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Growing Vegetables

May 12, 2023

Growing Vegetables

Getting outside and learning how to plant and care for fresh, nutrient-dense vegetables, herbs, and fruits is a healthy and rewarding experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family.


Growing your own will save you money on your grocery bill, support our pollinators, and is environmentally friendly as it reduces our carbon footprint by eliminating packaging and transportation.


Small space? No problem! Veggies can be grown in containers too.


Here are some helpful tips to get started:

  • Vegetables need a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Plant away from tree roots in well-drained, level soil with easy access to a garden hose.
  • Add 20–30 cm (8–12″) of peat moss, manure, or compost, as well as granular Fafard® Natural Fertilizer for Vegetable Gardens 4-3-7, to the top layer to enrich the soil before you plant.
  • Group the vegetable crops according to height to prevent one from shading another.
  • Plan to put the small-growing, quick-maturing plants together as well. Keep in mind that some vegetables like to sprawl.
  • You can start vegetables from seed in propagation trays in your home in March/April.
  • You can sow seeds directly into cool soil in April for the best yields of peas, lettuce, onions, radishes, beets, and spinach. These seeds can be sown again in late August for a second “cool-weather” crop that matures in fall.
  • You can purchase plants started in May at Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre.
  • For specific planting instructions, make sure to read the plant tag carefully.
  • When planting your started vegetables, water in Parkwood® Transplanter 5-15-5 to minimize transplant shock and establish strong roots.
  • One month after planting, apply Fafard® Natural Fertilizer for Vegetable Gardens 4-3-7 for a slow, steady release of nutrients all summer.
  • Vegetables will not tolerate competition from weeds, so keep the area weed-free. Lay down porous landscape fabric or a thick layer of mulch between rows, such as cedar mulch, pine needles, or bark chips.
  • Pull weeds by hand or gently cultivate with a hoe without disturbing shallow roots if necessary.
  • Watering is crucial to success; keep the soil from drying out completely, and it should always be moist. Feel the surface with your hand for coolness, or dig down 10 cm (4″) to see precisely how far the water has penetrated.
  • Watch for insects and diseases. Sheridan Nurseries sells several lines of natural, environmentally friendly insecticides and fungicides that can be used safely.
  • Harvest your vegetables promptly when they are at their peak, and if you have a surplus, freeze them or give them away.

There are several varieties to choose form and plant selection will depend on personal preferences such as sweetness, meatiness (beefsteak types), and quickness to ripen. The early tomatoes ripen within 8 to10 weeks after planting, while the larger varieties may take up to 12 week to ripen.


  • In the spring, tomatoes will gradually get used to the light, wind, and variable spring temperatures. This is done by setting them out during the day in the shade and moving them into a bit more sun each day for five days. Bring them inside overnight if frost is in the forecast. This process is called “hardening off.” Tomatoes are extremely frost sensitive; plant them only once all risk of frost has passed.
  • For all varieties (excluding cherry tomatoes), insert a strong stake into the ground beside the plant so you won’t damage the root system with insertion later. Another option is to place a tomato cage over the whole plant. As the tomato grows larger, tie the main stem securely to the stake.
  • Since diseases can build up in the soil, grow your tomatoes in a different part of your vegetable garden every 1–2 years. This planting process is known as crop rotation, and it’s a good practice for all the vegetables you grow.
  • Tomato plants are heavy feeders and benefit from regular fertilizer applications; we suggest Shake n’ Feed Tomato/Vegetable or Parkwood® 20-20-20.

Visit Sheridan Nurseries this season for an excellent selection of seeds and pre-potted  vegetable planting options.