In a world when everyone on the Internet seems to be a pro at everything, it is a little humbling to admit I don’t know a thing about gardening. This weekend, Mike and I painted the first round of seeds in our vegetable garden and I had so many questions. This garden has already been a big learning experience for me, so I’m eagerly anticipating what this summer will bring. Hopefully at least some veggies!
After Mike built our beautiful raised container, which you can build too using these directions, we were ready to start planting. The first thing we had to do was fill the container with dirt. We decided to use organic soil to use with our organic seeds. We used this brand from Canadian Tire, and a lot of it – 20 bags in fact. Yes, it was pricey up front, but the good news is that next year all we will have to do is buy a few bags of manure to replenish the nutrients. Once the soil was in, it was time for the seeds.
Before we planted the seeds, we had to decide what kind of vegetables we wanted to grow. Once again, we took a trip to the Niagara College Greenhouse to talk to the knowledgeable staff (and visit Basil the Cat). I guess you could say we went into the whole vegetable garden pretty blind. Soil, seeds, sunlight – there was just so much to know. Which kinds of vegetables grow well in our area? Which vegetables grow well together and which work against each others? And what about the herbs? Where do we plant those? But the biggest question that we had was when do we plant? I was so overwhelmed. Thankfully, after speaking to someone at the greenhouse, we learned that we were just in time to plant the early spring seeds and could plant some seeds and seedlings on the May long weekend.
So here’s what we did. We planted Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas and Peas in the Pod, Rainbow and Coreless Carrots, Buttercrunch Lettuce and Red Beets. I found a great website that tells you exactly how to plant your seeds, because remember I am that much of a novice. Using the advice from the site and following the instructions on the back of the seed packets, it was time to get dirty. The woman at the greenhouse gave me some really great advice about planting my seeds, one of them being to keep a log. Well, it’s super helpful that I have this blog, so I can keep that log here and won’t misplace it when it’s time to plant again next year.
Me being an A-type personality, I wanted to plan the garden out before we put any seeds in the dirt. Our garden container is 12 feet by 2.5 feet. Most of the instructions tell you how many seeds to plant per square foot, so we opted for 10 sections with a little bit of room in between each vegetable for herbs and two rows deep. I drafted a plan using the Gardeners.com website. All vine-y or tall-growing vegetables went in the back to be trellised later. Here is the plan I created on the site:
I plan to plant the herbs in between the two rows and some in the front right corner of the container, but I imagine that as I continue to plant more things, I will make some changes.
First up were the peas. All three varieties were planted the same way: In a one-square foot section we planted one seed in small holes about 1 inch deep, 2 inches apart. In total we planted 12 seeds of each kind. Each seed is supposed to grow into one plant with several pods each, so hopefully we can look forward to a summer full of peas. The carrots were scattered in rows 3-4 inches apart in three one-foot sections. We eat a lot of carrots, so we did 4 rows of the rainbow carrots and 5 rows of the coreless ones. We then planted two rows of lettuce and 3 rows of beets, each 4 inches apart.
It takes about 10-12 days for the seeds to sprout, so we will have to wait a little to find out if our seeds took. In the week that followed our garden saw a lot of rain, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rain didn’t wash away all our seeds. We still have to wait until June to taste our (hopefully!) delicious veggies, but I’m really looking forward to it. You know I’ll be sure to share our progress along the way, so stay tuned!