How does your vegetable garden grow?

Amid the turmoil and tragedy of COVID-19, many Canadians found solace in simpler things — long walks, mindfulness and meditation, and…. gardening. In fact, over half of Canadians are now growing at least one type of fruit or vegetable at home, nearly one in five of whom started during the pandemic.

Growing veggies at home isn’t just a great stress reliever, it’s been a great way to save money as produce prices rose in uncertain times.

Sun, soil, water, and attention

Not surprisingly, you’ll need the right combination of sun, soil, and water depending on the types of plants you want to grow — so choose a sunny spot (in your backyard or windowsill) and one that drains well and doesn’t stay too wet, buy the seeds of your choice and choose a fertilizer mix that’s ideal for growing vegetables (your hardware store or gardening centre should be able to help.)

What to plant?

Next, you’ll want to choose the right plants for the time of year. Veggies like radishes, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, zucchini, and squash are usually best to plant early in the season.

Produce like lettuce, arugula and peas grow fast in lower light and can be ideal if you’re starting your garden indoors.

If you’ve got a hankering for corn, it’s usually best to wait until temperatures warm up — corn seeds don’t fare well in cold soil.

You might also consider planting perennial plants that will offer up vegetables for many years to come, like asparagus, a variety of berries, as well as herbs like tarragon and rosemary. Just make sure to protect them against very cold temperatures.

Remember, growing a vegetable garden can take some time and patience to get right. Don’t be discouraged. Overwatering is usually the biggest mistake green gardeners make, so start there.

For more vegetable garden ideas and inspiration, click here and here.

Have you started a garden during the pandemic or are you planning to soon? Share what you know with the Shop Talk community.

Did you know?  

Stagger planting

Remember you probably don’t want all your lettuce or cucumbers maturing at the same time, so it’s a good idea to stagger your seed planting by a few weeks. (Source)

40 thoughts on “How does your vegetable garden grow?

  1. My garden grows very well this year in eastern Canada
    A early spring
    Lots of rain when needed
    My garden looks like it is on steroids
    I am 81 and never have had a garden this early or flowers with so many blooms or such height
    Vegetable S are doing well
    I hope everyone else are having the same results

    1. My garden vegetables are growing excellent, hot peppers, tomatoes. basil. and flowers etc growing very fast, summer weather is very good this year I am 86 years old and enjoy gardening hartio maris.

  2. My veggie garden is doing great thank you. The beans are an growing the cucumbers are flowering. The zucchini have small zucchini on them and I have small tomatoes.

    1. Try using garden netting with stakes holding it down into the ground. For zucchini, we use clear plastic bottles with the mouth cut large enough for the gourd. Poke some holes in the bottle so it doesn’t get too hot or humid.

      1. After finding two squirrels digging in my container tomatoes , a friend recommended sprinkling the soil with Blood Meal or putting it in small containers by the plants ,helps to keep the squirrels at bay. It can smell if it gets really wet but it is also a fertilizer and dissolves into the soil. I will be giving it a try.

    2. My wife has been putting slivers of Irish Spring soap around her flowers, and it works. It will not damage the soil or the flowers

    3. We started our garden early this year we set potatoes & onions then we started strawberries last year just from a little hanging baskets , now they spread all over the place .hubby had to put in a little garden to keep them from spreading all over the place.then he sat greens & last year’s chives & wow they are spread across every where . only problem we have is we have alot crows here & carrying away everything from garden so hubby had put net around now we started a greenhouse and growing more things like tomato & green & red peppers.

      1. Good for you! And you get to eat fresh fruits and vegetables too! Is God not wonderful? Enjoy every moment 🤗

  3. I have geen gardening for over 20 years my favorite thing to do. I have flower container gardens on my balcony. Frm roses to herbs. I also belong to our neighborhood community garden where i grow tomatoes. Lettuce. Broad beans, brusse sprout. Cabbage, peppers. Spinach cucumbers, callaloo, and marigolds. I hsve a garden so that i can sustain myself as a diabetic i find fresh good helps me mentally, physicslly& spiritually. This is an activity i will do all my days.

  4. In addition to the mentioned lettuce, arugula, and peas being well-suited to starting indoors, I could add I’ve had some success growing peppers full season in containers indoors. I found this out by experimenting last year (2020). Amazingly, young plants I purchased individually in the Spring did well enough (in coffee tins as pots) to flower, set fruit, and properly ripen – all with minimal light and help.
    I did watch a few instructional videos on YouTube, did some hand pollinating, staked plants if/when necessary, and fertilized a couple times (using fish meal, hen manure, and worm castings). And that was that! Granted, my plants would been larger and more productive if grown outdoors, but I was pleased nonetheless.

  5. We have making a garden every year for a long time and always have beautiful vegetables and fruits..

  6. i started my mint plants and they grew faster with my basil and cherry tomatoes.
    i live in a one bedroom apartment and space is limited.But with this article it’ll surely help me plan better.
    thanks !

  7. VERY nice to know that SOME good is “growing” during this pandemic. FWIW, and although the costs are growing VERY quickly, we have noticed that the fruit, vegetable and other produce, PLUS our local flora has had a particularly good year, in terms of abundance, colour and flavour…

  8. This is my first year growing veggies in my garden, so far so good. I’m happy that I bought a elevated garden planter to grow my veggies, that really helps to keep the rabbits away from my plants. Hope I can get plenty of peppers this year, and I have already tried the lettuce, green onions from my garden now, they are good.

  9. I live in beautiful Edmonton Ab in an Independent Seniors building. On our 14th floor we have an outdoors garden plot, 4 large triangular containers to grow whatever we want. I have cucumbers, large wonderful radishes, carrots, beans, beets -eating greens & bottom of beets. Nothing is wasted. Beautiful climbing bean plants & nasturtiums. I hope you know that the flowers are edible & have a peppery taste as well as bringing bright colors (orange & red) into your salad. Gardening is so good for the soul. Enjoy your summer to the best.

  10. I live in Northern Ontario. My vegetable garden would be great, if it wasn’t for those pesky earwigs and grasshoppers. Most of my bean plants, zucchinis and parsley plants have been destroyed. Every year the same. Any advise? Mt tomatoes are doing well though.

  11. I hate to think where I would be without gardening this past year. I have grown everything from seed and experimented with many different kinds of veggies for the first time. Luckily I live in Vancouver which gives us a bit of an extended season. The squirrels are such a menace. Not sure how to tackle that problem. I’ve been eating cucumbers for a couple of weeks now and have plenty of lettuce and spinach and herbs. An anyone suggest a good squirrel deterrent?

  12. We live in Princeton BC, we are in the mountains between Osooyoos and Vancouver. We have frost until May long weekend, so we start our veggies indoors, we are already harvesting strawberries, radish, lettuce, and Swiss chard, our cauliflower and broccoli have heads on but aren’t big enough yet, our beans and ideas have flowers, so overall, it should be a great year.

  13. My daughter and I have great joy in planting a good size garden . The best part is spending time together . And eating what we grow till it snows the better plus we all ready have used all some of our hard work . Parsley/ dill /chives / mint . Black and Red berries . We compost all year long and use this for our garden . We safe and use our seeds from the year before. and when the lord blesses us with more we share with others .

  14. We started our garden early this year we set potatoes & onions then we started strawberries last year just from a little hanging baskets , now they spread all over the place .hubby had to put in a little garden to keep them from spreading all over the place.then he sat greens & last year’s chives & wow they are spread across every where .

  15. I haven’t planted a vegetable garden but l have planted flower garden and l just love watching them grow and bloom. I love to take care of them.

  16. For those gardeners dealing with neighborhood cats in your garden, put holly sprigs between your rows. To discourage slugs and snails, place crushed egg shells around your plants. They won’t crawl over. A no pesticide solution

  17. My garden doing great we using our lettuce, kale and swish shale for a while for now. The Ontario weather a bite cool this year but all tomato peppers and zucchini full of flowers and fruits, all herbs are wonderful. looking forward to learn more and enjoy more my small great garden.

  18. Well it is June 25 and ate my first cucumber and ripe tomato today
    much to my surprise as the cuke was hiding. I bought small starter plant the long weekend in may and repotted them and they are on my deck . Guess we had the right amount sun and rain here on Vancouver Island BC

  19. First time planting vegetables in containers and everything is growing so fast. I planted lettuce, carrots, chives, green peppers, radish, cucumbers, tomatoes and 4 varieties of micro lettuce to go with my leaf lettuce. I have so much lettuce now and have been giving it away to all my friends. Planting in containers means I do not have to bend over to far to pick my produce and I really do not have to do any weeding. Next year I plan on growing some edible flowers as they make a salad very colorful and they add flavor also.

  20. Every year I create a garden on my balcony. Mostly tomatoes and peppers. I start most plants from seed and by then end of the summer I’m enjoy the fruits of my labour. The last two summers have been difficult to get plants since Covid so I’ve turned strictly seeds, but prior I would venture and see what else was at the garden centres. Happy planting, happy growing and happy eating!!!

  21. My Garden growing very well . Got zucchini, peas onion , garlic , coriander leafs , Spinach and potatoes ,some Indian greens . Have cherry tree which are ready to pick .
    I am 65 and enjoy being outdoors and doing gardening

  22. I’m on Vancouver Island, BC zone 7B. Everything is growing now. I have dug in 2 and a half yards of organic soil. And fish compost recently. Zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, Savoy cabbage, garlic has scaped already..those were delicious sautéed in butter with prawns. Blueberries are coming as well as pears, figs, ambrosia apples, raspberries have been eating the strawberries as they sweeten. It’s too hot for lettuce right now so I pulled them out for the compost. I love this heat..nearly 100F. The cherries are getting picked tomorrow. Good luck gardening everyone, if you put some soil in a pot add a seed or 2 and water…you’re gardening and growing..try it.

  23. hello to everyone. i love to garden. it gives me so much comfort. ive grown a small garden on my small balcony area for 8 years . i grow cat nip for my cats, then i grow tomatoes bell peppers celery and medical cannibus plants since its legal in Canada i also grow flowers for the pretty colors. one of my favorite things to do is keep a small worm farm on the balcony to help compost table scraps then use that for fertilizer. i also save and use my fishtank aquarium water for fertilizer and water on my plants with it. i could use some help with when to harvest potatoes because i grew potatoes before but i harvested too soon. they were very small..happy gardening everyone.

  24. Great spring growing this year . Turnip (first time for these ) ,potatoes, snap peas , carrots, beans (green and yellow ) beets and swish chard . Only watered about 3 times . The rain did the rest . Biggest problem use to be ground hogs , but installed new wire fence on steel poles in cement . They cannot get in the garden anymore .

  25. This is our second year with a small garden. We have planted kale, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. Still have to thin the carrots out. We also planted chives, parsley, basil, cilantro, thyme and oregano. Nothing like cooking with fresh herbs. Our neighbours all shared our bounties last year and hope to do so again this year. We did have to put a wire fence around our veggies, as rabbits and squirrels were after them. Do have a nice flower garden too. Critter Ridder works too to keep the critters out of the garden, or cayenne pepper. It won’t hurt the plants but keep the rabbits away.

  26. Either over watering, not enough water, or no nutrition in the soil…
    Try a good fertilizer made for your particular crops… Save coffee grounds and egg shells, crush egg shells, add to the garden soil.
    If the ground is dry, water it, put your finger into the soil to determine if soil is most or dry
    Hope this helps, happy gardening!!
    p.s. “yellowing” gardens can become beautiful with the right light, soil, fertilizer, and lots of love

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