A vegetable garden in your backyard can require a lot of effort, but, more importantly, a lot of time and patience. You really can’t rush the growing of your vegetables. But despite all that effort, there’s something very rewarding about caring for vegetables over the months and watching them grow, with your careful attention, into something you can one day enjoy at the dinner table.
Of course, this being Canada, there are limits to just how much you can feasibly plant in your backyard for the harvest, and a limited window of opportunity. But if you’re thinking of finally taking the plunge and planting some vegetables, here are our top five suggestions.
Also known as a “cole crop,” for vegetables that fall into the cabbage/mustard family, this is a hardier vegetable that can cope well in Canada’s cooler temperatures. However, it also has a fairly long growing season, so sometimes transplanting is required. If you want to give your cabbages their best shot at growing, start indoors first, planting your seeds at the end of February to give them a boost. Then as the second half of April arrives, move them into your garden.
If you’re starting later or don’t have space to store planted seeds inside, you can always get a headstart and buy your vegetable seedlings from your local garden center.
Technically a fruit, this is another transplant vegetable, but its popularity puts it at the top of many gardeners’ lists since a fresh, plump tomato tastes so delicious! Around the end of February or the beginning of March, plant the seeds indoors. Once May arrives, pay close attention to your weather reports. When it’s clear that there will be no more frost forming on the ground overnight, go out and transplant your tomatoes into your garden.
A staple of many Canadian diets, you can’t really go wrong with potatoes. These are a bit hardier, and so, provided the ground isn’t thawed, and you can work it, the first or second week of March is a good time to plant your potatoes. These will generally take care of themselves without too much attention from you.
This is a great vegetable to plant for beginners since it can be a little more forgiving than others. Beans can be hardy, and they grow quickly, so this is a great “summer vegetable” to go with if you’re starting late. You can plant your beans in the garden in the second week of May, provided things have sufficiently warmed up, and you’ll still enjoy enough time to watch them fully mature and ready to harvest by the end of the season.
Maybe you’re thinking that you don’t want to go out and buy a pumpkin from the store this year. In Canada, growing your own in your backyard vegetable patch is easily accomplished. Like beans, this is another fast-growing, hardy vegetable, so you can wait a little longer for things to warm up, and get a start on your planting and growing season as late as May.
Of course, with all of these vegetables, one thing you have to remember is that you’re not the only one that views them as a potential food source. Once they start growing, take steps to protect them from animal life that might view your young vegetables as an easy free meal!