Who knew? Just last week I received in the mail a lovely postcard with a picture of Rudbeckia 'Prairie Sun' and Eggplant 'Hansel' from the National Garden Bureau - an organization dedicated to the promotion and education of gardening from seed. And, an organization that has its work cut out for it. According to the Ontario Seed Company, growing plants and vegetables from seed seems to be less popular all the time, which really is a shame.
Vegetables are one of the easiest things to grow from seed. With the interest in having food that is produced chemical free and close to home, nothing beats the home garden. If you are looking for three easy veggies to start with, I'd suggest: cold weather lettuce - leaf lettuce, green beans and tomatoes. They are practically fool-proof - and in the case of the lettuce and beans, they only take 45 days!
Leaf lettuce should be started as soon as the soil can be worked. I've had many crops of lettuce hit with snow in March or early April, with no problems at all. The best part of all, at the beginning of May, when the last of the lettuce is harvested - the soil is nice and warm, and I can use the same patch for my green beans that need warm soil to germinate. I'll start my tomatoes either on my light table or window sill in April and they'll be ready to plant by the third week of May. Nothing beats the flavour of home-grown tomatoes.
This year, I'm the keeper of Frank's dad's tomato seeds that he got from Italy many years ago. Sadly, Frank's dad died last year and his mum planted the seeds he'd saved in the previous fall. Of the 15 or so different varieties we tried last year (photo of a Green Zebra above), this old variety was one of the top in our taste tests. Fingers crossed that they germinate!