Despite another Alberta clipper moving through southern Manitoba, gardeners are turning their thoughts to spring planting. The weak weather system will bring only a few centimetres of snow but the wind is not expected to be as strong as it was with the last few clippers that moved through.

This is great news for people who are eager to get the ground ready for gardening.

“I thought I would share a photo of the pea greens growing on my kitchen windowsill. I plant regular garden pea seeds at this time of the year to use as salad greens. They are now at the stage that I clip them off to use as greens for salads or in sandwiches. Then I leave the “stubs” to regrow as more greens. They are delicious.” - Elsie Kathler, Steinbach and Area Garden Club. (Photo submitted)

Elsie Kathler is with the Steinbach and Area Garden Club. She says we are in the "dreaming stage" as it's referred to by gardening enthusiasts. This means gardeners are looking through seed catalogs and their gardening journals from last year.

Journals are a good way to track the plants that did well in each location. This makes it easier to sketch out plans for this year, Kathler says.

The garden club has noticed an increase in the number of new gardeners who are looking to grow their own food.

“In particular the younger generation,” Kathler says. “The 20, 30, 40-year-olds that normally would not have been into gardening but now are approaching that. The other part of that is to make sure that it’s sustainable gardening. That we’re gardening in harmony with the environment.”

Sustainable gardening means growing plants that are water conscious, she notes, as well as taking care of the soil.

“Making sure that we put compost back into the soil so that we enrich the soil that way. Making sure we don’t do too much of digging up of the soil. Because then we disturb the microorganisms in the soil that help our plants to grow. And planting varieties that are local.”

When looking for information on local varieties, Kathler suggests visiting local garden centres as well as the garden club's website.

One of the projects Kathler is really looking forward to is getting gardens ready at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach.