Planting Vegetables: Preparation & Care

Like thousands of other Canadians, and probably thousand more gardeners who reside in Zone 5, I started my flower and vegetable gardens around the end of May, Victoria Day long weekend. That’s when we are fairly certain that the frost will not hit the gardens.

I have two long and narrow vegetable and flower beds in my back yard, lying under a pleasant mixture of sun and shade (6 hours sunlight, daily). I have already shared several posts on my flower bed and my experience with perennials throughout the gardening season. Here, and here are two examples. So, I would like to allocate this post to planting and caring for, and hopefully harvesting a few types of vegetables that I just planted in my garden. I do invite you all to join me in with your comments and tips and questions. Let’s have a happy green forum right here!

Week of May 12: Using a shovel, I turned the old soil, dug out dead roots and other debris and let it “breath” for a week.

Week of May 20: Quite a busy long weekend! Steps:

Cultivated soil: Poured 5 bags of “topsoil” rich in composed in my vegetable bed and using a rack mixed it with the old soil and created a leveled surface.  At least 8 cm of cultivated soil on top of the bed.

Seeds or seedlings? Save for a few kinds of herbs, I always go with seedlings because they mature much faster and easier, plus they are quite inexpensive (12 small, for $5) In any case, now is a little late for starting from the scratch for many types of vegetable. So let’s go with seedlings. But be careful where you buy them from, as the quality varies a lot: I never buy them from supermarkets; nursery is the right place to buy seedlings from, in my opinion.

Planting: This year, I planted hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and rhubarb. The instruction for spacing these vegetable plants is all over the net. Do not go too packed, but you could plant them a bit more packed than usually recommended. For tomatoes, make enough in between seedlings to allow one cage to go around it (which is absolutely necessary). For peppers about 10 cm apart. Peppers grow perfect in containers by the way. See here for the tips I gave last year. Cucumbers need at least 20 cm space on each side and they should be planted by a supporting stick each.

Additional Tips for planting:

Always plant during the early morning hours or in the evening; never under direct sun. Add vegetable fertilizer at the outset; Water thoroughly immediately after planting.

Once all vegetables are nicely planted in a dark brown, clean and rich soil, all in line and full of life, you can sit back and enjoy your brand new creation and let the summer-long process of anticipation and joy begin!

Caring for your new vegetable bed:

By no means is your hard work over, once the planting is accomplished. Actually your labour has just started!

Pest-controlling: If you know your yard and garden to be affected by pests, don’t wait to see the damages on the leaves before using pesticides. Start pest control from the beginning by identifying the pests and applying specific pesticides – Again, always applying them early in the morning or in the evening.  Unfortunately “natural” or botanic pesticides are expensive and not as effective, in my experience. But you could try them if your garden is not infested by pests.

General caring: For any type of garden to remain happy and yielding, it needs daily care:

Weed regularly by chopping and digging out the weeds;

Water when the soil is dry, and do not over-water.

Groom occasionally by removing dried or yellowed leaves.

Enjoy doing it: I mean it! If you do not enjoying your gardening endeavors, then the plant would know and so does your body and soul! 🙂

Happy gardening everyone and drop by here with your tips and questions.

Week of June 20: We have had so much rain so far. As a result: a) I watered the plants only once since I planted my vegetables! b) tomatoes are not growing as much as they should (Hopefully I’ll have some before the winter is here!)

They have grown about 30 cm – Time to cut the lower yellow leaves to help its growth. Also, I am regularly cutting off any damaged or yellow leaf I see anywhere on any plant.


30 June, my first harvest of the season, or almost there!

Hot pepper, tomato, cucumber, beet leaf and my first batch of home-grown delight, containing: mints, parsley, leek, basil, tarragon, and rosemary.

My products at their peak! 🙂

August: My very HOT necklace for the upcoming winter days.

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