Spring has officially sprung—according to the calendar, at least. That means it’s time to start thinking about tending to your gardens (or soon-to-be gardens). The temperamental temperature of March can make it tough to gauge when to start working the soil – extremely low nighttime temperatures (like we’ve been having) can slow down, or completely halt, plant growth.
Therefore, make sure you allow the soil to warm up before you start planting, dividing, or moving items around. As with most things, there are exceptions: certain crops thrive in cool soil, such as spinach. In addition, if you’re considering growing Brussels sprouts, kale, lettuce, onions, or green peas, those can be put in the ground earlier than most other crops—a.k.a right about now.
March is also the time to fix (i.e. prune and/or detangle) winter damage and remove any diseased or dead branches since they’re more visible before leaves begin to flourish. But for the most part what March (and early April) is perfect for is planning.
A few things to consider are: Toronto’s “last day of frost” is considered to be May 9th, based on an over thirty-year average. This date comes in handy when seedlings need to be planted indoors a certain number of weeks before moving them outside.
Another helpful tip is to work with the sun when planning out your garden. Orient the rows north to south with the tallest plants at the east end and then eventually decreasing in height as they make their way west. By doing this, shorter plants won’t fall under the shade of taller ones in the late afternoon as the sun shifts from east to west.
Wondering where to buy supplies or eager to learn more about how to get started? Sheridan Nurseries—conveniently located just 10 minutes away from downtown Oakville by car—is not only where you can find everything from annuals, perennials, and specialty plants to patio furniture and outdoor accessories, but they also host learning sessions. The workshops in early April dig into how to start the gardening season right (we highly recommend them!).
There are two more garden centers in the area that we frequent and would definitely recommend to help you along the way: Cudmore’s (in Oakville) and Terra Greenhouses (with locations in both Milton and Burlington).
Did you know that with acres of lush green spaces throughout the town, Oakville has been working toward cutting out chemical pesticides in public spaces since 2002? To learn more about Oakville’s initiatives, just head to this Green Gardening link!