Friday, April 26, 2013

Ready to Grow

It feels like Spring is finally here! Perhaps you're an experienced gardener or maybe you're thinking about planting for the first time. If you're getting ready to spend time outside and aren't sure where to start planning your garden, Allison Babich, a dietetic intern who spent a few days with me, has some advice and tips to get you started... 
Summer is just around the corner and there is one strategy that can help you accomplish 3 things:  eat healthy, save money, and get outside more often...Gardening! Gardening doesn't have to be time consuming, can be very relaxing, and it’s hard to match the taste of a vegetable or fruit that you grew with your own hands! The first step is picking a space, and there are 3 things you should look for:

1. Sunshine, choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunshine per day. For first time gardeners, choosing a small space is best so that your garden doesn't become too large and overwhelming. If you don’t have a yard you can even use large plant pots or boxes for container gardening! Container gardens are a convenient alternative to a traditional garden if you don’t have a lot of space, and they can be kept close by on balconies or patios for easy care and harvesting. 2. Water, the closer you are to a source of water the better. Consider keeping a small rain barrel near your garden to help cut down on water waste and save on your water bill! 3. Healthy soil, you can purchase nutrient rich topsoil from your neighbourhood greenhouse to mix in with your soil at home, or have yours tested for quality to ensure your plants will grow their best!
Bucks Country Gardens

The next step is to choose vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers that are easy to grow and that you enjoy! Growing these types of plants together creates a beautiful and interesting garden, and some flowers and herbs can help keep insects and pests away from your home and garden! You may find it easier to start off with seedlings for your first garden, just make sure the plants are healthy and insect free. Seeds are just as easy to grow. Check the back of the package of seeds for growing and harvesting information, and there you will find the best time to plant your seeds, how deep to  plant them, how long your plant will take to grow, and how and when to harvest your food.

Here are a few examples of vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers that are easy to grow in Saskatchewan and that taste and look amazing: Carrots (seeds) and tomatoes (seedlings) are low maintenance and easy to harvest and enjoy. Strawberries and raspberries grow with almost no tending, and are easy to pick and eat on the spot. Parsley will help keep bugs away from tomatoes and  coriander and chives make delicious additions to meals. Pansies and petunias are pretty and grow well in SK. Another nice flower to try is German Chamomile, it grows well and you can make tea from the dried petals!

Happy Gardening!

Allison Babich, dietetic intern (for Steph Langdon, RD)
something nutrishus counselling & coaching