What’s at the Market Demonstration Series
what is it?
What’s at the Market is a Healthy Living Series sponsored by the District of Squamish and Squamish Savings. Each season we will be hosting 15 presentations by local chefs and artisans that demonstrate how to use ingredients found at market to create delicious and nutritious edibles and / or sensational artisan crafts. The presentations, which are intended to promote healthy living and buying local will take place on scheduled dates between 10 am and 12 pm beside the market tent. For a list of presenters and other events please see our market schedule page.
Even people living in apartments or condos, can grow a wide variety of plants using containers, raised beds, or even rooftop spaces.
It is always best to use seed companies in your region as they are much better suited to the climate
Seed packets have quite a bit of information to tell you about everything from planting depth and spacing to how long until harvest.
West Coast Seeds recommends a list of vegetables suited for growing in containers on balconies and in raised beds.
Start with a fresh seed, it guarantees good germination. Don’t jump the gun! Some seeds can be planted outdoors as soon as the soil can be turned but most seeds and seedlings go out after the first frost in your area. Vancouver can be as early as March.28th or as late as April.15th. Here in Squamish we can expect frost and cool weather well into April. West Coast Seeds has a great Resources section on their website, including regional planting charts that give you an accurate guide to the last frost date in your area. There is also a crop planting tool to help you calculate when to start seeds, time to harvest, and yields for each seed. www.westcoastseeds.com
All seeds need is 3 things in order to sprout:
Water: Moisture softens the hard shell of the seed. Without water seeds will not germinate. With too much water they will drown and get diseases which harm seeds
Oxygen: Oxygen is needed for respiration and is present in the soil. If too much water is present or the seed to deeply planted, it will be starved of oxygen. It is imperative that all containers have drainage holes on the bottom.
Warmth: Temperature of the soil impacts the metabolic rate of seeds and seedlings. Germination requires a temperature range between 16 and 32 degrees Celsius. A heat mat helps to control the temperature. They really work! If you don’t have a heat mat find someplace reliably warm.
Okay lets get started!
A table or space where the seedlings can grow undisturbed
Seed starting mix. This should be a sterile, soilless mix of peat or coir fibre, perlite, or vermiculite and sand. You can purchase good seed starting mixes. Look for OMRI certified ( Organic Materials Review Institute). Don’t use garden soil and try to avoid purchasing mixes with built in fertilizers.
Clean, sterile containers with drainage holes. Special seed trays are best, they allow the seeds to grow in their own cells.
Heat mat or reliably warm space to place the trays to germinate.
Sharpie marker or pencil to write out name and date of seeding
Grow light or sunny, south facing window
Fill your containers with lightly moistened seed starting mix. Use another container to gently tap it down so the surface is smooth. Put one to two seeds in each cell and cover with seed starting mix using the recommended depth on your seed packet as your guide. Some seed is so tiny that you won’t even need to cover them.
Mist the surface to saturate the medium and settle the seed
Using your label and sharpie, write out the name of the seed, variety, and date
Move the seed container to the heat mat
Cover the seed containers with a piece of reemay cloth or plastic dome. Seeds don’t need light at this point, they need warmth and moisture
As soon as the seeds emerge, move the container to the brightest light possible. Even a sunny south facing window sill will hardly be enough. If you are serious about growing seeds you might want to invest in a full spectrum grow light system
Continue to keep the seedling moist. The plant will begin to produce true leaves and the stems will thicken
If the plants get too big for the container you can transplant them to a larger pot. Be careful not to handle the stems or pinch the leaves. Gently lift it out of the old pot by pushing it up from the bottom and then lower it into the new pot by the root ball or use a dibber to help. Some seedlings like tomatoes get leggy and you can bury the stem up to the bottom of the leaves. The plant will root from the buried stem.
When it is safe to put the seedlings out, take about a week to harden off the plants. Put the plants into a warm, but shaded area, and bring them in at night until all danger of frost is past and they can move into the garden.
HAPPY PLANTING !
Types of seeds:
Hybrid: Characteristics of crossed parent plants
GMO/GEO: Genetically modified or engineered organisms
Open pollinated seeds
Usually heritage or heirloom
Plants grown from OP seeds will generate seed that produce the same plant year after year
Good for seed savings
F.1 Hybrids are produced by selective and deliberate cross pollination of 2 parent plants
The results often produce a better product, ie: sweeter flavour, more disease resistant, or earlier to mature
Seed collected for F.1 Hybrids will not come true and will revert back to the characteristics of the parents
Modifying or engineering plants requires human intervention
Introducing genes of unrelated species or organisms to tolerate chemicals or pests, ie: round up ready corn. The altered corn can tolerate the herbicide “Roundup” (Glyphosate) being sprayed to control weeds.