A place for the best guides, pictures, and discussions of all things related to plants and their care.
I started out my raised beds with bagged organic soil from the hardware store 2 summers ago. The first summer, I had decent success and was happy with my harvest.
Last summer, I had a baby in April and was not physically able to do much care for my garden in the spring. I just planted out some seeds and some seedlings and hoped for the best. I did spread some Trifecta+ fertilizer from MiGardener in the beds. My tomatoes, which I bought as seedlings from a nursery, did well. However, almost everything else was fair to poor. My root crops in particular were abysmal!
I clearly paid the price for not doing much to fertilize, amend, and top off my soil at the beginning of the season. I want to have a better year this year.
I have considered buying the raised bed soil again and topping off my beds with that. However, I am not sure that would add sufficient nutrients. What do you do to refresh your beds each year to add nutrients back in and increase the volume as the soil is depleted?
Will post mine in the comments. It’s almost February and I’m shopping right now for local native seeds in my area in Texas. New to this so I’m learning about Baker Creek and MIGardener seeds so I only have Ferry Morse Seeds for now but am curious to see what everyone is growing or excited about growing.
I’m about three years into vegetable gardening and I’ve been surviving ok with starting seeds indoors/outdoors. I’ve been starting seeds in 6packs or cups and leaving them outside on my back patio in the sun as long as temps were above 50 during the day, and bring them in at night unless it stayed above 50, or 40 for some types. I saw this on YouTube (maybe rustic garden or MIgardener) and it made sense for the scale of what I was doing (and it still makes sense for scale, it can just be a pain in the rear, and it can clutter up the kitchen overnight or on a cold/too rainy of a day).
I’m thinking this year to upgrade or change my approach for seed starting. I’m in debate between one of those portable coat closet sized greenhouses and doing a grow light setup in the garage. I seem to be biased against grow light setup for some reason, probably because of cost and space (though space in garage is more forgiving).
Anyhow, I’m wondering if there is a natural progression. I know a lot of you folks have grow lights and I’m wondering if I’m going to end up doing grow lights anyhow in another few years, if I should just quit fighting it.
If it helps: 7A, Middle TN
Anyone who tells you that it’s easy to save money by growing your own food is either lying or ignorant. However, gardening can be an inexpensive and satisfying hobby that also yields fresh healthy food, and it can be much cheaper than buying certain items in stores (salad greens and fresh herbs, for example). A kitchen garden is a joyful convenience.
Ottawa has a climate Zone 5a or 5b; there are not uniform conditions throughout the city. Here is information on Canadian plant hardiness zones
. Any plants you want to grow must be suitable for our zone. Some plants, like kale, can survive freezing temperatures and multiple freeze-thaw cycles. Many of the most popular food crops cannot tolerate cold, so cold-sensitive crops are not permanently transplanted outdoors until the May long weekend or the beginning of June. Historically, the last frost of the season is early May, and the first frost of autumn is early October. Our climate zone is changing and these dates are shifting due to climate change.
Due to the limited duration of our growing season, many plants are started indoors, and moved outdoors weeks later. Here is a planting calendar
. The seeds for these plants are germinated through April & May. Planting seeds directly into their final home (garden bed, planter box, etc) is called “direct sowing,” and is typically done for plants that mature quickly. Plants that are started indoors must be “hardened off” before moving outdoors. This is a gradual process of increasing exposure to the natural elements. You must research how to do this or risk losing young plants.
Grow plants you'd actually like to eat. Learn how they germinate, about their lifecycle, their water & light requirements, their cold tolerance, and how much space they require. Research common problems, and recommended solutions. You will learn about insects and fungi. You will learn to hate squirrels.
We have the Ottawa Horticultural Society
and the Nepean Horticultural Society
. Beetbox Farm
is a vegetable farm on NCC land near Shirleys Bay. It runs a cooperative farming program. $300 seasonal fees & a weekly shift in the fields will yield a share of the harvest. Appropriate for any level of experience but can be physically demanding. Here’s a video about them Just Food Ottawa
is a local, non-profit, community-based organization that works on both rural and urban food and farming issues in Ottawa and the surrounding region. They run a number of different programs, and have experience liaising with local government to develop food gardening projects.
They plan on re-activating a seed library program which was suspended due to COVID restrictions. They also organize events to give away free seeds and soil. The dates for events have not necessarily been announced at this point. The “Seedy Saturday” seed giveaway event is the first week of March at Britannia Beach.
The Community Gardening Network (CGN) at Just Food, established in 1997, is an information and resource-sharing network that supports the sustainable development of community gardening in Ottawa.
CGN assists in the establishment of new community gardens, provides support to the existing gardens, and supports all forms of household food-growing and the building of edible landscapes in Ottawa. Apply to join an existing community garden.
. There are over 115 community gardens in Ottawa. A community garden may include individual/family plots and/or communal plots. Many gardens feature a Plant-a-Row or Share-a-Row model. This allows for sharing fresh food with neighbours in need. Annual fees are usually approximately $60, although there can be reduced rates for applicants on a limited income.
You can also try to start a new community garden. The next “How To Start a Community Garden Workshop”
is Wednesday February 8th, 6:30-8:30 PM. Attending one of these workshops is a requirement in order to apply for funding through the Community Garden Development Fund (CGDF).
The city tops up funds every year available to promote food gardening. There is consistently more money available than is used. What is needed most is actionable plans proposed by interested residents. A community garden can be on city, NCC, or private property. These workshops will provide information on how to create and receive funding for a community garden. For inquiries, contact the Community Gardening Network Coordinator at Just Food: [email protected]
or leave a message at 613-824-7771. Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton
is first and foremost a volunteer service organization with a mandate to offer free, authoritative, and unbiased gardening advice to the public. Our experienced gardeners have studied post-secondary horticulture and plant science. We continue to upgrade our skills every year through technical training. With this training and education, we provide year-round unbiased horticultural advice and expertise to home gardeners, and we encourage good gardening practices. Our Ottawa group is part of the Master Gardeners of Ontario, Inc., through which we derive our legal standing and charitable status. Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton Facebook Group Edible Ottawa Gardens Facebook Group
- A forum for those in and around Ottawa to share the joy and wonder of growing food. A very useful resource for seeking answers, advice, and conversation about food gardening in the Ottawa region. Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library
– The Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library is a grassroots organization that promotes gardening with native plants to provide food and habitat for bees, butterflies, insects, birds and other wildlife.
Just like a regular library, the Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library provides free seeds and plants that people can "check out" to grow in their own gardens. Once the plants have flowered and gone to seed, people can "return" some seeds to the library to make them available for other people.
Additionally, some native pollinator plants can also provide food for humans: Nodding onion, Black raspberry, Purple-flowering raspberry, Riverbank grape, Canada mint, Beebalm, Anise hyssop, etc.
You can contact them to receive seeds, and they will also be holding seedling giveaway events in the spring. How to start a native pollinator garden from scratch. Society for Organic Urban Land Care - SOUL
. SOUL was formed in response to the growing need for ecologically responsible land care practices.
We cultivate knowledge of organic land care and support its practice. SOUL started by developing an organic standard for urban gardens to give a framework for home gardeners and landscape professionals to follow. A certification process to give our professional members an opportunity to prove their knowledge in organic gardening methods was then developed.
Having an Organic Land Care Standard provides the opportunity for dialogue with professionals, educators and the public on how we create and maintain landscapes and how all of this applies to the much larger area of urban development. It has application to the chronic environmental challenges stemming from the past and more significantly to future land development.
They have an excellent video series available
, including topics such as Creating an Urban Food Forest
; Native Plants for the Vegetable, Herb, and Forest Garden
; Public Spaces and the Right to Garden
; The Right to Garden: Land, Knowledge and Seeds
I have also found these other Youtube channels helpful: Brampton Gardener
– gardening in a very similar zone, with a wee dog MIgardener
– popular organic gardening youtuber & seed supplier from Michigan (very similar growing zone, not identical) Epic Gardening
– American gardener The Gardening Channel with James Prigioni
– American gardener with a wee dog Roots & Refuge Farm
– American gardening / homesteading channel
We need to preserve genetic diversity, and adapt our food crops for climate change. Learn to breed modern landrace species for yourself and your community.
Gardeners like to share and reuse. Try looking for supplies on your local Buy Nothing Group. In the spring, many gardeners will discover they germinated way too many plants, and will be giving some away. You can fill your whole garden with other peoples’ extra seedlings. Facebook gardening groups are good for this.
Potting soil, garden soil, 3-in-1, all purpose soil mix, etc. can be bought at stores like Canadian Tire, COSTCO, hardware stores, large grocery stores, etc. They are usually massively reduced in the fall. Do not buy “Black Earth,” because it is a low quality growing medium. Buying in bulk is typically cheaper, and is cheapest when you can pick it up yourself. Greely Sand and Gravel
seems to be a preferred local source.
This is the time of the year that seed companies are starting to take orders. The members of the “Edible Ottawa Gardens Group” (FB) compiled this list of seed suppliers used by local gardeners: Local Canadian Companies Gaia Organics
- Relatively new, local, regionally adapted organic seed producer. Greta Seeds
- Local, regionally adapted, organic seed producer Beyond the Garden Gate
- Eastern Ontario seed producer Northern Seeds
- Based in Farrellton, Quebec (just north of Wakefield) The Good Food Garden
- Based in Vankleek Hill they carry both High Mowing and West Coat Seeds product lines among others. So great way to order from multiple places but only pay one shipping charge. Bird and Bee
- Part of the local Just Food project in Ottawa. Producer of organic local seed Canadian, Non-Local Companies Eagle Creek
- Certified organic seed potato La Ferme de L’Aube
- A Quebec based seed supplier Renee’s Garden
- Canadian Seed supplier Halifax Seed Comany
- the name says it all Bear Roots Garden
- Producer of regionally adapted seed in Verona, Ontario Terra Edibles
- north of Belleville specializes in heirloom tomatoes, and sells heirloom seeds of beans, other vegetables, herbs and a few flowers. William Dam Seeds
- Ontario based seed supplier Richters
- An Ontario based supplier of conventional seeds, herbs and bulbs Tournesol
- Quebec based, organic seed producer Terre Promise
- Quebec based seed producer Semence du Portage Jardin d’Ecomene
- Quebec based seed supplier Jardin de Gaillarde
- Quebec based seed producer Yonder Hill
- New, Nova Scotia based, organic seed producer Heritage Harvest Seed
- Manitoba based supplier of endangered heirloom seed Incredible Seeds
- Nova Scotia based seed supplier Vesey’s
- Another east coast seed supplier West Coast Seeds
- BC based, organic seed reseller Butchart Gardens
- A west coast botanical garden with a selection of flower seed for building beneficial habitat or pollinator habitat. Atlantic Pepper Seeds
- An east coast seed producer Rainbow Seeds
- A new Brunswich seed supplier Prairie Garden Seeds
- specializing in heirlooms and rare beans Northern Wild Flower
- reagionally adapted indigenous wild flower seed supplier for beneficial and pollinator habitat. American Companies Fruition Seeds
- Organic seed supplier from New York Baker’s Seed
- The mother of all heirloom open pollinated seed catalogues. Well worth a gander Fedco
- US based seed supplier Galactic Magic Seeds
- a conventional US breeder of wild and crazy tomatoes High Mowing Seeds
- Vermont based, organic seed producereseller Johnny Seeds
- Maine based seed producereseller, good source of hybrids, organic and conventional MIgardener
- Michigan based seed supplier Renaissance Seeds
- a US supplier of open pollinated and heirloom varieties
Can’t get coffee berries near me so I bought seeds from Migardener . I soaked 13 seeds for two days then put in peat pellets on heat mats in a green house . Its been 4 months and nothing has germinated . I keep them moist . I think it’s time to start over . Any advice ?
So when i google this half of the sites say its a must for many plants to survive and i get this (im growing cocoa and it needs the moisture) and i watch MIgardener and he says to mist cocoa and coffee… but then migardener and other sites flip around and say misting can cause disease and pests. So… what do i do? Lol
MIgardener is having their 2023 seed launch right now... Ive grown tons of their stuff and its all amazing... Heirloom seeds for $2 a pack.
Have any of you purchased seeds from an international vendor before? If so, how did it go? I would really like to buy some seeds from a US vendor this year but I'm a bit nervous about them getting stopped at customs because they're a food/agricultural import. I have always bought from Ontario Seed Company or Gaia Organics before, but US-based MIGardener has some cool varieties I want to try out in 2023 (those Red Centiflor tomatoes - wow!)