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  • Writer's pictureKyle Sooley-Brookings

Tips for new gardeners

The idea of starting a garden can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. We spoke to Jackson McLean, the manager of The Seed Company in St. John's.

When choosing a spot to plant your garden, McLean says you should consider the amount of sunlight, wind, and ease of accessibility. Also, the quality of the soil may be a consideration; you can go the extra mile and have your soil tested for nutrient levels.

A triple mix soil that includes topsoil, compost, and peat moss is the recommendation. As for fertilizer, you can use a combination of mineral fertilizers like "6-12-12" twice per season, supplemented with a water-soluble fertilizer like 20-20-20 or an organic alternative like concentrated kelp extract.

What about weeds and bugs?

Weeds and bugs are common in gardens and McLean says the best approach to controlling weeds and bugs is prevention. "You can use mulch to keep weeds at bay in between rows and sprinkle diatomaceous earth on soil to deter insects. Many people also cover their crops with a white cloth called "remay" that keeps pests out while letting sunshine and water in. If you do end up with an infestation, there are both chemical and organic sprays can that be used to control the pests and prevent damage to your crops."

Don't forget to water your garden! While it is weather dependent, typically every 2 to 3 days is enough. If we were to get a full week of 20ºC+ weather, you'll need to water once or even twice a day. Watering at night is best because it allows the water to reach the roots without being evaporated by harsh sunlight.

As we know, the weather in Canada can always throw a curveball. When frost is expected the best way to protect tender crops from frost is by covering the plants with white "remay" cloth.

You'll want to transplant vegetable starts into your garden once the risk of frost has passed, which in Newfoundland is typically mid-June.

If you plan on starting a garden, it's important to not take on too many different types of crops at once. This can lead to you getting overwhelmed and not able to give each crop the attention it required. It's best to start out small with 2-3 types and try a couple of new varieties each year.

The best thing to remember is to have fun!


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