What can I plant now?
Spring Planting in Niagara!
This time of year we get a lot of people asking us…
“When can I plant this outside?”
So when DO you plant your gardens or planters? Well, if you want to be totally safe, then just wait to plant until after the last frost date. This can be determined with your weather app or by checking the farmer’s almanac for your area.
You can find that here: https://www.almanac.com/gardening/frostdates/ON
For Fort Erie, for example, it give the last frost date as May 7th, 2023
Many people have generally used the May long weekend as a guideline of when to plant. This also represents our busiest weekend of the year! You’re more than welcome to come in and enjoy the hustle and bustle in the garden center that weekend, but you may also want to come in the weeks before! If you do end up buying your annuals and hanging baskets early you can absolutely put them out now! Just keep an eye on the weather and pull them back in the house if it looks like there’s a chance of frost!
So, when is the last frost date? We do know that the date will vary by region/gardening zone, but it can also vary by plant! Some plants are more cold tolerant than others. Let’s take a look at some of the general rules.
WHAT TO PLANT BEFORE LAST FROST (April + Early May)
Trees, Shrubs, Fruit Trees, Roses, Grasses and Cold Tolerant Veggies, Some Perennials and Herbs.
WHAT TO PLANT AFTER LAST FROST (Late May)
Annuals, Hanging Baskets, Perennials, Warm Loving Veggies, Herbs and Pond Plants.
As you can see, not all vegetables are cold tolerant. This means, it’s best to plant at least twice in a season. Whether you’re starting your own seeds indoors or heading to the garden center to pick up your seedlings, you’ll want to do so in two stages. Usually, your seed packages will tell you when to start indoors and when to transplant outside. As a general rule, the plants that we currently have outside at the garden center are ready to go in your garden at home! Come on in and take a look at what we have!
Plants that are ready to plant now (early spring)
Broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, lettuce, swiss chard, onions, collards, turnips, parsnips, parsley, chives, arugula, peas & beets.
Then, you’re going to want to save your second round of planting veggies until well after the last frost date. If you’re coming into the garden centre, you’ll notice we still have these plants inside the greenhouse to protect them from frost!
Plants that need to wait until after last frost (late May)
Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumber, eggplant, beans, corn, zucchini, oregano, pumpkins, melon, rosemary, thyme, basil, cilantro & dill,
Don’t forget to harden them off! This means, you’ll be putting your plants outside in their grower pots for short periods of time for a few days/weeks before planting them in the garden. This gives them time to adjust to being outside. The hot sun and wind and varying temperatures can be very hard on your plants if you don’t take time to do this crucial step!
Want to sow directly into the garden from seed? Some of your veggies will love (and maybe prefer) this!
Arugula, beets, carrots, chives, cilantro, collards, corn, dill, green beans, okra, onions, parsley, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes and spinach love to be planted directly in your garden bed or planter - right from seed! With the exception of peas and turnips, most of them prefer to wait until later in the spring! Wait until the last chance of frost has passed so the soil is easy to turn and starting to warm up!
Not sure when to start your seeds? Check out this helpful image Seeds Now from https://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2020/07/year-round-gardening/
Want to see a detailed planting schedule? Check it out here: