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Spring Seed Starting

Updated: Apr 8

Spring has sprung! We know that means gardeners are eager to get growing. Although the weather is warming up, it is not quite warm enough to plant all of your favourite crops outdoors. Spring seed starting is a great way to get your hands dirty now, and prepare for a successful growing season! 


In April, the weather in Dartmouth's growing zone (Zone 6A) has warmed the ground enough to direct sow a few "hardy" crops. Plant these seeds outside in your garden now to enjoy an early harvest (May-June). 


Direct Sow:  

  • Peas 

  • Spinach  

  • Kale  

  • Radishes  

  • Mustard greens 

  • Carrots  

  • Parsnips 


These crops can also be planted in "succession." This means sowing additional seeds every couple of weeks throughout the growing season to stagger your harvests.  

Our Farm & Youth Programs Facilitator, Rose and Volunteer Manager, Catherine recently teamed up with the Canadian Wildlife Federation's Wild Outside program to host a spring seed starting workshop for youth. Participants started a variety of fruit, flower, and vegetable seeds in pots to give them a head start in a warm, indoor environment.  

April 3rd, 2024 - Seed Starting Workshop for youth in partnership with CWF's WILD Outside program.

April is an ideal time to get your own seeds started indoors for a summer or fall harvest (July-October). If you can get your hands on any of the following seeds, you can plant them in any vessel from jiffy pots to egg cartons to repurposed yogurt containers. Look for a bag of "Seed Starting" potting mix at your local discount store, garden centre, or hardware store. 


Start indoors:  

  • Lettuce 

  • Beets 

  • Sunflower 

  • Winter squash (Acorn, Butternut, Red Kuri, etc.) 

  • Cucumber 

  • Turnip  

  • Nasturtium 

  • Eggplant  

  • Tomatoes 

  • Peppers 

  • Marigold 


For more options, Halifax Seed Company has created a free downloadable document with seed starting and transplant dates for a variety of vegetables. This is a great resource for gardeners in Zone 6A. 


For the first couple of weeks, make sure to water your seedlings every day, unless the soil is very wet. Different plants will mature at different times, and once they do they will need to be transplanted out to the garden and may require some special care tips. If a plant is new to you, it is always best to do some research, or ask another gardener for advice.  


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