Herbs, Vegetables and Tomatoes



Spring is fickle and we never know what to expect but one thing is for sure, every gardener gets the itch to dig in and feel the soil.   Edible gardens (herbs, fruit, and vegetables) are on the rise.  I know I plan on growing some purple carrots, yellow beans and baby beets you just cant get these at the supermarket.

It’s a great way to cut down on your food bill and eat fresh, and healthy. And its way faster to nip out to the garden or even the patio for the makings for supper!  You can use this as a basic guide on what to plant, when, and with other plants (interplanting).

Best Planted into the Garden as Seeds

  • Beans, Bush and Pole
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  •  Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Sunflowers
  • Turnips

 Best Planted as Transplants

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions & Leeks
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkins, Gourds
  • Squash and Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon & Cantaloupe
  • Herbs

When to plant in the Edmonton Region

In the Edmonton area zone 2, the average frost free date is May 27th.  It is usually is safe to seed most things by May 15th, if the ground is dry enough to till.  You must have corn planted by this date, or it likely wont mature by fall.

Transplant the majority of your frost hardy vegetables (plants like lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and onions by May 10th, if the forecast does not include a subzero night for the next 4 or 5 days.  Be prepared to cover them up if it gets really cold (-5C).  There is a chance we may still have a frost through  May 30.

If a frost warning is forecasted, simply cover your plants with sheets, bath towels or light blankets for protection. For smaller container plants you can simply move them to a protected area such as a porch roof or into the garage for the night.

Spinach and Peas can be sown directly into the ground usually by May 1st!  Youll be picking peas by July 5!  Also, seed , beets, radishes, swiss chard, turnips, carrots,  and onion sets can usually be sown directly into the ground around May 1st.  Be sure you mark all your plants so you know what is growing in each row.

By May 10th, plant potatoes, beans, and corn.  Springs here in Edmonton are getting later, and later!  I used to plant pumpkins and basil by June 1st, but now I wait until around June 10th.  (Froze them too many times!).

Making the Best Use of Space

Make the best use of space by combining varieties of vegetables into your garden, particularly if it is a small space.  You can also interplant vegetables with flowers to add some pizzazz to your garden and encourage bees to pollinate, and discourage the white cabbage butterflies.

For example, the First Nations peoples planted corn, pole beans, and pumpkins together.  The corn served as support for the beans and in turn the beans release nitrogen into the soil.  The pumpkins cover the bare ground, to keep the weeds down.

You can also plant a fast growing plant with a slow growing plant.  Brussels sprouts planted among spinach allows the slow growing Brussels sprouts all the time they need to grow, by the time they need more room, the spinach will have already been harvested.  This works the same with radishes and onions.

Some of my favorite things to plant together are basil with tomatoes, beets with dill, the Brussels spouts, cabbage, broccoli, or cabbage with marigolds (camoflauge the color and scent of the cabbage so the white cabbage butterflies cant find them).  Feel free to include your favorite flowers to encourage butterflies and beneficial insects.  Some of my favorite flowers to plant around the garden are cosmos, bachelor buttons, snapdragons, and lavender.

Top 5 Vegetables to Grow

  1. Growing Peas are sure to please!  Sow the seeds in the ground from May 1 to June 15 for garden candy you can pluck and eat right in the garden.  My favourite variety? Green Arrow.  We seed peas every 2 weeks to extend the harvest.
  2. Beans are a snap-my favs are the green and royal purple varieties, which grow as a bush and don’t need poles to climb. I always put 2 bean seeds per hole – one for me and one for the elements. Seed by June 1.
  3. Beets are super easy and super fast!. Thin the greens for a delicious early harvest (tastes like spinach when steamed).  Baby beets will be ready to pull by July 1 if you seed May 1st.  TryChioggia for a white and red beet – they are very sweet and different!
  4. Nothing beats a garden Tomato, try the cherry varieties. They are hugely productive Sweet Million and Tumbler (produces 700 mini tomatoes) or Yellow Pear – my kids love this one.  ForEdmonton, Early Girl and Ultra Girl are 2 of the best early standard tomatoes. Stake them, or put them in a cage to keep the fruit off the ground.
  5. Green and gold Zucchini are always very rewarding. Pick the babies – when they’re 2-3: long for BBQs. Zucchini squash is low calorie and high fibre. Try zucchini slaw, marinated in raspberry chipotle dressing, sautéed with garlic and basil, cubed in soups, or baked in casseroles. If you let them grow into behemoths, grate them for chocolate muffins!