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Tips for Planting Vegetables

By AMA Staff

The Victoria Day long weekend has long been considered the unofficial kickoff to summer. Whether you used it to start your planting season this year, or are still preparing to dig in, we’ve got seasonal recommendations for an herb and vegetable garden that’s as green as it is delicious.


With a name that sounds like impending doom, there’s no fearing this healthy class of vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are super foods, rich in vitamin C, E and K, and have been linked to lowering cancer rates in some studies. These “cole crops” include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and bok choy. They like plenty of sun and space and should be fine regardless of the soil temperature since these veggies like it cool.


The staple ingredient to many of your favourite dishes, leafy greens don’t need constant tending, but do need to be kept out of direct sunlight. Slowly introduce them to midday sun and cooler evening temperatures by no more than two hours of exposure a day. You can do this by planting them indoors a few weeks early so by the time Victoria Day comes around. They’ll be garden-ready if you do.


Tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and melons (yes, melons fit all the veggie criteria) will grow beautifully when planted on, or after, the May 24 weekend. If you have a particularly green thumb, these veggies will continue yielding until the autumn frost.


While potatoes can be sensitive to frost, don’t delay planting them since humidity can cause potato blight. Luckily, taters don’t require much maintenance and can be ready to eat within a short period of time. Cover the initial sprout of leaves with soil and get ready to harvest them in just a few weeks.


Navigating the differences between summer and winter squash can be tricky. Just keep in mind they’re not named after their gardening instructions. Winter squashes are hard-shelled and can be stored in colder areas, while summer squashes have soft skin and don’t last as long after harvested. Squash is what’s known as “frost tender,” meaning it’ll require warmer soil to grow as the seeds won’t germinate in a bed below 15°C. This makes Victoria Day weekend the perfect start for them, whether they’re of the winter or summer variety.


Food aside, this weekend also provides the opportunity to start growing non-edible plants. The risk of spring frost is much lower this weekend, making it a good time to plant live plants like flowers. Zonal geraniums, petunias and snap dragons will tolerate cooler conditions, so don’t be dissuaded by breezy weather.

Garden growth for lessSave 10% on select regular priced seed packets, fashion, house plants, perennials and planted hanging baskets at Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre. You can also save 10% on flowers, gifts and more at Blondie’s Gift & Garden Centre.

Plan(t) Ahead for Albertans In Need

This fall, we’ll be collecting root vegetables as part of our Fill Our Fleet donation drive for local food banks. So, if you have the space—and were already planning to plant root veggies (think potatoes, onions, carrots)—we’d love for you to “sow a row” to share with Albertans in need come harvest time.