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Starting a Vegetable Garden in April, in Ontario, Canada

Hi Everyone, 

Back in January, I volunteered with our local Kindergarten classes to do some winter sowing.  We did this to give us a head start on the growing season here in Ontario Canada.  Our last frost is normally around the long weekend at the end of May. By doing winter sowing we are able to start earlier so our plants are big and strong by the time our last frost has come.

Today, I checked on the schools plants and they have all started to sprout.  It is not too late to start.  If you are looking to start your vegetable garden you can use some recycled materials to get started.

1. Clear container that is at least 4 inches deep.  Clear Juice containers are great or clear storage containers.  These will act as mini greenhouses, keeping the plants warm and protected from the elements.

2. Potting soil, if you don't have potting soil, take the soil from last years hanging baskets, window boxes, urns etc.  They are normally made with potting soil, so you can use those.  Remove the roots from last year first.

3. Seeds, If you don't ready have some, you might have some difficulty getting them online from seed companies, so try calling your local garden center and see if they are doing deliveries or curbside pick-up.  Some grocery stores may have them too, when you do your weekly shop. NB. You want to use seeds that are cold weather plants, like lettuce, carrots, beets, kale, swiss chard, broccoli etc  Warm weather crops like tomatoes may not survive or take longer to germinate.  

4. You will also need some scissors, tape and labels if you are growing more than one type of seeds

Once you have these items, you can get started.  Here is what I did. 

1. Cut 4 holes in the bottom for drainage. 
2. Cut 3 sides 4 inches from the bottom, so the top folds back. 
3. Fill with damp soil. 
Winter sowing container filled with soil
4. Plant seeds ( I sprinkled in the seeds then covered with an inch of soil) 
5. Label the inside with a sharpie. 
6. Tape the top to the bottom. I used gorilla tape, but duct tapes works. 
Winter sowing containers ready to go outside
7. Take off the lid, so rain water can get in and air can circulate. 
8. Put somewhere they won’t blow away in a storm. I put mine in a tray on a table up against a corner of the fence, so there is protection on 2 sides. 
9. Forget about them until spring.
10.  As the weather gets warmer, you can remove the duct tape and fold back the lids so they so don't get burnt from the sun. Pop the lids back on when the temp dips down again.
I will create another blog on what to do with them as weather warms up.
Happy Planting


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