Planting the Garden

Written by Denise Deby.

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I’m a gardener-in-progress—meaning I’m learning something new every year about growing my own vegetables. My garden so far has been pretty small, my planting area shady, so I’m often researching what to grow.

This year I’ve been on the hunt for healthy seeds and seedlings—those adapted to local conditions, free of pesticides, grown in an environmentally-friendly way and (ideally) organic. While I haven’t started my own seeds, it’s not too late to find seedlings that others have kindly started growing for me.

The Gloucester Horticultural Society holds its East End Plant Sale on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at North Gloucester Public Library (2036 Ogilvie Rd.) from 9 a.m.-noon. They’ll be selling shrubs, perennials, organic and heritage seedling vegetable plants.

Greta’s Organic Gardens (399 River Rd., Gloucester) is a great source of organic seeds. She’s selling heirloom tomatoes, peppers and much more from her greenhouse between May 15 and June 24 (9 a.m.-7 p.m.; closed Weds.).

Added: Beat Greens Garden will be selling organic and heirloom seedlings at Ravenswing Arts and Music Fair on Sunday, May 24.

For other kinds of plants as well, the Ottawa Horticultural Society holds its annual plant auction and sale on Tuesday, May 26, 7:30 p.m. at the Tom Brown Arena.

At Fletcher Wildlife Garden’s Annual Native Plant Sale, experts will be on hand to advise on what flowering plants will attract birds, butterflies and other pollinators. It’s on Saturday, June 6, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Vegetable seedlings (some local and organic) can be purchased from local farmers directly or at Ottawa farmers’ markets: the ByWard Market, the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, the Main Farmers’ Market, the Parkdale Market, the Ottawa Organic Farmers’ Market and others (check OttawaStart’s list of markets for links).

Ottawa has quite a few local nurseries; the Canadian Wildlife Federation has a list of nurseries that sell native plants. Hardware and grocery stores have garden centres, too. But check first that the plants they carry haven’t been treated with neonicotinoids—pesticides that are systemic (i.e., absorbed by all parts of a plant) and associated with killing bee populations. Friends of the Earth Canada has a chart outlining which retailers have stopped carrying plants with neonics.

Did I miss any good plant sources? Please let me know in the comments.

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