There’s no question that over the past year there has been a major surge of interest in gardening. I began growing multiple vegetables in an assortment of DIY cedar pots over the last year, and seriously loved every minute of it.
It can however be daunting to know where to begin if you’re new to gardening. With a little hard work and patience, you’ll soon reap the benefits of your labours in the form of a beautiful garden oasis. Keep reading for some tips when it comes to growing your vegetables in your very own garden oasis!
Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow as they grow so quickly and are easily harvested. Lettuce also grows well in pots, making it an excellent option for condo or apartment gardeners. Your lettuce seeds will grow best in loose, well-draining soil. Using organic mulch can help maintain moisture, hold weeds at bay, and keep soil temperatures cool. Personally I find it a little more exciting to stop by Rona and grab the small lettuce blocks (as shown in the photo above), then I like to plant them into medium sized pots. They grow so quickly and take very minimal effort!
Optimal soil temperature for germination: 10-22°C (50-72°F).
Carrots are another great low-maintenance option. The quality of the soil you use is the true key to growing great carrots. You will want to plant them loose, sandy soil, and ensure they have plenty of room to grow. It’s also important to keep the soil moist for the best germination. Full sun exposure is key, but they can tolerate light shade if need be. Based on our weather in Vancouver, I would hold off on planting carrots for another 2-3 weeks.
Optimal soil temperature: 7-30°C (45-85°F).
Peas are an excellent vegetable garden addition – just make sure your soil is moist before you begin. It can also help to add a sprinkling of wood ashes to the soil prior to planting.
Optimal soil temperature: 10-20°C (50-70°F).
Tomatoes will grow almost anywhere as long as it’s sunny. They are a great vegetable option for those in condos or apartments with balconies, since they can grow in containers or baskets and come in many varieties. For best results, you will need rich, fertile soil, and a good sunny, sheltered spot. This year, I have planted a ton of tomatoes and can’t wait to make my salads with my own home-grown beauties! I find it so fun to watch my vegetable garden grow, then so satisfying to just walk onto my patio and pick my vegetable for that days lunch or dinner!
The ideal temperature for tomatoes growth and fruit production ranges between 20ºC and 24ºC.
Fresh herbs will elevate any dish and are easily one of the most low-maintenance to grow. Most herbs grow well in regular garden soil as long as it drains well. They thrive in full sun (six or more hours of direct sunlight per day) but certain herbs can tolerate more shade than others. Although some herbs cannot tolerate cold temperatures, many of mine lasted through the cold Vancouver months and are still thriving today – rain and all.
Now that you have an idea of what vegetables and herbs you may want to plant this year, it’s time to figure out where exactly to get everything you need.
One of my favourite local gardening centres is Gardenworks located on West 3rd Street in North Vancouver. They have a great selection of gardening supplies and their team goes out of their way to answer any questions you may have. Maple Leaf Garden Centre or Dykhof Nurseries are also great options, both providing top-quality plants and supplies.
You can also find both supplies and vegetables / plants at your nearest Walmart Garden Centre, RONA Garden Centre, or The Home Depot. I recently stopped by RONA and grabbed cucumbers and tomatoes to add to my vegetable garden and they’re already thriving.
Are you excited to get gardening this year? Let me know in the comments below!