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It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Hands Dirty

Since March, many Torontonians found themselves going back to the basics while spending so much time at home. There has been a big rise in popularity in baking (especially bread) and gardening.

You may think it’s too late to start gardening, that the planting season is long over, but that is not the case. Here are six of the best vegetables you can plant late summer in Southern Ontario and get great results.

Carrots – Did you know, you can plant carrots in your garden roughly every three weeks? Planting carrots in late July to early August will give the seeds the chance of producing carrots in the fall. If you leave them in the ground, their tops will flower and then produce seeds in their second year.

Weed and water carrots regularly and make sure to include fertilizer in your rotation after five weeks.

Cauliflower – Cauliflower is a delicious cool weather vegetable. To get the best cauliflower harvest in your garden, plant in late August or early September, about six to eight weeks before the first fall frost. They need a lot of full sun, about six hours a day.

Before planting, add compost to the soil. This will help grow one clean head of cauliflower, rather than many small ones. If you are planting from seed, put them in rows three to six inches apart and between a quarter and a half inch deep. Water the area regularly and add mulch to help conserve the moisture. If the heat is too much, put up a cover to give occasional shade.

Broccoli – Broccoli can be planted 85 days before the first fall frost, ideal as broccoli thrives in cool weather. 

Plant the seeds in full sun, approximately half an inch deep and 12 to 24 inches apart. Fertilize the area three weeks later and keep the soil moist. It is important to try and keep the developing broccoli crowns dry.

Spinach – When planting spinach in the late summer, look for a site with full sun to light shade. If the soil is cool enough, early August is perfect for a fall harvest. Make sure the soil drains well.

Plant the seeds from half an inch to a full inch deep and about one inch apart in each row. 

Radishes – Plant radish seeds where there is a lot of sun, about half an inch to an inch deep in the soil, and one inch apart. Make sure the soil drains well and is consistently moist (but not too wet). You can keep planting them every two weeks while the weather is cool to maintain a good, regular harvest.

Onions – Onions are quite hardy when it comes to colder weather. Look for a spot in your garden with lots of sun and where other plants will not get in the way. The soil needs to be loose, with good drainage, and rich in nitrogen. Use fertilizer regularly to help nourish the bulbs, but stop when the bulbs have started above the soil. 

Plant onion sets roughly one inch deep and four inches apart. Water them with about one inch of water a week, including rainfall. Pay close attention and always water during a drought, because the onions will appear healthy even if they are too dry.