5 Tips for Gardening Season in Vancouver
With the sun shining and the temperature rising, it can mean only one thing: gardening season is here in Vancouver! Whether you’re a garden guru with a green thumb or a beginner who just wants to plant a few flowers and herbs, Vancouver is a great city for embracing the joys of gardening.
However modest or massive your green ambitions, here are 5 tips to help you make the most of this gardening season:
- Know where you’ll grow. Deciding where you’ll do your gardening will influence what you grow and how you do it. If you have a yard with space for a garden or a balcony with room for a few planters, you’re all set. If you’re limited to indoor gardening, you can still do some fun things with small pots on a windowsill. If you have your heart set on an outdoor garden but don’t have space of your own, check out the City of Vancouver’s list of more than 75 community gardens.
- Make a plan and prioritize. Before you rush off to a garden centre and start filling a shopping cart to the brim, give some thought to what you would like to grow and what makes sense given the constraints of your gardening space. As much as you’d like to, you probably won’t be able to grow corn if you have space for only two small pots on a window sill in your apartment. And even though packages of seeds are usually inexpensive, it might be more rewarding in the end to grow a manageable number of fruit, vegetable or flower varieties well instead of planting one of everything you can find.
- Do your homework. If you’re new to gardening or simply have questions about something new you’d like to try, take some time to read up on the topic and learn from others’ expertise. A quick Google search will bring up a lifetime’s worth of gardening blogs and any bookstore will likely have beautifully illustrated guides to help you through the growing season. Vancouver Public Library also has a wide range of books on growing everything from calla lilies to cauliflower, and probably even some books on the history of gardening if that happens to get your heart racing.
- Start planting. The world of gardening can be wonderfully complex if you have the desire to learn the intricacies of how, what, when, where and why things grow. But it can also be delightfully simple as long as you have some seeds, soil, water and sun. Seed packages typically provide specific instructions on how, when and where to plant, so you won’t be left guessing about things like whether to plant in the sun and how deep to plant. Staff at the various garden centres around Vancouver can also provide advice on planting, or check out West Coast Seeds, a BC-based company with loads of useful resources and local planting guidelines.
- Care for your garden. If you want to make the most of your garden, you’ll need to tend to it regularly – ideally every day. Regular watering (especially if we get another scorching summer like last year), frequent weeding and pest control, and occasional fertilizing are all required to keep your plants healthy and growing. So yes, it will take some effort on your part, but the rewards in the form of a flourishing garden in the months ahead are well worth it.
Whatever your level of experience and plan for the season, it is hugely rewarding to plant seeds and watch your garden come to life. Vancouver’s long growing season is a gift that we should not take for granted, so have fun and start gardening!