Growing Guides

Tomatoes

Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Optimal soil temp for germination is 24-29C. Like peppers, tomatoes germinate best with bottom heat. Harden off, then plant outside after all danger of frost has passed. Plant 2’ apart & stake if desired. Indeterminate varieties are large plants, ripen mid to-late summer & bear fruit over a long season. Determinate types ripen early, have a concentrated fruit set & smaller plants.


Beans

Plant early June, after all danger of frost has passed. Use seed inoculant to fix nitrogen & increase yields. Sow 2-3” apart, 1” deep in double rows 1’ apart. For pole beans provide a trellis or tee-pee for support. Pick young beans regularly to encourage regrowth. For seed, allow pods to dry down & become brittle. Continue drying inside.


Peas

Cool season crop: plant early spring in cool soils, and again 2-3 weeks later for succession crop. Use seed inoculant to fix nitrogen & increase yields. All peas yield better when trellised. Sow 2-3” apart, 1” deep on either side of trellis if possible. Pick regularly to encourage regrowth. For seed, allow pods to dry down & become brittle.


Peanuts

Peanut seeds come in their shells & can be planted hulled (out of the shell) or unhulled. If you open the shell, do not split the seed or remove seed coverings. Start indoors in a pot a month before the last frost & sow 1” deep. Place in sunny window when it emerges. Plant out after last frost, 10“apart. Do not bury the crown. Hill as plant grows. Mulch lightly.

Broad Beans

Cool weather crop. Plant in early spring (same time as peas) to harvest fresh shelling beans in July. Plant a seed’s width beneath the soil, about 1’ apart in rows 18” to 2’ apart. Eat fresh when beans swell in pod or dry when pods are brittle. For seed, harvest pods and continue drying inside. Easy & prolific.


Cucumber

Cucumbers love warm weather, so plant after all danger of frost in rich composted soil. Transplants can be started 3-4 weeks before setting out 12” apart in rows 5-6’ apart. Or direct seed in warm soil 2 seeds/ft., ½” deep, in rows 6’ apart. Use row covers to protect from cold & insects.


Kale

Kale can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting. Sow seed ¼ – ½” deep with final spacing 12-18” apart. Kale can be direct seeded & thinned. Kale is a heavy feeder so enrich soil with compost. Many varieties are very hardy & will over-winter. Kale produces seed in its 2nd year.


Lettuce

May be started indoors    in March & at regular intervals thereafter, or sowed outdoors as soon  as ground can be worked. Lettuce grows best in    cool weather with ample moisture & no weed pressure. Sprinkle in rows & cover lightly for cut & come again   salad mix or plant individually in flats for head lettuce.


Greens

Direct seed in spring by sprinkling sparsely in a row and covering with ¼”of soil. Can plant double row 1’ apart in a bed or 18” apart in rows. As plant grows, trim leaves to use in salad mixes. Most greens do best in cool weather. Plants usually bolt in hot weather, but seed can be saved once pods are dry.


Spinach

Spinach germinates best in cool soil. Begin sowing in early spring as ground can be worked. Sow in a 2 -4” wide band for baby leaf ¾” apart about 40   seeds /ft. Clip small leaves in 3-5 weeks.  For full size sow 10 seeds/ft, ½” deep, 12-18” apart. Pinch or cut leaves.


Mizuna

Cool weather crop. Direct seed in spring by sprinkling sparsely in a row and covering with ¼”of soil. Can plant double row 1’ apart in a bed or 18” apart in rows. As plant grows, trim fronds to use in salad mixes or bunch for market. Plant will bolt in hot weather, and seed can be saved once pods are dry.


Pac Choi

Start indoors 4-6 weeks before planting outside, 6-12” apart. Soil temp for germination 20-25C. Can be direct sown, sprinkled in double 4” rows for leaf cuttings, not full-grown plants. Use row covers to ward off flea beetles. Use in stir-fries, casseroles, soups & salads. Good for dieters as choi helps the body burn calories. Good source of nutrients.


Parsley

Sow outside in spring after danger of frost has passed. Plant ¼ – ½” deep, 2 seeds per inch, thinning to 1 plant       every 8”.  Seed can be started indoors but slow to germinate, taking up to 3 weeks. Parsley can be overwintered in a          well-drained location and will produce seed in the second year.  


Radish

Most varieties do best when planted in the spring or late summer. Direct seed as soon as ground can be worked. Under stress radishes have a hot spicy taste. Sow seeds ½” apart & ¼” deep in rows 32” apart. Thin to 1.5” apart.


Basil

Basil can be started & grown indoors or out. It thrives in rich, moist, well-drained soil with full sun. Indoors sow seed 1/8” deep with 2-3 seeds per plug & transplant in a clump. Can be planted outdoors after all danger of frost has passed & soil is warm. Seed shallow & keep soil moist.  Thin or transplant seedlings to 12” apart for maximum yield.


Cilantro

Start outdoors in late spring when soil is warm & chance of frost has past. Plant ¼” deep,  3 – 4 “ apart.  Seed can be started earlier in large plugs, but be careful when transplanting.  Seed germinates in 7- 15 days. All parts of the plant can be used as they have been for at least 3000 years by many civilizations.       


Dill

Dill does not transplant well so sow outside in early summer. Keep moist until germination. Plant ½” deep, sprinkling thinly.  Germination takes 10 – 14 days, and in another 10 days, thin plants to 12 to 18” apart. To keep a fresh supply all season long, plant every few weeks over the summer. Good companion to cabbage or onion, but keep away from carrots. 

Anise Hyssop

Agastache foeniculum – Attractive ‘honey’ plant for bees. Strong anise scent, dellightful for tea or culinary seasoning. Showy blue flowers. Start seed indoors 6 weeks before last frost. Germs in 10-15 days at 60-65F. Transplant outdoors after frost in fertile, well-drained soil. Best in full sun, but tolerates some shade.


Borage

Borage is an annual herb  used for centuries to add zest to salads & drinks. Leaves have a fresh cucumber taste. Direct seed after last frost in partial to full sun in fertile well-drained soil. Can start indoors about 4-6 weeks before planting outdoors. Press seeds into the potting mix & keep moist until growth is seen. Plant 12-24” apart. 


Lovage

Direct seed early summer or start indoors in early spring. Plant ¼” deep & keep dark until growth is seen. Germinates: 15 – 25 days at opt. soil temp: 15-21C (60-70F). Likes moist, fertile soil in a well drained area. Space plants 24” apart. Forms tall hollow flower stalks, snip out for continued leaf growth. Long lived perennial in Zone 4.


Sage

Use both fresh & dried to season meats, sauces & stuffing.  Start indoors 6-8 weeks before planting outside. Press seeds into seeding mix & keep moist. Germinates in 10 –15  days at optimal soil temp of 70-75F. Transplant into larger containers 15-20 days later. Plant 12” apart in full sun or part shade. Perennial.


Thyme

Thyme is a popular perennial herb, the leaves adding flavour to soups, sauces & meat.  Sow indoors late Feb to mid-April. The seed is dust-like, so sprinkle on surface of potting mix under bright light & soil temp 65 -70F. Can be slow to germinate 10 to 30 days. Transplant outside when 4” high in late May to June. Full sun, well-drained soil. 


Squash

Can start indoors 3-4 weeks before last frost date. Squash plants don’t like their roots disturbed so be careful! Heavy feeders, use lots of compost! Can direct seed outdoors about 18” apart in rows or plant in hills with a shovel full of compost below with approx. 5 seeds per hill. Use row cover to shield plants from beetles.


Melon

Melons need lots of warmth to germinate inside & out,  so plant  after all danger of frost,    in  rich composted soil. Start transplants 4 weeks before setting out 18” apart in rows 6’ apart. Or direct seed in warm  soil 3 seeds per 18”, ½” deep, thinning to 1 plant per spot. Use row covers to protect from  cold & insects.


Annual Flowers

Plant outdoors once soil is warm, after all danger of frost has passed. Sprinkle evenly on smoothed patch of earth and cover lightly with soil. Pat down and keep moist until seeds germinate. When planting tiny seed (like poppies) sprinkle on soil and pat down. Perennial flower seeds should be started indoors in pots/flats 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Annuals can also be started indoors for earlier flowering.


Perennial Flowers

Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost for best first year blooms. Seed into large plugs at room temperature, cover lightly with soil & keep moist. Plant outdoors once soil  is warm, after all danger  of frost has passed. Can also direct seed in warm  soil outside, for blooms the following year.