It’s Saturday, late March, 2013. This morning I was out walking Philly (my dog) and I was marveling that, “oh yeah, it became spring this week.”

But it sure doesn’t feel like spring here in Minnesota right now. We still have a heavy snowpack and was only 25° F outside this morning when I was walking the dog. But it’s good exercise and I do some of my best thinking on my dog walks-regardless of season.  I took the pictures this week from different parts of the trail we walk on.

As I am committing more and more energy to the Canning Season website, I’m starting to take notice of some of the things going on in the world of social media as related to the topic of home canning and food preservation. I was amazed to see that some people have already canned strawberry jam this year. They are so lucky!

The good news is we now have as much daylight as we do in September.  Plus, the days are actually brighter than normal because of all the sun that reflects off the snow. And just because there’s still snow on the ground, or maybe the growing season still hasn’t quite started where you live, doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking ahead to this summer’s harvest.

Here’s some things that should be on your to do list right now:

  • Have you bought your canning supplies yet? This is a good time to take stock of how many jars lids and other equipment you have. While the prices aren’t the best because you’re at the beginning of the season, the inventory is. When August comes around, here in the northern hemisphere, some places run out of jars and lids and other home canning supplies just when you need them most. I usedto recommend The Fresh Preserving Store as a great place to buy your canning supplies at any time.

Update, October 2013:  The Fresh Preserving Store doesn’t give free shipping so I now recommend you go to Amazon instead.  Cliicking on the link will take you to the Home Canning Page at Amazon (affiliate link)

  • There’s still time to start certain of your plants from seed or to buy plant stock. You should also be thinking ahead to ordering certain plant stock so that you have it in time to plant for this coming growing season. Burpee is where I bought the raspberries in my berry patch. This is the time a year to be ordering berries of all kinds as well as other plant material.  You can get free shipping on orders over $40 by clicking the image below the video.

    Burpee Gardening
    (affiliate link)

    The video below from Burpee is a great introduction to starting seeds indoors.

  • It’s time to start cleaning out your gardens.  Most parts of the country are fortunate that they don’t have a heavy snowpack still covering them like we do here in Minnesota. In those cases, now’s the time to clean out your gardens, your yards, and give thought to what you actually want to get started this year if you haven’t already. It’s still early enough to avoid that heavy rush that occurs at nurseries across the country in spring.
  • Now is the time to hire contractors.  If you have any heavy landscaping or construction type projects that you’re going to want to have done this year, now is the time to be having serious discussions with contractors. All the contractors I know and have worked with through the years, become amazingly busy here in Minnesota starting in May. Many become unreachable. I found through experience, that contacting them now in March and April, not only gets quick return to your phone calls, you often get better service because you’re early in line.

Even if you still are covered with snow, you can always be planning and thinking ahead to the next canning season and all the bounty it brings!