Has this seasonally warm weather got you dreaming of green things to come? Seedy Sunday is the place to be on Sunday, March 11th from noon to 5 p.m. at 534 George Street North in Peterborough. Stock up on a large variety of local and heirloom seeds for a diversity of vegetables, flowers, and herbs.
Seedy Sunday is an annual event presented with support from Nourish, where along with workshops and informative booths from local organizations and vendors, including GreenUP, attendees are able to chose from organic, untreated, locally adapted seeds, and unique varieties, some of which you may not have seen before.
Seedy Sunday gives you the opportunity to purchase or trade seeds so that you can get stocked up and get started with your green garden dreams for this year. The event also features hands-on workshops, resources, and tools to get you growing. For details, visit nourishproject.ca/seedy-sunday-peterborough and urbantomato.ca/learn/seedy-sunday-peterborough/
“With spring in the air, we are looking forward to another great Seedy Sunday,” says event organizer, Jill Bishop. “Buying locally grown seeds not only helps support local seed farmers, but also provides you with fresh, locally adapted seeds that will thrive in your garden and help you reap successful harvests this season. Start making your wish lists and see you there!”
Once you have your seeds in hand, there’s no need to wait until the ground thaws. You can get growing indoors — in fact, it’s a good idea to start seeds with longer maturation times to ensure you’ll have a harvest in good time this year.
Hot peppers, brassicas, and onions should be started about six weeks prior to the last frost date, which on average is May 18th for the Peterborough region. Tomatoes, basil, eggplant, and okra can be started within about four weeks of the frost date, and cucumbers, squash, and melons can be germinated indoors about two weeks from last frost date.
Choosing the right soil is very important for starting successful seedlings indoors. Soilless medium, also commonly called Pro-mix, is the best option. It is light and contains minerals which to allow your seedlings to get off to good start.
When it comes to containers for planting, your options are limitless. Get creative and use household items like egg cartons, paper towel rolls, or milk cartons. As long as the container allows for good drainage, almost anything can work. There are a wide variety of commercially available containers that allow planting directly into the ground when it’s time to transfer plants outdoors.
Fill your containers with moist soilless medium and create a small divot in the soil to contain your seeds. Place one or two seeds in each divot. Cover lightly and label the containers so they won’t get mixed up. Place your containers in a warm, sunny window — south-facing is best.
Once your seedlings have emerged from the soil, ensure that your containers have good airflow around them.
Placing a fan near your seed trays will prevent dampening-off disease or mold from forming. Another advantage is that doing this is it allows your plants to become stronger and more resistant to wind for when they’re transplanted outside.
Some seedlings, like tomatoes, may outgrow their pots and will need to be moved to a more spacious, temporary home. As before, you can be creative with your pots as long as there is enough drainage. And when transplanting, you can combine peat moss, vermiculite, compost, and potting soil to provide ample nutrients for your growing seedlings.
Before your plants go in the ground, it’s important to harden them off. Hardening off allows them to adjust to the harsh outdoor elements and ensures a better rate of survival. On warm spring days, over the course of a week or two, place plants outside in filtered sunlight, gradually increasing the amount of time they spend outside, and in cooler temperatures.
After the threat of frost has passed, your next and final step is transplanting outdoors. Choose a location that’s well suited to each type of plant you’re growing. Planting instructions, including light and spacing requirements, are typically found on the back of most seed packets.
If you can’t make it out to Seedy Sunday on March 11th, there are lots of great ways to acquire seeds. Check out the Farmers’ Market in the upcoming weeks, trade favourites with your neighbours, or stop into the GreenUP Store at 378 Aylmer Street North in downtown Peterborough. We will be carrying many edible and native plant options so you can get started soon on your indoor planting!
For more tips about growing your own food, check out upcoming Nourish workshops for growing great gardens at nourishproject.ca/events. If you’re without space for a garden at your home and are looking for a great place to grow this season, contact Nourish at firstname.lastname@example.org to find a community garden near you.