Getting your hands dirty is the best way to say, “Look, ma, no more snow!” Once again this year, we’re bringing in spring with Urban Harvest seeds. A Toronto-based company, Urban Harvest has been greenifying thumbs in the city for 20 years now.
Thanks to their 100% certified organic seeds, you can make eating organic so much easier (and more affordable). But what if your thumb is more of a wilted brown than green? What if you grew up in the country, and city gardening just isn’t the same? What if, like me, you don’t have a garden so much as a balcony?
We’ve asked local gardening expert Erin Spencer to make it a bit easier on all of us. You may have seen Erin’s show, Dirty Girl, all about urban gardening. We’re big fans, and we could think of no one better to answer our questions.
Moberly: Hi Erin, thanks for helping us out! Tell us, what seeds grow best in Toronto for novice gardeners?
Erin: Seeds are the perfect thing for a novice gardener and kids. Here’s some easy ones to grow: radishes, beets, carrots, chard, lettuce, beans, cucumber, zucchini/squash. As for herbs, dill grows easily from seed.
MNF: Which Urban Harvest seeds should we start now?
ES: Most of the ones I listed [above] I sow directly into soil after the frost has passed, when you can work the soil. However, if you’d like to start growing some seeds indoors, I recommend trying beans, cucumbers, and squash. They will grow easily on a windowsill, and don’t require too much fuss. Kids love watching them grow, too! But here’s a tip: only start 3 weeks before planting time, or they may become very tall and leggy.
MNF: For those without backyard gardens, what seeds do you recommend for growing in planters?
ES: Any of these seeds can be done in planters. My favourite, however, is Rainbow Swiss Chard because the pot elevates the plant and you get a great view of the colourful stems! I also love doing different varieties of lettuce in containers. Arugula looks so great in a big clay pot. Also, my mom had great success with beets in a planter last season.
MNF: Anything else we should know?
Erin’s Top Tips:
- Soaking bean seeds before planting speeds up germination time.
- Get a second pack of seeds to plant in the fall for a second crop of root veg and lettuce
- If city animals are digging around in your garden and moving freshly sown seeds, try laying chicken wire or fabric over the area until they sprout.
- Plant some flower seeds, too, like nasturtiums or cosmos. They attract the bees and you’ll be needing those in your garden!
MNF: Where can we catch up on Dirty Girl?
ES: Here are all my links. Come get Dirty with me! Hurry up spring!
Dirty Girl Season One: http://www.youtube.com/
Dirty Girl Season Two: https://www.youtube.com/
Dirty Girl Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/
What seeds are you growing this year? My balcony will be busting with planters. I’m thinking herbs and leafy greens. How bout you?