Thyme to Turnip the Beet

It’s that time of year: days are getting longer, temperatures are (almost) consistently above 0 and the itch to be outside is setting in. For many outdoor enthusiasts in our province, it’s time to start planning this year’s fruit and vegetable garden! Whether you’re the meticulous daily weed-puller or the casual check-in gardener, our friends at Early’s Farm and Garden Centre in Saskatoon have the seeds, tools, and strategies to help make your garden a success!

Garden-ality: Martha Stewart

If your garden looks like it could grace the cover of Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, you’ve hoed a row or two. If you don’t already, try something new this year with companion gardening. Companion gardening adds herbs, weeds, and flowers into your fruit and veggie mix. Companions, strategically placed next to certain fruits and vegetables, provide your garden with natural benefits. Marigolds and tomatoes? Who knew!

Herbs, Weeds, and Flowers:Companion to:Benefit:
BasilAsparagus, tomatoAttracts bees; repels flies and mosquitoes
CamomileCabbage, onion
Fyrethrum DaisyStrawberryRepels most insects
Marigolds (Tagetes)Most crops especially bean, potato, rose, tomatoRepels most insects especially whitefly, Mexican bean beetle, nematodes
RosemaryBean, cabbage, carrot, sageRepels bean beetle, cabbage maggot, carrot fly, white cabbage butterfly
SageCabbage, carrot, rosemaryRepels most insects especially cabbage maggot, carrot fly, white cabbage butterfly
Snowthistle (be sure to keep thinned!)Corn, onion, tomatoAttracts birds
Summer SavoryBush bean, onionAttracts bees; repls bean beetle

And this list is just a few of the many companion pairs! Speak to a garden centre expert near you to learn about more!

Garden-ality: Snoop Dogg

If you’re the relaxed, easy going gardener, companion gardening maybe isn’t for you. When it comes to casual gardening, Alexa at Early’s explains, it’s less about what you plant and more about HOW you plant. If your gardening style is casual check-ins, container gardening is your golden ticket. Container gardening works best with above ground vegetables (which still means a ton of options) but gives you the opportunity to garden wherever you find it easiest, even right outside your door! Still, more effort than you anticipated? Try out soil with water holding polymers, the polymers release water into the soil slowly meaning your plants can go longer without being watered.

For the casual gardener who does have a garden plot, give seed tape a go. Seed tape gives you perfectly spaced seeds, so you don’t have to worry about thinning out your plants. Win-win!

Whether you consider yourself a Martha or a Snoop, here are a few more helpful tips for every gardener:

Herbs – while herbs are great companions in your garden, they are easy to grow year-round. Have a kitchen window with a wide sill? Jackpot.

Insects – insects can be good and bad for your garden. Bees and Monarch Butterflies are amazing for pollination and can be attracted using a bee house and milk weed (for the butterflies). On the flip side, for root vegetables like carrots, insects in the soil can be detrimental. Diatomaceous earth soil is the answer. It is a fluffy, gray powder made from crushed up fossils. Dig your row a little bit deeper, lay the powder, cover it up with soil and plant your seeds. Don’t worry, diatomaceous soil is eco-friendly and has no chemicals.

Seeds – the brand of seed you use in your garden is completely up to you. For easy sowing (planting) SOW Easy seeds are coated in brightly coloured treatments so they can be easily seen when sowed. Type of seed is also personal preference, but there can be great benefit to treated seeds. Treated seeds prevent insects from eating your plants before they’ve been given a fair chance to grow. Fun fact, Early’s has the largest selection of treated seeds in the province (and each packet of seeds is hand counted!).

Compost – creating your own organic compost to add into your garden is a great way to supplement the natural soil. Coffee grounds and vegetable scraps are just two household items that make great compost. Did you know, in Saskatoon you can participate in a waste reduction program that offers a $20 rebate on the purchase of water barrels and compost bins? Smart.

Space – love to garden, or the idea of gardening but just don’t have the space? Apply for a community garden space in your area. In Saskatoon, many of the plots are run by the Open Door Society as a way for new Canadians to embrace socialization, foster communication skills and support physical and mental health!

When it comes to gardening, if you’re a seasoned vet, just starting out, or somewhere in the middle, there are always tips and tricks to be learned. Visit our friends at Early’s for more garden insights and for everything you need for this year’s garden!

– Paige Sandvold is the Content Manager on the Brand & Digital Platforms Team at Directwest

April 23, 2019

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