By Nancy Kramer,
Cloverdale Garden Club
The only thing better than flipping through a seed catalogue is the process of actually planting your seeds.
With more cold weather in the forecast, the only thing I can do is flip through the seed catalogue and plan what vegetables I want to eat this summer.
Growing vegetables from seeds is a great way to get kids into the joy of gardening and eating their vegetables. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, many vegetables can be grown in pots.
One of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed is lettuce. I use a shallow bowl, fill it with dirt and then sprinkle the lettuce seeds on top. Press the seeds in, water and wait. Lettuce is a fast grower and can germinate within two days.
Since lettuce grows so quickly, wait three of four weeks and then seed another bowl. Lettuce likes the cool spring weather and will go to seed and turn bitter in the summer, so start it early in the year. It can also be grown inside the house.
I like variety, so I choose a mixed lettuce seed package. One advantage of growing lettuce in a bowl is that, when placed on a table, it’s much less likely to have slugs and snails enjoying your salad.
Carrots will grow well in a deep pot. Carrots seeds are very small, so sprinkle only a few to reduce the amount of thinning you will need to do. Make sure you water your carrots on a regular basis or else your carrots will dry out and crack.
Of course, with carrots you must have peas. All you need to do is provide them with support and they will grow quite well in a pot. Peas like it cool, like lettuce, so start them as soon as the soil can be worked.
Every year, I have four to five pots of tomatoes on my deck. There is nothing better than walking outside and grabbing a sun-ripened tomato and popping it in your mouth.
I like growing cherry or grape tomatoes. All you need is a large three-gallon pot. Although tomatoes are very easy to grow from seed, I do go out and purchase small plants in May. Tomatoes need a lot of sun and, if possible, to be kept out of the rain. On my deck, I have them under the eave so they are protected from the rain but they get the afternoon sun.
Most vegetables can be grown from seed, but I find that some are just easier to purchase as plants because you only need a few of them. I have learned from experience that, if grown from seed, you might have 20 or more plants that have germinated. If you have seeded more than one variety, the numbers grow from there.
If you are thinking that you have limited space and want to just grow flowers, think about growing some vegetables for their ornamental benefits. I was flipping through a magazine and saw a picture with flowers and amazing greenery. I looked more closely and realized the greenery was curly parsley.
Kale and Swiss chard also make excellent ornamental plants. So do all the herbs that can be grown for ornamental and culinary uses.
Nancy Kramer is the president of the Cloverdale Garden Club. The next garden club meeting will be this Thursday, March 8, from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. at Don Christian Recreation Centre (6220 184 Street).