By Rebecca Last and Tom Marcantonio
Now is a great time to start growing your own food. You will need: seeds, soil, ground or a container to plant in, sun and water. You can start most veggies indoors now, and move them outside when the weather is warmer.
Seeds are available from hardware stores, or consider supporting local organic seed producers. You can find a list here: https://seeds.ca/sw8/web/diversity/seed-catalogue-index.
Soil is also available to order from hardware stores. Look for a “seed starting” mix, or a sterile potting mix.
Almost anything will work as a container, provided it has holes in the bottom for drainage. Consider the mature size of the plant, including roots, and pick a container that will be big enough. Or plan to transplant your seedlings when they get too big for their “starter pot”. Just Food Ottawa has a video tutorial on how to start seeds here: https://justfood.ca/indoor-seed-starting-video-workshop/.
Sun can be in short supply if you live on the north or east side of an apartment building. Focus on growing leafy greens and herbs. If your balcony faces south or west, you probably get enough sun to grow things that produce flowers and fruit. This might include peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers, even squash – but that needs a big pot!
The smaller your container and the more sun you get, the more you will need to water. Generally containers need to be watered at least daily, sometimes twice on hot days.
If you have gardening questions, you can Ask a Master Gardener (firstname.lastname@example.org)!