Mild February creates gardening temptation

It might only be February, but it's not too early to start thinking about that summer garden.

Calgary's plant hardiness zone has moved from 3 to 4A

It might only be February, but it's not too early to start thinking about that summer garden.

These frost-free days do create some confusion for plants and gardeners alike, so we asked horticulturalist Kath Smyth for some gardening advice at this time of year. 

The biggest news is that Calgary has changed gardening zones from a Zone 3 to a Zone 4A.

"It's based on the number of frost-free days that we have, and it's based on the number of days in the wintertime when we go below -45 C for more than five days in a row," Smyth said. "Although we still get cool nights, we are extending the growing season."

Smyth said the zone change "opens up a realm of interesting new flowering shrubs" for Calgary gardeners to grow. 

And while the lack of snow might have many people starting to think about cleaning up their gardens and getting them ready for the growing season, Smyth's advice for this time of year is simple. 

"Chill," she said. It's too soon to start thinking about digging anything up or removing ground cover. 

Stay off the grass, advises Kath Smyth of the Calgary Horticultural Society. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

"I like to tell people it's time to really get to the garden centre and see what's new, what's exciting," Smyth added.

"The biggest thing I don't want people doing is walking on the grass, walking on their soil. By walking on the ground we are creating compacted soil, and compacted soil is really hard for drainage of your property."

If you're desperate to get some plants in the ground, try tomatoes, Smyth said. 


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