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Published on
April 21, 2017
Don’t have a yard in which to garden? Not to worry—your vegetables, flowers and herbs will be more than happy on the balcony and stairs.

While putting on the final preparations for the Great Gardening Weekend, which will be presented at the Jardin botanique from May 26 to 28, Jean-Pierre Parent, horticultural information officer at the Space for Life, took a few moments to share some tips on gardening small.

“Above all, don’t buy pots too small for your plants, as the nutrients will be depleted too fast. That’s a common mistake. Just as bathing your plants in water is, and adding a cachepot. You mean well, I’m sure, but that can cause root rot. The water must be allowed to drain.”

Fleur de... pied de céleri!

The secret lies in the climate

Choosing the right potting medium is also important, as the proper balance between earth and compost is essential. On this subject, the series of four blog posts by Jean-Pierre is highly instructive. The Space for Life green pages are also a good source of information on how to strike the right balance.

“To ensure that your plants don’t go to seed under extremely hot conditions (and thus become inedible), start by planting cool weather vegetables in May, such as lettuce, kale, spinach and radishes.”

Once the hot weather sets in, shift your production to heat-loving plants from seedlings first grown indoors, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and beans.

“Some seed companies have begun to develop miniature vegetable varieties better suited to growing in pots. That’s another thing to consider when you’re buying.”

Jean-Pierre Parent


Baby-boomer Jean-Pierre, holder of a bachelor of agriculture, is a keen observer of developments in his field. He has noted a significant change in the past few years, with the arrival of a new generation of horticulturists onto the scene.

“Urban agriculture has grown increasingly popular, and horticulture graduates are coming up with edible beds, by interspersing asparagus, fruit and nut trees, tree onions, fiddle-heads, and so on, between the flowers.”

The agroforestry and permaculture movement, developed in tropical countries where ecosystems depend on them, has begun to take root here as well. As part of the Great Gardening Weekend, a young horticulturist will present a lecture on edible arrangements and perennial food plants, such as sorrel or Jerusalem artichoke, on May 26 at 1:30 p.m.


To mark Montréal's 375th anniversary and its 20th anniversary, the Great Gardening Weekend opens its doors to visitors free of charge on Friday, May 26. Take the opportunity to discover the event's new urban agriculture component, where you'll also find rare plants.

The Botanical Garden will play host to six conference speakers, along with 80 exhibitors. If aquaponics, extreme gardening, green fertilizer, forest gardens and gastronomic landscaping pique your interest—don't miss it!

Are you a fervent urban agriculture enthusiast? Check out Summer school in urban agriculture.

Celebrating 375 years of history!
In 2017, Montréal will bustle like seldom before, as the city reinvents itself, lights up and looks back on its rich history. Revisit the history of our rich metropolis and discover the urban projects that will transform our living environment.
Celebrate - click here