>> Margaret Hantiuk

Spring is just around the corner! That has us thinking about what we are going to plant in our gardens. Here are some tips for our neighbours in Fernwood’s food hub.

Here are some simple hints to make the task easier. They are simple ideas that if followed, make a huge difference in having a satisfying and successful garden with less work!

  1. Avoid lawns in shady areas – use permeable paving or shady plants
  2. Aim to cover bare soil – groundcover plantings, mulches, pavers
  3. Apply mulches – annually if using organic material that break down
  4. Use geotextile weed barriers under gravel or chip mulch paths
  5. Build raised beds with mulched paths for food gardening
  6. Hoe lightly and often to disturb weeds
  7. Intervene early: identify and remove weeds that seed and spread
  8. Compost carefully: keep invasive and toxic (or seeding) weeds out
  9. Choose sustainable plantings, not tender, frail or invasive plants
  10. Use long-lasting materials – hardscape, supports, mulches, etc.
  11. Reduce complex care issues by planting easy care plants in groups
  12. Use perennials, self-seeding annuals, and bulbs
  13. Keep water features simple, plan carefully and set up properly
  14. Right plant, right site, planted properly (match plant to conditions)
  15. Use paint free surfaces in your hardscape and support systems

With many of these tips, research is important to discover hardy, easy plants that will work best. This means learning the yard’s conditions including sun, shade, soil, drainage, etc. and then researching to find plants that will suit. Some perennials and small shrubs are so easy and rewarding—if situated well—they make gardening a pleasure rather than a chore.

Some of these tips have to do with becoming attentive and learning to work smart. This means getting weeds before they spread and not breeding weeds in compost. A few minutes spent ridding the garden of weeds before they get going will save hours of labor later.