My passion for gardening…
In my first year gardening, I had no idea what to plant and how to plant it. I didn’t understand proper spacing. The seeds were tiny, so I just sprinkled them on the soil. I didn’t realize that zucchini plants would spread out and trail many feet. I planted three seedlings close together and right in the middle of a small veggie bed. My beets grew directly under the zucchini, so we had no beets that year. My tomatoes, however, were fantastic! Their taste was unlike any store-bought tomato I had.
I really enjoyed that first summer. I loved the feeling of “shopping” for produce in my backyard vegetable garden. It felt great walking past the produce section in the grocery store and only buying a few items every time. My grocery bills were greatly reduced that first summer.
That first year gardening, I had many failures, but they taught me many lessons. I learned proper plant spacing, how to deal with bunnies in the garden, how much to water and how often, how to properly stake your plants, gardening tricks and techniques, and many other things.
After the season was over, I felt the need to know more. I needed to fill in the time gap until the next gardening season, so I read many gardening books and magazines, every chance I had. I enrolled into a series of gardening courses at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, which were an amazing eye opener. I had my smaller garden beds rebuilt into raised beds, to a height that bunnies couldn’t reach. I wanted to start my own seeds, so I had my first grow lights shelf built. I also spent many hours at our local garden centre, asking many questions. I felt hungry for more knowledge. It was all very exciting! I was a sponge for information.
When we moved to our home in the country, I felt the sky was the limit. I thought I could plant a seed anywhere and it would grow! But it wasn’t that simple. I observed groups of deer often passing through our property. They would stop and snack in our field and on our best tulips.
I also quickly discovered that our soil consisted of rocks, stones and gravel. Great for draining, but not so great for growing carrots!
I took on this challenge and worked with it. We had an 8-foot high deer fence constructed around the garden, with posts and galvanized steel screening. To combat our rocky soil, we built 18-inch high raised beds. Since the vegetable garden is far from the house, it needed a water line to be put in. To keep my children with me, we had a pergola built in the garden and added a picnic table, to enjoy lunches and crafting time.
Every year I look forward to a new gardening season. I think of a better planting scheme, that will help protect against diseases. I rotate crops and companion plant, to grow tastier vegetables and keep predator bugs away. I seek out and discover vegetables I haven’t grown before, like cucamelons, ground cherry and hibiscus, then comb through many seed catalogues looking for interesting varieties to plant. Winter always seems to fly by quickly, as I start my seeds indoors.
Each year that I garden, I learn more and find easier ways to do things. I believe in simple gardening. It’s something that should not be stressful or scary. Mistakes are learning experiences to do things better the following year. I believe gardening is fun and relaxing, although physically challenging, at times. But the results are satisfying.
My gardening tips are for all gardening levels, beginner to advanced and I hope my tips will provide knowledge and inspiration to all levels of experience.
Gardening is my passion and I absolutely love it! I’m currently pursuing my Horticulturist Diploma through the University of Guelph.
I want to get to know you and your garden and help you make it better. If you have any questions, I would love to hear them. I will do my best to answer them as simply as possible.