Ask any gardening enthusiast and they’ll tell you the wait for warmer weather in some parts of Canada is torture. For many, Victoria Day or May 24th seems to be the most agreed-upon date for safely planting anything, except for pansies. Until then, you run the risk of a late-night frost and death to anything you’ve put in the ground. However, upon further review (and some tips from a seasoned horticulturist) there may be a few other varieties that are frost hardy and ready to plant.
Vegetables & Fruit
Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage can be directly seeded into your garden mid to late April, assuming the ground is not frozen. Members of the Cruciferae (mustard family), these crops are cool-season vegetables that grow best at temperatures between 60 F and 68F. Other vegetables to plant in early spring include lettuce, spinach, onions, beets, potatoes, and peas. Raspberries, strawberries, currants, rhubarb, and all fruit-bearing shrubs are also frost tolerant.
A little more temperamental, herbs need to be introduced to cold weather gradually an hour or two a day to become acclimatized. Once they’ve become used to the lower temperatures and direct sunlight (about 10 days), herbs are safe to plant in the garden.
Shrubs & Trees
Not surprisingly evergreens are suitable for early May planting, while perhaps a bit surprisingly, most perennials, flowering shrubs, trees, and roses can be planted in early May. Confirm at the nursery where you are purchasing your plants that your choices have not been force-green in a greenhouse as they will be less hardy.
Perhaps one of the most important elements of your garden, at least in the suburbs, where neighbours compete for the best-kept lawn. Grass is a cold crop! So pick up some seed and fertilizer to pump up your patch!
Head to your local garden retailer today and explore what’s available – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!