Plan to make your garden grow

February is a short, cold month where thoughts of gardening are often buried as deeply as the fields under the snow. But it’s a great time to look ahead to warmer weather and do some planning for your gardens, be it vegetable, flower, or a combination of both.

Now is a good time to curl up with a hot drink, check out seed catalogues, and decide on what to plant in the spring. Some plants need to be seeded many weeks in advance of outside planting, so by getting your seed lists sorted out now, and ordering the seeds you need, you will be ready in March to get your seedlings started. If you saved seeds from your garden or have leftover seed from last season, now’s the time to inventory and organize them.

We’re fortunate in PEI to have wonderful sources of seeds available. Veseys have been in operation since 1939 in the community of York, PEI. They offer a wide range of certified organic seed, heritage seed, and untreated seed, all of which have been thoroughly tested for hardiness and growing properties right here in PEI. You can order your seeds online, should you not want to venture out to their shop. Another source of seed can be found at the Charlottetown Farmers Market at The Taco Farmers’ booth, they offer open-pollinated seed and heirloom seeds so your garden can be a diverse plot of plants. The PEI Seed Alliance was started a few years ago to promote seed saving and using open-pollinated heirloom seeds, and you can often find their seed at the Charlottetown and Summerside Farmers markets in the spring.

Local open pollinated seeds from Taco Farmers at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market//Photo credit: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

Along with doing your seed inventory and ordering, February is the perfect month for creating a garden plan. There’s something uplifting and promising about planning for the spring and summer when it’s minus 20 degrees outside! Grab a sheet of graph paper and map out your plot for the spring. Consider crop rotation and companion planting-many vegetables are finicky about who their neighbours are. Don’t forget to think about herbs and edible flowers-they are an important part of any garden!

There are many sources of great information online and gardening apps are becoming more popular to use as well. Just remember to ensure that the information (especially regarding planting times) is accurate for our gardening zone. The Island is generally thought to be Zone 5a or 5b, but you can verify that at planthardiness.gc.ca. Another classic source of information for planting and all things gardening is the Farmers Almanac which is available in stores or online.

About Cheryl Young

A “Jill of all trades” describes Cheryl to a T. From operating her own handyperson company, to selling luxury cars, to working as a film and TV crew member, her resume is diverse. But her dream as a kid was to be a journalist and she started down that path many years ago at CBC Charlottetown. Returning to her journalism roots, she’s excited to be editing Salty’s content and occasionally writing herself.

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