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The Awesome Planting Guide For Your Plants – Knowing When

We’ve got the research and experience to give you this awesome planting guide to know when to plant for people living in Mississauga.

Read on to find out how you can get the best and (probably) the most productive garden on your block!

Timelines for gardening: three seasons dates and deadlines for Mississauga zone.

January is the time of year for planning: resolutions, good will, ideas and preparations for the year ahead. There is no more obvious place to lay the groundwork for the year than in your garden.

Do You Know Your Zone?

Before you can start planning your planning, you have to know your hardiness zone. This was originally an American system to categorize plants, shrubs and trees by temperature zone. Basically, the lower the number, the colder the weather in the zone. Picking plants that are meant for an 8 zone, when you live in a 6, will likely leave you with a dead plant.

For Mississauga, we are currently a 6a (there is also a 6b, in case you were wondering). 6a is a little colder than 6b but when you are picking most plants, you will simply pick by hardiness zone 6. You can choose from among hardier plants (5,4,3…) as well. We say ‘currently’ because global warming is having an effect on the hardiness zones. There are sources that say that Mississauga is now a 6b but for the gardener planning their next year’s garden, the number you need to remember is 6.

Know Your Frost Free Date

This is an ever changing target but in the GTA, you can reliably look to around Mother’s Day—in the area of May 9th— for the frost free date. This means that it is unlikely that we will experience severe frost after that date, making it relatively safe to start your planting. That said, it’s still best to leave less hardy plants and flowers—tomato plants, for example— for another month, if you can. Check your day and night forecasts from Environment Canada before you plant and remember that planting works best when the soil has had a chance to warm and dry up a little from the winter run off.

Highway 401 is a good demarcation point to use when considering your frost free dates. Above the 401? Wait an extra week or two after Mother’s Day. Proximity to the lake and to the general heat created in an urban setting like downtown Toronto affects the likelihood of late frost occurring.

January / February Planning

If you’re going to make changes to your garden this season, now is the time to plan them. Are you planning to add a water feature? You should get in touch with your local hardscaper to be sure that your plans are accurate, or to book them in for the Spring. Or maybe you’re going for a few more modest changes: just a couple of raised beds of perennials, perhaps? Are you planning a vegetable garden? Do your research now on plants and vegetables that are adaptable to your zone and check the dates for sowing / planting to get optimal return for the season, so you’re not scrambling later. Also, start checking out the seed catalogues and get your orders in, if you enjoy growing your garden plants from seeds.

March Planning And Action

By the middle of March, you should be starting to sow seeds indoors, if you really want to get a jump start on the season. Annuals like impatiens or vegetables such as peppers can be started indoors. Later in March, you can start sowing things like parsley, petunias and other more delicate florals.

April Planning And Action

If you’re into sowing seeds to prepare for Spring planting, this is the month when you really need to get it in gear!

  • Early to mid-April — tomatoes, onion, lettuce all should be sowed now.
  • Mid to end of April — cucumbers, herbs, cabbage and annuals such as morning glories and marigolds.

Once the daytime temperature is consistently above freezing, you can start preparing your beds:

  • Rake off winter debris of old leaves and clear twigs, branches or other materials.
  • Add compost and manure.
  • If you haven’t started already, now is a good time to start composting. You’ll have a good base with the old leaves you raked off.
  • Rake your lawn to get up the old, dead grass.

Late in the month of April and IF there has been no further frost, you CAN start to plant hardier items like peas, turnips, onions, radishes, and pansies. Just remember that a late, hard frost is always possible, right into the middle of May.

May Planning And Action

Once the threat of frost is well and truly over, you can start planting out some of the plants you were sowing indoors. If you prefer not to grow from seeds, you can start visiting your local garden centre and picking out the plants—annual and perennial—that you had planned for your beds. You may still want to have covers handy (old bed sheets or row covers): in case of a sudden frost, just pop them over your new transplants to keep the frost at bay.

June / July / August

Enjoy your garden! Summer is fleeting so spend time in your garden and if you want to do any autumn planting, check out our previous post on the subject! It will help you to plan what will work and what won’t, as well as give you a list of things you can do to start preparing your garden for winter.

Lawn care at this point is a lot about maintenance but you can also start planning for the winter by doing some overseeding / sodding where it’s needed.

September / October Planning and Action

Now is the time to start getting your lawn and garden ready for winter and the first frost, which can be as early as the first days in October. You don’t want to be caught short and have all that hard work go to waste! Also, there is a lot you can do to prepare your lawn and garden for next year’s planting, to ensure that you get a maximum return on your green thumb efforts!

It’s a great time of year to check in with your local landscaper / hardscaper to make sure that your projects are ready to start work when the ground thaws or give us a call for some friendly landscaping advice.

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