1.When should I be sowing peas, carrots and lettuce and how long can I expect them to be productive into the summer in Toronto.?
2. Can you suggest a few good quality gardening stores in Toronto and North York?
3. Can you suggest some varieties of the following veggies that will grow best in containers? I also have some containers in the shade. Which vegetable grow best in the shade?
Peas, carrots, and lettuces can be sown in early spring. Lettuce and peas can be directly sown by seed as soon as the soil is workable. Carrot seeds are sown two to three weeks before the last frost. Germination times vary depending on soil temperature.Peas can take as little as 9 days or a month depending on how warm the soil is. That is why peas are a great choice for raised beds with warmer soil temps in early spring! Look for different maturity dates when choosing varieties. Some peas are early and some are late variety. It depends on your patience level and personal tastes. Fresh garden peas are early and peas for drying and storing tend to be late summer harvest.
Lettuce can be productive from early spring to late fall with protective row covers. If you want lettuce all year, plant in two week succession planting using different varieties, heights, and maturity levels. For fall lettuce sow the seeds to expect maturity before the last frost. You can also plant the lettuce under the peas as lettuce likes shade as well as cool moist soil.
Be patient with carrot seeds. They take 1-3 weeks to germinate! If you water the soil daily for carrot seeds it will speed germination time. Additional plantings are needed through midsummer if you would like carrots through and to the end of the season to fall harvest. Be careful when choosing varieties as too cold temperatures cause some to bolt.
These vegetable fact sheets are a wealth of information:
Gardening stores to look for: https://www.blogto.com/sports_play/2012/04/the_top_10_garden_centres_in_toronto/
Tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, cucumbers, dwarf lettuces, zucchini, peas, different varieties of beans, and fruits such as rhubarb and strawberries all grow well in containers of any shape and size.
Thisreference might be helpful for you: