas do you enjoy most? Snow peas, snap peas or shelling peas. Peas are prolific and produce best in cooler temps - the more you pick them the more they produce. Another fun fact is that their flowers are edible (be careful only to ever eat the flowers of edible peas - floral peas or ‘sweet pea’ flowers are poisonous)
Radishes: these spicy treats can liven up any salad! Go for the Easter Egg variety for a neat surprise every time you harvest one. Not a radish - but Hakurei turnips are also a crowd pleaser for many Good Seed clients.
Arugula: more spice! I find nothing more satisfying than to harvest some arugula and wilt it into a dish of warm potatoes or pasta.
Chard: a relative to the beet - in reality, beet tops without the beetroot. Rainbow-coloured chard is visually impactful in your garden and very easy to grow. Full of nutrients, it is a fun way to have young children try a new vegetable.
Spinach: this is a leafy green that grows best in the cooler temperatures. A sturdy green for salads, a welcome addition to soups, stews, dals, pastas and more. I can’t get enough. Try out several varieties if you dare to see which you prefer. The Good Seed clients often enjoy Samish and Renegade.
Pac Choi: Nothing is better in a stir fry! The Toy Choy variety is a miniature pac choi and has an incredible mild flavour. Looking for something slower to bolt (bolting is when a plant flowers due to temperatures warming)? Choose the crunchy Joi Choi!
While by no means a completely comprehensive list, I hope the above helps guide you in your Spring garden planning and seed buying. The West Coast Seeds catalogue has more detailed growing information as well as hundreds of tempting seeds to inspire you. As always, don’t hesitate to contact me directly with any questions!