Seed Starting

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Tree Planting: A Step by Step Guide

ottawa gardening

Nature lover or not, everyone should contemplate adding a tree to their home’s outdoor space. We could go on and on about the environmental benefits of trees, but beyond their natural effect, trees can be a central part of your landscape design. Over the years, any tree – pine, oak, apple, maple, cherry – will grow along with your family. When you do decide to plant a tree on your property, it’s important that you choose the right location for your tree.

Why Tree Location Matters

When you’re planting a little seedling, location might not seem to matter much. Whether it’s in a corner near a fence or in the centre of your yard, does it matter? You need to think about the future size of the tree, sunlight requirements, soil requirements, and proximity to impediments like the driveway or fence. There are also safety considerations if tree roots will affect water lines or branches will grow to obstruct power lines. Location absolutely matters. In terms of sunlight and soil conditions, this will vary based on the tree species. Talk to an expert at Ritchie Feed & Seed to discuss the right location on your property.

Step 1: Dig Your Planting Hole

It is important that the hole is the right size for the root ball – it shouldn’t be too big or too small. How do you know the right size? As a general rule, dig deeper than the depth of the container you buy the tree in. The hole should also be 3” wider than the width of the container (which you’ll remove later). Keep the soil that you dig, because you’ll reincorporate this with fresh soil later.

Step 2: Preparing the Root Ball

Remove excess packing materials around the base of the tree. Remove the pot. If necessary, gently loosen the tree roots if they’re tightly bunched together to keep your tree grow in solidly.

Step 3: Time to Fertilize

Add transplant fertilizer or bone meal fertilizer to the planting hole. MYKE for shrubs and trees is added now. To help promote better root growth, ask us at Ritchie for more ifnromation about MYKE. Set your tree in the centre of the hole. Orient the tree so that the most “attractive” side of the tree faces where it will be seen most as it grows over the years.

Step 4: Fill the Hole

Back-fill the hole with high-quality fresh planting soil from your local Ritchie Feed & Seed garden centre, mixed with soil from the planting hole. Tamp the soil and water well.

Step 5: Continual Care

Water the tree deeply on a weekly basis until the fall. Consider installing a stake to keep the tree stable in rough weather. You won’t need to fertilize again during the first 12 months, but regular watering is very important.

If you have any further questions about planting a tree in your outdoor space or would like to visit our garden centre to pick out a tree for purchase, Ritchie Feed & Seed is here to help. We offer more than 100 varieties of trees for planting, including ornamental trees and fruit trees.

Grow Your Own Garlic

ottawa gardening

If you’re interested in growing garlic, rather than buying it at the grocery store, you should know that your goal is definitely easy to achieve. You may grow garlic at home without needing to put in much time and effort, as long as two key elements are in place. These are good soil and sufficient moisture.

In order to enjoy the tastiest, healthiest garlic, you’ll also need to learn the best times to plant and harvest.

Now, let’s talk about how to grow your own garlic. Our helpful quick guide from our Ottawa garden store will give you the power to enjoy fresh garlic whenever you want to, right from the comfort and privacy of home.

When to Plant Garlic

It’s important to plant garlic at the right time and this is about one month before the earth freezes in your garden. This timing can vary, but typically in Ottawa you should plant in September or October. It’s possible to plant as early as six weeks ahead of anticipated freezing time. However, a month is definitely enough time for most people.

You’ll find that roots begin to flourish shortly after your planting day. Your goal should be to foster excellent development of roots, before each garlic plant becomes dormant. During autumn, you may notice a few green shoots and this is normal.

How to Get Soil Ready

The best garlic for superior garlic growth is loose and fertile. You may loosen up earth by using a digging fork in order to break it up. After you do this, add two to three inches of organic matter to the earth, in an even layer. Then, use the digging fork in order to incorporate it into your soil.

Organic matter is often a combination of leaf mold, old rabbit droppings and compost. You may also buy mixtures ready-made. It’s important to avoid planting garlic in the same place two years in a row, so find a new place for it if this isn’t your first attempt to grow it.

Next, make space for planting by creating furrows which are shallow and about six inches away from each other.

Come into our Ottawa garden centre to find the best garden soil for garlic growth.

How to Plant the Garlic

To prepare the garlic, just break some cloves from each bulb apart two days before you plant – make sure that the wispy husks of the garlic are intact. You’ll be planting cloves. Just space them an inch or two apart in the furrows.
As you can see, it’s really easy to grow garlic. Use your garlic in fresh Italian food, as a health remedy, a natural pesticide for your garden, and of course ward away vampires! Now that you know the drill, why not plant a garlic garden today?

Seed Propagation


Seed Propagation

Starting seeds indoors is an inexpensive way to raise an assortment of bedding plants and vegetables.  It is also an activity that children enjoy as well.




  • Seeds
  • Soiless mix.  Promix™ is a good choice because it is light and easy for seedlings to break through.
  • Seed flats and inserts or peat pots or Jiffy peat pellets
  • Mister bottle
  • Plant labels



Starting your seeds


  1. Moisten your starter mix with warm water and work through the mix with fingers.  Try to eliminate all dry clumps.
  2. Place moistened mix in the containers to about ¼” from the rim.  Tap down to rid the soil of air bubbles.
  3. Read the instructions on the seed packet.  In some cases, it may be necessary to soak the seeds before planting.  Plant large seeds about 2 times the width of the seed deep.  For fine seeds, use an old saltshaker to sprinkle them into the container.
  4. Lightly cover seeds with soil mixture.
  5. Label the seeds.
  6. Place newly seeded containers in a warm sunny (but not direct sunlight) area for germination.  These containers can also be covered with plastic dome to create a greenhouse effect.
  7. Soil should be kept moist but be careful not to overwater as the seedlings will “damp off” that is, will fall over.  A product called “No Damp” can be used to inhibit rotting.
  8. When seedlings have grown their first set of real leaves, it is time to space them out.   The dome should also be removed to encourage air circulation.
  9. Before planting the seedlings in the garden, harden them off by preparing them for outdoor conditions.  You may begin the process two weeks before planting them in the garden by placing them outdoors (out of direct sun) everyday and taking them in during the night.
  10. When putting the seedlings in the garden, use transplanter fertilizer to give the plants a good start.



Direct seeding in the garden


Some plants should be directly seeded into your garden as they do not transplant well.


  • Lettuce;
  • Root vegetables such as carrots and beets;
  • Onions;
  • Radish
  • Spinach.


Commercial Turf

We also specialize in commercial turf for golf courses. To visit our commercial turf site please click here.

4D Agro Link

4D Agro is a software modeling service that provides continuous monitoring to help farmers and golf courses manage the nutrients in the soils. To learn more click here.