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Planting Outdoors

Happy May Long Weekend!

This is about the time when we Southern Albertans are given the green light to go wild in the garden. However, do so with caution because the weather can be unpredictable here. That being said, we are loving all the excitement for gardening this year! Thank you to everyone who has joined us for our weekly webinars, on GAKidsTV, on our social channels, and in-store! Your enthusiasm is AWESOME!

Colin included a great quote in today’s webinar that I want to include here:

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden”

– Ruth Stout

Whenever I see people chatting about spring, they’re almost always referring to their garden. What flowers are starting to pop up? What birds are out and about? It’s not hard to see why we get so excited to start growing. As we do start moving into the garden, this week’s webinar covered garden safety and garden essentials. There was a lot to cover, so if you’d like to view Colin’s beautiful and informative Powerpoint, click here.

We have more free webinars that you can register for now on Eventbrite!


In Southern Alberta, you’re almost always gambling with frost. Having a frost blanket can save some of your more tender plants.
  • Hardy Plants
    • Broccoli, Spinach, Peas, Pansies, Kale, Dianthus, Alyssum, Snapdragons
  • Tender Plants
    • New Guinea Impatiens, Lavender, Basil, Tomato, Pepper, Strawberry, Cosmos, Bacopa, Lobelia, Geranium.
Essential Tools

Before you start gardening, take note of the condition of your tools
  • Hose and Nozzle
  • Cultivator/Fork
  • Shovel/Trowel
  • Rake
  • Pruners/Shears/Knives
  • Plant Supports (Tomato/Peony Rings, Bamboo Stakes)
Do you need to replace anything? Do you need to clean or sharpen anything? Prep work can save you a lot of time and make gardening even more enjoyable. Preparing Soil This is essential at the start of the growing season. Build a strong foundation for your plants to flourish in. This week on GAKidsTV we covered soil amending, pH, and misconceptions. Essentially, you’ll want to add “stuff” to your garden. That could be in the form of compost for nutrition, peat moss, biochar, worm castings, etc.
  • Types of amending
  • For Garden Beds
    • Work amendments into the top 2-4″ of the soil. That’s where the roots are going to be. Any deeper, and the nutrients will just leach out.
    • Firm soil down – “Duck Walk”
    • Level the soil surface to create an even starting point for planting.
  • For Planters/Pots
    • Caution when using compost/topsoil. Consider an all-purpose mix like Promix.
    • Firm down, but don’t compact. Roots still need to explore!
  • When dealing with pH…
    • Calgary’s soil is fairly neutral (7) on the pH scale due to our clay and calcium-rich parent material.
    • pH matters because if your soil is too acidic or too basic, some plants will struggle with taking in nutrients.
    • If you’re curious about the pH of your soil, we carry soil testing kits!
Activate your Inner Book Worm
  • Research
    • How much sun does your garden receive?
    • Are you going to need more shade-loving or sun-loving plants?
    • Do your desired plants require companion plants for pollination like Apple trees?
    • Do your desired plants survive in zone 2? For example, cedar trees are considered annual here.
    • Do your desired plants require lots of maintenance?
    • Do you need to start some plants inside before transplanting them?
  • Plan
    • Where are your plants going based on lighting conditions, spacing, and environmental conditions?
Sun Safety

The sun is essential for plants and humans. It’s a Vitamin D source, reduces stress, and is good for moving our bodies. However, we have to be careful. As a professional landscaper, Colin has struggled with the negative side of the sun including dehydration, sunburn, heatstroke, headaches, and fatigue. Colin briefly spoke about his experience with skin cancer. Sun exposure is something we need to take seriously, so make sure you’re prepared with water, SPF 50, a hat, UV protective glasses, and light clothing when out in the garden.

Breathe. Take it in. 

Garden isn’t a chore. Slow down and appreciate all the effort you’ve put into the garden. Proudly post that selfie. Share your experience with others. Don’t feel like you need to complete your garden in a single weekend. A garden is never truly finished. Take breaks. Take care of your body. Have fun!

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