Geez, what a weird spring. Here in Edmonton, we’re used to the winter sticking around long after the official “first day of spring”, but we’re not used to being stuck inside the whole time. Who would have thought that the most exciting, heart-pounding events of the spring would be our weekly trips to the grocery store?
Speaking of the grocery store, by now many of us are looking for ways to actively limit our time there. Personally, I’d rather be gardening than waiting in line to get into Superstore any day of the week. These are some of the crops I’ll be starting this week so I can start shopping from my personal, homegrown “produce aisle” ASAP.
Early Spring Veggies
If you start these fast-growing edibles now, you’ll be munching on them before mid-May!
Lettuce and Other Salad Greens
These cool-season crops grow quicker than you might expect, and they provide a steady supply of healthy greens for your salads and smoothies. You can start them near a sunny window now, and you may get a few greens that are tall enough to eat before the frost has passed. Many salad greens prefer cooler weather but won’t appreciate a hard frost. You can usually get away with transplanting them in early May, depending on the forecast.
Microgreens aren’t really a specific vegetable as they are a stage in a vegetable’s life cycle. Seedlings that have developed true leaves are considered microgreens, and many of them are exceptionally rich in nutritional value. Beets, cress, mustard, radish, peas, sunflower, and wheatgrass all grow into tasty, healthy microgreens that are ready to eat within a few weeks.
While herbs can be grown indoors, the dark days of winter make it tough to keep them happy without the constant use of a grow light. They tend to be much better planted in mid-April, now that the days are considerably longer and the temperature near your windowsill isn’t as unforgiving. Herbs that are prone to bolting, like cilantro, mint, and chives, are especially well-suited to this time of year as the hot weather tends to encourage flowering (good news for your garden, not the best for your recipes).
Summer Veggies to Start Now
Start these crops this week to give your summer harvest a head-start.
Broccoli & Cauliflower
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower won’t be ready to eat for a looong time””that’s why now is the right time to get them started. Start the seeds indoors as soon as possible and set them up under a good-quality grow light. Right now, the sunlight in Edmonton isn’t especially powerful (I’m sure I didn’t need to remind you), and the light will ensure they’re getting a good start before you transplant them in mid-May.
Fresh, homegrown cucumbers are some of my favorite summer crops, but unless you want to wait all summer to eat one, now is the time to start sowing the seeds. Start the seeds in the same tray as your broccoli and cauliflower, and they’ll be ready to transplant around the same time. Keep plants no more than two seeds per pod, and cull the weaker seedlings in shared pods once they start developing their true leaves.
Summer Squash & Zucchini
If you plan to grow this crop this year, this is the week to start them. They prefer warmer soil and sunnier conditions, so set them up near a south-facing window with a good grow light if possible. With the right conditions, and a temperature of at least 20ËšC, the seedlings are bound to grow quickly. They’ll be eager for transplanting by the time the risk of frost has passed!
Of course, by now you’re probably wondering where you’ll get the supplies for all this stuff now that non-essential businesses are on hold. The good news is that our online GrowStore is now live! You can shop for everything you need online and arrange for curbside pickup or delivery, including seeds, soils, fertilizers, and starter plants. Ditch the lineup, and let us help you kick off your spring garden.