Selecting which edible plants to grow is like preparing a grocery list. It’s as simple as choosing the vegetables and herbs you want to eat. It also never hurts to try a few new ones!
Whether reading a print or online seed catalogue, or browsing through a rack of seeds, there are a few rules of thumb that can help guide your selection process.
Read the seedling times carefully as you’ll want to ensure that the temperature and light conditions match your seeds’ needs. For example, several hot season plants won’t germinate if the temperature is too low. It helps to learn which plants grow better in the cooler part of the growing season and which grow better when it’s hot out. For example, peas, lettuce, kale, carrots, and spinach are cooler season plants. Meanwhile, eggplant, tomato, squash, pepper, and okra are hotter season plants. Seedling charts (easily found online) make this decision making process much easier.
Seeding depth is important as well. Most seeds can be planted about two times the depth of the size of the seed. Yet, some seeds, like dill, need more light than others to germinate and respond better when not buried. When it comes to watering your seedlings, be careful not to let them dry out or to over water them. Test the moisture level in the soil by sticking your finger down the edges of the seed tray to feel the soil. It should feel moist.
In our climate, February is a great time for planning. For the eager gardener, a few crops, such as leeks, sweet onion and parsley, can be seeded indoors in February, while radishes and peas can be direct seeded outdoors. For crops such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, fennel, lettuce, chives, lovage, mint, oregano, peppers, sage, squash, summer savory, thyme, and tomatoes, they can all be started indoors (by a window sill, in a cold frame, or greenhouse) in March.
For anyone interested in seeds, don’t forget to mark the Duncan Seedy Sunday on your calendar. Scheduled for March 20th from 10am-2pm at the Cowichan Tribes Gymnasium Siâ’m Lelum (5574 River Road, Duncan), this event is a great place to find your local garden seeds and plants, and to ask the experts for gardening advice.