Monday, April 22, 2024
Gardening for BeginnersHow-to

More tips for planting early

If you have read Getting Started in the Garden, here are additional tips to consider if you want to not wait for warmer weather to get started planting early in the garden.

Weather protection tips
  • Rest large pots on wheeled stands so that they can be rolled into garages or sheds more easily if you start planting them early. Borrow your kid’s skateboard or wagon if you must!
  • Put some sturdy hooks in the garage or garden shed to hang baskets on cold nights.
  • Insert some plant stakes around the edges of large containers or in garden beds. Leave them there until the May long weekend so that you can quickly run out and cover plants with frost blankets even after dark. Use special frost blankets sold at garden centres, burlap or old sheets and blankets. Avoid plastic.
Tough love

Another tip for planting early is hardening off your plants.

Hardening off means exposing plants to the outdoors gradually for at least a couple of days or even a week. Annuals and perennials start their lives in climate-controlled greenhouses where they are pampered to perfection. They have not yet known the challenges of outdoor life including intense sun, drying winds (especially those experienced in the Chinook band) and wild temperature fluctuations. Accustom your new charges gradually as follows:

  • Unless the weather is very nasty, place plants (even sun-worshipping plants) in a shady place protected from wind in the daytime if you decide to start planting them early.
  • Water them well unless it is already rainy or damp out. Outdoor winds very quickly strip moisture from plants in small pots.
  • In the evening put your plants in a garage, garden shed or cold frame. Avoid bringing them into a warm house unless the nighttime temperature in the garage or shed will be below freezing.
  • Each day, expose the plants to a little more sun and don’t forget to check moisture levels regularly. Keep the plants very moist but do not let pots sit in pooled water.
  • After several days to a week, plant your now toughened plants in their beds or pots. Be prepared to move the pots or cover the plants if frost threatens.