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Feb 6, 2021

7 min. read

You don’t need a green thumb to grow your own food—just sun, water and a good layout

How does your garden grow? With some thoughtful planning and expert tips, it’ll yield a bounty of fresh produce. Of course, the benefits of gardening extend far beyond the dinner plate: Research from McMaster University shows it helps maintain physical fitness, boost self-esteem, foster creativity and restore calm. A garden is also a good way to trim your grocery bill, while teaching kids about food and nature. Follow a few simple strategies to plot out a garden and care for it until harvest time—green thumb not required!

Survey your land

How much space can you dedicate to a garden? Keep in mind you should be able to easily reach every corner. Choose a spot with full sunlight, away from shade-giving trees/bushes. Ensure a hose or other water source can comfortably reach desired plot.

Plot it out

Plan straight rows for an in-ground garden (opt for quadrants for raised beds). Using labelled garden stakes, mark rows about half a metre apart to allow you to move freely between rows. A centre row of stepping stones provides easier access for watering and weeding.

Dish the dirt

Check with your local garden centre to determine the right type of soil for your location. Aim for about 15 cm of depth and consider topping with a layer of compost for added nutrients.

A garden with plants and a fence.

Veg out

Depending where you live in the province, mid-May is typically the optimal time to sow seeds. Plant bushy tomato plants (1), tall corn (2) and trellised peas (3) near the rear edge to limit shading. Plant early-harvest veggies, like onions (4) and lettuce (5), toward front of garden. Avoid growing tomatoes and potatoes (6) next to each other as they share common diseases. Other options include beans (7), rhubarb (8), carrots (9) and cucumbers (10).

Fruit and flowers

Many fruits, such as raspberries (11) and Saskatoon berries (12), flourish in Manitoba, while flowers encourage pollination. Set tall sunflowers (13) in the back row to limit shade; break up rows of veggies with shorter blooms, including pansies (14) or marigolds (15).

Just add water

Water a couple of times a day early in the season to help establish roots and germinate seeds. After that, a thorough water once daily should do it. Try to water at ground level, directly at the roots, and water in the morning to prevent moisture buildup and overnight mildew growth.

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