ornamental winter plantsAll gardeners love their gardens and buying plants, but the economy has not sufficiently rebounded for most people to make large purchases of plants.

Ornamental plants usually go slow in sales partly due to the cool weather and partly due to the sluggish economy, with one exception — the sales of edibles, fruit trees and vegetable plants is increasing, for some garden centres as much as a 10-15 per cent increase. It comes as no surprise to those of us who are interested in growing our own veggies and food security that edible plants are one of the most popular plants sold at garden centres.

Despite the cool weather , now is a good time to plant trees, shrubs, perennials, vines and even annuals. Planting during cool weather is ideal for most hardy ornamentals, since they will take advantage of the abundant rainfall and cool temperatures to grow roots before the heat of summer arrives.

Annual plants like impatiens and geraniums may seem to languish in the cool weather, but even those plants will use the cool weather to grow roots and acclimatize to outdoor conditions.

As for vegetable plants, it may be a little cool yet to plant out small-sized veggie seedlings, which may be pounded by rains or chilled into submission by cool overnight temperatures. A useful trick for planting out veggies is to protect them with temporary plastic covers. Use clear poly sheets placed on top of plastic irrigation piping, old wire baskets or any other support material that you have. Be sure to vent the structure on warm days and seal it up before nightfall to keep those little seedlings warm.

Planting out early allows plants to make roots and get acclimatized to outside weather conditions before the heat of summer starts.

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