Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Let the gardening begin!

After a typical old-fashioned Canadian winter (aka freakin’ cold!), we started planning Elmbank Children’s Garden and the soil was still frozen. Last year a lot was accomplished in terms of clearing the space, setting proper raised beds and mulching the paths which makes it easier and pleasant to work. As you may read in previous blog entries, the garden had an amazing late harvest last year and we are thrilled to start earlier this season for students to get to see the process of setting up and starting to plant before summer vacations begin.


First we needed to pick up garbage that was blown into the garden. The fence also needed to be fixed.


Some beds needed to be cleaned from last year’s planting.


Hay indicates there’s garlic planted there. Hay helps to keep the soil moist and moderates soil temperatures. Three half beds have garlic planted.


We had the chance to save seeds of the marigolds that were in some of the beds.  


Sage is an amazing perennial plant with a lot of culinary and medicinal purposes.



When starting a garden it is easy to get a bit overwhelmed about how to start, maintain and produce fruits and veggies for you and your friends or family to consume. Here are some tips to successfully grow veggies and enjoy your time in the garden.

  • Consider the amount of time you will dedicate to your garden. This will help you decide how much and how many different crops you will plant.

  • Think about the food you eat. Choose fruits and veggies that you, your friends and/or family will enjoy and eat ravenously

  • For those new gardeners, start with a small amount of plants. A common mistake is to start with too many plants or too big of a garden

  • Plan your garden on graph paper, mark each plant on scale to allow proper spacing or you can also find various apps online. It will also give you an idea of how many seeds you need and how it will look

  • After purchasing your seeds, check dates of maturity in the seed catalog. With this information you can plan for second crops

  • In very general terms, plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Leafy vegetables will tolerate less sunlight (lettuce, spinach, parsley, etc) while plants that give fruits or roots need more (tomatoes, peppers, carrots, onions)

  • As a guide to planning, the following lists will help decide space allotments:
    • Sow or plant in cool weather: Beets/chard, cabbage/broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips
    • Sow or plant in warm weather: Beans, carrot, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, squash, tomatoes, melons, okra
    • One crop a season (space take-uppers and slow growers): corn, eggplant, melons, leeks, peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, winter squash, New Zealand spinach, potatoes.
    • Re-sowers (more than one crop a season): beans, beets, carrots, cabbage family, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, turnips.

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