Sowing seeds outside in April


Hi I live in north York, Toronto. I have 3 veggie beds in my backyard. They’ve been covered with straw during winter and the garlic is perking through. I’m wondering what I can do outside to get the growing started. Can I drop some kale or spinach or pea seeds under the straw? Or anything else that I can direct sow now? The straw insulates the beds a bit
Thank you for your response.


Thank you for your question.

There are several vegetables that can be direct sown in Toronto in April, and the ones you mentioned would all be options. Although the suggested planting date for peas is usually five to seven weeks before the last frost, it would still be worth giving them a try if you are interested in having them in your garden and they will likely catch up.  Straw is an excellent mulch for protecting the vegetable garden beds (in summer when it will assist in preventing seed germination and moisture loss, as well as in winter), but would not usually change recommended planting dates.

For a comprehensive look at planting times and guidelines, please refer to the resources in a similar question asked previously (, which provided the following information:

You should base all of your plant start dates by your last frost date. Here you can find a planting calendar for the area of Toronto. You can change the area on their website as well.

If you are using seedlings, most should be planted just after the last spring frost, usually around the May long weekend.

The outdoor planting of seeds can be done over a much longer period:

  • 5 – 7 weeks before the last frost – plant green pea seeds
  • 2 – 3 weeks before – plant lettuce seeds
  • 1 – 2 weeks before – plant carrot and radish seeds
  • Just after the last frost – plant green bean and zucchini seeds
  • 1 – 2 weeks after – plant cucumber seeds

Here are a few links to vegetable gardening:

Good luck !