Mary, Mary, on the Prairie,
How does your garden grow?
With pesky weeds and heirloom seeds,
Each row eaten by a white tail doe.
It doesn’t matter what type of garden you sow, whether you use organic seeds or use fertilizers and chemicals, as long as it makes you happy! Rather than debating chemical vs natural or heirloom vs hybrid seed, how can I make my garden grow?
When it comes down to gardening, how does your garden grow?
There are a many ways to grow a garden and they range from pure and simple to complex and expensive systems. While there are a number of options and tools to improve your green thumb such as top hats, plant food and garden light reflectors, which works the best? Unfortunately, I don’t have all the answers, but from investigating gardening as a first-timer, I’m learning there are a few key investments which could benefit the harvest of your garden.
Drought me not
Come rain or shine, your plants need regular watering and a rain barrel can help with that. Not only is a rain barrel water-wise, it’s also money wise! According to the University of Saskatchewan, the average rainfall in Saskatoon is enough to fill a 55-gallon barrel 110 times over the growing season. As you save all that water, you’re also going to be able to save your plant some stress, as rainwater is untreated. Be sure to check with your community to see if there are any incentive programs offered for purchasing a rain barrel.
While mulch is NOT necessary, apparently it can make quite the difference. Mulch materials help retain moisture and control weed problems by limiting sunlight to the soil. There are a variety of different mulch options out there, to find out which mulch is best for your needs, Gardening Basics for Dummies breaks downs the pros and cons each mulch options offers your garden.
One mulch option which costs very little but could have big payoffs is composting. Other than buying or making your compost container, it’s free and can help boost your organic material, moisture, nutrients and reduce your own personal carbon footprint. There rooftop a number of composting options out there, depending on your needs. Check to see what rebate programs your city has to support composting. The city of Saskatoon offers a rebate for rain barrels and compost bins from local retailers.
Get a head start with indoor germination
Need to give your plants a little boost? Quite possibly the easiest way is investing in an indoor tray and start your plants now. Give your garden a little advantage on the season, so that you can reap from some early sowing. Having a more mature plant and root system will also help your garden combat weeds.
No space, no problem!
No matter the space you have, there’s always an ‘Ikea’ gardening solution. It’s not about what or how you grow it, but that you actually grow something. Don’t let space stop you from gardening. If you don’t have an outdoor space, you can still garden indoors. Utilize your windowsills and start a micro garden. Just remember to feed your plant, as it won’t have its outdoor ecosystem. Have a small balcony? No problem, buy hanging pots for plants like tomatoes and lettuce. Have a well-lit but narrow space? Plant potatoes in a bag of soil or large plastic plant pots. plastic plant pots.
Raise the roof
You don’t need a yard to garden. Is the roof of your apartment or work unused space with lots of sun? If this is the case, see if you can start up a “raised garden”. Using plant pots, planter boxes, bins, pails and containers which keep in the soil and water, you can easily start your own roof top garden. There are a number of benefit of using a raised beds, but the biggest one is convince, there’s less bending needed.
There’s just something about growing your own food and flowers which makes them taste, look and smell better, even if it’s all in our own heads.