Get green. Get growing.
Can’t decide whether to plant to plant tulips or tea-roses this year? How about turnips and tomatoes instead? More and more urban homeowners are doing just that (okay, maybe not with turnips!) — by using at least part of their outdoor space to grow food, according to Landscape Ontario.
If you’re ready to get growing, here are some tips:
Start small, by growing those fruits and vegs that your family most favours.
Containers between 12 and 18 inches in diameter work best on a balcony. Drainage is key. Use good quality potting soil, not garden soil, which will compact and water won’t drain properly. Try tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, cucumbers, small lettuce, zucchini, peas and radishes. I love containers for lettuce and herbs, too.
On a small plot, a raised garden bed provides ideal conditions for growing vegetables (great for strawberries and rhubarb, too). Pick a sunny location, and build a bed no more than 1.2 metres wide, and 30 centimetres high (go as long as you want). Good planting choices are tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cauliflower, cabbages and French beans.
If you really have no space, consider renting garden space in a local community garden.
Those who do have a large backyard, and are ready to commit time and effort to growing their own food, should:
Pick a spot that gets at least six hours of sun a day.
Work the soil by spading it deeply. Loosen heavy clay by adding peat moss and manure. Add 1 kg of compost or garden fertilizer per 10 square metres and then turn the soil over again and rake smoothly.
Moisten the soil, then allow it to dry until workable.
Plant seeds about three times as deep as their diameter. Cover small seeds with finely sifted compost, soil or vermiculite.
Plants not in individual containers should be gently separated to retain as much soil around the roots as possible.
Don’t forget to:
Water early in the day by soaking the soil.
Pull weeds as soon as they appear, being careful not to disturb the root of the plants.
Take diseased plans to your closest garden centre and ask an experienced horticulturalist to identify the problem.
Pics from PC Homes.