blue flower 


This has been a great year for exercising your season extension tools - row covers, and cold frames protect a bountiful harvest of greens in both of our gardens.

Leaf lettuce ready to go

Despite the cold, it has been a relatively sunny and dry spring which means soil conditions are perfect for planting. The farmers we know are telling us that most of their corn acres are already in the ground in Southern Ontario - an exceptional spring by that measure.

Home gardeners are even better equipped to deal with mucky soils than the farmers who wade in with their tractors and planters, so there is no excuse if you haven't started. Here are some of the crops you should consider direct sowing today: Peas, radishes, carrots, onions (sets and multipliers) leeks, beets, broccoli, potatoes, kale, leaf lettuce and spinach

Fruit, berries, asparagus and rhubarb - this is a perfect time of year to get them in the ground, or to establish an asparagus patch if you have been thinking of doing so. The asparagus crop has just started coming in, the first green vegetable we look forward to. If you want to enjoy your own bounty in a couple of seasons, now is the time to get them in the ground.  

Plant the young roots, purchased from a garden retailer, in a trench about 30 cm deep. The soil should be rich and well drained. As the roots produce growth, slowly back fill with a compost/sand mixture until the trench is full.

Seedlings? Heat-seekers like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and melons. Hold tight - there is no harm in waiting until end of May or early June to move these outside. That said, the next week or so will be a good time to start hardening off. Start by leaving them out in full sun for a couple hours during the day and extend their exposure by a couple of hours each day for 5-7 days until you can leave them outside all day. This will help toughen them up for transplanting nearer to the end of the month. 


CIL Iron Plus 4-in-1 Lawn Recovery

 We tested and refined this product for many months on Mark's three acres of grass. We worked the details until our unique CIL Iron+ formula was made perfect for lawn thickening.  Watch the video.

The grass seed in every bag is the best quality you can buy. The iron is chelated, which means that all of it will be absorbed by your lawn, turning it the deepest possible green fast. 

A charge of nitrogen helps to get the grass seed off to a fast start, and the pelletized compost flows through your fertilizer spreader like a dream. Look for the new smaller bag for urban sized lawns.  Item #5065-188 (7kg), 5065-189 (4kg)

Within 3 weeks of use, we recommend that you apply CIL Iron Plus fertilizer 33-0-3 for a long lasting, deep quality green up. (5.25 kg 5024-508,
10.5 kg 5024-509)

Made in Canada for Canadian lawns.

Exclusive to Home Hardware.

About Mark and Ben:

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author & broadcaster and holds the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of Guelph and Dalhousie University. You can sign up for their free monthly newsletter and find his weekly podcast & blog at

An Organic Approach (5010-205), is available at Home Hardware.