Beginners Veggie Collection
Want to start your own vegetable garden but not sure what to grow or where to start? A blend of our favourite and easiest to start vegetables for the beginner home gardener. Once your seeds have arrived, view our Gardening 101 for tips and guidance to get started. You can also find specific growing instructions for each variety by scrolling down below the order info on this page.
Direct seed after risk of frost when soil warms to 18-24˚C. Sow 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows 18 inches (bush beans) to 24 inches apart (shell beans). Reseed until mid-summer for a constant supply all season long. If using untreated seed, plant thicker and thin to desired density. Use inoculant at the time of planting to help boost soil fertility.* Growing: Both bean types require a full sun location, soil pH of 6.5-7.5, and well-drained soil. Good air circulation around plants is essential, especially for late shelling or dry type beans, as they are very susceptible to fungal diseases which prevail later in the season. Beans are light feeders; compost or well-rotted manures worked into the soil at the time of planting is sufficient. Harvest: Use maturity days as an indicator. Harvest once the beans are smooth, firm and crisp. Keep plants constantly picked to ensure a fresh supply. Bean formation in the pod is a sure sign of over-maturity. Pests & Diseases: Root maggots and cutworms can attack the seed and young seedlings. Foliar disease, both fungal and bacterial, can be slowed by allowing for good air circulation between plants and not over fertilizing. Copper sprays will work to some extent to prevent or prolong the onset of diseases.
Sow seeds thinly 1⁄2-1 inch deep, in rows spaced 8-12 inches apart. Soil temperature should be 18-24 degrees C for optimal germination. Thin seedlings1 inch apart for greens and 3 inches apart for summer use of roots. Plant every two weeks, starting as early as soil can be worked until late June. Growing: Choose a full sun location. Beets require a light, well-drained, cool soil with pH between 6.5 and 6.8. Compost or well-rotted manure along with pure wood ashes, as a supply of additional potassium, should be mixed well into the soil prior to planting. Applying Boron after 4-6 weeks of growth will prevent internal browning, particularly in dry seasons. Keep well-watered as drought will result in tough or woody roots. Harvest: Young and tender beet leaves can be used as greens. Dig or pull roots when 2-3 inches in diameter or desired size. Pests & Diseases: Generally beets are bug free with the possible exception of the Spinach Leaf Miner. Control leaf spots (Cercospora) with a sulfur or copper fungicide at the recommended rates.
Sow as soon as ground can be worked. Even moisture and soil temperature (18-24 degrees C) are essential for good germination. Sow seed 1⁄4-1⁄2 inches deep. Seed takes 14-21 days to germinate. Planting a few radish seeds helps to loosen the soil and mark the rows for these slow emerging seeds. Thin plants to at least 1 inch apart in rows spaced 18-24 inches apart. Growing: Carrots are best grown in full sun but will tolerate light shading. Choose deeply-worked, stone free soil with pH of 6.5. Chantenay types are suitable for shallow or heavy soils. Raised beds or rows are recommended. Carrots are light to moderate feeders. Avoid using fresh animal and green manures at the time of planting. Moisture is required for good root formation. Pests & Diseases: Root maggots and Rust Flies can be deterred by using row covers. Leaf spot and blight diseases (Cercospera and Altenaria) can be controlled using a sulfur or copper fungicide. Aster Yellows is a disease spread by leaf hoppers. Control these insects by spraying in the evening with insecticidal soap or a pyrethrum product.
Sow indoors 3-4 weeks prior to last frost or direct seed after all risk of frost. For indoor planting use 2 inches square jiffy strip pots and plant 1-2 seeds per square; thin to ensure one plant per pot. Plant seeds 1⁄2-1 inch deep, transplant or space plants 6 inches apart in rows 4-6 feet apart. Plants are tender, so soil should be warm (18-24 degrees C) for germination to begin. If growing on a trellis, space plants 18 inches apart. Growing: Cucumbers require full sun and soil pH of 6.0-6.8. As they are heavy feeders, an application of compost or well-rotted manure worked into the planting area will help. Regular applications of a complete soluble fertilizer during the growing season is beneficial. Plants should not be allowed to wilt. Make sure they are well-watered before transplanting. Spread a mulch around plants before they start to vine, to cut down on weeds and conserve moisture. The mulch will also help to keep the fruit clean. Harvest: Pick slicing cucumbers when they reach 6-8 inches long; pickling types at 3-5 inches. Keep mature cucumbers picked off the vines to encourage a longer yield. Harvest cucumbers for pickling early in the morning. Pests & Diseases: Striped or spotted cucumber beetles can emerge from the soil in spring and nibble on the leaves and stems of emerging plants. The beetles spread a bacterial wilt which causes plants to wilt and die before bearing fruit.
Planting Lettuce Greens:
Direct seed in early spring. Sow thickly in wide rows or in beds. Cover lightly (about 1⁄4 inch deep). Plant every one to two weeks to insure a constant harvest. Growing: Choose an area with full sun to partial shade and soil pH of 6.2-6.8. Lettuce is a heavy feeder and prefers a rich, well cultivated soil with good drainage. Some success can be expected even in poor soils using the loose-leaf types. Add plenty of compost or well-rotted manure prior to planting. Benefits from regular feedings with a nitrogen rich fertilizer. Mulching is useful to keep soil cool and reduce weeds. Harvesting: Harvest when plants are 3-4 inches tall. Simply cut off the leaves above the soil. Under proper conditions the lettuce will regrow and provide a second harvest. Pests and Diseases: Protect mesclun mixes from flea beetles by using row covers. Slugs can cause problems with lettuce and can be controlled with slug bait.
Radishes can be grown all season but they’re easiest when sown March/April and again August through October. Optimal soil temperature: 18-24°C (65-75°F). Seeds should sprout in 5-7 days. Summer production of radish may not be as uniform. Sow seeds 1⁄2” apart and 1⁄4” deep in rows 12-18” apart. Thin to 6-12 plants per 12”. Make successive sowings every 5-7 days to keep a constant supply of fresh radish all season. Growing: Requires full sun and pH of 6.0-7.0. Extremely light feeders; no special soil preparation is required. Sufficient water is essential as the faster the radish, the better the flavour. Plant radish in rows with slow germinating seeds like carrots, parsnip and beets to help break the soil and aid in the germination of the slower seeds. Harvest: Harvest as soon as roots reach a desired size, 20-25 days or when the radishes are the size of a large marble. Every part of the radish is edible. If you leave some of your radishes to go to seed, you’ll find the pods before seed set are tender and juicy with a wonderfully sharp flavour that is excellent in stir-fries and soups. If you harvest the seeds before they dry, they have a taste and texture reminiscent of caviar. Imagine the fresh seeds lightly sautéed with garlic and thyme on a bed of radish leaves. Pests & Diseases: Flea beetles, small, shiny, hopping insects that leave small holes in the leaves. Avoid planting too early; use row covers or Rotenone dust to control insects. Also, planting with taller growing companions will help to hide the plants from insects.
As peas prefer cool growing conditions and will tolerate light frosts, they may be planted as soon as the ground can be worked and will germinate in a wide range of soil temperatures (4-24 degrees C). Sow seed 1 to 11⁄2 inches deep, 1-2 inches apart in double rows spaced 3-6 inches apart with 24 inches between the next double row. All peas, including dwarf types, are natural climbers; more productive, and not as susceptible to rot, if given some support or planted along a fence or trellis. Seed is offered in both treated and untreated; if using untreated seed, avoid planting in cold, wet, poorly aerated soils, as you risk losing the seed to rot. Growing: Full sun to partial shade with soil pH of 6.0-7.0. Light feeders require a well-drained, rich and sandy soil. Work organic matter, including rotted manure or compost into the soil for best results. An application of garden inoculant, either to the soil or to the seeds themselves before planting, can be very beneficial. Even soil moisture is essential especially during flowering and pod set. Use mulch to conserve moisture and keep weeds down. Harvest: Harvest when pods are young and tender. Pick regularly to promote continued production.