Spring has arrived Let’s Garden!

I’m sure like me most gardeners are jumping at the chance to get into the garden and get their hands in the dirt. As we live on the west coast we don’t have to worry anymore about the last frost date but still have to contend with the spring rains and a bit of mud. If you haven’t done so already (I know I started doing this when I received my first seed catalogue of the year back in January) this is a great time to give some thought into what seeds you are going to plant, where your going to place them, and what prep work needs to be done for a successful gardening season.

This is now my third year doing seed starting after many lessons such as how critical the right level of light is which I learned my first year when all my seedlings were too ‘leggy’ and most didn’t survive. Since then I have used a number of different resources to learn something new each year in addition to just simple trial and error. One such resource is a blog by Gayle Trail of you Grow Girl who was the author of one of my first gardening books I bought and she is Canadian. I have yet to find a great garden blogger on the west coast so if anyone has any recommendations please let me know. Gayle offers some great tips on economical ways to start Seed Starting which is a great way to increase to longevity of the growing season as you can get a great jump-start on what mother nature would normally allow. Learn More…

Companion Planting is another great tool in the organic gardener’s kit that allows you to plant certain crops close together to assist with pest control, pollination and the attraction of beneficial insects to your garden. A great resource for this is provided by West Coast Seeds. Where you can learn the best place to plant a patch of basil or is it okay to place my beets near my pole beans. Learn More..

Beneficial Insects are always included in my plans for the garden every year which is why I always plant a little wildflower garden within my plot along with crops like Basil, Chives, Chamomile, Sage, and Thyme which also have the double benefit of being delicious and fresh for meals from my kitchen. If rumours are true 10 different types of bees have been spotted in Cedar Grove garden last year I have also already seen several lady bugs in my plot this year. If every garden member planted a little something on their plot for these beneficials we can hopefully see these numbers go up and this will benefit everyone at Cedar Grove Garden. Mother Earth News put out an article on this very subject. Learn More…

Cool Season Crops don’t forget on the coast there are already a lot of cool season crops that you can get into the ground such as peas, lettuce, arugula, spring onions, corn salad, kale, radishes, and spinach.

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Off the Beaten Path in our Community

A large part of what makes up any community are the people who live within the area and what better way to bring them together than through special events, classes and workshops. This is a great way to have some fun, meet others with similar interests and make an impact on how your community is shaped. Many of these events are well-known and others are what are referred to in travel guide lingo as being off the beaten path. I recently learned about a few events that would fall directly into this category that occur south of the Fraser.

Many community garden’s are grass-roots organizations that often start off with guerilla gardening taking over a nearby vacant lot either with or without the owner’s permission or even just a tiny strip on the sidewalk in front of your home. This provides a spot of beauty in what otherwise would be a dull or trash ridden location and brings a smile to those who pass it daily in the hopes this will encourage them or even businesses in the area to plant a few flowers. Resulting in a more warm and welcoming community showing that the people who live there are engaged, interested and proud of their neighbourhood. On Sunday, March 29th come and make ‘seed bombs’ from recycled paper at this family friendly neighbourhood beautification initiative. Newton Community Hall between 3:30pm and 5:30pm. Learn More…

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Although I am still what would be considered a new gardener only enjoying this rewarding pastime with the last couple of years I already have a collection of seeds sitting at home. I buy something to try but can’t use the whole packet for my community plot so often try to give these away if I’m not able to use them to following year. So I was excited to learn that Kwantlan Polytechnic University’s Langley campus has a Seed Library that you can pick up seeds from with the expectation that you donate some back at the end of the season. What a great way to spend the afternoon searching for a unique find for your garden and sharing some of your own with the local gardening community. Learn More…

Not as off the beaten path as those above yet I still drive by this once a week but like many rarely stop to venture inside. Green Timbers Urban Forest offers everything from a fishing lake, to nature trails and Surrey Nature Centre. Free Birding walks are hosted by the Surrey Nature Centre within Green Timbers with the next one occurring on Saturday, March 21stLearn More..