Too Cold to Plant ?Ten Things You Can Be Doing in the Garden Anyway

Here in zone 6a/b southwest Nova Scotia, it is still way to cold to plant. Trust me, it is . No matter how much I want to, I know it’s too cold. We need double digit days for at least a week before it happens, and it’s usually not until mid to late April.

But there are so many things I’m working on right now for the garden regardless. Doing these now, helps prevent overwhelm later:

1. Saving Egg shells for slug control- I wash, rinse, dry, and then crush my egg shells into jars to line my brassicas beds. We are quite damp here on our island and slugs are one of our worst pests. Egg shells slow them down.

Our composted manure sells like hot cakes in the spring. The teens bag it up for customers.

2. Making manure compost tea- in about 6 -8 weeks I will want to give my seedlings a nice feed of nutrients with manure tea. I put a sack of composted manure in a cotton sheet and steep it in a blue barrel for 3 weeks. Perfect.

3. Cleaning out the rabbits and the sheep pens-and then we add it to the beds that won’t be planted for a few months yet. It’s a green manure so it won’t burn the plants but with any green manure we still don’t use once the vegetables are in the ground.

4. Set aside skirted wool for mulch- I have a huge bag of wool specifically for mulching my fruit trees. It also will line the damp far side of my garden as it repels slugs as well. Sheep farmers usually have oodles of discarded wool so reach out to any sheep farmers you know.

5. Getting wood chips organized for walkways-when I’m already sore from shoveling, planting and hoeing, I like having this part already taken care of. Buying in bulk is best. Free is better. We got ours from the company who chips trees on the side of the highways, my dad who is a logger, or we chip our own from felled trees.

6. Starting seedlings-besides saving money, it gets you in the dirt earlier. It also allows you to do a little test run of seeds.

7. Sowing the cold frame full of greens-We just finished our crop of winter spinach and sowed arugula, lettuces, more spinach, and tatsoi about three weeks ago. It’s all germinating. Cold frames add a whole new dimension to the garden for growing.

8. Putting 6 inches of composted manure on no dig beds-not all our beds are no dig but the ones that are have been cardboard laid down and 6-8 inches of compost manure ( Charles Dowding is the No-dig king !)

9. Setting up structures for vertical support -peas, runner beans, cucumbers whatever you are planning on trellising, fix the support into place now , before planting , and you will never regret it.

10. Turn the compost piles -oh this just is one less thing you have to worry about when the heat of summer hits. And where else are you going to put all that garden waste? Whatever compost system you use, if you have added all your composted manure to your garden, it’s time to turn the next pile and start letting it break down.

I hope these tips help keep you active, and prevent overwhelm, and also help warm you up for when the garden prep hits its peak.

Love Jenn xx

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