Don’t let balmy temps fool you – winter’s not over yet! But if your green thumb is starting to itch, you can start planning your spring in anticipation of the garden’s awakening no matter what the temperature is like outside. There’s lots that can be done while the snow melts and freezes over and over around your Edmonton home.
Dreaming of Daffodils
While the weatherman ponders whether flurries are on the way or slush is the order of the day, curl up with a hot cup of tea and start making plans. This is when you can browse your favourite seed catalogues on your iPad or flip through the newest gardening blogs, magazines or books you might have picked up at the store or nearest Edmonton library. February is a great time to be creative and sketch out what you’d like to do when you can finally get a shovel in the ground. Think about what flowers or shrubs you’d like to plan of what you’d like to start growing from seed in a sunny window or green house. Go shopping and buy some seeds along with other get-gardening-get-growing things like trays, soil and peat pots. You may feel that it’s too early, but you don’t want to wait for too much more time to go by because you might be disappointed. Super popular varieties of seeds can often be sold out by the end of the month.
Create your own bedding out plants by getting a head start indoors. Some plants can be started indoors right away, like geraniums or begonias and impatiens. They should be planted in mid-February through until about mid-March. This is the optimal time frame for planting seeds. People often make the mistake of planting too early. The goal is for your indoor plants to be hardy enough that they can go outside and be transplanted in your garden by - cross your fingers - the May long weekend. There are a lot of annual plants that do well started indoors right about now, such as petunias or the ever-popular squirrel repellant, marigolds. Bulbs are another thing that you can start inside. Lilies do well as do dahlias and even gladiolas can be potted in soil and placed in a bright sunny window. If you’re late to the party and it’s March before you’ve gotten organized, you can start vegetables like tomatoes and peppers inside your home and herbs such as oregano, sage or basil.
Equipment for Indoor Gardening
If you lack the sunny conditions necessary to start plants indoors and you have plenty of room in a garage or basement, you can purchase grow lights. These are on 24 hours a day using high-efficiency bulbs that have all the light your plants will need without intense heat. Some people use them through out the winter season to grow microgreens, a new trend in nutrition. People grow plants with dark green leaves, such as beets or spinach and Swiss Chard. When the first leaves start to unfold, they are picked as used in salads or smoothies providing wonderful nutrients any time of year.
Should You Prune in February?
Trees are still dormant, even when there are above average temperatures in February. It’s a good time to prune your trees, especially fruits trees such as apple, cheery and plum. Anytime really between November and March. Pick a day that’s warmer for your own comfort.
Plan a 365 Garden
Your garden can be a showcase even in the winter, if you plan for it in the summer. You might be dreaming of flowers and vegetables right now, but think about evergreens as the foundation for your landscape. Ornamental grasses are very popular right now. Or consider some well-placed Mountain ash which have beautiful clusters of red berries that can last through the winter.
Consult with your local garden centre about which trees, shrubs and flowers work well in our Edmonton growing zone.