With this mild wintry weather in Vancouver BC, it is time to start planning for the spring. Garden planning for Spring starts with finding the “Last Frost Date” for our city, which in average is March 27th. Using this day we can calculate when to start seeds indoors and outdoors. These dates can be calculated manually, or automatically using online calculators such as: https://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/seed-planting-schedule-calculator.html or https://www.groworganic.com/organic-gardening/seed-planting-calculator.
Once we know when to start seeding indoor our favorite crops (such as broccoli, kale, tomatoes, and peppers) we collect all materials and supplies for growing seeds. The most important equipment needed for success is a rack with growing lights and a timer. Seedlings need between 16-18 hours of light to grow. Watering should be done as needed. If it has a cover, the rack should be vented now and then, otherwise focus in keeping the soil moist.
WHAT TO PLANT:
In January we focus in seeding our favourites: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and lettuce. So we have plant material ready to transplant into garden beds by mid March (before spring break) or early April. In February we focus in seeding basil, marigolds, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, and beets.
In March we focus in preparing garden beds, amending and tilling the soil. So we can sow directly cool crops (asparagus, arugula, corn salad, mesclun, radishes, carrots, onion sets). Soil preparation offer a good opportunity to observe the abundance of earthworms that survived the winter. In particular when leaf mulch was added to open beds before the winter.
As spring brings longer and sunny days, we suggest to keep hoop houses on, until night temperatures are above 10°C (50°F). During mild weather hoop houses should be vented and watered. This approach allows us to start the gardening season in early March.