Plan for Spring Gardening Now

January is the perfect time to plan your garden for the coming spring and summer. All the festivity of the last few months has passed, leaving  a bit of a void. Paired with the dreary weather, it’s easy to get weighed down by the time of year. Instead, set your mind to planning for a bountiful spring and summer garden! 

Plant hardiness zones tell gardeners what plant species work best in their area, and give a general timeline of when to plant and harvest. Southwestern British Columbia falls into plant hardiness zones of 1-9; you can find out specifically which zone you fall into at the Natural Resources Canada website:, or specifically for British Columbia at Plant Maps:

The timeline for your zone dictates when you should start working on your garden. Rodale’s Organic Life gives a guideline, which you can find at For example:

Plant Hardiness Zones

Zone 3 – Northern BC: Preserve cuttings from fruit trees for grafting in April by wrapping in wet paper towel, seal in plastic bag, and store in freezer until spring.

Zone 4 – Central BC: Go through your seeds and throw out any that are old, and decide which seeds you’ll purchase for this year’s garden.

Zone 5 – Interior BC: Start seeds for hardy perennials, pansies, and snap dragons; push back any plants that have “heaved” out of the ground.

Zone 6 – Interior BC: Towards the end of the month, start seeds for onions, broccoli, cabbage, etc indoors under lights.

Zone 7 – West Kootenays and North Coast: Remove weeds from garden beds on warmer days, and get seeds started for cabbage and lettuce indoors.

Zone 8 – Lower Mainland, East Vancouver Island, and North Coast: Prepare your garden beds by adding mulch and compost, and shop local nurseries for asparagus roots, strawberry plants, and fruit trees.

Zone 9 – West Coast: Sow seeds of eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and geraniums in pots with peat moss, setting them on a sunny windowsill. Plant outside when the weather warms up.

You can find the full list of recommendations on their website. Are you a prepared gardener, or fly by the seat of your pants each year? What is your favourite plant?