Vegetable Gardening 101

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Posted on Thursday, May 9, 2019


The sounds and signs of spring are everywhere and it is a perfect time to start planning your vegetable garden. Gardens can range from large plots of land to small containers you can have on your deck. In Garrison Petawawa there are two community garden locations that have both your typical garden bed as well as raised garden beds. The Garrison Petawawa community gardens are located on Wolfe Avenue and Pegasus Street.

In Canada some people choose to start their garden inside while there is still snow on the ground. When starting your plants from seed it is important to check your area for the last date for potential frost. In general most seeds need about 6-8 weeks indoors prior to being planted outside. It is best to always check the packaging for the particular plant so you know exactly when to start it. Most Canadians typically plant their vegetable garden around the long weekend in May. Trays with individual compartments work best and can often be made of compostable material. Compartments made from shredded wood, peat, newspaper or other organic material can be placed directly into the ground when transplanting. When transplanting into your garden it is best to pick a cloudy day or later in the afternoon to minimize stress to the plant. Direct sun may cause the plants to wilt at first but once they have been watered the plants should be able to recover within a day or so.

When planning the location of your garden be sure to plant in a sunny location, vegetables need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Be sure to plant in good soil, this can be done by adding compost to provide much needed nutrients to your plants. By spacing your crops properly you can avoid overshadowing of shorter plants.

The overall health of your vegetables depends largely on the soil that it is planted in. Gardens typically require a loamy, well drained, nutrient rich soil.

Nutrients can be added from a variety of materials people typically dispose of such as eggshells and coffee grinds.

A few other materials that can help add to your garden’s nutrient levels are fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves, straw or hay, tea leaves, dryer lint, sawdust pellets, newspaper, leaves, grass clippings and wood chips. Turning your soil helps the decomposition process as well allowing worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the soil.

Plants typically fall into two categories, cool or warm weather crops. Cool weather crops such as peas, lettuces, radishes, spinach and kale can be planted in the garden around the last frost. Warm season crops include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, pumpkins, snap beans, squash and sweet corn. These crops should be planted after the soil has warmed and typically require a longer growing season and therefore can be started inside ahead of the growing season.

For further information with regards to obtaining a garden plot please contact Nicole McGregor from Environmental Services at Nicole.mcgregor@forces.gc.ca.