Tips for Beginners from the Dunbar & 39th Garden

Hello fellow gardeners,

Just when you thought spring was here, it dumps a foot of snow. That's Nature, I suppose, always there to keep you guessing.

Here are a few updates for March and April, as well as some handy resources:

APRIL MEET-AND-GREET

We'll be out on Sunday, April 15th at 1 p.m. to host a meet-and-greet event at the garden. This is a great time to meet your fellow gardeners, plant your first seeds (if you haven't already) and ask us any garden related questions you might have. Rain or shine, but let's hope for sun!

This event also serves as the final deadline for Garden Registration and Payment.


If you selected the 'Pay By Cash' option in our registration, this is a good opportunity to settle up.

WATERING SYSTEM

We will be installing the watering system and garden hoses this month, once the threat of freezing temperatures subsides. We're a ways off from needing to water our plants, but the hoses can be handy for washing hands and hand tools and watering in those first seeds and starts.

Look for more info about operating the hoses and watering system in our April email!

GREEN WASTE

This month we'll also be setting up a green waste box on site. This is a great spot to discard any organic waste from the garden (roots, leaves, stalks, etc), and we'll do the work of removing said waste to the organics disposal site.

You can help us out:

1. Keep garbage out of the green bin. There is no garbage can on site and we ask that you do your part removing any trash (plant trays, seed packets, coffee cups) you create at the garden.

2. Refrain from dumping soil into the green bin. This just makes our work super heavy when it comes time to remove it!


GARDEN TIPS: GARDENING FOR BEGINNERS


And who isn't a beginner, really? Here are 5 things to consider when planning your garden. There ought to be something in here for everyone.

1. Plant what you love to eat! No point seeding broccoli if you're more of a cauliflower fan!
 
2. Community gardens do unfortunately experience garden theft, and some crops are more susceptible than others. Tomatoes, peppers, gourds (like zucchini, squash, cucumber) and eggplant are often easier targets compared to salad greens, kale, chard, herbs and subterranean veggies like radishes, carrots and beets.

3. Give your seeds and starts room at the beginning. You want to make sure they have room to grow (up, down, sideways) as the season warms.

4. Consider diversity: "mono-cropping" kale is a good idea, in theory, if you love kale, but what happens when the aphids appear in June and start decimating your sole crop? Companion planting charts [http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/growing-vegetables-home-garden-cheat-sheet_n_5630136] like this one show you which plants compliment and protect one another as from common garden pests. Flowers and herbs also do great things in a veg garden, including attracting pollinators, repelling pests and adding colour and zest to your garden kitchen.

5. Consider the sun. Some plants grow tall (peas, tomatoes, kale), while others (lettuces, radish, beets) rarely grow above eight inches. You want to make sure you don't plant a row of peas along the southern edge of your raised garden bed where they'll grow four feet tall and cast a shadow over your bed for the entirety of June. Similarly, some plants prefer direct sunlight, while others prefer shady conditions, which a little directional planning can assist.