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Get Your Hands Dirty This Spring

What-is-4x4-GardeningWe’ve made it through a snowy, cold winter. Getting back into the garden seems even more exciting this year as we watch the first signs of plants pushing through the ground.

There’s real satisfaction in digging in the dirt, like when we were children and played in the mud! Sure, you’ll want to wear gloves to protect your hands, but there’s nothing quite like holding plants with your hands and clearing out space for this year’s garden, whether it’s in a backyard garden or on a balcony container.

Houseplants – Spring is the best time of the year for your houseplants. Dust the leaves, prune back dying or lackluster foliage and consider re-potting to give plants fresh nutrients.

Outdoor Gardens – Early spring is a good time to plan your outdoor garden, whether you go big or stay small. A few practical points to consider:

How much space do you have? You may only be able to have a single window box or planter, but with bold, bright flowers (or vegetables), you’ll benefit from seeing your plants grow and bloom until fall.

How much time do you have? Think about the size of your garden and your personal schedule. Weeding and pruning take time so you may want to limit yourself to one or two containers. If you have a bit more time each week, consider a small garden bed, plus containers. If you can devote several hours a week, plan for various gardens, perhaps a mix of flowers, vegetables, and containers.

Where do you spend your time? – If you spend a lot of time on an outdoor patio, deck or balcony, you’ll want to have some beautiful blooming plants, or perhaps, an herb garden. Consider placing fragrant plants nearby such as a honeysuckle bush, lavender, or varieties of the Nicotiana flower.

What is best for your ability? – If you’re an experienced gardener, you may want to try a couple of exotic plants such as rhododendrons, that prefer a specific kind of soil. If you are a new gardener, pick something that you’ll know is easy to grow, such as geraniums or green beans.

Raised garden beds are great for anyone who has difficulty bending over (or kneeling to weed). You can also more easily control the soil conditions.

Plant what you love – Some love flowers, some only want to grow vegetables, others plant fruit trees! Depending on your space and time, plant what you love. You’ll be much more likely to take care of what you are growing!

Start as early as before the last frost – If you really want to get a head start, you can plant onions, peas and spinach outdoors in Ontario as soon as the ground can be worked (e.g. early April!).