Each year around this time we pull out our big box of seeds and the garden binder that holds our planting guide and notes from last year. We map out the new garden plan, get soil and trays ready, and start our first seeds! Here is the planting guide we use, based on our zone 5-6 in southern Ontario.
PLANTING GUIDE (based on frost-free date of May 24):
FEBRUARY (the greens listed here can continue to be planted throughout the growing season of course)
Start lettuce, chard, other greens in greenhouse or in flats indoors (to be planted out to greenhouse). Start selected medicinal and culinary herbs by middle of February. Some take 6-8 weeks to germinate!
10 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. March 15)
Start seeds of celery, eggplant, leeks, onion, pepper and flowers like impatiens, lobelia, verbena and perennials indoors.
8 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. March 29)
Start seeds of early head lettuce and flowers like begonia, coleus, nicotiana, petunia and salvia indoors.
7 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. April 5)
Start seeds of tomatoes, hot peppers, and early basil indoors.
6 WEEKS TO LAST FROST(aprox. April 12)
Start seeds of early left lettuce,
early cabbages including cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts,
kohlrabi and kale, and small seeded annuals indoors. DIRECT SEED
broad beans, carrots, peas, spinach, leaf lettuce, turnips, dill,
parsley, and hardy flowers such as alyssum, candytuft, pansies, poppies,
snapdragons, stocks, sunflowers and sweet peas. Plant onion sets or transplant onion seedlings outdoors.
4 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. April 26)
Start melon seeds indoors. If desired, start seeds of late basil, cucumber, squash, pumpkin, large-seeded annuals, and flowering vines indoors in peat pots. DIRECT SEED radishes, beets, cabbages, chard, head lettuce, and flowers such as godetia, hollyhock, and mallow. Plant potato eyes and transplant seedlings of early cabbages, except cauliflower.
2 WEEKS TO LAST FROST (aprox. May 10)
DIRECT SEED corn, tender bulbs such as glads, and annual vines such as morning glory. Transplant early lettuce seedlings.
WEEK OF LAST FROST (aprox. May 17-24)
Around the last frost date you can finally direct seed beans, cauliflower, cucumber, squashes, heat-loving flowers such as zinnias, marigold, and lavatera. Transplant your tomaotes. If you've got them, transplant cauliflower, squash and cucumber seedlings.
1-2 WEEKS AFTER FROST (aprox. May 31-June 7)
Wait for a couple of weeks after the last frost before direct seedling lima benas, soybeans, melons and herbs such as basil, summer savory and sweet marjoram. Transplant celery, melon, peppers, eggplant seedlings when the night temperatures stay well above 10 degrees C. Plant sweet potato slips. Start second crop of kale seedlings, and reseed spinach and peas for second crop.