Not only is growing your own fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs a source of pride, it also provides yummy results. The key is strategically choosing where to start your garden, properly preparing the soil and carefully transplanting the seedlings.
1. What type of soil is in your yard?
Different types of soil contain different nutrients. It is therefore essential to know what type of soil you have: is it sandy? clay? siliceous? peaty? You can then figure out how much compost and planting soil you’ll need, and the best types of plants for your soil.
2. How much sun does your garden get?
Determine whether your garden receives direct sunlight or is more shaded. Change the location of your garden and which plants go where based on how much sunlight your yard gets. For example, lettuce grows better in the shade whereas tomatoes love the sun.
3. What did you grow last year?
It’s a good idea to rotate your plants to avoid degrading the soil. Change the location of our garden or plant your seedlings in a different arrangement than last season.
4. Do you have all your gardening tools?
Make sure you have everything you need: small shovel, gloves, stakes, string, watering can, spade, etc. If this is your first foray into horticulture, make you to get the necessary equipment at your local hardware store or garden centre, or borrow from the neighbours.
Preparing your yard
1. Once the snow has melted, get your yard ready for your garden. Remove any debris that may have accumulated over the winter.
2. Till the soil where you intend to plant your garden and pull up any weeds. Use a spade to break up any clumps. Start early to give the earthworms time to do their thing and aerate the soil.
3. To prevent weeds from growing and taking over your garden, first lay down a layer of newspaper or cardboard where you intend to plant your garden. Then, lay down some dead leaves from last fall. Finally, spread out some compost and planting soil on top, about ten centimetres deep.
1. Plant your seedlings gradually. Over the course of a week or two, take them outside for a couple of hours every day, rain or shine, to get them used to being outdoors.
2. At the end of May, you can begin transplanting certain seedlings. Wait until mid-June to transplant others. The timing will depend on their tolerance to frost. Refer to a planting schedule to see the right time to plant your seedlings.
3. Be delicate when removing the seedlings from their pot. The roots are still delicate. Arrange your plants strategically: using the plant pairing method, some plants are stronger when they grow with certain plants and weaker when next to others.
4. Cover your garden with wire mesh or a net to protect it against the rodents and birds that might be tempted by your plants.
Don’t have a backyard? That won’t stop you from growing a garden. Hang baskets off your balcony railing, place your plants on the edge of your stairs and use the banisters as stakes, place your plants on your window sill, join a community garden, etc.
See how to transplant tulip bulbs and find more information in our Advice Zone.