›› Kayla Siefried

Gardening is becoming even more of an important way to build resiliency in our lives. Just a salad from your garden every couple weeks, and you are a bit more resilient to unpredictable (and often less ­environmentally sustainable) supply chains that are vulnerable to conflict, climate change, and pandemic. If you don’t have access to yard space, be creative and brainstorm other places you can garden: containers on your balcony, plants on your boulevard, or chat with your neighbour and see if you can garden in their yard. Building community through growing food has got to be the way of the future.

To get going in your spring garden, here are steps to take to ready your spring garden:

1) Nourish your soil by adding home made compost, and/or composted manure, or sea soil. Other amendments that can be helpful for garden soil where you will be vegetable gardening include agricultural lime, and a balanced organic fertilizer. These amendments will ensure vegetable plants have the nutrients they need and support healthy soil characteristics.

2) Disturb the soil less, by digging less—this will support the maintenance of healthy soil structure, reduce erosion, and allow the soil food web to support healthy plant growth.

3) Don’t plant seeds too early—all seeds prefer warm soil to germinate in, and there will be fewer munchers that will eat up your early sprouts. So, follow guides like the West Coast Seeds Veggie Planting Chart to ensure you’re not seeding anything too early. There’s lots of time still for summer garden seed sowing, no need to rush.

4) And I’ll tag in another best practice for soil health in here—keep your soil covered in mulch (i.e. leaves or straw) to protect it from the elements, reduce soil erosion and compaction, reduce weed growth, and watering needs, all while adding heaps of beautiful organic matter.

Have fun in the garden this spring! Munch on those spring greens, talk to your neighbours and be inspired by other gardeners around you. Come learn from experts at The Compost Education ­Centre, check out our factsheets at compost.bc.ca and buy some plant starts at our upcoming Plant Sale on May 7, 2022.