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Get Growing

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How to produce strong seedlings


  1. Fill a flat tray with seed-starting mix, or make your own using sterilized, bagged planting soil mixed with equal parts perlite, vermiculite and sterilized coarse sand.
  2. Fill the tray with the mix until it is level with the sides of the tray, then gently firm the mix down until it is 1/4" to 1/2" below the rim.
  3. Place seeds evenly across the top of the flat, one to three seeds per cell, depending on the size and type of seed.
  4. Cover the seeds lightly by sifting soil or mix over them. Some seeds do not need to be covered, just pressed into close contact with the soil.
  5. Water the flat thoroughly using a seedling sprayer or watering can with a fine rose.
  6. Label the tray and cover with a glass sheet, clear tray cover or plastic film to retain moisture and warmth.
  7. Place the tray in a warm, bright spot but not in direct sunlight as it will cause the interior to heat up excessively.
  8. Remove the glass, tray cover or plastic film when the plants emerge from the soil.
  9. Move the flats into direct sunlight or under full-spectrum grow lights for best results.
  10. Keep the soil evenly moist and maintain even airflow.
  11. If required, thin out the seedlings, removing the weakest, smallest plants and leaving more space for the strongest plants to establish roots and grow.


The seedlings are ready to transplant when the first "true" leaves appear. Harden off young plants by slowly introducing them to the outdoors before planting them in larger containers, in the ground, or in a raised bed. Bring the seedlings outdoors for a few hours, gradually increasing their outdoor time for several days . This step allows the plants to develop thicker leaves and sturdy stems that will withstand the stronger light and wind. It also prevents transplant shock by gradually exposing the plants to outdoor temperatures.


Start Your Seeds

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OSC Vegetable Seed Packets

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OSC Herb Seed Packets

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OSC Flower Seed Packets

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OSC Organic Vegetable Seed Packets

Fiber Pots and grow strips being filled with soil

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Fiber Pots

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Self-Watering Seed Starter

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Windowsill Seed Starter

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Coir Pellets

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Potmaker

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Lee Valley Trowel

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Seedling Sprayer

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LED Grow-Light Kits



Get Growing

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When is it time to sow outside?


  • When all danger of frost has passed
  • As soon as the soil can be worked
  • When the soil stays in a ball when squeezed, but easily releases
  • When you can comfortably sit barelegged on the ground or
  • When the depth of the earth is warm to the touch to a depth of 6 inches


Seeds need only moisture and warmth (and in the case of some plants, light) to germinate because they are self-contained systems. A seed contains not only the tiny embryo of the future plant but also endosperm, a tissue which stores enough food to keep the embryo alive in the dormant stage and for the first few weeks of growth until the first "true" leaves form. This accounts for the frequently given instruction of not fertilizing until the leaves develop because photosynthesis starts only then.

The best way to determine when the time is right for sowing seeds directly outdoors is to use a soil thermometer to measure the temperature of the soil itself.

Moving Outdoors

The top of the Double-Walled Cold Frame being raised, with vegetables planted inside.

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Double-Walled Cold Frame

$285.00

EG354 - Small Vegepod Container Garden

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Small Vegepod Container Garden

$230.00

Plants growing in the wicking bed of the assembled self-watering raised bed kit

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Self-Watering Raised-Bed Hardware

$249.00

Stainless-Steel Outdoor Wash Table holding various sizes of pots on the top and lower shelf

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Stainless-Steel Outdoor Wash Table

$239.00

EB416 - Kneeler/Tool Holder Set

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Folding Kneeler Stool & Tool Holder Se...

$69.50

Giant plant tray holding fiber pots, soil and a trowel

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Giant Plant Tray

$39.50

A Lee Valley one-prong cultivator being used to dig a trough for planting seeds

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Lee Valley One-Prong Cultivator

$33.50

AB643 - Narrow Trowel

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Lee Valley Container Garden Narrow Tro...

$31.50

Transplanting a plant into a garden using a Lee Valley trowel

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Lee Valley Trowel

$39.90

Digging in garden soil using the Lee Valley Narrow Trowel

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Lee Valley Narrow Trowel

$39.90

Using the Lee Valley Trenching Hoe to furrow planting rows in a garden

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Lee Valley Trenching Hoe

$57.50

A man steps on the Lee Valley U-Bar Digger to push it into garden soil

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Lee Valley U-Bar Digger

$149.00

Wearing women’s garden gloves to transfer a small plant

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Women's Garden Gloves

$26.50

LA205 - A Gardener's Journal

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A Gardener's Journal – A Ten Year Chro...

$44.50

KD355 - Wi-Fi Forecasting Weather Station

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Wi-Fi Forecasting Weather Station

$94.50

KD353 - Wi-Fi Weather Station with Wind and Rain

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Wi-Fi Weather Station with Wind and Ra...

$149.00

Adding soil to fiber pots with seedlings sitting in a tabletop tarp

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Tabletop Tarp

$9.90

Seeding a garden using the small garden tools

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Small Garden Tool Set

(Set of 6)

$11.90

Floating Row Cover covering a row of plants in a garden

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Floating Row Cover

$29.90

Filling a Frost Protector with water from a hose

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Frost Protectors

(Pkg. of 3)

$17.50

Garden Cloche covering lettuce in a garden

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Garden Cloches

(Pkg. of 10)

$21.90

XL803 - Row Cover Kit

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Plastic Row Cover Kit

$38.50

LA973 - Growing Under Cover

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Growing Under Cover

by Niki Jabbour

$21.50


Lee Valley Propagation Guide

Plant

Planting
Method

Ideal
Soil Temp. (F)

Ideal
Soil Temp. (C)

Days
to Germinate

Weeks
to Maturity

Additional Information

Asparagus

TR

60 to 85

16 to 29

14 to 21

Perennial

Can harvest after 2nd year.

Bean, Bush

DS

65 to 85

18 to 29

7 to 10

9

Pick regularly to encourage continued production.

Beet

DS

50 to 85

10 to 29

5 to 20

9

Best grown as spring and fall crops.

Broccoli

TR

70 to 75

21 to 24

10 to 14

9

Plant out deeply, with only 1”-2” showing.

Cabbage

TR

45 to 95

7 to 35

8 to 14

10

Root prune mid-season to prevent head from splitting.

Carrot

DS

45 to 85

7 to 20

7 to 20

10

Very small seed; mix with sand to aid in sowing.

Cauliflower

TR

45 to 85

8 to 14

8 to 14

10

Grow near celery to reduce cabbage worm.

Celery

TR

70 to 75

21 to 24

10 to 14

12

Mound soil as plant grows to blanche the stalks.

Cucumber

DS

65 to 95

18 to 35

7 to 10

6

Most varieties grow well on a trellis.

Eggplant

TR

75 to 90

24 to 32

10 to 15

4

Soak seeds overnight before planting.

Garlic

TR

45 to 85

7 to 29

5 to 14

22

Transplant in fall for next season’s crop.

Kale

DS

50 to 85

10 to 30

7 to 10

9

Most varieties are very cold tolerant.

Leek

TR

70 to 75

20 to 24

10 to 14

12

Plant out deeply, with only 1”-2” showing.

Lettuce, Leaf

DS

40 to 80

4 to 27

3 to 10

5

Lots of light for seedlings; shade for mid-season plants.

Melon

TR

75 to 95

24 to 35

5 to 7

10

Use compostable pot to minimize transplant shock.

Onion, Bulb

DS

50 to 95

10 to 35

5 to 14

14

Good companion plant that repels many insect pests.

Parsnip

DS

50 to 70

10 to 21

7 to 20

10

Harvest after a few frosts for improved flavor.

Pea

DS

45 to 75

7 to 24

7 to 20

9

Most varieties grow well on a trellis.

Pepper, Sweet

TR

65 to 95

18 to 35

10 to 15

10

Protect from low night temperatures.

Potato

DS

60 to 75

16 to 24

7 to 20

15

Pre-sprout seed potatoes before planting.

Pumpkin

DS

70 to 95

21 to 35

7 to 10

12

Heavy feeder; requires lots of compost/fertilizer.

Radish

DS

45 to 90

7 to 32

5 to 10

4

A late summer planting can be done to harvest in fall.

Spinach

DS

45 to 75

7 to 24

7 to 20

7

Sow multiple times for continuous harvest.

Squash, Summer

DS

70 to 95

21 to 35

7 to 10

6

Heavy feeder; requires lots of compost/fertilizer.

Squash, Winter

DS

70 to 95

21 to 35

7 to 10

10

Remove flowers after mid-summer to concentrate growth.

Swiss Chard

DS

50 to 85

10 to 29

7 to 20

8

Very ornamental.

Tomato

TR

60 to 85

16 to 29

8 to 10

10

Inconsistent watering may cause fruit to crack.

Turnip

DS

60 to 95

16 to 35

7 to 14

9

Plant onions nearby to deter root maggots.

DS – Direct Sow | TR – Transplant (It is best to consult the info. on the back of the seed packet for specifi c types and varieties.)

Average Last Frost Dates

Burlington, ON – May 5

Niagara Falls, ON – May 3

Timmins, ON – May 28

Calgary, AB – May 25

Ottawa, ON – May 8

Toronto, ON – April 20

Coquitlam, BC – April 5

Quebec City, PQ – May 10

Vancouver, BC – March 31

Charlottetown, PE – May 16

Regina, SK – May 24

Victoria, BC – March 5

Edmonton, AB – May 6

Saint John, NB – May 2

Waterloo, ON – May 16

Halifax, NS – April 30

Saskatoon, SK – June 5

Windsor, ON – April 26

Kelowna, BC – April 26

Sault Ste. Marie, ON – May 24

Winnipeg, MB – May 23

Kingston, ON – May 7

St. John’s, NF – June 1

Whitehorse, YT – June 8

London, ON – May 5

Sudbury, ON – May 12

Yellowknife, NT – May 27

Montreal, PQ – April 19

Thunder Bay, ON – May 20