Leaf miner


A small fly that lays eggs on the underside of leaves (especially beets and chard). The larvae burrow into the leaves creating brown filmy damaged patches on the leaves. Put yellow sticky traps around affected plants to trap adult flies. Remove damaged leaves as soon as they appear.


They cause the burn-like damage on Swiss chard and beet greens. You can save your plants by removing any damaged leaves right away, and inspecting the underside of healthy leaves and remove any eggs.


It is important to keep on top of leaf miner early in the season. The leaf miner can wipe out your chard or beet crops if left unchecked. Remove affected leaves and destroy. Check backs of healthy leaves for eggs and scrape off with your nail.

Japanese beetle


Japanese beetle is an invasive species, that has no natural predators. It is easy to recognize with it metallic green and cooper shell.


Japanese beetle damage makes your leaves look like lace. An infestation of Japanese can leaves behind skeleton plants.


Fortunately they are slow and easily trapped by shaking the affected plants over a bucket of soapy water. To be effective, shake daily. An application of nematodes in the spring and fall can help control population. However, it is recommended to do a second application in the spring.

Balcony gardening

There is a balcony gardening solution for every space, even a small one.

Chose a spot on your balcony, rooftop or window sill that receives at least 6 hours of sun. If you only get 5 hours, then you will want to focus on planting leafy greens and herbs. Watering will be key to the success of your garden. Gardening in smaller pots means that the soil will dry out faster so make sure that watering is easy. Place your garden is in a high-traffic area or space that you will visit frequently. Your presence is your best tool in having a successful vegetable garden.

The Potager Urbain is one of our best sellers. An Urban Seedling product, it is made in Montreal with 100% recycled materials. A fantastic option if  you are looking for a quick garden set up, without building or digging. This is a garden bag that you unfold and fill with soil. The fabric allows for great drainage and aeration for growing healthy and happy vegetables. Easy to pack up at the end of  the season and clean.

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The Noocity Growbed is our first self-watering garden bed. It has a reservoir that waters your garden while you are away. Holes on the side let excess water drain out after a big rainfall. Thus low-maintenance grow bed is easy to assemble, easy to plant, and has great aeration for root systems. If you are installing your garden in a harder-to-reach area, the Noocity Growbed is a great option.

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Do you have a smaller space? Our Jardin en sac line offers a wide range of sizes of pots, all made here in Montreal from 100% recycled material and are durable and reusable. These beautiful handmade pots are great for growing edibles as they have excellent aeration and drainage. Keep them close as these pots with their smaller soil volume need to be watered more often than the Potager Urbain or Noocity growbed.

If your available space is vertical, we also have solutions. The garden tower  is the ultimate patio farm made of 100% recycled food-grade plastic. The garden tower is vertical organic gardening and vermicomposting combined. Lots of planting space and big soil volume.

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If you would like to use walls or railings as garden spaces, try our hanging wall pockets. Metal grommets allow you to fasten them easily. These hanging pockets are made of 100% recycled material here in Montreal. Excellent for growing herbs, edible flowers, leafy greens, beans and strawberries.

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Urban Seedling also offers custom living-wall installations, a great way to make the most of your growing space in the city. Hanging wall pockets are made from a 100% recycled materials here in Montréal. We fill them with our custom Urban Seedling soil blend and plant them with our organic seedlings. Each  living wall is made custom to your needs. Contact us for a consultation today.

Leafy greens

Bok choy is best left to harvest as a whole head. Wait to for it to be nice size and remove the entire boy boy for your next stir fry. All other Leafy greens are easy to harvest. Go out with a big bowl in the garden and harvest the outer leaves of  our leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, lettuce, tatsoi, roquette).  Harvest your salad daily and enjoy these tasty greens.


Cut back flowers to keep them on producing. Eat your herbs fresh or pick them on dry day for drying to keep in the your pantry. Harvest the tops of your basil to keep your basil plant bushy. Remove an entire section of leaves at a time. You will see two sets of smaller leaves on the stem – those will become entire branches post harvest.  You can keep your herbs going all season.

Root vegetables


Radishes are ready to pick around 25 days after being planted. If they are have been thinned they will produced a deliciously spicy bulb. You can check their size by gently sticking your finger in the soil and if you like their size, go ahead and pick them.  Radishes can be reseeded in the fall for another radish harvest.

Carrots and beets

If planted in the spring, beets and carrots are ready to harvest end of July and beginning of August. A good way to know is to investigate the size of the root with your finger in the soil, if they are large enough to your taste, pull them up. Continue to harvest them as needed.

Carrot tops have a taste reminiscent of parsley and can be eaten raw in the salads, sautéd in garlic, olive oil along with your beet tops, kale and swiss chard. You can also cook carrot greens into à soup or a stock.

Beet greens taste a bit like beets and swiss chard. Harvest them as you need them and remember that beet greens are delicious in a sauté, in a quiche or raw salad.

Fruiting vegetables

To harvest peppers, hot or sweet, wait until they have turned colour and harvest by snipping the stem with a pair of garden shears or scissors. Did you know that there is no such thing as a green pepper? You can harvest them green if you prefer, but all peppers will change colour if you let them ripen.

Harvest eggplants the same way, once they have reached a desired size, and become slightly less hard, snip the stem.

Tomatoes ripen as when their colours change, they soften a bit to your touch and come off easily off the vine. Give them a taste and see how you prefer them. You can let them ripen on the window sill as long as do not have nicks are bruises.

Thinning and weeding

Thinning and weeding abide by the same principal of respecting spacing to have healthy productive plants.

Some vegetable seeds are very small and it can be hard to stick to the recommended amount per square foot. We have all been there, we end up sprinkling the lettuce, radish or carrots seeds!

Like us plants need space to be happy and healthy.  As soon as the the little seedlings sprout, you can thin the sprouts. This means keeping the strongest looking seedlings and removing the rest. When they are small you can transplant seedlings, just do it quickly and early. We recommend planting greens from seedlings to get step up on the season. You should be focusing on thinning radish, beets, and carrot seeds Carrots and radish need 2 inches (5 cm) and beets need 3 inches (7 cm).

Gardening with the seasons


Having a raised-bed garden means that your soil warms up quickly and you can start planting mid-April as soon as the soil is thawed. Add fresh soil and compost to top up your bed.  Spring crops include leafy greens such as spinach, kale, lettuce and radish. For better results start your leafy green seedlings 4 weeks before planting in your garden. You can also purchase a wide variety of leafy greens in our garden centre. Radishes can be seeded directly into the garden, and they will be ready to harvest in 25 days.

If the spring has been particularly cold or overcast, germination of seed-planted crops like peas, carrots and beets and radishes will be slow. Strategies to keep your spring plant in a bit longer and get your summer crops in quickly are as follows:

  • Remove one lettuce, spinach or bok choy per square to make space for the pepper or eggplant as per your garden plan.
  • If you don’t care too much for radishes, remove them and sauté leaves-and-all for a stir fry. If you love radishes, clear out a few to make space for the cucumbers and leave the rest to grow.
  • If you don’t care too much for peas, harvest the young shoots for your salads to make room for the tomatoes. If you love peas, let them grow up the trellis. We will be leaving them in all season this year, so they will be sharing trellis space with the tomatoes.

Colder weather is great for leafy greens so harvest away!


If the spring was cold, you will likely keep your greens in the garden. Eventually, they will start to bolt. A tall spike will start to grow from the middle of the lettuce plants and eventually flower. If you want to learn more about bolting, read through Bolting Explained. Lettuce becomes bitter and should be removed from the garden to make room for the summer crops. Kale and Swiss chard are the only greens that will not bolt and will stay in your garden all season.

You are now adding summer crops to your garden. To learn more about spacing check out our guide to plant spacing. As a rule of thumb, summer crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cucumbers are planted one per square foot.

When we plant tomato plants, we take advantage of super tomato adaptation. Tomatoes can grow roots all along the stem. Remove the bottom couple leaves and plant the tomato deep in your garden so that only 5 or 6 inches are sticking out the top. This will give your tomato a much bigger root structure and make for a more vigorous and productive plant.

To maximize space in your garden, plant your tomatoes the Urban Seedling way by planting them in front of your peas. They will share the trellis for a time, but eventually the peas will start to yellow and the tomatoes will need to be intertwined into the trellis. Pull out yellowing peas and wrap tomatoes into the trellis as demonstrated in our video.


One you have harvested your root vegetables, onions, beets and carrots will have more space in the garden. The end of August and early September is a great time to replant leafy greens and radishes. You can purchase already started seedlings in our Urban Seedling garden centre. Get the most out of your fall harvest.

Dealing with squirrels

All urban farmers have faced the invasion of the squirrel in their vegetable garden.

Every year, this is with no doubt the most regular questions we receive and a real challenge in the city. From the balcony garden to the community gardener, everybody interacts with the squirrels regularly losing crops like tomatoes and cucumbers or having them dig up freshing planted seedlings or seeds.

  1. Do not feed the squirrels. Making squirrels depend on human food, only encourages them to rummage through our garbage and destroy containers in search of some tasty goods. When possible, always seal your garbage in solid plastic container to avoid visit from your neighbourhood squirrels.  
  2. If possible choose a location for your garden away from overhanging branches, and fences. These are perfect access point for squirrels.  
  3. Put a fence up around your garden. At Urban Seedling, we use a 2 foot plastic fence that we put up in the spring. It is our way of offering up some protection for the garden while still allowing you the gardener into the garden. If your squirrels have already been trained to jump into your garden this solution may not keep them out.
  4. Squirrels love to dig and bury treasure for later. Using a floating row can help. When the seedlings are young in the spring, and when you have just planted your seeds place a floating row over the plants. This will keep the seedlings warm during the cold spring months while providing some protection for the seedlings to get establish and remove any visible dirt for digging. A full garden is less susceptible to attract diggers in your garden.
  5. The physical barrier is the best solution for keeping animal like squirrels out of the garden. Place bird netting over the garden or build a chicken wire fence around your beds or in extreme case build an enclosure for your garden.  
  6. Choose your battles. We are all part of the urban ecosystem so you may have to come to terms with the squirrel taking some of the crops. Observe what they seem to destroy. For example, I lost many tomatoes to the  squirrels however, they never seemed to find the cucumbers. Once again the key being avoid leaving open soil for the them to identify as perfect digging grounds.

Take it or leave it

Other solutions will come up often on gardening blogs. You may want to give them a try. Many have mixed results, we cannot say enough that the real solution is a physical barrier.

  1. Save orange and lemon rinds during the winter. Once spring comes along bury them close to the surface to keep them from digging up your garden.
  2. Scatter dog or human hair in the garden. In some cases  the smell of a dog or human will keep those pesky squirrels at bay.
  3. Install a motion activated sprinkler. Usually use for cats and rabbits these sprinklers can be effective at keeping squirrels out of your garden.
  4. Leave out water for them. Squirrel seems to love those tomatoes and cucumbers, but why only one bite? The leading theory is that they are looking for hydration. Place a source of water in your garden. If the squirrel do not thank you, other beneficial insects like butterflies are searching for a source of water. If the squirrels don’t leave your tomatoes alone the other creature will thank you.
  5. Make a spicy cayenne pepper solution. Squirrel do not like spice, and this solution can reduce damage in the garden but needs regular reapplications.  Similar to a homemade insecticide.  

Share your squirrels tips and pointers with us and we will add it to our dealing with squirrels page. Join our story #potagerMTL.


Keep your garden well watered!

The most common reason vegetable gardens in sunny location underperform is lack of water. You need to make sure to water deeply – at least 20 minutes for 10’ x 3’ vegetable garden. The best method to check that you have been watering sufficiently if to stick your finger in the soil, you want to the soil to be moist below the surface. Remember that if you have planted shallow seeds like radish, lettuce or carrots, you want to keep the surface of the soil moist to ensure that they germinate. If regular watering is difficult, you can set up a simple irrigation system with a weeping hose or sprinkler on a timer. Set up the timer for a an hour from 4:00-5:00, this way you will not lose water to evaporation in the hot sun and the topsoil has a chance to dry out before the slugs come out.