See how to keep common garden pests away from your vegetables using simple solutions like a mesh and garlic plant.
My vegetable garden is officially planted. I have all of my seeds in rows, my tomatoes in cages and my potatoes are hilled.
And so it begins . . . another season of growing vegetables, but also of keeping the bugs at bay. Last year I had limited success because I tested several untried techniques, including some old wives tales that didn’t work. This year I have refined my skill at companion planting and am determined to do better at protecting my crops by using natural methods of stopping the bug invasion.
Here are the strategies I am going to use in case you need a little help as well.
Getting to know the soil is going to really help you cut back on a lot of hardship when it comes time to actually plant or create a garden this spring. The quality of the soil you want to plant in really matters because anything already in the ground has a good chance of ending up in your food.
Knowing as much about the history of the space is important here, so talk to your neighbours. If your area used to be farmland or anything agricultural, then you are totally golden. Odds are that the soil is pretty good at growing things.
This may sound a little crazy, but I have already ordered my vegetable seeds for next year’s garden. I will confess that I’m a fan of trying unique and exotic breeds of every day foods like tomatoes, carrots and peppers. This is why I buy my seeds now, because the exotic ones always go fast.
While most of us are putting the gardens to bed (pun intended), seed savers and breeders are putting their 2016 successes online for purchase. While you can’t ship plants with soil across the border, seeds for personal use are being shipped from every part of the world.
Some of my favourite sites for seed shopping…
I received a bit of a reality check after one of my recent articles about seed purchasing. A reader from Windsor brought to my attention that I was “setting new gardeners up for a lot of frustration and disappointment and wasted money on seeds” with that particular column, pointing out that the plan I proposed needed a lot of money to set up, a large sunny space and a source of water nearby, not to mention a huge commitment to weeding, watering, harvesting, storing and preserving.
And she is totally right!
Growing up, I was always so excited when the Sear’s Christmas Wish Book arrived. I used to fold the corners of the pages with all the presents I wanted on my list, then painstakingly label and document everything to make it as easy as possible for gift-givers to know exactly what I wanted. Now that I’m older, I don’t wait for the Wish Book to come in the mail. Instead, I get excited for the seed catalogues … and they are finally here! (And for the record, I still make meticulous lists of all the seeds I want to buy!)
The most requested outdoor feature for the 2015 backyard is … (insert drum roll here) the raised vegetable planter. Are you surprised? With so many Canadians are growing their own vegetables at home now, the raised planter has become the must have item. Raised planters have some significant benefits over just plowing out a section in the lawn.
A large portion of weeds that live in our yards travel under the soil via rhizomes (rootlets). With a raised bed, you can place a liner at the bottom of garden cloth to completely prevent new ones invading your soil. Even the weeds that spread via seeds, like dandelions, have a harder time getting over the walls of your garden, providing less competition for your veggies.
Recently I was invited to a ‘Seedy Saturday’ event in small town Ontario. For those of you who haven’t participated in one of these, it’s basically a spot to buy and swap seeds for your gardens. Now, you are probably picturing the same type of gathering as I did: in a church or library full of the blue-haired crowd.
Well, we both got it wrong. (Very, very wrong!) Seedy Saturday was packed with twice as many people under the age of 30 as over. Not only were the customers young … so were a lot of the vendors.
In this space over a local bookstore was the next generation of gardeners pushing strollers with their lattes and talking about the pole beans and tomatoes that they are going to try this year.
I’ve been watching outdoor trends for the last 15 years, and this is exactly what I was hoping would happen. They say everything has a cycle, and I believe that the yard is no exception.
Spring is here! Well, maybe the weather doesn’t agree, but the collection of seed catalogues sitting on my desk clearly says otherwise. For me, spring is the time to plan everything that I want to do outdoors once the snow officially melts. This year is a little different; I am planning a very large vegetable garden with a chicken coop at my new home.
Planning a vegetable garden for a landscape designer should be easy, but apparently there is A LOT I still have to learn! General layout and flow of the raised beds is one thing, but what to put in them is something else entirely! After a few weeks of studying, I’ve realized that companion planting is more like creating a seating chart at a Shakespearean wedding. Who knew that so many veggies didn’t get along?