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Get Started in the Garden

Whether you are new to the world of gardening or consider yourself to have a "green thumb", getting started in the garden is something everyone can do - and now is the time! We asked Colin Hayles, Marketing Director and Purchaser at Calgary's Golden Acre Home & Garden Center, for some of his best tips for growing plants inside or out, and how to spruce up your yard for the summer.


KITCHEN HERBS.

Growing your own herbs is convenient and easier than you'd think! Use fresh homegrown basil or mint to jazz up your favourite recipes and drinks. Many herbs do amazingly well indoors year-round, and they double as great windowsill decor for your kitchen! Oregano, thyme, dill, and parsley are all great options to put into a windowsill planter or under a grow light on the counter. One of the most popular herbs to grow indoors in Calgary is basil, but it is notoriously fickle and does not like temperature changes, cold water or frost. Some people prefer to start their basil outdoors during the warm summer months and will bring it inside once the temperature starts to drop in the fall.


POTTED PLANTS & FLOWERS.

There are plenty of low-maintenance flowers and plants that can thrive in both the sun and the shade. We suggest mixing and matching colours to keep your garden looking fresh!

For warm, sunny spots, marigolds, geraniums, zinnias, lavender, dahlias, and osteospermums all grow fantastically well. To most people's surprise, sunflowers can also grow on your patio if you have the willingness to water twice a day, and have a two-gallon pot.

For cool, shady spots, sturdy plants such as begonias or impatiens can bring a pop of colour and are highly robust.


VEGGIE GARDEN.

If you've always wanted to try your hand at growing veggies, leafy greens are a great place to start! Spinach, kale, lettuce, and arugula are all relatively easy to take care of and forgiving when it comes to a bit of frost. Tomatoes are also a great veggie to start out with in your garden - they will grow plentifully with lots of watering and a good soil fertilizer.

Colin recommends investing in a Vegepod, which are raised planters from Australia. This can also be substituted with a homemade planter box if you're feeling up for a little spring garden project. The benefits of a raised plant bed are that they warm up more quickly in the spring and can allow for a longer growing season.


BACKYARD ESCAPE.

Looking for quick and cost-effective ways to spruce up your backyard? The easiest way to get started is with pre-made planters and/or hanging flower baskets. Many stores will offer pre-made sun and shade varieties, so all you have to do is bring them home and place them wherever your heart desires. If you have the time, you can also plant seeds or bulbs (such as pansies, violas, or chrysanthemums) which will pop up quickly with a little sun and watering. All of these options will add colour to your backyard for an affordable price, and minimal work (score!).

When it comes to gardening, less is more. Especially when you're just starting out! A windowsill herb garden or a couple of hanging pots can make a world of difference.

Happy gardening!