Seed displays. They seem everywhere this time of the year. So much choice and decisions to be made.
You’ve decided this year you’re growing a garden. Even if it’s just a few plants in containers on your deck, it’s possible to grow your own food. You’ve looked at the hardiness zone map and you know your zone! You’ve picked out a binder for your master plan and perhaps you’ve looked at a garden magazine or two. You have a few ideas of what your vision is.
It’s Time to Think About Seeds
Before you rush out and buy your seeds, there are a few things you need to know! You could just go and randomly buy seeds of all sorts of various vegetables and flowers and plant them all at the same time. And they will start to grow just fine.
However, you will then, notice the days are getting shorter and shorter and you still haven’t been able to harvest anything because the vegetables are tiny and unripe, or perhaps the plants haven’t even set their fruit yet. Then your garden is hit with frost, abruptly ending the garden season. You feel defeated and vow to never garden again. What went wrong?
In that situation, there were a few variables at play, like the length of the gardening season and the maturity age of the vegetables and flowers you grew.
Know Your Growing Season
Canada’s frost chart is a handy link to frost and freezing dates across Canada giving the approximate last day of frost in the spring to the first day of frost in the fall. Once you know those dates you’ll know how long your growing season is. Here in BC, theses can be between 93 days in Prince George to 229 days. Here in Vernon it is between 130 and 159 days. Altitude also makes a difference. These are important dates to know for buying seeds and planning your garden and flower beds.
After you have looked at the frost chart and found how long your specific growing season is, you can now start planning when to start your seeds indoors and when you can safely plant your garden. For British Columbia, with its warmer climate, that date falls March to April. For the rest of Canada that date falls somewhere in May.
Read the Seed Packages and visit the suppliers website!
The seeds sold at Swan Lake Nurseryland are specially made for our BC zones and our staff will be happy to guide you in your choices.
Why is this important? The next time you’re out and see a seed display, stop and look at the back of the envelope that the seeds come in. There’s a ton of information on that envelope:
- in-depth planting information
- water and light needs
- the size of the plant when it’s full-grown to the maturity date
All of that’s important, but the one we want to focus on first is the maturity date.
A Plant’s Maturity Date
The maturity date tells you how long that plant takes to grow.
While looking for seeds you want to be sure to get seeds of plants that will mature within your growing season. You don’t want to grow tomatoes that require 170 days to maturity if your season is only 130 days.
Be sure to shop for seeds that are within your growing season time frame.
Extending the Season – Growing Seeds Indoors
Growing Seeds indoors is a great way to get your garden started, extend growing season and enjoy produce and flowers all year around. ! It’s a practice that’s easy and inexpensive. It also creates enormous savings and opens the choices for what you can grow and successfully harvest.
Growing Seeds Indoors: Getting Started
In our next article, we’ll dive deep into the caring for any seeds you start indoors. But to get you started there are just a few things you need and can find in store.
- A seed starting tray
- Potting soil
- Two-bulb fluorescent light fixture (optional)
We suggest you start peppers, tomatoes, celery, petunias, lobelia and any other annuals during the late winter months. Everything else you grow should do well within your growing season so seed those directly in the garden in March to April (BC) once the snow has gone and there is little risk of frost.
Seed packages will state if that plant doesn’t transplant well. You can buy seed starting trays and potting soil in store.
You want to look for potting soil that contains some amendments. Black dirt alone will not make for good growing and soil from your yard and may have bugs, not something you want to introduce into your home. Potting soil is lightweight and has a bit of water retention qualities, both important factors when starting seeds. We have a great range of soils here to get you going.
With your seeds selected, you can now sit down with your master plan and draw out your vegetable garden. Think about the height of the vegetables and plan accordingly. And don’t forget to add a few flowers to the mix for added colour.
Our staff are available in store to answer any questions of comment below if you have any questions.