I bought a big bunch of flowers this week and my house has a fresh, sweet bright feeling. Oh, the power of greenery, scent and colourful fruits and vegetables. I enjoy picking the fruits of my labor. It’s just as relaxing as putting my laundry outside on the line in the summer sun.
I don’t necessarily have a natural green thumb, but I read a lot and choose a few vegetables to experiment with. In past years I have been successful with tomatoes, green onion, peas, lettuce, herbs, tulips, hostas and my juniper tree.
This year I want to try a raspberry bush, squash, a full flower garden and peppers.
Another plan is to plant vegetables in the flower garden. Blooming perennials showing in spring will die out and will then be followed by hardy foliage and colourful fruit from summer into fall. It would be nice to have some vegetables closer to the house.
Last year throughout each season whenever we would take walks, I would snap photos of neighbours yards. I’m not part of the neighbourhood watch, nor am I some sort of spying stalker. I took the photos to remember great landscaping ideas, styles, plants, trees and so I could use the photos to show at the garden centre to track down what I want to plant in my own garden. It is also very helpful knowing how a bush or tree looks throughout the year.
I have read some tips in the past that have rung true.
Firstly, planting onions help ward off rabbits, but beware if you have a dog because onions are toxic for them. There are many plants that are toxic for dogs, like rhodendrons, grapes, tomatoes, apricot, catnip, mushrooms, amaryllis, chrysanthemums, tiger lily, hydrangea, jade, poinsettias and larkspur are a few to watch. Some dogs are said to be fine when exposed, but I don’t like to take chances.
I have read that planting basil close to tomatoes strengthen the growing season and aid in them tasting better. I’m not sure if my tomatoes tasted so great because of the basil or because tomatoes are so tasty straight from the garden.
My Mom has two green thumbs; she has things happily growing and blooming all over her property.
Here are some tips that have been beneficial and I recommend doing; keeping in mind I live in zone 5 of Canada:
• Mow your lawn in the early warmth of Spring before it turns green.
• Fertilize your lawn in late March and pull any weeds you see while they are young.
• Fill in patches or thin spots of grass once the risk of frost is done. Mix the same grass seed in a good soil then sprinkle generously into the patches. Follow with a good watering. It is usually recommended to keep the seed moist for 4-6 weeks.
• I have a rain barrel for watering and even for clean up. It has been valuable with the unpredictable, dry weather. Our city had a sale to the first however many hundred to promote green living. The barrel came with a hose.
I will set it up, on the platform my husband made under the downspout, the beginning of May. It not only saves you money on the water bill but, saves carrying water through the house, can be used for everything like washing the dog and rinsing tools and bird poop or filling up the kiddie pool.
• My husband built a raised flower bed out of 4×4 pressure treated pieces of wood by notching the corners, stacking in a brick pattern, putting metal rods through them and building a wire fence around with a little gate. It’s 5 feet x 5 feet which is a perfect “starter” size. (It doesn’t have to be raised, but you’ll want to dig and replace soil with nutrient rich, well draining, fertilized soil with the right ph levels for your area and what you’re growing)
I am still trying to figure out what all the soil lingo means so please ask a professional or get the mixes that are marked for outdoor vegetable gardens in your area.
Each Spring when it’s warm enough to move the soil, I mix in a soil rich in manure (or similar). About a 6 inch deep layer.
I also placed it where it gets the morning and early afternoon sun.
• Once there is no risk of frost, end of May for me, you can plant seeds, vegetables, fruits and flowers or split existing plants. I have split my hostas, iris, hens n chicks and lavender many times. You just have to look for the natural thinning or separation in the roots. Make sure to water well right after replanting.
• I find tomatoe cages are not strong enough nor are they practical when I try to pick from the garden. This year I am going to attach a lattice design of thin bamboo to my fencing and weave the tomatoe plants through there. I think even a thick rope tied to a simple box frame or a mini railing made with a few wooden stakes would work.
• Salt or boiling water are quick and effective ways to keep ants away.
Some of these are food for thought because March, in most zones with four seasons, is not warm enough to be planting outside. One reason for this feature is to stay informed and focused at the right times so that what you love or want to try doesn’t pass by unnoticed.
On my Pinterest “Garden” board there are sites that tell you exactly when to plant each vegetable; as well as many other useful indexes. Search Dawn or carpediemmama.
Thank you for reading my take on garden greatness.