Spring sowing and planting

Row of onion and strawberry plants

There it is! Spring! Rather than cramming to fit everything in a single month, stage your sowing and planting wisely to maximize your harvests and avoid spring burn-out.

In March, freezing still occurs…

Start sowing under a cold frame for early carrots, radishes, lettuce and spring batavia, fall and winter leek and spring cabbage. Prepare your soil for the future summer vegetable beds (tomatoes, eggplant…) by breaking it up and adding mature compost along the surface. Sow your tomatoes in a warm spot, at least 65°F (18°C) with proper exposure in a well-lit place. Plant your potato.

Prune roses and dry stems from your perennial flower bed. Sow under cover fragile summer annuals (sage, tagetes, zinnias… Loosen compacted soil with the spading fork. Prune shrubs that flower in the summer.

In April, exercise patience…

Transplant your young tomato seedlings as soon as they’re 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) tall into a larger nursery pot. Bring them out from mid-April on, to harden them and keep them from growing too fast in their nursery pot; bring them back inside at night.

Directly in the growing bed, sow early silverbeet and red beet, spinach, parsnip and summer carrots, carefully protecting them against insects with fine mesh, fall and winter cabbage, summer lettuce, pod peas and snap beans… Under a cold frame, in nursery pots, get your first zucchini and squash started. Plant a new batch of potatoes.

Weed the growing beds and mulch to keep undesired grasses from growing back.

Finish pruning your shrubs and roses. Start sowing hardy annuals directly in the flower bed: marigolds, knapweed, cosmos, rudbeckia and climbing vines in nursery pots (nasturtiums, sweet pea…). Plant your remaining perennials.

May is when it all breaks loose!

Sow to your heart’s desire: spinachcarrots, beans, turnips… Sow heat-resistant batavia lettuce and green beans, every two weeks for constant and stable productivity.

Wait for mid-May to planter the following directly in the soil: zucchinis and squash, eggplant, tomatoes and cucumbers if you live in frost-prone areas. Check on the weather forecasts daily for those plants that might be vulnerable to the cold, covering them with horticultural fleece when at risk.

Finish sowing all your annuals where they are to grow (cosmos, pincushion flower…). Set up your flower beds, transplanting the seedlings you started in a sheltered place. Sow your perennials. Mulch everything you’ve got. There’s never too much mulch.

June, the first harvests

Spray a mixture of fermented stinging nettle tea and fermented comfrey tea on your tomato plants every two weeks in June and July to reinforce their natural immune system.

Mulch between rows to protect against dehydration, and attract and provide cover for beneficial insects and worms.

Keep sowing vegetables that you tend to eat often in August. Ridge your potatoes. And start nibbling the first spring vegetables you planted under tunnels: green peas, snow peas

Stake and pinch tall perennials. Remove wilted flowers from rose trees as they keep producing new ones. Weed and mulch. Water the base of the roses if needed, always avoid splashing the leaves. Keep sowing new string beans, salads…

M.-C. H.