Here are the easiest ways to kick-start your own growing season this spring

May 15 2023, 10:30 pm

Spring marks the beginning of warm weather and with that comes the beginning of fresh flowers, fruits, and veggies, ready to be harvested and enjoyed as we inch closer to the summer.

Not only does growing your own produce and plants keep money in your pocket (hello home-grown lettuce), it brings a sense of relaxation and pride, plus it can help you sustain your own diet.

A major misconception for first-time growers is that starting your own garden is hard and that you must have a backyard to do it. Well, the experts at Salisbury’s Garden Centres are here to dispel any worries and provide master knowledge along the way so you can grow your own fruits, veggies, and plants easily this season!

Now is the perfect time to literally sow the seeds of a bountiful harvest, so we checked in with Salisbury, which boasts two convenient locations in the Edmonton area (Sherwood Park’s Greenhouse and Salisbury at Enjoy in St. Albert) for some great newbie tips, packed with 58 years of expertise.

It all starts with a good gardening soil

Just a handful of products will kick off the beginning of your successful garden, according to Salisbury Co-owner Rob Sproule, who says all you need to begin is some gardening soil.

Next steps? Grab some fertilizer, choose your plants, and prep your gardening plot or pot.

“You can just jump in and get started. If you want to start simple, you can start with pansies or marigolds. If you want edibles, get tomatoes, lettuce or carrots. You can just get started as simple as that!” he says.

Pots are a great option

Planting is still a possibility for those without a physical green space, says Sproule, and points to the example of a hearty herb garden.

“Herbs love pots, almost any herb. They consistently love heat and pots. Roots are warmer in pots than in the ground.” Mint, cilantro, parsley and basil are great flavourful options to being with.

For pot-loving plants, look no further than tomatoes, million bells, portulaca, petunias or verbenas, all available at both Salisbury locations.

If you don’t have as much space as you’d like, Sproule emphasizes that “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Just get it out there and get some soil in there!” he says.

Some of the easiest veggies to grow are tomatoes, peppers, and salad greens.

Don’t be afraid to bring out the scissors or pruners

If your garden or pot is mixed with multiple varieties of plants, you might have to prune some back, but don’t be afraid — it will help them grow fuller and stronger, says Sproule.

“A lot of annuals can get big, and they can be bullies. If you give them lots of fertilizer, they can take over a lot of other plants. Cut them back and show them who’s boss.”

As you inch closer to harvesting, Sproule says plucking multiple, small batches of veggies, fruits, or herbs is totally fine.

“When it comes to edible plants, we don’t have to plant a hundred-foot row of cabbage anymore and wait until September to make sauerkraut. [You can pick out] small batches of tomatoes and small batches of lettuce, and harvest them throughout the season in small amounts.”

Go easy on the water and heavy on the sunlight

The most common way of killing your garden is from overwatering, says Sproule, who equates that to an act of over-loving your plants.

“Wait until the soil is somewhat dry at the top, then water again. Don’t love it to death,” he advises.

As for the sun, the more the better says Sproule. “All you got to do is give them a lot of sun. Water them when they’re dry. Fertilize now and then if you can with a general all-purpose fertilizer or a fertilizer with a higher middle number if you’re looking at plants for edibles or annuals.”

Seek out expert advice and knowledge

A visit to either Greenhouse location can also be an opportunity to seek some advice on your garden, as each and every staff member is extremely knowledgeable on anything plant-related.

Whether you’re planting a cornucopia of flowers or starting your first herb garden, Greenhouse employees will walk you through the process and recommend some great products.

“Go to the garden centre and talk to people there and get some ideas. Explain to them what your ideas are. For example, if you’re planning on growing a garden of vegetables or fruits, let them know what you’re thinking and they’ll help you find exactly what you need to get started, along with [explaining] how simple it is,” says Sproule.

See? It’s actually incredibly easy to start growing this season and besides some delicious home-grown produce, you can also count on a heightened sense of calm and relaxation as you tend to your little green babies.

“Gardening isn’t gardening anymore. It’s about wellness and taking care of ourselves and feeling the dignity of taking care of plants,” says Sproule.

To start your planting journey and get all of your tools, visit your Sherwood Park Salisbury Greenhouse (pet-friendly) at 52337 Range Road 232, or Salisbury at Enjoy at 101 Field Drive in St. Albert and get growing today.

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