Gardening

In the Kingston region, much of which borders Lake Ontario, we experience lake-effect weather, with its numerous freeze-thaw cycles that prevent biennial crops from successfully overwintering in-ground. Nearer the water, we are growing in limestone-rich soil, while in the northern areas of our region (on the Canadian Shield) the topsoil layer is thin, and underlaid with granite.

Kingston-Specific Factors

  • The average last frost date in this area is May 2.
  • The average length of the outdoors growing season is 160 days.
  • The average date of the first frost is Oct. 10.
  • These are averages. Plant outside at least two weeks after the last frost. Start watching for frost in mid-September.
  • Plants that bear fruit above ground are best planted before the moon is full.
  • Monitor your plants daily in August and September, as they set seed. If seed is ready, harvest in the week leading up to the full moon, if possible.
  • Factor in time to sort and store your seeds in November and December.
  • In the northern reaches of our region, near Highway 7, last frosts persist until later, and first frosts come earlier. Figure May 15th to set out your heat-loving plants, and start watching for frosts as early as late August or early September.

Natural features like valleys or mountains may create micro-climates. Ask an experienced gardener near you what dates she or he uses in your specific locale.

Since most of Canada’s seed is imported, much of the food we grow has not been developed to thrive under regional conditions without costly, oil-dependent inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.

The Seeds Grow Food project endorses techniques that improve our soil rather than deplete it. We espouse full life cycle care of our plants, and seek to increase our region’s food security by using seed that is open-pollinated, genetically-variable, and locally-adapted.