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Planting a vegetable garden for fall — what to grow and when

Setting up a herb and veggie garden for fall is all about the right mix of seeds, soil and patience. 
MMEEmil Getty Images
Growing a fall garden in Canada can be a bountiful hobby.

Gardening is a cross-generational hobby that grew in popularity during the pandemic.

Sixty-three per cent of Canadians polled by Glacier Media grow indoor and/or outdoor plants and those numbers are highest in Western Canada at 67 per cent for British Columbians and Albertans.

Some novice gardeners might think fall is the time to give up on outdoor growing. However, there are specific seed sets and tools to help cultivate a veggie garden through a Canadian winter.

From planning and planting to harvest, here's how to make a garden grow. 

THE SQUARE ROOT

Seeding square.

Novice planters and anyone who wants to maximize space and lessen waste would definitely benefit from a Seeding Square, an ingenious invention out of Surrey, B.C. It is a quality-built green square that imprints on soil, creating an easy-to-follow colour-coded planting guide. There’s a funnel attached to the underside of the square that can be used to pour seeds (or seedlings) into a hole. Available on Amazon or directly through Seeding Square.

Who it's ideal for: Anyone wanting to plant, maintain or redesign their veggie garden.

Why we're endorsing it: Ingenuity, ease of use, Canadian retailer.

Where it could use improvements: Use the FAQ guide for detailed information on how to use the colour-coded design.

Size/weight/dimensions: One square foot.

PLANTING THE SEED

Planted North seed pack.

Unsure of what to choose and when to start? The Ontario-based Planted North shop on Etsy takes the guesswork out of it with a variety of 15 organic, non-GMO vegetable seed packs suitable for Canadian winters. There’s also a very helpful planting guide PDF that details which months are best for which seeds (i.e. Swiss chard and radish can be planted until the end of October, whereas arugula should be planted by the end of September).

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants a starter pack of seeds suitable for Canadian weather without the guesswork.

Why we're endorsing it: Variety, excellent user reviews.

Where it could use improvements: It’s selling very fast; $9 shipping fee.

Size/weight/dimensions: Fifteen different vegetable seeds.

WATER WATER EVERYWHERE

Fusolo modern watering can.

Gardening cans often have a traditional look and are made from galvanized steel. This modern Fusolo watering can is eye-catching for its modern design and construction (it is made from hard PS resin). It comes in deep shades of blue, green, yellow and red a definite standout judging by the top seller status.

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants a modern watering can that can sit on a shelf all year round.

Why we're endorsing it: Design, material and user reviews.

Where it could use improvements: Sells out quickly.

Size/weight/dimensions: 1.4 L.

Fusolo long spout watering can.

For a more classic-looking outdoor can for larger gardens, this one has a long spout for reaching tight spots, rounded handle and sprinkle shower head. The speckled finish is a unique touch.  

Who it's ideal for: Someone looking for a can that can handle a robust outdoor garden.

Why we're endorsing it: Usability and design.

Where it could use improvements: Limited availability affects price options.

Size/weight/dimensions: 1.6 L.

GET EXPERT ADVICE

Canadian Gardners Guide paperback.

Green thumbs are often generous with their expertise and advice but sometimes there isn’t one to be found. For regional and practical backyard tips, the Canadian Gardener’s Guide is a comprehensive guide to soil, planting seasons and more (like pergolas, lawn care and fencing) that will come in handy season after season.

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who appreciates expert advice.

Why we're endorsing it: Written specifically for those working in a Canadian climate.

Where it could use improvements: Paperback only.

Size/weight/dimensions: 464 pages.  

FROM SEED TO HARVEST

Mountain Warehouse gardening tool set bag(1)

To plant and harvest, some simple tools are needed. This set includes a trowel, a transplanter, a hand rake, a weeder and a one-prong cultivator, as well as a pocketed garden bag to store it all.

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants a full set and storage for it with five front pockets, two mesh side pockets and a main compartment.  

Why we're endorsing it: Excellent reviews, reasonable price.

Where it could use improvements: Bag has a floral pattern (which might not be to everyone’s taste).

Size/weight/dimensions: One size.

For an inexpensive option for beginners, this three piece Fiskars set from Rona does the trick. 

INDOOR HERBS ALL YEAR

Aerogarden Harvest Elite.

Herbs are harder to maintain during fall and winter months in a cold climate like ours, which is why countertop herb gardens have exploded in popularity.

Aerogarden Harvest Elite is both convenient and simple to use, even for black thumbs. The all-inclusive kit includes a starter set of herbs (curly parsley, dill, two kinds of basil and mint) and is soil-free as plants are fed with liquid plant food, so there’s no worry about dirt and mess on the counter. Lights automatically turn on and off and there’s a reminder to refill water and food.

Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants to grow fresh herbs (or veggies) with minimal expertise.

Why we're endorsing it: Brand trust, ease of use, no worry about pests.

Where it could use improvements: The initial set up is an investment.

Size/weight/dimensions: 15.88 x 26.67 x 44.2 cm.