The moment we’ve all been waiting for…. *drumroll* the big green thumbs up to plant our garden! Why do we have to wait until the May Long Weekend to do this? Well… we don’t have to wait. You can plant your garden when you like! Truthfully, you could have planted last weekend if you were in Calgary. However, Canada can be tricky when it comes to weather and seasons from year to year. May weather could be sunny or snowy which isn’t ideal for tender plants that haven’t been climatized. So, keep an eye on temperatures where you live, especially those overnight lows.
Work amendments together only 2-4″ down. Level your soil with a rake and do what Colin calls “the duck walk” on top of the soil to create a firm surface. Do not compact it. If it’s too compact, the roots can’t breathe. If it’s too loose, your plant will fall over. Find the happy medium. How you amend your garden beds will differ from how you amend raised planters.
To Thicken and Strengthen (used in garden beds)
To lighten and fluff up soil (used in raised planters)
Direct Sow VS Starter Plants
There are so many approaches to growing annuals, but below is a list if you’d like direction. Always a good idea to read individual seed packets to learn about your specific flower or veggie. For those seeds that don’t take long to mature, consider staggering growth to harvest throughout the season. For example, if you started lettuce at different times, then you wouldn’t have to eat all in one go. You could enjoy it throughout the summer!
- Direct Sow (Start from seed directly in the garden bed)
- Lettuce, Spinach, Parsnips, Cosmos, Sweet Pea, Beans, Radish, Carrot, etc
- Starter Plants grown indoors or from the garden centre
- Squash, Cucumber, Zinnia, Pumpkin, Tomato, Lavender, Geranium, Peppers
Adding Protection to Your Garden
We’re facing extreme weather in Canada, so keep an eye on your garden at this time in the year to ensure those more tender plants are kept safe. Here are some suggestions:
Garden Tool Kit
We get so excited to buy plants or seeds and often forget about the tools that will assist us in planting! Take inventory and make sure you’ve got everything you need before the big day.
- Seeding Square | LINK
- Hose & Nozzle | LINK
- Cultivator / Fork | LINK
- Shovel / Trowel | LINK
- Rake | LINK
- Pruners | LINK
- Plant Supports | LINK
- Trellis | LINK
- Netting | LINK
- Hydrogen Peroxide (For Cleaning Tools)
- Sharpening Stone (For Sharpening Tools)
It’s important to stay healthy while out in the garden. Prevention can go a long way in keeping you going throughout the gardening season. Make sure you’ve got your hat, sunglasses, gloves, SPF 50, and WATER! We always forget to keep ourselves hydrated! You may also want to invest in a kneeler to protect your knees, stretch, and make sure you’re wearing loose and light clothing. It’s also a good idea to consider gardening in the cooler parts of the day, like the early morning.
We need to remember that gardening is a marathon and not a sprint. Remember to enjoy the garden, take selfies, and ask for help.
Benefits & Cautions around the Sun
Obviously, sunlight is essential for photosynthesis. It’s good for us too! We benefit through intake of Vitamin D, it alleviates stress, helps with sleep, and helps keep us moving. We do need to be aware of some side effects when we’re out in the garden for prolonged periods of time. Too much direct sun exposure could result in dehydration, sunburn, skin cancer, heat stroke, sun stroke, fatigue, and more.