Spring has sprung and May long weekend is coming up which means it’s nearly gardening season. We’ve compiled a list of tips to prepare for planting time.
1.Plan out your gardening space.
Where do you want to put your garden? Is it a space in your backyard, a community shared garden or a few windowsill pots? A good thing to note when you find your spot is how many hours of sun comes through. If you’re using an outdoor space, keep in mind that you’ll need to walk through the garden to weed, water and harvest, so plan for some walking paths.
What do you want to plant? If you’re a beginner, lettuces are your go-to. They’re quick, easy to plant, and a no-fuss situation when it comes to taking care of them. Hint: remember to take a peek at the back of seed packets to make sure the seedlings will have enough space, sun and water.
2. Some plants need more time. Plant those seedlings indoors, early.
If you’re in a cold climate like Winnipeg where the growing season is short, some plants won’t have enough time to mature and give you your veggies (we’re looking at you tomatoes!) If you can, stay ahead of the curve and plant the seeds indoors in little seedling cups, keep them warm and humid and they’ll turn into small plants you can eventually transfer to your garden.
Train the indoor plants to be outdoor plants.
Sounds silly, but when you’re transferring plants from indoors to outdoors, they won’t be used to direct sun or the strong winds. By letting them sit outdoors for a couple hours each day they’ll adapt and be ready for the outdoor atmosphere.
3. Raised beds have longer growing seasons and other benefits.
There are some great benefits to having raised garden beds. They’re higher off the ground which means they’re easier for the sun to reach, they’re a bit further away from some types of bugs, and it’s more friendly for your back since everything is closer to you.
4. Be proactive with pest prevention.
Water the soil instead of the leaves to prevent fungal issues (especially with squashes).
Wrap one inch of tinfoil around the base of tomato plants to keep cutworms from doing exactly what it sounds like: cutting and eating your plants.
If you live near deer, rabbits or other herbivores, consider a fence and plant any particularly trailing plants (beans, tomatoes, peas) closer to the middle so you don’t wake up one morning wondering who stole your veggies.
Place some marigold flowers around your veggies to prevent worms and aphids from taking over your garden. They don’t like the smell of the flowers! Plus, your garden just got cuter.
5. Pair short plants with tall plants.
By planting short plants (lettuces, spinach, carrots) in between your taller plants (tomatoes, beans, peas) you’ll have less to weed, the taller plant’s bases will be shaded and dry out more slowly, and you’ll have more room. More room = more veggies!