Intrepid gardener from I Wet My Plants blog came by my house with her seeds the other day. I only took 3 seeds, really, I was good. In fact, she had come round to pick up some hot pepper seeds that I offered her on Ottawa Plantcycle. While I was browing her seed boxes, we were discussing the best times to start different veggies in the Ottawa area and like always there was contraversy. Different sources will tell you different things. I figure it is because some are more optimistic than others. Also weather varies from year to year and garden microclimates vary from yard to yard BUT...
... here is a rough guide to when I start common vegetables.
P.S. I am on the optimistic side.
Anytime from November to February - wintersow perennials, plants that need stratification or cold hardy vegetables
February 1st to 14th:
- start inside anything that says 10-12 weeks before last frost
- start inside anything that you plan on tricking into thinking it's two years old like globe artichokes
- most kinds of alliums like onions and leeks
- start inside anything that should be started about 6-8 weeks before last frost but is sloooow to germinate like peppers.
- stuff that is supposed to be started 6 weeks before last frost but that I am planning on protecting under a polytunnel or growing in pots and taking indoors at night.
- Remaining peppers
- Ground cherries, sunberries and the like
- Early plantings of brassicas like chinese cabbage and broccoli, and long season brassicas like cabbage
April 1st (or as soon as the ground can be worked):
- Spinach, cold hardy greens
- harden off leeks and brassica transplants during the day if nice weather
April 14th (when warmer days start but ground is still moist)
- Transplant leeks, and brassicas under cloche, coldframe or row cover
- Start hardening off frost tender plants like tomatoes during good weather
- mulch soil in plastic for soil warming purposes
- plant potatoes
- start corn and melon transplants (if transplanting)
- seed more short rows of greens
May 14 (usually frost free after this but varies)
- Direct seed vining crops like pumpkins, cucumbers etc... May need row cover
- Direct seed beans
- Transplant tomatoes if weather looks promising. Be prepared to cover if late frost threatens
- can seed short rows of greens
- All solanums should now be in the ground including peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and okra.
- Transplant sweet potatoes in plastic mulched soil.
- Sometimes I start another patch of peas
- Start brussel sprouts, kale can be started now too.
- start fall crops like florence fennel, many brassicas, lettuce, greens
- start second crop of carrots, beets and turnips
- quick growing greens for maturation in cool weather
- start watching weather for early frost
- plant up peppers if they will be overwintered but keep outside, watch for pests
- take cuttings of sweet potato and other plants for overwintering
- generally potatoes, sweet poatoes, and winter squash have all be harvested
- set up polytunnels, and coldframes around fall crops for longer harvest
- all overwintered plants are inside at night and outside during good weather
October 14th - November 1st
- after a few frosts start digging up all roots for storage
- plant garlic
November 14th - December 1st
- start mulching chicory or other crops that you wish to overwinter for seed production etc...
December 14th - February 1st
- remove snow from coldframes and polytunnel
I'm sure there is more and I'm sure other gardeners do it differently with great results. I'd love to hear your experiences! If I forgot to add a vegetable, let me know and I'll include it.