When to sow seeds in Montreal

Are you wondering when to sow seeds in Montreal?

Here’s my guide to when you should sow seeds indoors before the season begins and outdoors when you see common plants blooming.

Date Bloom Sow inside Sow outside Other info
February 18, 2019 peppers, zinnias
February 25, 2019 datura, delphiniums, nicotiana
March 4, 2019 cabbage, tomatoes
March 11, 2019 brussel sprouts, celeriac
March 18, 2019 marigolds, green cauliflower
April 15, 2019
Spring 2012

April in the garden

daffodil, forsythia Cold hardy seeds such as: allysum, baby’s breath, chard, calendula, carrots, cornflower, hollyhock, impatiens, lovage, peas, poppies, radishes, rudbeckia, spinach, sweet pea flowers
lilac, dogwood Cold hardy seedlings such as: cabbage, broccoli, dusty miller, feathertop grass, larkspur, leek, onion, pansy, penstemon, salvia and snapdragon
May 20, 2019 summer savory
May 27, 2019 nicotiana
May 31, 2019 average last frost
June 3, 2019 datura, delphinium, brussel sprouts
spirea (all the pink types) Cold tender seeds such as: basil, beans, beets, borage, catnip, cilantro, corn, chervil, cucumber, dandelion, delphinium, green manures, lavatera, lettuce, okra, melon, marigold, mint, morning glory, nasturtiums, nicotiana, parsley, petunia, savory, sunflower, thyme, zinnia
black locust trees, Vanhoutte spirea (the white one) Cold tender plants, such as anise, datura, dahlia, dematis, grapes, ladies mantle, lavender, peppers, tomatoes
Mock orange, catalpa Fall seeds, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, celeriac, cauliflower, fennel

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Seven Hardy Fruits for Montreal Gardeners

If you’re a gardener in Montreal, you’ll want to plant seven fruits that are hardy in our northern climate and make for great eating.

Crabapple (Malus ‘Lollizam’)

Lollipop crabapples grow 10ft-high and get white flowers in spring. Small yellow fruit appears in the fall.

Pear (Pyrus communis ‘Savignac’)

One of the three varieties I love is Savignac, a small round easy eating pear named after Brother Armand Savignac, a Joliette priest who got the then un-named cultivar from the Canada Experimental Farm in 1947.

Raspberries (rubus)

Yellow, red and black are available.

Saskatoon Berry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

The tiny blue berries this plant produces in mid-June aren’t quite as sweet as the woodland bush berries they resemble, but the plant grows easily because it’s so hardy and contains thousands of berries. The Saskatchewan city of the same name was named after the native plant. White flowers cover the plant in the spring, right after Magnolias and Forsythias.

Grape (Maréchal Foch)

These red grapes are a hybrid from Alcace and were originally called Kuhlmann 188-2 (one of whose parents was Goldriesling). The grape gets its name from a General who served in the French army during World War I.

Plum

Get some trees from Stefan Sobkowiak, one of Quebec’s permiculture experts and the owner of Miracle Farms in Cazaville if you can.

Strawberries

Who can deny strawberries. These ground-covering plants are so tasty and easy to grow as long as you move the patch every three or four years. I like the traditional June-bearing variety, because I find the berries taste much better.

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Spring Temperatures

The weather remains unpredictable this spring, but despite that, I highly recommend taking lots of photographs beginning this week. Things are beginning to bud, and perhaps as early as this weekend, you’ll be taking some of the prettiest shots possible.

Historical weather trends appear in the chart below.

Spring National Temperature Departures and Long-term Trend, 1948 – 2011

The national temperature departures table shows the full list of spring values in the order from warmest to coolest. It shows that 3 of the ten warmest springs occurred within the last decade, and 9 of the last 20 years are listed among the 20 warmest.

Source, Environment Canada,

http://www.ec.gc.ca/adsc-cmda/default.asp?lang=En&n=4CC724DA-1

 

Nature’s Spring Flower Show

 

Daffodils, magnolia, forsythia and hyacinth are just beginning to bud and I expect they’ll bloom together in my garden in the next week or so for a joy-bringing concert of colour and a pleasant break from the computer.

This glorious show appears regularly every spring on its own with very little help from me. I’ll need to spend an hour cutting down the grasses and raking some leaves off the carpets of purple crocus, and that’s it.

The wildlife in my region are also quite active at this time of year, as you can see in Jean-Marc Lacoste’s superb video. Lacoste took this footage along LaSalle, Verdun and Nun’s Island waterfront and in Angrignon Park between April 1 and 17, 2012, but it’s still well worth checking out. You can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0sTQjGd7P4.

 

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Harvesting Dandelions

It’s dandelion harvesting time again! Whoo hoo.

Normally, by the time I begin harvesting dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) the flower buds are already on the plants. Not this year. The leaves don’t taste quite so bitter when I pick the plants before the flowers bud, so I’m making a special effort to get them early this year. I’m going on the prowl for these little babies beginning today.

Thinking about the task as a harvest—and actually eating the leaves I pick—makes the task slighter more rewarding than it would be if the idea were simply to make my lawn look nicer. Most years, I begin the task on a rainy day. Again, not this year! Yippee!

The key to enjoying this activity during this time of the year is to have a great recipe.

For some ideas about ways to eat them, consult Euell Gibbons’  1962 book “Stalking the Wild Asparagus.” The classic would make an ideal mothers’ day gift for a gardening mom. See my link below if you want to order it!

Stalking the Wild AsparagusGibbons recommends six different ways to eat the plant.

  • This year, I’m hoping to finally try Gibbons’ dandelion crown salad and
  • boiled unopened flower heads recipes. I’ve never been able to try them before because they both require a much earlier harvest than I usually manage.
  • Roasted ground roots made into a coffee-like beverage has never appealed to me, because I don’t like coffee much, but I might try it anyway just for the heck of it.
  • I’ve also never bothered either to harvest the roots and peel them to serve boiled or
  • fried as a vegetable and that’s not likely to change, since the plants I harvest are usually too small.
  • I’ve never bothered to gather the bright flowers and make wine either, although that’s also something that appeals to me. We’ll see.

My definite favourite recipe is wilted greens fried with garlic and bacon with a mustard sauce. This was recommended by my PWAC colleague and buddy, Steve Pitt, who posted the recipe on a list serve a few years ago. I’ve revised it slightly, and it still tastes great. It’s also very good if you replace the bacon grease with vegabutter and a whole jar of capers for my vegan friends.

Hope you like it as much as I do.

Wilted Dandelion Salad with Bacon

  • 6 strips bacon—cut into pieces (or a tablespoon of vegebutter and a whole jar of capers if you don’t eat meat)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups dandelion greens, rinsed and dried
  • 3 oz feta cheese
  • ½ cup green olives

Fry the bacon until crisp. Put it into a steel salad bowl.

Pour off extra bacon fat, leaving just enough to cook the greens in.

Pour in the vinegar and heat to scrape the pan.

(Or if you prefer, just heat the pan and add a full tablespoon of vegabutter.)

Add Dijon, honey and olive oil to make a sauce.

Add the greens and cook until they wilt. Toss everything together and serve.

Stalking the Wild Asparagus Book Cover Stalking the Wild Asparagus
Euell Gibbons, John McPhee,
Cooking
Alan C Hood & Company
January 1, 1962
303

An imaginative approach to cooking, offering numerous recipes for main dishes and accompaniments made from wild berries, roots, nuts, and leaves

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