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Veggie Garden FAQ’s

The growing season here in Ontario is well under way. The long sunny days and warm temperatures are having my vegetable garden looking very lush. Usually I stick to tomatoes, onions & cucumbers, but I decided to try my hand at lettuce for the first time this year and already it’s a success! It was very gratifying serving up a salad this week using greens from my very own garden.

However.

It was kind of a letdown to chop the whole thing off and then that’s it. Just this ugly little stump left after all the tender loving care I’d put into it. What happens to that little stump now? Will it regrow? Should I have harvested individual leaves instead? Can I plant more or is it too late? I decided to do a little digging (pun intended), which led to more questions and more digging.

Between an increased amount of time at home and the desire to provide our families with healthy food options, I know a lot of you have planted veggie gardens this year too. I’m sure you’ve had some of the same questions as me, so here are some answers to a few FAQ’s I’ve found:

#1. Harvesting Lettuce

Turns out it all depends on what type of lettuce you have. Head lettuce is a one shot deal and will die back after harvest. Leaf lettuce has the potential to regrow. Harvest the outer leaves only once they reach a size of 3-6”. Water regularly after harvesting. This helps encourage regrowth. It’s also important not to remove the leaves closest to the center of the plant. This helps protect the crown.

#2. Is it too late to plant?

Not yet! While the prime time to plant your veggies is between the end of May and the second week of June (depending on weather), you can still get your plants in the ground in time for a late harvest. Keep in mind that cool crops are best for late plantings. Common cool season veggies include asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, chives, cabbage, onions, leeks, lettuce, spinach and turnips.

#3. How can I grow my own food if I don’t have a big back yard?

The answer is micro-gardening! Micro-gardening is the concept of growing a wide variety of fruits and veggies in small spaces or urban areas where space is at a premium. Utilizing containers, windowsills, balconies, indoor spaces and patios, you can still grow a wide array of edibles. Some plants that grow well in containers include: tomatoes, peas, potatoes, squash, lettuce and salad greens, cucumbers and radishes. Just remember, a larger volume of soil will hold moisture and nutrients longer, so it’s a good idea to start out with a slightly larger pot than you think you need.

#4. Does my veggie garden need sun or shade?

Most veggies require a full day of sun to produce fruit. Root vegetables such as carrots, beets and potatoes can tolerate partial sun, as well as leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard and salad greens.

#5. Raised beds or in-ground beds?

The jury is still out on this one and honestly boils down to personal preference. Raised beds are visually appealing and add structure to your yard. They also provide good drainage and make it easier on your back come weeding time. In-ground beds on the other hand, have no up front costs, just start digging and go! If you have good soil in your yard, there’s no need for soil amendments. Also, less watering. The soil at ground level will hold moisture much longer.
Whether you decide to take the leap and go all in with a huge veggie garden this year, or just dabble with a few containers scattered around your patio, I hope this article has helped clear up some of the mystery and gives you the confidence to test out your green thumb.

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Still have a question? We’d love to hear from you! All plant-related questions can be sent direct to Beth, our landscape designer at: plantscapewindsordesigner@gmail.com

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