There is nothing quite like going into your garden and picking vegetables for a salad or to cook for dinner. You have such satisfaction that you’ve actually grown produce yourself. It is truly food grown within a 100 miles!
Just because you live in an apartment in the city or have limited sunlight in your backyard area doesn’t mean you have to give up the pleasure of biting into a warm, juicy tomato or sprinkling freshly picked herbs on your dinner. You just have to pick vegetables that are easy to grow in Ontario, and will thrive in the right location.
Here’s what you need to know – to grow!
- Sunshine – Vegetables need full sunlight, which means six hours or more per day of bright, direct sunshine. If you lack a place that is sunny, consider planting in containers with wheels. Then you can move your plants during the day in order to get enough sunlight.
- Water – Keep vegetables well-watered, especially when the edible portion of the vegetable plant is developing. Tomatoes, for example, develop best when they have continual moisture during the flowering and fruit development period.
- But vegetables do not like soggy roots. Make sure that your garden is well drained, and put holes in the bottom of containers to allow excess water to drain away.
- Feed them – In general, fertilize with a balanced fertilizer such as a 14-14-14 slow release fertilizer. Don’t use more than suggested, or you can burn their roots.
- Plant for your space – If you are using containers or have a small garden space, Look for varieties marked “midget”, dwarf, miniature or patio, and for vegetables that produce vines, the word “bush”.
Here are some vegetables that do very well in gardens and containers.
- Carrots – Look for midget varieties of carrots or Nantes, which are shorter and do better in home gardens and containers.
- Cucumbers – Bush varieties do well in a more compact space. Use a tomato cage to help control the vine.
- Lettuce – Bibb, kale, baby spinach all do well in gardens and containers. You do have to keep seeding.
- Melons – Cantaloupes (muskmelons) do well in gardens but also can be grown in a large container.
- Peppers – Almost any variety of pepper (yellow, red, purple and green bell peppers) are a great choice. Plant extra as you may lose some to pests. Hot peppers also do well. You may end up with more than you can use!
- Radishes – Radishes are great, especially for kids to plant, because they germinate quickly.
- Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes are favourites and both do well in containers. Look for varieties that come in hanging container for balconies!
- Herbs – Herbs like basil, rosemary, chives, thyme, tarragon and parsley are easy to grow in a garden, window boxes and containers. Check instructions first. Oregano and mint spread so you may want to contain them in pots. Many herbs do well when paired with other plants (such as basil with tomatoes).