Planning and Starting the Gardening Season

Published April 20, 2011 by Mrs. Malo

Since we moved back to Simcoe from the city just under 5 years ago one of the things I have enjoyed the most is having a vegetable garden.  I have always tried to involve my kids in the process in some way, however for the first few years they were usually sitting in a stroller watching me or running around in the backyard.  For the past two years Kaitlyn has been old enough to help out a bit, but this year my goals is to involved both Kaitlyn and Eileen from start to finish (Michael will probably sit in the stroller or on the ground eating grass).

We started when the Stokes Seed catalog arrived.  My dad has always ordered from Stokes, and I remember picking out my favourites from the catalog as a child, so we stick with what we know.  For the first time we are trying to start some of our seeds in the greenhouse this season.  We own a farm and hence are very luck to have a little corner in the greenhouse the girls can keep our plants.  Normally we order our seeds that we sow directly in the garden from Stokes and purchase the rest at a local gardening centre.  So we sat down and wrote our wishlist.

Peas – I find peas a bit tricky but they are great for kids.  They are an early harvest so they give a reward earlier than most other plants.  They are the perfect size for little finger to pick, and kids love opening the pods to find the peas.  These will go directly in the ground as soon as we have a day warm enough, and dry enough to till up the ground.

Brocccoli – This is probably the most popular vegetable in our house.  My kids love it!  Broccoli can be a bit tricky so we have started this one in the greenhouse.

Pumpkins – A no brainer!  Every year we grown them.  Every year they take over my garden, and part of my lawn.  Every year the kids love them!  Already started in the greenhouse.

Watermelon – Another favourite in our house.  Last year we didn’t have much luck with watermelon so hopefully we will have more luck with our seeds we started ourselves in the greenhouse.

Onions – O.K. so the kids didn’t pick this one, this is for Mommy.  Onions are in almost everything I cook.  I chop them up very small and usually the kids don’t even notice them.  I like growing onions as I can put them in the root cellar and have them for months.  These are already started in the greenhouse as well.

Cucumbers – One of the other things I love to do with my oldest, Kaitlyn, is canning.  This year we are going to try growing our own pickling cucumbers to make our own pickles.  These will be started in the greenhouse May 1st.

Carrots – These will be planted directly in the ground in June and lets hope the bunnies don’t get them this year.

Sunflowers – Every child loves sunflowers.

So those are all the seeds we purchased from Stokes.  We didn’t want to be too ambitious with our greenhouse plants this year so we will just buy tomato and pepper plants at our local nursery.

Last Saturday was our first big planting day.  I got out our craft drop sheet and set up all our supplies on the kitchen table (it was too cool to work outside).

When planting always read the instruction on your package clearly.  Some of our seeds called to be planted in flats (onions and broccoli) and other were in peat pots (pumpkin and watermelon).  We used a basic, well draining, potting soil mix.


After everything was planted we took it over to the greenhouse and every couple day Kaitlyn (with an adult) goes over and water the plants.

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