The snows are flying right now but your spring garden will be sprouting before you know it. Niki Jabbour is Horticulture's resident columnist regarding growing edibles, and she's one-fourth of the Savvy Gardening crew. Here are her tips for what to be doing now for your spring garden.
Many gardeners grow their onions from sets, but you can also sow onions seeds in January and February. It’s easy, and it allows you to grow fantastic onion cultivars not available as sets. You’ll need a clear plastic lidded container—like a storebought salad container, potting soil and seeds.
Poke some drainage holes, add a three-inch layer of pre-moistened potting soil to the container and sow the seeds, spacing them about a half-inch apart. Close the lid, label the variety and place the container in a shaded space outside, like underneath deck furniture. By April, the onion seedlings can be moved to the garden.
Sow Even More
Besides winter sowing onions outdoors, you can also start slow-growing edibles indoors now. I’m sowing seed for ‘Imperial Star’ artichokes, lavender, asparagus and pansies under my grow lights.
Order Your Seeds
If you haven’t yet placed your seed orders, it’s time to get on it. If you’re not sure what to order, check out the latest winners named by All-America Selections, the non-profit organization that evaluates new varieties across North America. Their 2018 winners include ‘Sweet American Dream’ corn and ‘Red Racer’ tomato. I’m a huge fan of other recent winners ‘Dolce Fresca’ basil, ‘Delizz’ strawberries, ‘Prizm’ kale and ‘Cornito Giallo’ pepper.
Harvest If You're a Year-Round Gardener
If you are a year-round vegetable gardener like me, you’re probably still harvesting homegrown kale, arugula, Asian greens, mache, parsley, scallions, beets, carrots and parsnips. Root crops can be dug at any time—just pull them from cold frames or dig them out of mulched garden beds. For leafy greens, however, you’ll need to wait until they have defrosted in their season extenders. Even on frigid winter days, most crops in cold frames and mini hoop tunnels will defrost from mid-morning until late afternoon, allowing ideal harvesting conditions.
Niki Jabbour is an author and edibles expert from Halifax, Nova Scotia, who believes that a long Canadian winter shouldn't mean an end to the homegrown harvest.
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To read more tips for spring garden planning here is what our Landless Gardener blogger, Jennifer Smith, has to suggest.