With the first day of spring only 35 days away and the recent mild temperatures, gardeners have gotten into the mindset of planning for the upcoming season.  

Leslie Cornell the owner of Cornell Design and Landscaping says planning is the only thing you can do right now, as the weather isn’t warm enough to start planting.  

“Whether that would be a vegetable garden or a vegetable container, maybe it’s an annual garden, your perennials, or a tree or shrub,” says Cornell. “Now is the time to figure out what you need. You can start checking at seed suppliers and get that organized.” 

In addition, Cornell adds that this is the perfect time to begin booking your trees and shrubs through garden centres.  

For those that want to get a head start on planting their herbs indoors to have them ready for May, Cornell says that this time of the year is perfect to do so, as long as you have a grow light.  

“Without a grow light you’ll have a stringy herb that will need a vine to attach to.” 

Herbs are the only thing that Cornell recommends to start now, as she says if vegetables are planted now, they won’t last when it comes time to put them into your garden.

“If you start tomatoes seeds now, they are going to be so out of shape and there’s no way they’re going to make it and be a proper plant when it comes time to plant them at the end of May. It seems nice but it’s not time, we’re going to have a full winter yet.” 

So, if you can’t start your plants now, when is the best time to start putting those seeds in the ground? 

Cornell explains the answer to that question lies within the plant and the time it needs to grow. In most cases, the appropriate time frame will be listed on seeds packaging or the internet will answer that question too.  

“If the seeds are going to take a long time to germinate you need to start them sooner and if the plant is a slow-growing plant, you will have to start it sooner. The packaging may tell you to start seven weeks before the last frost.” 

Germination is the process of seeds developing into new plants. First, environmental conditions must trigger the seed to grow. Usually, this is determined by how deep the seed is planted, water availability, and temperature. 

Depending on what type of plant or vegetable you're working with, Cornell notes that people will actually plant them in succession a week at a time.  

Also, root crops such as potatoes can be put into the ground to start growing in early May, as long as you can keep the seedlings warm, which allows for an earlier planting process.  

The warmer weather the city has seen in the last week has also led to Cornell's phone ringing off the hook of gardeners wanting to prepare for this year.  

“What we’re getting right now is people looking for small seedlings, usually in large quantities to get them to plant in late May. We’re also doing a lot of full landscape designs for yards. I even have people calling to organize their annuals, some people know what they want for annuals and they’re calling to make sure we can get what they want.” 

When you are choosing your flowers or plants for this year, Cornell wanted to mention that this year Community in Bloom has identified purple for 2023. 

If you have any questions or want to make your order for 2023, contact Cornell at 306-693-8733.