Tips for a bountiful Crop!

With concerns over pesticides and modified foods more and more people are turning to their own gardens for ways to fill their grocery list. This can be a challenging task considering many of us just simply aren’t working with fields to grow with. So the old adage work smarter not harder can really apply, with this in mind I offer the following tips to maximize your harvest.

Grow what works for you

This seems simple, but is often overlooked because we want certain things to grow, because their our favourite or we like the aesthetic of the plant in our garden. That being said if you’ve tried carrots and they don’t grow well but you can grow lettuce like no-one’s business. Then grow LETTUCE! Don’t be afraid to ask neighbours what they’ve had success with in the past, in my experience gardeners love to share info.

Think drinks

Foods that can be blended into smoothies are a great addition to your garden. Kale, Spinach, Blueberries, Strawberries all great antioxidant superfoods and blend for great flavours. The more uses you have for your crop the better. Even consider growing things like Mint for fabulous summer Mojitos!

Choose High-Yielding Crops and Varieties.

Few things are more disappointing than nurturing a plant for three months only to harvest three fruits from it. Don’t let this happen to you! Ask your Ridgeview Garden Expert for high yield variety fruits and vegetables. Some great choices for our zone (5b) are: Bush Beans, Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Winter & Summer Squash, Zucchini, Spinach, Kale, Beets and Radishes.

Don’t grow too much of one thing

We can get caught up planting too much of one thing. You think “Hey I love tomatoes, I’ll make salsa, sauce, tomato paste, tomatoes for salads…..” Then all of a sudden you revile tomatoes and just looking at them makes you shudder. If you can’t reasonably eat it within your family and you don’t own a farmer’s market stall only grow what you need and try a few different plants for variety.

Grow Herbs

They grow in pots, window boxes, deck planters you have a space for them they will grow. Kitchen herbs are easy and delicious and you only need to pick a little a time so a small container can go a long way. My favourite thing to make is pesto so I grow a TON of basil but other than that most herbs are just grown in small pots.

Succession Planning

We’re not asking you to write up a will or anything but a good succession plan goes a long way to keep your table full all season. Plant veggies and fruit early in the spring and keep planting new crops every couple of weeks so each comes out at a slightly different time. Also try growing an early crop in the spring (May – June) summer crop (July – August) and fall crops in (September – October) to keep regular new plants on hand try starting from seed indoors and moving to the garden throughout the season. Cloche’s or home made tunnels can extend certain crops into the start of November if the weather doesn’t get too cold.

Fertilize

Compost, organic or synthetic, there are so many options to Fertilize your garden. Ridgeview Garden Centre has a ton of available options and the input to choose the right food for your food!! I recall the old Miracle Grow commercials (I think) when they showed to plants side by side. One with Miracle Grow, one without. Obviously the fertilized plant was much more robust, would have been a terrible commercial otherwise, but it is true. You can see it in your own garden, if I plant is not fed or put in nutrient weak soil you can tell the difference.

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