Andrea Heembrock, Head of Marketing for Anything Grows Garden Centre in Cochrane, has some great tips to help anyone achieve a beautiful and abundant garden this year:
Get Your Vegetables Off to a Good Start
Growing a vegetable garden in Alberta’s short growing season can be a challenge. “Some really easy things you can do to help create an abundant garden is either to start your plants indoors early or consider putting in a really inexpensive portable greenhouse in your backyard. A greenhouse amplifies the natural resources that we have like sunlight and moisture, which helps plants to grow faster and produce faster in the same short growing season,” says Andrea.
Purchase Properly Zoned Plants
Growing regions are separated into zones in the plant world and different types of plants do well in certain zones. “Look for plants that fall into zones 2-4 because they are more likely to survive and thrive in our environment,” Andrea explains. “We help gardeners by providing Alberta-hardy perennials, trees and shrubs at our greenhouse, so our customers know that anything from these categories that they purchase from us is going to be properly zoned.” Click here to download a list of hardy trees, shrubs and perennials that are perfect for growing in this climate.
Use Good Soil
“It is really important that we use a good soil. You want to use something with drainage and some nutrients,” Andrea says. “We recommend a 3-in-1 soil that contains peat moss, loam and compost, which provides the right balance for a plant to grow its roots into and do really well.”
Planting the same crop in the same place year after year can deplete the soil of specific nutrients. Changing the locations that specific flowers and vegetables are planted in each year helps to maintain healthy soil.
Water, Water, Water
Water trees, shrubs and perennials daily, if they have been planted this season by putting the hose at the base of the trunk and watering for one to three minutes. Trees, shrubs, and perennials planted within the last 3 seasons should still be watered regularly, as they are still establishing themselves. Check on flowers and vegetables every day, especially if it is hot outside. Typically, the natural precipitation that we get here in Alberta is not enough.
Adding fertilizer to the soil is an important part of supporting the right growing environment for plants. Using the right type of organic fertilizer is important. During much of the growing season, use a fertilizer that is focused on growing above-ground parts of the plant - usually something with higher nitrogen. “In August, switch to something that’s lower in nitrogen and that has fish or kelp in it in order to develop strong roots, which is key for winter hardiness,” Andrea adds.
Water-in and Mulch-Over Before Winter
Before it freezes, it is important to water-in and place mulch around perennials, trees and shrubs. “If you can add some mulch over the top of their roots during the summer months, then you’re going to really help to create a sustainable watering situation.” says Andrea. Mulch also helps to insulate plants’ roots against the drastic temperature changes of Chinooks.
Anything Grows is Cochrane’s only full-service garden centre. It was started in 1999 and is still an independent, family-owned business that is a strong part of the local community. Anything Grows carries everything needed to build and maintain a beautiful yard as well as garden décor, furniture, house plants and gifts. Their knowledgeable staff love to help their customers with any yard or garden questions they might have.
Anything Grows is located at 209 River Avenue in Cochrane, just east of The Quarry. Customers can contact the garden centre by calling (403) 932-9922. Online shopping is available at https://www.anythinggrowsalberta.com/shop/. Don’t forget to check out the blog.Click here to download a list of hardy trees, shrubs and perennials that are perfect for growing in this climate.