In Ontario, our summers always seem to pass by far too quickly. For gardeners, this can mean a much shorter growing season than other parts of the country. Using a few of these tips, you can easily extend the gardening season and get the most out of your plants:
1. Know your microclimate
The first step to doing any gardening is to become familiar with your microclimate. North America is divided into different “hardiness zones” that can help you determine the best plants to grow. London is located in Zone 6a or 6b, so be careful to buy plants and seeds that will grow best in this zone so you can enjoy them for a longer period of time.
2. Start seeds early
If you’re planting seeds, we recommend starting them inside and gradually hardening the plants off during the spring so you can get the most out of the gardening season. Some seeds can be directly sown into the ground in the fall so they’ll be ready to come up after the last frost in the spring. Either way, it’s best to get a leg up and not wait until the conditions outside are perfect.
3. Take care of weeds
Weeds aren’t just an unsightly addition to your perfectly planted garden beds and landscaping — they also take up valuable space and nutrients that could be going to your plants. Weeding regularly, ruthlessly and throughout the season can help your plants grow their healthiest and strongest.
4. Choose plants that flower throughout the season
The plants you choose can also have a big impact on the length of the gardening season. If you only plant perennials or annuals that flower in June, your garden will be bare and colourless for the rest of the year. Try to choose a mixture of plants that flower throughout the spring and summer, so your garden always looks lush and lively.
5. Use a cold frame
Cold frames can be used during the early spring, and in the fall, to help protect your plants from any unexpectedly harsh weather. Cold frames are great for helping to keep indoor-grown seedlings protected in the spring while they’re adjusting to the outdoor temperatures. In the fall, they can help prevent certain cold-weather vegetables from going dormant, so you can continue to harvest them.