Have you planted your vegetable garden yet?

Corn for planting You know how sometimes you come across some little thing that (figuratively speaking) tosses you straight back to a long-ago era of your life? That happened to me a couple of weekends ago, when Raymond and I were in Stonepath Greenhouses between Madoc and Tweed, looking for bee balm to plant. What was the little thing that sent my mind hurtling back to the past? It was – wait for it – corn kernels.

Seed potatoesThey were in a container by the cash, in a section featuring vegetable-planting materials. Right beside them were containers of seed potatoes, which added to the another-era effect for me. Well do I remember being charged – along with my sister and brothers – with helping plant corn kernels and seed potatoes in the big vegetable garden when we were all young, here at the Manse in Queensborough.

My family grew other things in that garden too, of course: beans and peas and lettuce and tomatoes and radishes and onions and carrots. And I imagine I helped plant all of those. But it is the dry corn kernels and the seed potatoes – those little leftovers from last year’s crop, with all kinds of white sprouty things on them; gross if you’re planning to cook and eat them, but helpful if you want to put them in the ground and turn them into potato plants – that I remember best.

(Actually, I seem to remember that the corn kernels we planted in the Manse’s vegetable garden were a bright – like, garish – pink colour. Is that even possible?)

Anyway, I didn’t buy any of the corn kernels or seed potatoes, not even for old times’ sake. Yes, Raymond and I are living in that same Manse that I grew up in, but we’re not yet ready to start a vegetable garden. That labour-intensive project is for another year (next year?) when we have less on our plates regarding moving from one province to another, selling one house and renovating another one, adapting to a new job, and so on. But it will happen (as I promised myself not long after we bought the Manse). And here is exactly the spot for it:

The site of the vegetable garden

The big indentation that you can see in our verdant back/side yard is where the vegetable garden was back in the days when I was growing up at the Manse. It seems eminently sensible to restore that spot to its proper use as a supplier of fresh corn, potatoes and tomatoes.

But here is my question: is it vegetable-planting time? If you live in our neck of the woods, have you planted your vegetable garden yet? The warm, sunny weather we had over the past few days made it seem like growing season and then some, but as I write this, things have turned quite chilly in Queensborough and area.

When does one plant those corn kernels and seed potatoes, anyway? It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, people. I don’t want to get it wrong.

4 thoughts on “Have you planted your vegetable garden yet?

  1. My mum planted pink corn and pea seeds. The garish colour was added to seeds that had been coated with a pesticide. I have no idea if seeds like that are still available, or if we’d want to plant them if they are.

    • Oh wow, Catri, that is interesting – and, of course, scary at the same time. Totally agreed that I would not want to plant those seeds now. But back in the day, the advances of science that allowed us to blast pests with toxins seemed just the best, didn’t they? I remember my grandmother coating the leaves of the potato plants in her garden with some kind of poisonous powder to kill the potato bugs… yikes!

  2. It’s already too late for planting most seeds, though you can buy lots of started veggies and herbs at the garden centres. The website http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/climzoneveg.htm
    gives you a schedule of planting for Ontario, starting in April. Asparagus and rhubarb, once planted will come up each year without any other action – lots of sun for best results. An easy way to turn that area into a vegetable garden would be to build a raised bed (this fall?) using 8 x 8 square wood beams and add a load of good topsoil triple mix. Then if the rabbits nibble your lettuce and parsley, you can add a fence the next year! If you want mint for summer drinks plant it in a deeply sunken container (e.g. a 12″ x 12″ x 2′ clay chimney flue liner) as mint takes over any area in which it is planted; it has totally surrounded both our ponds!

    • Thank you so much for the excellent advice! Raymond too has been thinking in terms of a raised bed for the vegetable garden and it’s good to get some reinforcement from a gardener extraordinaire. I am, however, happy to report that even though the vegetable garden won’t happen this summer, the herb garden (which I started last year) is doing very well – probably largely due to the fact that herbs are the easiest thing ever to grow. And I hope you will be mildly impressed to learn that I actually knew to plant the mint in planters, because yes, it takes over wherever it is planted. Which, I am discovering this year, the oregano seems to want to do too!

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