Lessons of a New Canadian Gardener

Lessons of a New Canadian Gardener

Posted on May 3 by Kyle
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Spring is in the air, which means it’s time to get that garden started. It’s worth noting that I live in an apartment with a deck, so there is no autumn bulb planting. If you have a ground garden, you’re a few months late to the garden party…

I grew up in a home with huge gardens (it is a coincidence that my mother’s last name is Green) but everything I learned about ground gardening does not translate to potted plants and indoor gardens. My potted herbs don’t last long enough to cook with, my flower baskets burn in the summer sun, and my tomatoes stay very tiny, and very green.

I’m learning that it all comes down to understanding your space. Not only is container gardening different from ground gardening, but what containers you use and where they live have a huge impact on what you should plant. Some things just won’t grow well in all afternoon sun, or in an 8” pot on a tiny balcony. These are lessons I’ve learned the hard way, but you don’t have to. You can simply read Mark Cullen’s new book, The New Canadian Garden, and you can find it all out before you start. As Mark says, “Every yard (and patio or deck) comes with its benefits and challenges. Understanding what those are right from the get-go will speed things up down the road and minimize potential problems.”

I found the section on “Choosing the Right Plants” the most helpful. There are charts that indicate what varieties of vegetables work best of container and raised bed gardening, everything from beans to zucchini. There’s no mention of mouse melons, but I’m hoping to use some of the resources listed in the back to track down growing tips for these adorable little cucumbers. (Seriously, look at these cuties…)

Mark also recommends starting small, with just one or two pots before digging into a bigger garden. Personally, I’m starting with an indoor mushroom farm. It’s a “no fail” project that just involves soaking a bag of dirt and mushroom spores and setting it in a dark cupboard. I’m eager to get started on my outdoor garden, but I’m taking some time to really plan it out this year.

If my container garden doesn’t work out this season, I’m going to track down a community garden. If that’s more your style, there is an entire section on community gardening in the book, Mark covers everything from how to garden to why to garden.

What are you waiting for? Get growing!

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