How to Get Your Garden Started for the Season

Gardening tips for when to plant veggies, herbs and cheery flowers this spring

Hands are shown holding soil

It’s spring and there is no better time to start thinking about your garden. Focusing on a mix of both food and flowers will mean you’re picking fresh produce for your dinner plate throughout the summer and attracting valuable pollinators with an abundance of blooms. Here are some essential tips for creating a thriving—and colorful—garden for the warm months ahead.

Small space gardening

Small potted plants line a railing on a balcony

Even if you have a small space to work with, you can still squeeze in plenty of plants with a container garden. If you want to grow veggies, like tomatoes, you’ll want to make sure your porch, deck, driveway or garden gets at least six to eight hours of sunshine a day. And don’t forget to water

Choose the right soil

A gardener kneels to dig up some soil

A lot of soil bags these days have very clear labelling regarding the gardens they’re meant to go into. For example, you’ll want potting soil formulated for vegetables for your containers—garden soil is too heavy for pots. In raised beds or in-ground gardens, you can amend the existing soil with a layer of compost. If you don’t have your own compost pile, you can find bags of compost—some may say shrimp, mushroom, or manure—at your local garden centre. Compost adds valuable nutrients to the soil that will help your plants to grow.

Include cold-tolerant crops

A row of lettuce plants are covered with plastic sheeting

We often think of the May long weekend as that target date for pulling on the gardening gloves to plant heat-loving veggie seedlings, like peppers. However, some crops can be dug in sooner. Early to mid-spring, you can sow seeds for peas, root veggies, like carrots and beets, and members of the Brassica family, such as broccoli and kale. Keep an eye on extreme weather—you may want to protect delicate young seedlings with cloches (protective covers) or a row cover (or even a bedsheet) in the event of an unexpected snow or ice storm.

Scatter annuals for a rainbow of colour

A gardener kneels to plant some flowers

Seeds for pollinator-attracting annuals, like cosmos, zinnias and nasturtiums, can be sown directly into the ground once the soil warms up. Read the seed packet carefully.

Sow a little seasoning with herbs

Small pots of basil and marjoram are shown

Because of their ornamental qualities—foliage texture, colours and shapes—herbs make great additions to ornamental pots or throughout the garden. Look for interesting varieties of basil, sage, and mint. Pesto Perpetuo basil, for example, has a lovely variegated pattern on the leaves, plus you can harvest it to add to summer dishes and make pesto. Pineapple sage has gorgeous red blooms in late summer. Leaves can be enjoyed in cocktails or preserves. Meanwhile, chocolate mint is delicious as an herbal tea. Consider including a mix of flat-leaf and curly parsley, and creeping rosemary to cascade over the edges of a container.

Think ahead for warm-weather veggies

A woman picks cherry tomatoes from a garden

Determine your area’s garden zone and frost-free dates a to figure out when to start planting seedlings for warm-weather crops, like melons, tomatoes and cucumbers. They prefer warm soil and mild to hot temperatures.

Plan for your home, inside and out

Spring is a good time to take stock of your home insurance needs. A CAA Insurance Agent can take a look at your policy (even if it’s with another provider) to make sure it covers all your needs. Visit online today for details.

Keep reading

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Image credit: Courtesy of Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash, iStock.com/feelpic, iStock.com/shapecharge, iStock.com/akiyoko, iStock.com/Liliboas, iStock.com/uuurska, iStock.com/Zbynek Pospisil

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