Vegetable garden, it's happening now
Even if the rain and the drifts of snow left over from winter seem to say the opposite, gardening enthusiasts know it: the beautiful days are s are coming very soon. And between the seedlings, the soil and the pots, there is already enough to prepare your vegetable garden.
Before running to the nearest garden center as soon as a few rays of sun shine the tip of their nose, science educator at the Montreal Botanical Garden, Aline Saffore, suggests taking the time to think.
“At the moment, we are planning, so we can imagine, according to our tastes, which vegetables, herbs or flowers we would like to have in our vegetable garden. Then, we will check if our environment meets the needs of these plants,” she explains.
How much space do we have? Is it sunny or shady? Are you going to plant in the ground or in pots? These criteria will be decisive in developing a lush vegetable garden.
But be careful not to get too carried away! For beginners, Bernard Lavallée, better known as the Urban Nutritionist and gardening enthusiast, advises to start small.
“It is better to focus on a few plants for a first vegetable garden . If you think too big, you quickly risk feeling overwhelmed,” he warns.
Sow or plant?
Once the plants have been chosen, two options are available to us: buy plants ready to be planted (not before the beginning of May or when it is around 10°C at night) or sow the seeds yourself (March -April).
“Planting usually involves planting seeds and letting them grow until they are ready and the weather is warm enough to plant them. earth”, explains the educator of the Botanical Garden. And if you don't know when to plant what, rely on the Space for Life sowing calendar.
Placed in small pots (of yogurt, for example) and in a special sowing compost, the seeds, watered regularly, will grow until they become small plants. It takes a lot of light and a lot of patience, but it's worth it, according to Bernard Lavallée.
“Do more than necessary,” he suggests. Tomato plants or fresh herbs are always a great spring gift to give to your loved ones.”
What's the heirloom seed buzz?
Heirloom seeds have been all the rage for a few years, but why? “The challenge is to preserve the varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs that were grown in Quebec before the 1950s. It's a way of cultivating diversity,” explains Bernard Lavallée.
He has also developed seed boxes in collaboration with Quebec seed companies. You can also find them in several Montreal seed libraries.
Pots and of the earth
In order for the vegetable garden of our dreams to become a reality, we must then be well equipped.
“Honestly, most stores are selling gardening equipment right now and the real enthusiasts, even if there is still snow outside, are already thinking about their garden”, underlines Bernard Lavallée.
So, if you want to avoid the rush of spring and its long queues, you might as well get ahead and buy your soil and pots now. Otherwise, the nutritionist and gardener tells us that he found his on the side of the street.
For the lucky ones who have a yard with a piece of garden, not much is needed. Once the snow has melted, simply clean the soil outside by removing the dead plants from last year and incorporating compost on the surface.
For others who will plant their vegetable garden in containers and pots, we take commercial potting soil and we also add a little compost on the surface for a rich and light mixture.
“In the bins, we can also reuse last year's soil,” notes Aline Saffore. In this case, you can simply remove a third of the soil and replace it with potting soil. Either way, don't buy black soil! It is too heavy and too humid.”
All that remains is to wait (im)patiently for the arrival of the real heat!
Until May 1, Space for life will be touring neighborhood libraries with its free workshop “Planning the vegetable garden”. The opportunity to learn more before starting!