As a general rule, seeds need to be planted 3 times deeper than they are wide- some tiny seeds need no cover of soil at all. As another general rule, seeds need a warmer soil temperature to germinate than the plants need to grow – we recommend giving bottom heat to seedling flats for quickest and most uniform germination. Unless noted as cold hardy, wait until soil is warm (and nights above 10 Celcius) to direct sow seeds outdoors.
The first thing all seeds do before they germinate is swell with water, so soil should be moist but not sopping wet. When planting in a dry spell, soak large seeds for a day before planting and plan to water regularly until the seedlings emerge.
Scroll down this page to find tips for planting our seeds. Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding specific varieties. Good luck and happy planting!
Plant after threat of frost has passed. Space bush beans 4 inches apart in rows 6 inches apart. Pole beans require trellising and seeds can be spaced farther apart at 6 to 8 inches.
Start seeds indoors as early as possible, to give the slow growing tiny seedlings time to size up. Transplant in the spring to 6 inches apart in a moist area of your garden, thin to 12 inches apart when they become crowded.
Plant in late May/early June, seeding 6 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart. Grains can be carefully transplanted if insects/critters threaten to eat your seeds.
We transplant these plants very carefully- they do not like to have their roots disturbed but the benefit is that the seedlings are established before cucumber beetles emerge. We start cucumber and melon seeds in early May for an early June transplant, setting plants 6 inches apart and watering in well.
Most greens seeds can be seeded densely for cut and come again harvest, thinned or seeded with more spacing to form larger plants, or seeded in flats to transplant out at 6 inch spacing.
Direct seed peas and fava beans as early as soil is workable, late April to early May for us in Nova Scotia. Plant peas 2 inches apart and fava beans 6 inches apart. Tall peas require trellising.
Start seeds indoors with bottom heat in March, transplanting out in June- 6 to 12 inches apart.
Start seeds in flats, transplant 12 inches or more apart in rich soil.
Root Crops (carrots, beets, turnips, radish)
Seed into well worked beds, spacing seeds to 1 inch apart. Thin to 2 to 4 inches apart. Can been seeded early in the spring for summer harvests and in mid-late June for fall storage crops.
Root Crops (onions, leeks, shallots, scallions)
Start indoors as early as possible (we aim for early March) to give these slow growers a head start. Transplant as soon as the ground can be worked into rich, well worked over soil- space 4 to 6 inches apart, planning to thin to 6 to 8 inches apart (and eat the thinnings!). Scallions can also be planted in bunches of 5 and harvested by the bunch.
Summer Squash/Zucchini & Winter Squash/Pumpkins
We carefully transplant these fast growing plants, taking care not to disturb their roots, because seeds emerging in the garden are vulnerable to cucumber beetles and being eaten by birds/rodents. We wait to seed the flats until the soil in the garden is warm (late May/early June for us) so that seedlings are transplanted promptly 2-3 weeks after planting in flats. We plant into 2 foot wide rich hills spaced 3 feet apart, with 5 plants per hill.
These are faster growing than tomatoes, so we start seeds in late April to transplant out in June, setting plants 1 foot apart.
Start seeds indoors two months before transplanting into the garden- we start most tomatoes in early April for transplanting in early June. We space plants at least 1 foot apart and provide trellising for indeterminate varieties.
We direct seed dill, cilantro, chervil and parsley, 2 to 4 inches apart in rows 6 inches apart, anytime after the ground is workable. Basil, tulsi and culantro are frost sensitive, and we start them as transplants in April to plant out in June spaced 6 inches apart. We also start perennial herbs like chives, fennel, and salad burnet at transplants- these are cold hardy so can be started/transplanted out anytime.
We transplant most of our flowers, starting seeds in April to transplant in June, spacing 6 inches apart. When direct seeding, thin to 6 inches from a late May/early June seeding.