Thursday, April 8, 2010

When to seed outdoors?

Yes I was surprised when a classmate declared that the last frost free date in Victoria is May 20 and in a later conversation another classmate told me she seeds her outdoor veggies in Paradise Valley, Alberta on the May 24 long weekend. These two planting regions are separated by 6 zones and yet the gardeners were discussing doing the same work at the same time. This is just crazy and an example of an old practice (planting on the May long weekend) that has become so ingrained people do it without thinking even if they are in relatively balmy Victoria or frigid northern Alberta.

I have an announcement to make. Read the seed packages. Some seeds can be planted "after danger of hard frost" is past. Yes, light frost may still happen but this danger (of hard frosts) in Vancouver Island is well behind us and in this spirit I seeded all my plants in that category outdoors in Qualicum Beach this weekend. I am talking about kale, swiss chard, beets, spinach, arugula, lettuce, calendula, peas, brocolli, brussel sprouts etc.

Of course I am saving the tender seeds to plant after all danger of frost is past. So regardless of where you live, order your seeds now, read the labels and follow the instructions on the packages. In Alberta "all danger of heavy frost" is about a month away and all danger of frost is 6-7 weeks away but for Vancouver Island we have already crossed that heavy frost threshold so don't be afraid!

PS I seeded salal and lettuce outdoors in February just because I could and it is well up now. Go figure.

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