Here in Ontario, Canada, as I write this at 2:30pm on Friday March 3, I keep looking out the window for signs of what should be the last winter snowstorm of 2023, *fingers crossed* #amirite?
Winter ending is a celebration in itself, because well, I don’t think I have to explain how treacherous and dark and gloomy winter can feel (apologies if you are a winter-loving, snowboard, skiing, hot chocolate drinking, tobogganer). Regardless of which squad you are a part of, there is always the other celebration that comes with this time of year, and that is anticipating spring. Spring is lovely, warm, hopeful, and “not too hot, not too cold...all you need is a light jacket.”
Gardeners, homeowners/renters, somewhat outdoorsy people, those who are generally good, will look forward to green grass, cute little tree buds, daffodils, longer days, cute critters, and perhaps even the excitement of starting their own garden, or at least enjoying their neighbours’ gardens (that counts too I promise). If you are a person who is looking forward to starting your garden, here are some things you can start planning for!
Do you already have a garden? If not, do you want to start a traditional-in-the-ground-garden or do you want to start gardening in a raised garden bed (a recently very trendy option)?
- Traditional gardens are great for taking up space in your front yard and adding brightness with blooming flowers or hearty shrubs. Traditional gardens are also great if you have a good chunk of land and plan on having rows and rows of flourishing veggies and herbs.
- Raised garden beds are great if you are lacking in regards to yard space, but still want to grow your own produce. They are also great for cultivating gorgeous florals in front of your home, on your balcony, and/or your back patio or deck. Even if you have enough land for a in-the-ground-garden, but don’t want the hassle of digging up your yard, raised garden beds are the perfect solution.
Now that you’ve decided what type of garden you want, let's think, seeds, bulbs, seedlings, or mature transplants.
- Seeds - you’ll want to plant your seeds around six weeks prior to the last frost in your area, indoors.
- Bulbs - you probably already started your bulbs the previous fall or early winter. You can keep an eye out for them starting to come up in early February, March, or early April. As soon as the first shoots break through the ground of your garden or raised garden bed, rake back your winter mulch and work fertilizer into the soil. Put the mulch back over the bulbs, and let the fertilizer do its thing to feed your bulb babies.
- Seedlings - if you started your seedlings inside tend to those and then transplant them 3 weeks after they’ve sprout. If you are buying seedlings to transplant, decide when you want to transplant them outdoors to your garden, and buy seedlings that have three to four true leaves. The rule of green thumb is usually to wait until the last frost date has passed. A better rule of green thumb is to wait until the night time temperatures are steadily at or above 10 degrees celsius (50 degrees fahrenheit).
- Mature transplants - such as spring annuals, can be planted in March, and will last until May or June. Mature transplants, such as summer annuals, can be planted in May. In regards to veggies, things such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, leeks, and lettuce, can be planted early-mid march and onwards.
You can also plan your gardening based on the level of maintenance you want with your plants.
- More maintenance flowers and plants that are worth the hard work: Zebra Plant, Azalea, Orchids, Boston Fern, Elephant Ear, Weeping Fig, Roses, and Monsteras.
- Less maintenance flowers and plants that will brighten your home: Barlow Columbine, Hydrangeas, Peonies, Echinacea, Hostas, Spotted Laurel.
- More maintenance veggies: Cauliflower, Celery, Sweet Corn, Eggplant, and Artichokes.
- Less maintenance veggies: Carrots. Green Beans, Cucumbers, Spinach, Bell Peppers, Radishes, Lettuce.
- The good news about raised garden beds is that they overall require less maintenance, as they have a controlled growing climate, less weeds, and the soil ecosystem is maintained naturally.
If you are wondering what type of manure and soil you should use, check out our other blog posts: