Our region here in Edmonton boasts an average of 115-125 frost free days (yikes, no wonder Albertans are always in a rush!) Below is a list of recommended dates for various vegetable crops that we have used over the years when the Wallishes were market gardeners. Please remember that these are guidelines and not guarantees because there is little about our weather that is predictable.
By the 2nd week of May IF the garden is dry and soil is warming, you can seed:
– Peas and potatoes (sweet peas too) – they are hardy enough to weather a little frost and peas relish the cool mornings and evening.
– Cole crops such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi are safe to seed once the garden soil has warmed up and there’s been no frost for 3-4 days, the seeds will likely be ok, and can tolerate a little bit of frost.
– Crops that need to be sown early are those that have a long maturation time, specifically corn. Corn is a tender crop that loves the heat but its maturation requirement is quite long. To battle that, we have to sow it early but if corn stalks are under 4-5” tall, they can withstand a light to moderate frost and continue to grow. A window for sowing corn is by about the 2nd week, maximum the 3rd week of May.
Avoid seeding tender veggies at this early time – wind chill will even give these wind burn:
– Beans, cucumbers, pumpkin, squash, zucchini, peppers, celery, tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, spinach, herbs
The above have a relatively short maturation time and are safe to sow by the 4th week of May and even into June. A strategy for short crops like lettuce and spinach crops is that you can sow them in succession, like sow a little every 2 weeks so that you can have a continual supply of these fresh greens.
Happy gardening and enjoy those fresh veggies!